Constitutional Law and Legal History

Constitutional Law and Legal History

Constitutional Law and Legal History




The Law School's curriculum places the history of law and the ongoing story of the Constitution in context so that students can better understand both the past and present legal landscape. With more than 25 faculty members in constitutional law and legal history, Virginia offers an unparalleled variety of lecture courses, seminars and clinics in the field.

Program on Legal and Constitutional History

Virginia’s Program on Legal and Constitutional History creates a rich intellectual community of scholars and students with shared historical interests.

J.D.-M.A. Program in History

In cooperation with the University of Virginia’s Corcoran Department of History, the Law School allows students to obtain a J.D. and an M.A. in history in three years. As part of the program, J.D.-M.A. candidates present drafts of their theses to faculty. Several veterans of the dual-degree program have gone on to successful careers in legal academia, and recent graduates have clerked for U.S. Supreme Court justices. Law students interested in the program should contact the Law School faculty advisor, Professor Charles Barzun.

Event Programming

The program sponsors a series of monthly legal history lunch workshops in which scholars and Virginia faculty members present works in progress. Advanced J.D.-M.A. candidates participate in these workshops and even present drafts of their own M.A. theses.

The program also sponsors a series of lectures and panel discussions in which authors of recent important books are invited to engage in discussions of their work with students and faculty participating in the Colloquium in American Legal History.

An informal legal history writing group allows faculty, law students and graduate history students to present works-in-progress over dinner at the homes of faculty members.

Legal History Workshops

11:30 a.m.- 12:50 p.m., Faculty Lounge


April 21 — J.D./MA Student Presentations


March 5 — Lindsay Robertson (University of Oklahoma)

March 19 — Jonathan Gienapp (Stanford)

April 2 — JD/MA Student Presentations

April 16 —  Barbara Welke (University of Minnesota)

FALL 2018

Oct. 2 — Justin Desautels-Stein (University of Colorado Law School)


The Role of Statutory Principles in Reconciling LGBTQ+ Rights and Religious Freedom

Scholars Discuss Possible Legislative Compromises

Charles Barzun
Faculty Director
  • Professor of Law
  • Director, Program on Legal and Constitutional History