The Federalist Society at the University of Virginia School of Law was named winner of the James Madison Award for national student chapter of the year for the first time. 

Among the Feddie Awards announced Saturday, the student organization also won the Samuel Adams Award for membership growth. This is the first time a student chapter has been presented two awards by the national office in the same year. 

Federalist Society membership has grown to over 200, making UVA’s chapter the largest in the nation, said President Will Brantley ’20. 

I am deeply honored that the chapter won these awards while I was the chapter president, but it has, in many regards, been a long time coming,” he said. “This wouldn’t have been possible without all the hard work and dedication of the executive board.” 

Chapter leaders received the awards at Madison’s estate, Montpelier, in Orange County, Virginia. 

Programming in the past year included nearly 20 speaking events and a day-long symposium analyzing originalism. Brantley said the chapter also co-sponsored social events with other student organizations, such as a bowling night with the Latin American Law Organization, and Middle Eastern and North African Law Student Association, and an annual trivia night with Lambda Law Alliance and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. 

“I think what sets the UVA Federalist Society chapter apart from other chapters is the same thing that sets UVA apart from other law schools: a dedication to building a uniquely social and collegial community,” Brantley said. 

Heading into election season, Brantley said he hopes the chapter will provide a forum for debate and respectful disagreement. He also wants the chapter next year to host the annual National Student Symposium, the largest student gathering hosted by the Federalist Society.  

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order, according to a statement on the chapter website. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to the Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. 


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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