10: School of Law

General Information | Admission Information | Financial Aid Information | Career Services
Degree Programs | Academic Regulations | Student Activities and Awards
Annual Law School Awards and Honors | Course Descriptions | Faculty

General Information

Among the original Schools contemplated in Mr. Jefferson's plan for the organization of the University of Virginia was "Law: Municipal and Foreign, Embracing the General Principles, Theory and Practice of Jurisprudence, together with the Theory and Principles of Constitutional Government." Accordingly, the Law School was established with the opening of the University in 1825 and has been an integral part of the University since that date.

From 1825 until 1894, the course of study comprised the work of a single year. With the session of 1894-1895, the course became two years in length and continued as such until the session of 1909-1910, when the course was extended to three years.

The Law School is now located on the North Grounds, along with the Graduate School of Business Administration and the Judge Advocate General's School.

As of 1996 the student body is composed of 1,146 students from 50 states and foreign countries. They hold undergraduate or graduate degrees from approximately 251 colleges and universities. The teaching faculty includes over 60 full-time members who have been educated at this and the country's other major law schools and bring wide experience in education, private legal practice, and government service. Their offerings are supplemented by several dozen distinguished part-time lecturers drawn largely from private practice and government agencies as well as the bench.

The expanding role of law in both national and international arenas constitutes a continuing challenge to legal education. The University of Virginia School of Law attempts to provide its students with, more than anything else, the flexibility necessary to understand and apply the law as it evolves. Because the law is constantly changing, teaching a series of legal rules applicable at one moment in history would be practically useless to a lawyer in his or her future career. Virginia, in contrast, trains its students to use the permanent research tools of reported cases, statutes, scholarly work -- and the analytical techniques of precise issue identification, evaluation of competing considerations, clear and concise articulation of results -- as touchstones against which future developments in the law can be measured.

It is relatively easy to learn what the current law is in any given area; students at Virginia are challenged to determine how and why the law developed in a certain way, whether a law accomplishes its intended purpose, and how changes in the law might affect social behavior. In addition, Virginia exposes its students to historical, sociological, and economic treatments of the law. Out of this combination should arise an appreciation of the power of the law, for good or ill, to influence the course of human conduct.

The primary objective of university legal education, however, is to train students to become superior practitioners of their profession, whether in the private or public sector. Through the research activities of both faculty and students and its graduate program, the School of Law encourages creative scholarship in all aspects of law as it applies to its own and to related disciplines. In short, the institution's mission is to weld skilled craftsmanship with an enlarged understanding of law's changing functions in contemporary society.

University of Virginia
School of Law
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(804) 924-7354

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