Library Podcast To Explore UVA Law’s History
“Legal Knowledge,” a new podcast produced by the Arthur J. Morris Law Library’s Special Collections department, will explore the history of legal education at the University of Virginia. The show debuts March 29.
Meggan Cashwell, the library’s Horatio and Florence Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Legal History, is the host. Cashwell produces the podcast in collaboration with Library Coordinator Addie Patrick and UVA English M.A. student Rebecca Barry, who joined the team as an Institute for Public History intern in summer 2022. Along with Randi Flaherty, head of special collections, and Loren Moulds, head of digital scholarship and preservation, Cashwell is co-editor of a forthcoming contributor volume on the history of legal education at UVA that inspired the podcast.
Cashwell, who is an avid podcast listener herself, said “Legal Knowledge” is a way for the library to educate a larger audience about the central themes of the book and the Law School’s history.
“I think this is a timely moment for an institutional history podcast, as UVA continues to grapple with its legacy,” she said. “In our case, curricular history has provided a lens to explore changes in and outside the classroom over time. The podcast is as much about legal teachings as it is the national landscape of the law and major social and cultural developments in the U.S.”
Season one will cover the Law School’s first 100 years over six episodes, with topics ranging from the Law School’s founding and how slavery was taught as a legal concept, to the Civil War and coeducation. Guests include Professor Anne Coughlin and UVA history professor Elizabeth R. Varon. Some episodes have accompanying field recordings, with two at Pavilion X on the Lawn, a former residence of UVA Law faculty.
The first episode, “The Jeffersonian Vision for Legal Education,” will feature David Konig, an emeritus professor of law and history at Washington University in St. Louis who is a leading authority on Thomas Jefferson and the development of law in early America.
Cashwell said the framework allows her and her guests to tell a more holistic and transparent history by explaining the context of legal education at the time.
“In each episode, we focus on individual stories and not just those of faculty and students,” Cashwell said. “You will hear about the enslaved individuals who built the University, the wives and daughters of UVA Law professors, and myriad other people who shaped the Law School’s history.”
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.