10 Stories at UVA Law That Inspired Us

Stephen Braga, Jean Zhuang and Doug Ford

The holidays are a time of giving. In the spirit of the season, we look back and some of the ways our law students have done just that.

December 8, 2015

For many people, the holidays are a time to reflect and remember the importance of helping others. Here are 10 storiesfrom the past few years that featured University of Virginia School of Law students making a difference in the lives of those around them:

The Consumer Law Clinic Helped Rescue a Retired Couple's Home from Foreclosure

In its inaugural year, the Consumer Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law served 22 clients, recovered $8,045 and rescued two homes from foreclosure. One of the homes saved belongs to local retirees, who were paired with a third-year law student. (More)

A Law Student Who Started a Nonprofit for At-Risk Youth Saw Pupils Grow, Achieve Success

A graduating student looked back on co-founding and fostering Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership, an academic mentoring program that uses lacrosse and academic tutoring to teach leadership, discipline and teamwork. (More)

Others Got to Be Home for the Holidays, Thanks to a UVA Law Team

A student and an alumna worked together to help reduce public housing evictions in Charlottesville by 91 percent from 2011 to 2014. (More)

The Innocence Project Helped a Man Clear His Name

When the Virginia Supreme Court exonerated Bennett Barbour of a 1978 rape conviction, he felt relief, yet also deep frustration that it took more than three decades to clear his name. (More) It was even more poignant when students led a drive to help Barbour regain the right to vote before he died. (More)

Law Students Led the Charge for Female Soldiers to Have Right to Serve in Combat

The Molly Pitcher Project and the lawsuit it helped initiate may have been the critical tipping point that led the military to overturn the combat exclusion policy, which was recently announced without exceptions. (More)

BLSA Students Traveled to Uganda to Improve the Justice System

Six members of the Black Law Students Association traveled to Uganda to help build a continuing education platform for judges, attorneys and professionals who use the nation's legal system. Each year BLSA completes an annual service trip abroad. (More)

Law Students Helped Victims of Abuse Achieve Safe Haven in the U.S.

A filmmaker seeking asylum from political persecution, a young mother applying for a visa following threats by her boyfriend, and a man hoping to retain his residency after being abandoned by his U.S. citizen wife are three people who have been helped by the Immigration Law Clinic. (More)

Students Delivered General Legal Services Pro Bono to Hundreds of Low-Income Clients

Students working through the Pro Bono Program , in partnership with Legal Justice Center, have represented clients in cases involving voting rights and driver's license restoration, housing, unemployment, bankruptcy, no-fault divorce and estate planning. (More)

A Student Spread Goodwill to Her Peers During Exams

To boost exam morale, a law student started the tradition of Gunner the Wonderdog. (Though the student has graduated, Gunner's goodwill continues.) (More)

Dana Tapper
Update: The student who was on "Ellen," Dana Tapper, is working at Spencer, Mayoras, Koch, Cornick & Meyer in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She recently married her classmate John Akin, and her wedding this fall was officiated by UVA Law professor Anne Coughlin.

And lastly, a student who gave to others and got a surprise gift in return:

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Gave a Law Student Working on Behalf of Children a Huge Surprise

The Ellen DeGeneres Show brought a surprised University of Virginia law student on stage to present her with $20,000 after hearing about her efforts to help children in need. (More)

Want more? Here are five more stories of goodwill and giving back you may have missed:

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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