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 Spring 2003UVA Lawyer - Home
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Launching Law & Business

Dean John Jeffries

John C. Jeffries, Jr. '73

This issue of UVA Lawyer introduces Virginia's new Law & Business Program. We began this year with basic courses in Accounting and Finance offered in the Law School by distinguished professors from elsewhere in the University. (Both Whit Broome from the Commerce School and Ken Eades from Darden are profiled in these pages.) Next year, we will expand the availability of Accounting and Finance, increase the number of business specialty offerings, and begin revamping our core business law courses. The completed program will be the most ambitious curricular innovation in the history of the Law School and perhaps in the history of legal education.

It may help identify the direction of our ambition to spell out three things that the new Law & Business Program will not do:

First, it will not replace the joint J.D.-M.B.A. Program with Darden. The joint degree program is ideal for students who can commit to the time and expense of an extra year. It graduates students with complete educations in both law and business. Unfortunately, the demands of the joint-degree program restrict it to a handful of exceptionally dedicated students. The new Law & Business Program aims at a much wider audience. Our goal is to graduate 200 lawyers annually with a basic foundation in business.

Second, the Law & Business Program will not detract from the centrality of legal analysis in the Law School curriculum. Especially in the first year, the intellectual and analytic discipline of law will remain our overriding commitment. It will be supplemented, not displaced, by the basics of business analysis. In business law courses, the subtlety and sophistication of legal analysis will be enhanced by a better understanding of the business contexts in which legal issues arise.

Third, the Law & Business Program will not divert resources from other areas. Virginia aims to be the nation's leading law school, not in business law only but across the board. Consistent with that philosophy, expansion of the business law curriculum should not come at the expense of public law or public service or preparation for a career in litigation. Rather, the Law & Business Program will be funded by new resources and implemented as those resources become available.

We are fortunate indeed to have far-sighted alumni who have enabled us to launch the Law & Business Program now, even as we seek funding for the long term. Over the next few years, we shall fund Law & Business with currently expendable contributions made expressly for that purpose. In addition to the support of Law School alumni, we are grateful for the leadership of Thomas A. Saunders III, a 1967 graduate of the Darden School and member of the University's Board of Visitors. Tom has generously agreed to help get Law & Business started by underwriting the cost of hiring Darden faculty for the first three years.

We are excited by the possibilities of the new Law & Business Program and by the opportunity to be the national leader in that field. At the same time, we are aware that this is an experiment and that our plans will likely have to be revised in light of experience. Many of our graduates have expertise in this field, and we hope you will give us the benefit of your wisdom and guidance as we go forward with this program.

More About the Law & Business Program

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