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Fall 2005UVA Lawyer - Home
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Dean Jeffries

The Written Word

John C. Jeffries, Jr. ’73

As you've noticed, each issue of UVA Lawyer is now organized around a single theme. This issue is devoted to writing. As Taylor Reveley '68, now in his eighth year as dean at William and Mary, says in the Opinion column that closes this issue, "If you want to be a lawyer, learn to write."

The centrality of good writing to good lawyering is reflected in the Legal Research and Writing Program, which is a required course for every first-year student, and in a variety of initiatives that seek to draw on other disciplines. Among them are the Program in Law and Humanities, which emphasizes the narrative skills common to both law and literature, and other courses in which law students examine non-legal texts.

Finally, the issue also celebrates a selection of our graduates who have mastered the non-legal word. We profile Louis Auchincloss '41 and Will Shortz '77, and reprint "Lawyers Who Write Suspense," a discussion involving David Baldacci '86 and Linda Fairstein '72 at the Virginia Festival of the Book.

In short, the pages that follow offer varied opportunities to read about writing, and we hope you enjoy them.

Rehnquist and Katrina

We also cover two other matters that were current when the issue went to press. The first is the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist on September 3. We borrow from the Virginia Law Weekly an interview with Jim Ryan about his time as the Chief's clerk. Jim's recollections are so apt that Janet Rehnquist, Class of 1985, thought this "one of the best descriptive articles about my father I have ever read. It captures his character, values, and humor beautifully."

Finally, we also wanted to bring you up to date on the Law School's response to Hurricane Katrina. With both Tulane and Loyola of New Orleans out of commission, we accepted twelve visiting students, tuition-free, for the fall semester. Nothing could make you prouder of Virginia students than the welcome they gave our guests. They were offered places to stay, clothes, books, computers, class notes, and everything else our students could think of. The generosity and compassion of our students speak volumes about the kind of community they have here and the quality of leadership they will offer the next generation.

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