Supporting Students: Sense of Community

Student Activities Fair

Organizations set up in Spies Garden to attract new members during the annual Student Activities Fair sponsored by the Student Bar Association.

December 8, 2021

The sense of a community with purpose is everywhere at UVA Law. The classrooms, library meeting rooms, and hallway benches overflow with conversations that will be backed up by actions.

More and more that action takes the form of clinical training. Students perform lawyer functions while taking part in one of the school’s 23 clinics, including client and witness interviews, factual development, legal research, preparation of pleadings, and negotiation. Last year the Law School dedicated $2.2 million to funding clinical training.

In one very visible clinic, the Virginia Innocence Project, casework will span years to free wrongly imprisoned Virginians. Students investigate wrongful convictions, review case files, collect records, and search court files—much of the time with the help of private investigators. Each hour of private investigator time costs the clinic $90. It takes hundreds of hours to turn a client’s life around. This year, three Innocence Project clients were granted absolute pardons by the governor.

Another opportunity for engagement and action are the school’s 10 student-edited journals. The Virginia Law Review has been published for more than 100 years and the Virginia Journal of International Law is the oldest continuously published law review in the U.S. devoted exclusively to public and private international law. Every year, dozens of alumni allocate all or part of their annual gifts to support a journal.

The school currently underwrites more than 60 student organizations and affinity groups. Some groups advocate for others, such as mentoring undergraduates; some work to build current friendships and future career networks; and others play softball or take part in the Libel Show.

From organizations like the Black Law Students Association, Law Weekly, and Moot Court, to newer ones, including First-Generation Professionals and the Virginia Law Prison Project, alumni gifts have always supported their missions. Gifts cover expenses for receptions, lunch with faculty members, travel to and from national conferences, distinguished visitors, and more. In 2020-2021, more than 540 gifts were directed to more than 40 student organizations.

Each occasion for action outside of the classroom enhances the UVA Law student experience, and alumni gifts are there at every turn to offer support.

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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