Welcome from DEAN Paul G. Mahoney
“It was the best three years of my life. I wish I could go back and do it all over again.” Ask a Virginia graduate about his or her time in law school and you will probably hear some variant of that quote. It captures part of what makes Virginia stand out among the nation’s top law schools — an unparalleled student experience.
Virginia’s professors are among the brightest minds in the legal academy as well as some of the finest teachers anywhere. They and our students create an intellectual environment that is invigorating and challenging, but at the same time collegial and supportive. When our students graduate, they are not only well-prepared for the intellectual challenges of legal practice; they have also developed the ability to work collaboratively with their colleagues and clients. These traits make our graduates highly desirable to legal employers and unusually successful in their careers.
No fact better demonstrates how highly our students value their time at Virginia than this: In each of the past six years, more than 50 percent of our living alumni have made gifts to the Law School, a substantially greater percentage than at any other top law school. That fact speaks volumes about the quality of the experience our students enjoy here and the intense loyalty that experience creates.
Our curriculum, like the law itself, is wide-ranging. It is both intellectual and practical and draws insights from many other academic disciplines. If you are interested in criminal law, you will learn to apply concepts from criminology and forensic psychiatry while also enjoying clinical opportunities on both the defense and prosecution side. If you are interested in a career in public service, you can study public law, political theory and constitutional history and participate in a broad array of pro bono and public interest programs and fellowships. Our new Program in Public Service also provides mentoring and career advice from some of our many graduates who serve as elected or appointed officials or in nonprofit organizations.
Our innovative and very successful business law curriculum provides training in the basics of business analysis alongside the foundational legal topics. It also brings business executives into the classroom to provide insight into the thinking and objectives of business clients.
These are just a few examples of the exciting mix of content, perspectives and methodologies that make up our curriculum. Students come to Virginia with a wide set of interests, backgrounds and ambitions. All of them find the experience here transformative intellectually and personally. They leave with a broad intellectual outlook, an enhanced ability to analyze and persuade, a more developed sense of character and integrity — and a twinge of sorrow for the end of three wonderful years.