Get to Know Katharine Janes ’21, SBA’s New President

Leader Working to Keep Students, Community Connected
Katharine Janes

“I am responsible for attentively listening to and passionately advocating for the needs of students, a role I feel lucky to fill and approach with zeal,” Katharine Janes said. Photo by Julia Davis

March 26, 2020

University of Virginia School of Law student Katharine Janes ’21 began her yearlong term as president of the Student Bar Association on March 17.

Janes succeeds third-year law student Jasmine Lee.

Hometown: Mount Pleasant, Michigan   

Prior education: University of Notre Dame, bachelor’s in political science.  

Other organizations and positions held: I am the online development editor of the Virginia Law Review, co-director of the Speak Up Project, a fellow in the Program in Law and Public Service, a member of the Community Fellows Program, a Peer Advisor, co-vocal director for Libel, and I sing lead vocals for The Gunners. On SBA, I was a member of the First Year Council and served as executive secretary.

Future career plans: After graduation, I plan to obtain a doctorate in social policy and ultimately work in juvenile justice.

Favorite law school class: My experiences in the classroom have been incredible across the board, so it’s hard to narrow to just one! I loved Contracts with Professor Thomas Nachbar, Writing Legal History with Professor Cynthia Nicoletti, Evidence with Professor Charles Barzun ’05 and Plea Bargaining (a January term course) with Professor Josh Bowers

What am I looking forward to as SBA president: In my first days on the job, I have found that the best part about being SBA president is how students come to me with anything — comments or questions, praises or criticisms. During this uncertain time of remote learning, more than ever, I am responsible for attentively listening to and passionately advocating for the needs of students, a role I feel lucky to fill and approach with zeal. I want to help everyone in our community feel they are supported and occupy a meaningful place here at UVA Law.

Top goals as SBA president: Given recent events, my No. 1 priority is making sure students have all they need as we transition away from in-person learning, whether that be academically, financially, physically or emotionally. More long-term, I hope to reduce cost barriers for student participation in SBA events, facilitate robust conversations with the administration about diversity and inclusion efforts, advocate for the enhancement of institutional resources for postgraduate public service work, and implement more effective mechanisms for SBA to gather, aggregate and act on student opinion.

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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