My name is Katharine Janes, and I am the president of the University of Virginia School of Law Student Bar Association, our student government. On behalf of the SBA, congratulations on your acceptance to the Class of 2023! As best said by past SBA President Jasmine Lee ’20, selecting UVA Law is more than choosing a law school — it is choosing to join an active and vibrant community that stretches beyond our time in Charlottesville. We are so excited that you have chosen to join us here.
It goes without saying that this school year will be different than any before. The pandemic has forced educational institutions across the country to resort to socially distant or online learning, and ours is no different. However, students choose to attend UVA Law because of our school’s reputation for collegiality and mutual support, and these qualities will prove invaluable to all of us in the semester to come. Our Peer Advisor program, affinity group mentorship activities and Facebook pages (check out the ones on baking, talents and pets!), as well as countless other initiatives, make this an incredible place to attend law school during both normal and abnormal times. It is this commitment to community that will help you, as 1Ls, find a home at UVA Law and success in the year to come.
When speaking to alumni across the country, regardless of when they graduated, you hear the same enthusiasm about their time at UVA Law as you would hear from any current student. We take pride in our school, where we know we are both getting a world-class education and existing as members of a tight-knit community. I love nothing more than meeting a UVA Law graduate and hearing them excitedly ask, “Are you enjoying your time at UVA as much as I did?” My answer is always a resounding yes.
UVA Law faculty, while committed to their research, are even more dedicated to educating and supporting their students. Many of our professors are leaders in their fields and welcome students’ interest in their research, including by co-authoring pieces. In addition to top-notch faculty, UVA Law boasts an impressive number of student groups. These groups host events, present speakers and foster conversation across Grounds, all based on student interest and leadership. I would encourage you to explore our student organizations page and see if any of the student groups pique your interest — and, if you don’t see something you are looking for, we welcome you and your classmates to create something new!
Of all the wonderful aspects of UVA Law, though, my favorite is the quality of the student body. At UVA Law, you are doing more than learning alongside your fellow students; you are joining a professional network, collaborating in public interest initiatives and making friendships that go far beyond the classroom. At UVA Law, we are deeply committed to both this place and to one another. Joining this community means you are joining a network of students and alumni who support and encourage one other to succeed, both now and in the future.
Congratulations again on your admission to UVA Law. I have loved my time here immensely, and I look forward to getting the chance to know you more in the coming school year. Feel free to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about UVA or would like to find ways to get involved in our community. I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you on Grounds soon!
Katharine Janes ’21
President, Student Bar Association