Netflix General Counsel David Hyman ’93 talked about his unexpected path to becoming the top lawyer for a media giant during his orientation address at the University of Virginia School of Law on Monday.

In offering advice to the Class of 2021, Hyman told them to value diversity, and said the school’s emphasis on collegiality served him well as he navigated changes in his own career.

“Don’t be concerned if you haven’t a clue as to what type of law you want to practice or if you want to practice law at all. I didn’t,” he said. “And also, it’s OK if you really know what you want to be focused on, but just be prepared for change.”

Hyman started as the sole lawyer for Netflix in 2002, when the company delivered mail-order DVDs. Now the Fortune 500 company not only streams but produces TV and film content.

“It is this original production of content that is our biggest driver of legal growth. It takes a lot of legal folks to create content,” he said in an interview last week.

Hyman, who also received his undergraduate degree at UVA, said the school’s devotion to higher ideals made a strong impression on him, then and now.

“I hope that your experience at the University of Virginia empowers you to achieve some of your aspirations,” he said Monday. “It certainly has for me.”

Dean Risa Goluboff, Assistant Dean and Chief Admissions Officer Cordel Faulk ’01, Student Bar Association President Frances Fuqua ’19 and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Sarah Davies ’91 also spoke at the welcome session.

The day concluded with a picnic for new students in Spies Garden.

On Friday, professors Rachel Harmon, Alex M. Johnson Jr., Aditya Bamzai, Barbara Armacost ’89 and Joe Fore ’11 gave students an overview of what to expect from the first-year curriculum.

Orientation continues Tuesday, and first-years begin classes Wednesday.

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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