University of Virginia School of Law

The University of Virginia School of Law (Virginia Law or UVA Law) was founded in Charlottesville in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as part of his "academical village," the University of Virginia, where law was one of the original disciplines taught. UVA Law is the fourth-oldest active law school in the United States and the second-oldest continuously operating law school. The law school offers the J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees in law and hosts visiting scholars, visiting researchers and a number of legal research centers.

University of Virginia School of Law
Parent schoolUniversity of Virginia
School typePublic
EndowmentUS $ 555 million[1]
Parent endowmentUS $ 7.53 billion[2]
DeanRisa Goluboff
LocationCharlottesville, Virginia, USA
USNWR ranking8th [3]
Bar pass rate95.9%
ABA profileABA Profile

UVA Law is perennially regarded as one of the 10 most prestigious law schools in the United States. As of 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranks UVA Law as eighth in the nation. In the 2019 Above the Law rankings, which focuses on employment outcomes, UVA Law ranked first in the nation.[4] A study published in the Journal of Legal Education ranked UVA Law fourth in the number of partners in the National Law Journal's top 100 firms.[5] Also, UVA Law has recently ranked high in federal clerkship placement, behind only Harvard Law School and Yale Law School for the 2005-2010 period.[6]

Notable alumni include U.S. Supreme Court Justices James Clark McReynolds and Stanley Forman Reed, as well as numerous members of U.S. Congress and judges on federal courts throughout the United States. UVA Law has 19,984 alumni in all 50 states, more than 60 foreign countries and several U.S. protectorates.[7]


UVA Law is among the most selective law schools in the nation. For the class entering in the fall of 2018, 320 out of 5,646 J.D. applicants matriculated. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2018 entering class were 163 and 171, respectively, with a median of 169. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.59 and 3.97, respectively, with a median of 3.89.[8] The class of 2021 consists of students from 36 states and the District of Columbia and from 164 undergraduate institutions. The age range was 20 to 35. Fifty-six percent of the class was male, 44% female, and 26% identified themselves as people of color (including non-citizens). Sixty-seven percent of the class had postgraduate experience.[8]

Cost of attendance

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) for first-year law students at UVA Law for the 2018-2019 academic year is $80,156 for Virginia residents and $83,156 for nonresidents.[9] Law School Transparency has estimated that the debt-financed cost of attendance for three years, based on data from the 2018-2019 academic year, is $300,343 for residents; the estimated cost for non-residents is $306,422.[10]


UVA Law receives no funding from the state; instead, the school depends upon the generosity of private donors (bolstered by its over 50% alumni giving rate), its substantial endowment (US $ 555 million[11]), the 5th largest among all law schools, and student tuition payments. In 1995-1997, UVA Law used entirely donated funds to renovate and expand its buildings on the University's North Grounds to include the former facilities of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, which built a new campus several hundred yards away.

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library holds more than 820,000 volumes, including substantial collections of federal, state, and international documents, manuscripts, archives, and online research databases.[12]

Student organizations

UVA Law maintains an extensive roster of student organizations, including chapters of the Federalist Society, the American Constitution Society and the St. Thomas More Society. The Virginia Law Weekly, UVA Law's student-run weekly newspaper, has been published since 1948. The paper has been cited in several court cases, including in the dissenting opinion of Justice Powell in the U.S. Supreme Court case Patterson v. New York.[13] In addition to its news content, the VLW also contains student-submitted content, which often includes humorous and creative pieces. The Law Weekly has won the American Bar Association's previous three "Best Newspaper Awards," in 2006, 2007, and 2008.[14]

Each spring, over one hundred students write, direct and perform in The Libel Show, a comedy and musical theater production that was first organized in 1904. Its performers roast Law School professors, student stereotypes and life in Charlottesville throughout each of its three nightly showings. Professors write and sing their response to the students' jokes at the penultimate performance.

The school hosts an annual softball tournament to raise money for ReadyKids, an organization that provides care and counseling for at-risk families in Central Virginia, and the Public Interest Law Association, which provides public service internships for law students. 51 different law schools send teams to compete in men's and co-rec brackets. In 2017, $25,000 was raised.[15]

Law journals

UVA Law hosts 10 academic journals, including the Virginia Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the country.[16]


UVA Law's curricular programs include the programs in Law & Business and Law and Public Service, as well as programs in international law, legal and constitutional history, criminal law, human rights, race and law, environmental and land use law, immigration law, intellectual property, public policy and regulation, health law, law and humanities, and animal law. UVA Law also has programs that help students build skills, such as the legal writing program, courses in professional ethics, trial advocacy and public speaking, and other practical-skills courses. The Princeton Review ranked UVA Law as first in "Best Quality of Life" and "Best Professors" among the nation's law schools, second in "Best Classroom Experience," fifth in "Toughest to Get Into," and sixth in "Career Prospects."[17] The 2016 QS World University Rankings for law schools ranks UVA Law in the range of 51–100 worldwide and as the 13th-best law school in U.S.[18]


Among the more than 250 courses and seminars offered each year, UVA Law has 18 clinics:

