UVA Law's Top Stories of 2016

As the Year Concludes, We Look Back on the News That Stood Out
Spies Garden
December 27, 2016

The University of Virginia School of Law community may remember 2016 as a year of saying goodbye to old friends and celebrating rising stars. The top stories of the year include Risa Goluboff becoming the first woman to become dean of UVA Law, the passing of former faculty member Justice Antonin Scalia, and the instant fame of Dean Strang ’85 of “Making a Murderer.” It was also a year of landmarks — beloved alum Mortimer Caplin turned 100, the UVA Law faculty reached a new milestone in judicial citations, and the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic celebrated 10 years of success of the kind that any firm in the nation would envy.

Here are 17 stories that defined the year.

Related News: The Legal Landmarks of 2016

  • Justice Justice Antonin Scalia

    Alumni and friends remembered former faculty member U.S. Supreme Court Justice Justice Antonin Scalia, a UVA Law faculty member from 1967 to 1974, who died Feb. 13. More

  • Danielle Desaulniers ’17

    Danielle Desaulniers ’17 was selected as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review, one of the nation’s most prestigious law journals. More

  • U.S. Army Lt. Col. Frank Rosenblatt and Bowe Bergdahl

    U.S. Army Lt. Col. Frank Rosenblatt, a 2006 UVA Law graduate and JAG lawyer, began defending Bowe Bergdahl against charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. More

  • Innocence Project Clinic

    The Innocence Project Clinic uncovered evidence that gives new hope to inmates in cases from Virginia Beach and Albemarle County.

  • Dean Strang ’85

    Criminal defense attorney Dean Strang ’85 became instantly famous when he was featured in the hit Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer” — a role he turned into lobbying for justice. More | UVA Lawyer Q&A

  • Protest at UVA

    Sometimes understanding the past can unlock insight into today’s struggles for justice, as a story about the Law School community's role in the aftermath of protests at the University of Virginia in 1970 demonstrated. More

  • Elizabeth Garrett ’88

    The community mourned the untimely death in March of Elizabeth Garrett ’88, who had recently become president of Cornell University. More

  • DOJ alumni

    Two students (who graduated in 2016) and five alumni were selected to join the U.S. Department of Justice through its Attorney General's Honors Program. The program is the largest and most prestigious federal entry-level attorney hiring program of its kind, and the only way for newly minted lawyers to join the department in an attorney position. More

  • Professor Richard Bonnie and UVA law students

    At the request of state lawmakers, Professor Richard Bonnie and UVA law students are helping mental health experts propose far-reaching, comprehensive improvements to Virginia’s system of care. More

  • Dean Risa Goluboff

    Though the dean's suite is only a short walk from the office Risa Goluboff occupied as a professor, she crossed a milestone when she became the first female dean in the almost 200-year history of the Law School. More

  • Mortimer Caplin ’40

    The Law School celebrated the legacy of Mortimer Caplin ’40 on the eve of his 100th birthday July 11. A former faculty member, alumnus, and well-known face at many UVA Law events over the years, Caplin served as IRS commissioner under John F. Kennedy. More

  • Appellate Litigation Clinic

    When it comes to federal appeals, lawyers and their clients tend to lose much more often than they prevail. But that rule of thumb didn't apply this year to the Appellate Litigation Clinic, which celebrated an undefeated year in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. More

  • U.S. Supreme Court

    According to a study released this year, the UVA Law faculty ranks No. 3 in the number of professors among the top 100 faculty in the country cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, federal appeals courts and state high courts. Three professors — Brandon Garrett, Douglas Laycock and Caleb Nelson — rank among the top 25. More

  • Austin Raynor '13, Nicole Frazer '15 and Andrew Ferguson '12

    Among the 90 University of Virginia School of Law alumni who are clerking during the 2016 term, a record 37 are clerking for U.S. Courts of Appeals. The Law School also continued its prominence at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Austin Raynor '13, Nicole Frazer '15 and Andrew Ferguson '12 began clerkships in 2016. More

  • Professor A. Benjamin Spencer

    Professor A. Benjamin Spencer has joined the list of authors of Wright & Miller's "Federal Practice and Procedure," a massively cited, multi-volume reference book that is the preeminent reference for civil procedure topics for practitioners, courts and professors. More

  • Supreme Court Litigation Clinic alumni

    Ten years after the Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic began, the number of cases the clinic has taken on and successfully argued is the envy of any law firm in the nation. Of the 12 cases the clinic has brought to the court, Virginia has won eight and a split decision in a ninth case. More

  • Meeting

    A team that includes nine alumni is now helping plaintiffs challenge Virginia's policy of automatically suspending the driver's licenses of individuals who are willing, but unable, to pay their fines and court costs. The U.S. Justice Department and the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP have also signaled their support for the lawsuit. More

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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