The Law School prides itself on providing learning experiences that stretch beyond the classroom and give students practical experience and insight into the way the law functions.
Principles and Practice Program
Virginia’s Principles and Practice Program, a curricular innovation that was the first of its kind in the country, offers courses designed to give students the opportunity to apply legal theory in real-life situations. The program teams law professors with practitioners, judges and other distinguished professionals for a semester or more. Lauded by students and practitioners alike, the program melds the insights of theory with those of contemporary practice, giving students a more sophisticated and useful understanding of a field than either perspective can yield on its own.
In addition its regular semester- or yearlong courses, the Law School offers a variety of intensive short courses that allow students to focus on specific subjects ranging from Islamic Law to the finance of small enterprises. Often taught by practicing lawyers, these courses allow students to spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks studying real-world problems with some of the top practitioners and scholars in the field.
Professors also find ways to bring in practical experiences into regular courses that don't include a particular focus on real-world lawyering. For example, Professors John Monahan and Richard Bonnie bring guest speakers in law, policing and medicine into their Current Issues in Law and Psychological Science course (offered during the 2017-18 school year).
Teaching the Art of the Appeal
Three of Virginia’s most accomplished legal minds are introducing University of Virginia School of Law students to the art of the appeal in a new seminar.
Retired Supreme Court of Virginia Justice John Charles Thomas '75, retired U.S. Judge James R. Spencer and current Virginia Senior Assistant Attorney General Virginia B. Theisen are presently teaching Appellate Practice. The three-credit fall course is designed to instill in law students the skills required to make them effective advocates at the appeals level.