  • Appellate Litigation
  • Child Advocacy
  • Criminal Defense
  • Employment Law
  • Entrepreneurial Law
  • Environmental and Regulatory Law
  • Family Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • First Amendment Law
  • Health Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Innocence Project
  • International Human Rights
  • Litigation and Housing Law
  • Nonprofit Clinic
  • Patent and Licensing I
  • Patent and Licensing II
  • Prosecution
  • Supreme Court Litigation

Study abroad

Students may participate in eight international exchange programs:

  • Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany
  • Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain
  • Melbourne Law School in Australia
  • Seoul National University in South Korea
  • University of Auckland in New Zealand
  • University of Sydney in Australia
  • Tel Aviv University Law School in Israel
  • Waseda University in Tokyo

In addition, UVA Law offers rising third-year students the opportunity to obtain a dual degree from Sciences Po in Paris. Students who successfully complete this program earn a French law diploma (entitling them to sit for the French bar exam) and a J.D. degree from Virginia. Students also may spend one semester abroad through the student-initiated study abroad program or as an external studies project. Each year one-credit courses are offered in Paris and Tel Aviv through the January Term.[19]

Institutes and centers

UVA Law includes several internationally known special programs directed by faculty members.

  • Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy
  • John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics
  • Center for National Security Law
  • Center for Oceans Law and Policy
  • Center for Children, Families, and the Law
  • Center for the Study of Race and Law

Post-graduate employment

According to UVA Law's official 2019 ABA-required disclosures, 92.6% of the Class of 2018 obtained non-school funded full-time, long-term, JD-required employment ten months after graduation.[20] A 2019 analysis conducted by placed Virginia in second for employment outcomes, behind Columbia, with 92.64% of graduates obtaining employment within ten months.[21]

Law firms

UVA Law is fourth in the number of partners in the National Law Journal's top 100 firms,[22] and a survey by the NLJ found that UVA Law ranked third in the number of associates promoted to partner among the NLJ's top 250 firms in 2015.[23] Additionally, UVA Law is second only to Harvard in the number of alumni serving as chief legal counsel at Fortune 500 companies.[24] Alumni from UVA Law are also employed at 100 of the American Lawyer top 100 law firms (as of May 2016).[24] In a 2010 study by Stanford Graduate School of Business professors, Virginia ranked fifth in the number of lawyers at the top 300 U.S. law firms.[25]


From 2005 to 2018, UVA Law had the fourth-highest placement of law clerks on the United States Supreme Court, surpassed only by Yale, Harvard and Stanford.[24] In 2016 UVA Law alumni set a school record for obtaining the most appellate court clerkships in a term.[26]

Notable faculty and alumni


UVA Law maintains a list of prominent alumni and has graduated many influential figures in government, business, the judiciary, academia, journalism, and the law, including Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Janet Napolitano, DeMaurice Smith, Robert Mueller, and others. The school's alumni giving rate of more than 50 percent for the past 11 years is among the highest of the nation's law schools.[7]


Many of UVA Law's faculty are prominent scholars and academics, including Anne Coughlin, professor of criminal law, John F. Duffy, who teaches intellectual property, and law school dean Risa L. Goluboff, who is also a professor of legal history and constitutional law.


  1. "Facts & Statistics". Archived from the original on 2017-06-02. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  2. "University of Virginia Management Company Annual Report 2014-2015". Archived from the original on 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  3. "University of Virginia School of Law". Best Law Schools. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  4. Mystal, Elie. "The 2019 Law School Rankings Are Finally Here". Above the Law. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  5. Seto, Theodore P. (2 August 2011). "Where Do Partners Come from?". Retrieved 1 May 2018 via
  6. Liptak, Adam (6 September 2010). "A Well-Traveled Path From Ivy League to Supreme Court". Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via
  7. "Majority of Alumni Give to UVA Law for 11th Consecutive Year". 19 October 2016. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  8. "Class of 2021 Profile". 22 August 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  9. "Tuition and Fees". 1 October 2018. Archived from the original on 2014-07-05.
  10. "University of Virginia Profile". 1 October 2018.
  11. "Facts & Statistics". Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  12. "Overview". 19 April 2017. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2001-07-25. Retrieved 2005-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. "Virginia Law Weekly Wins ABA Best Newspaper Award for Second Year in a Row". 30 August 2007. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  15. reports, The Daily Progress staff. "UVa Law softball tournament raises $25K for charity". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  16. "Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking". Archived from the original on 21 November 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  17. "University of Virginia – School of Law – The Princeton Review Law School Rankings & Reviews". Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  18. "Top Law Schools in 2016". QS World University Rankings. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  19. "Law Studies Abroad – University of Virginia School of Law". University of Virginia School of Law. Archived from the original on 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
  20. "ABA Employment Data for UVA Law 2018 Graduates" (PDF).
  21. May 08, Karen Sloan |; PM, 2019 at 01:26. "Law Grads Hiring Report: Job Stats for the Class of 2018". Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  22. "Overview". 19 April 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  23. "Chart: The Go-To Law Schools' Associates to Partner – National Law Journal". Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  24. "News About Supreme Court Clerks". Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  25. "American BigLaw Lawyers and the Schools that Produce Them: A Profile and Rankings" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  26. "Record Number of UVA Law Alumni Clerk for U.S. Appeals Courts". 14 October 2016. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
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