Set in one of the most exciting cities in the South, the University of Richmond School of Law (Richmond Law) is a highly regarded private law school known for its small class size and stellar academic reputation. Richmond Law first opened its doors after the Civil War and later benefitted from a gift from its namesake, T.C. Williams. in 1890. The school was later moved to its new campus in the mid-50’s and dramatically renovated in 1991. The law school publishes one of the most prestigious journals in the field of public sector legal issues–Richmond Public Interest Law Review. In its over 150 year history, Richmond Law has educated numerous Virginia senators, congressman, and justices.
First-year students at Richmond Law receive instruction in the six core courses of the American legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Students also deceive two semester courses in legal writing as well as legal research. In their first semester, students take a course that overviews the legislative and regulatory framework for the American legal system.
Upper-class students have only required courses in professional responsibility, trial advocacy, and a writing seminar (which offers a variety of topics). All other upper-class courses are elective. Richmond Law does offer over a dozen “courses of study” suggestions which provide students with a suggested plate of courses that prepare students for a practice area. Each area of study also suggest experiential courses, pro-bono opportunities, and any relevant dual-degree programs that might bolster a student’s academic profile.
Additionally, Richmond law offers two certification programs–one in family law and the other in intellectual property–which certify a students preparation for practice in these areas.
Richmond Law offers a Master of Law (LL.M) degree to international students who did not receive their legal education in the United States. Students are required to complete two semesters in residence and complete 24 hours of coursework. There are only two required courses–a study in the U.S. Legal System and a course covering legal writing. Students work closely with their academic advisor to plan a curriculum that meets their career goals. Students may also apply for a joint LL.M/M.B.A. dual degree. The dual degree program takes two years to complete both academic credits are shared between both programs. Candidates for the dual degree program must apply for admission to both programs separately.
Students may also pair the Juris Doctor degree with several other professional degrees including an MBA from the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business. These programs require admission to both programs separately and generally take four years to complete both programs.
Career and Career Placement
The statistics from the most recent graduating classes of the Richmond Law indicate an employment rate of over 95% for all students. For over 92% of graduates, their first careers either required a law license or preferred a Juris Doctor degree. A smaller percentage of graduates accepted other professional positions or pursued additional education. The most common career paths were split–almost evenly–between small law firm work, business sector positions, and graduates who accepted judicial clerkships in the state and local courts. Nearly 15% of graduates pursued careers in the public interest sector or in a government office. While most students remained in-state to practice, nearby Washington, D.C. accounts for roughly 10% of first time jobs for graduates.
The Richmond Law Career Development office serves a notably small student body with a full-time staff of seven professionals. Since graduating classes average around 120 students, this allows for students to receive an extraordinary amount of 1-on-1 contact from counselors. The staff has dedicated advisors for emerging careers, pubic sector positions, and alumni outreach and careers. During the year, the Career Development office organizes all on-campus interviews and maintains a robust job posting portal. As the capital of Virginia, the City of Richmond affords students a startling array of summer internship opportunities.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Richmond Law is one of the only law schools in the country that has a mandatory two year skills program that equips students with the necessary skills to successfully enter the practice of law. Students have the option to participate in either one of Richmond Law’s four in-house legal clinics or placed in one of their external clinics in the Richmond area. Clinics not only provide students with the opportunity to work directly with clients but also with practicing attorneys to build professional relationships.
Students may also build practical skills through a semester externship program in Washington, D.C. This program allows students to work for a government office in the nation’s capital to prepare for potential public service and government careers.
Richmond Law also offers six unique practicum courses that present a complex legal issue and allow students to learn as the put their academic lessons into practice.
Richmond Law encourages a balanced life through its “UR Wellbeing” program which offers a range of programs and services intended to insure learn skills to balance their physical, financial, and mental health with their academic work and eventual careers. The small student body provides an intimate experience that is notably active with almost 50 student run organizations as well as two highly regarded student-run journals.
The law school campus sits on the western edge of Richmond’s “Fan” district which fans out from the downtown into a beautiful historical neighborhood. Richmond is full of history, literature, art, and dining. Steeped in the history of the Civil War, Richmond is also home to several parks along the James River as well as a thriving micro-brewery community. Housing is abundant and affordable in the surrounding communities. Limited on-campus housing is also available.