In Many Roles at UVA Law, Student Put Teamwork First
Chloe Knox likes being part of a team. In her three years as a student at the University of Virginia School of Law, she worked with fellow Federalist Society members to put on a national conference, edited the Virginia Law Review alongside classmates and coordinated with state officials to fairly prosecute criminal cases.
For Knox, who is set to graduate Sunday as part of the Class of 2022, teamwork is central to being part of a community.
“Having to work alongside your peers toward a common goal is really beneficial for your personal development,” Knox said, and “community is a huge aspect of feeling like you are a complete person.”
In the Prosecution Clinic this school year, she worked on misdemeanor trials and felony preliminary hearings, including everything from reckless driving and DUI cases to assault and battery, obstruction of justice and domestic relations matters. With the amount of responsibility she was given, she may enter firm life with more trial experience than some partners.
“I was fortunate to be in Madison County, where they entrusted me quite quickly with my own docket,” she said. “It was wonderful to get to know the community and be trusted to represent the interests of the commonwealth.”
She learned to work collaboratively with the sheriff’s office, state troopers, victims, witnesses, victim/witness advocates, probation officers and defense attorneys. That experience helped her understand different roles as well as different perspectives.
“It often felt like we were a team working together,” she said. “I definitely learned to think critically about what just outcomes are — for the community, the defendant and his or her family, as well as for any victims in the case. There are so many interests to consider in criminal matters and so thinking about the outcomes from a variety of perspectives is crucial in the pursuit of justice.”
The ability to view justice from different perspectives will serve her well as she heads into her federal clerkships. She plans to clerk for U.S. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas during the 2022 court term and for Judge Andrew L. Brasher of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during the 2023 term. Following that, she will work as an associate for Jones Day in Atlanta, where her family lives.
Growing up, she learned to team up with others in a variety of situations. Her family moved frequently, and she has lived in every time zone. Throughout her life, her family fostered children, and she and her siblings helped her parents run a household of up to 10 people. Her family also adopted from the foster care system, and she describes her youngest sister, Ana, as “a true gift and my best friend.”
Following high school, she headed to Baylor University, where she was a University Scholar concentrating in political science and philosophy. After she graduated with highest honors a semester early, she worked in the White House as a domestic policy council intern, where she handled issues such as health care transparency and the optimization of federal foster care funding. She then went on to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, where she assisted the legal team handling conscience and religious liberty claims in the health care field.
At the White House, “I found myself surrounded by surreal experiences all the time — I couldn’t believe that I was in the room when big decisions were being made. And to work on issues that were near to my heart, such as foster care, was a blessing.”
After her first year of law school, she landed another political internship, this time as a law clerk for Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s office, working remotely during the first summer of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She worked on Blackburn’s Senate Judiciary Committee portfolio, which included preparing background materials for committee hearings, writing memos on whether to co-sponsor legislation, and reviewing federal court nominees — all from her family home basement, she said.
As president of the Federalist Society, a group of about 215 conservative and libertarian UVA Law students, Knox focused on a return to a sense of normalcy for the 2021-22 school year. She thought it was important to rebuild the community spirit and reestablish traditions that were largely forgotten by all except third-year students.
The group organized events like a formal fall reception with faculty, social hours with professors and administrators, and professional development panels on topics like journal tryouts and directed research. The chapter also continued to offer its own clerkship application and interview training in addition to the Law School’s clerkship counseling.
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Sarah E. Davies ’91 saw Knox’s work ethic in action.
“What impressed me most about Chloe is that she took on the leadership of such a big organization and carefully delegated tasks so that her organization could fulfill the goals she set,” Davies said. “She kept abreast of all of the issues and stepped in where necessary.”
Knox called her work with the Federalist Society “the most rewarding experience I’ve had in law school.”
“Providing our members with a variety of events and opportunities gave me purpose. Working together to run the country’s best chapter was a great and refreshing dynamic because it’s counter to the classroom experience,” she said. “Rather than competing and working more individually, you’re working alongside one another.”
When the group hosted the society’s National Student Symposium in March, Knox rallied a committee of 54 members to organize the event, which attracted 600 attendees and high-profile speakers from across the country, including Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
“We had all hands on deck, and I am immensely appreciative of their hard work all year,” she said. “I had friends from many other law schools attend, and I loved being able to show off Charlottesville, my school and our chapter.”
The event was a comeback of sorts from the isolation many community members experienced during the height of the pandemic. The same week that classes moved online in March 2020, Knox herself had a particularly isolating experience. After consulting with doctors about what she presumed was an old knee injury, she unexpectedly discovered that she needed to have surgery to remove a large tumor that could have been benign or malignant.
With surgery delayed until May because of the pandemic restrictions, her decreasing mobility made lockdown life even harder. But her Law School teammates stepped up, bringing her groceries, cooking her meals and even washing her laundry.
The knee tumor was benign, and it wasn’t long until Knox, a longtime basketball player, could return to the court. She recently played in a three-on-three small-section tournament, which had been canceled in 2020 and rescheduled for this spring.
“I met so many Law School friends playing pickup at the North Grounds Rec Center my 1L year,” she said. “To return and see old friends, and make new ones, was an amazing way to wrap up my time here.”
One of those old friends was Ian Jones ’22, to whom she became engaged last week.
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.