Living in Charlottesville: Welcome from the SBA President
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Welcome from Student Bar Association President A.J. Collins

A.J. CollinsCongratulations on being accepted as a member of the Class of 2020 at the University of Virginia School of Law. The Student Bar Association (SBA) is the student government at the Law School, and is responsible for representing the interests of the student body both present and future. On behalf of the SBA, I welcome you to the UVA Law community.

When you talk to current students and alumni of UVA Law, they will all place great emphasis on how special their experience was here. Law school is undeniably challenging and stressful, but the community at our school makes this experience not only manageable but also truly enjoyable. Your classmates at UVA Law will become your friends both in and out of the classroom — in fact, many alumni tell us that their best friends came from their law class. You will find that your classmates are among the people who are most invested in making sure you are successful in law school. They will go out of their way to support you by providing notes, talking through issues, and commiserating with you during the tougher parts of law school.

UVA students are interesting and complex people, and you will find that you also want to spend time with them outside school. The culture of the law school helps to facilitate relationship building. These relationships will help get you through the rough patches of law school. The student body is diverse both in backgrounds and interests, and the UVA community truly cares about creating a space for everyone. We have approximately 70 student organizations that range from a Rod and Gun Club to the 109-year-old Libel Show to religious, affinity, professional, and political groups and beyond. These groups allow students space to meet like-minded peers and get involved in areas of interest both related to and distinct from the law.

Beyond the Law School, Charlottesville has something to offer for everyone. The University of Virginia itself offers a wealth of resources for those looking to pursue interests outside of law, from classes and guest lecturers to sporting events and concerts — all set on beautiful historic Grounds. Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall offers shopping, dining, art galleries, boutique shops and more. Within an hour of Grounds you will find countless vineyards, breweries, farms and orchards set in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Out slightly further you can explore the Blue Ridge Mountains themselves and drive the lovely Skyline Drive, complete with skiing and hiking.

Your classes at UVA Law will be with some of the best professors and practitioners in the world. These professors are dedicated both to their teaching and to supporting students on a professional level, sharing meals and discussions with students on a regular basis. To say that we have the most incredible faculty would be a complete understatement. I can't count the number of times my professors have invited me into their homes for discussions ranging from academic pursuits to favorite craft breweries. In addition, the Law School has an incredible Career Center and Public Service Center that will help you identify career paths of interest to you and guide you through the process of obtaining a job that fulfills your goals.

My own time at UVA has gone by incredibly fast, and it is hard to believe that it is will soon come to an end. I remember experiencing a mix of excitement and anxiety leading up to my first days of law school, and I seriously thought I was going to faint during orientation. I had heard many rumors about the law school experience that were concerning. However, this anxiety was unfounded, and I now know after I leave UVA I will feel nostalgia my experience, from the most challenging memo or cold call to the most fun event or hike. I will miss the people, the city and the school. And I will be proud to have graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.

I welcome you to contact me with any questions at Again, congratulations, welcome, and best of luck!

A.J. Collins
President, Student Bar Association


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