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From Dean Risa Goluboff

Dean Risa Goluboff

I spent a long time thinking about this message. By nature, UVA Lawyer celebrates the Law School, its people, activities and accomplishments. It is by design uplifting and proud. This issue is all of those things.

It is also something else, however, for this moment calls for a more somber accounting as well. Two months ago, white supremacists and neo-Nazis brought hatred to our city and our University. Even though most of us knew before August that the nation’s embrace of equality and tolerance remained incomplete, we nonetheless lost some innocence that day.

The events of Aug. 11-12 require a rejoinder, and the Law School and the University are providing one. I have spent much of the fall chairing the University-wide response effort. Here at the Law School, we have held public lectures and panels, town halls and intimate dialogues. Our topics have ranged widely, from civic engagement to civil rights, from free speech to the role of the lawyer in social change. Across these discussions and these topics, we are asking what we can and should do in the future, as a community and a law school, as scholars, teachers, lawyers and leaders.

When I wrote to the Law School community in the immediate aftermath of Aug. 11-12, I resolved that we would recommit our energies toward forging a more perfect union. We would be more dedicated than ever to our shared values of a law school that creates community and intellectual exchange out of a diversity of beliefs, life experiences and professional interests, and to our mission of educating and equipping the next generation of lawyers to promote justice, equality and the rule of law.

That recommitment is precisely what you will see in this issue. None of this is new for us. As so many of the stories here make clear, the Law School has long been a place that nurtures lawyers who step into the breach and do so with clarity and integrity. Fifty years ago, as you will learn, law students began the legal aid efforts that have culminated in the thriving, award-winning Legal Aid Justice Center, and alumnus John Lowe ’67 successfully brought undergraduate coeducation to UVA.

More recently, Robert Mueller ’73 garnered bipartisan praise for precisely the virtues we nurture when appointed special prosecutor this past summer. These virtues are just as apt in describing the many alumni you will read about in the pages that follow—alumni founding new organizations and championing justice, leading major nonprofits, government agencies, and private law firms and companies. Indeed, we are delighted to welcome such leadership back to UVA in the form of our new president, Jim Ryan ’92.

The people who educate these lawyers are themselves leading the way, as scholars, as lawyers, as servants of the profession and the public. You will meet the new additions to our faculty—who are changing the way we think about both the past and the present health of our democracy—and learn about the accomplishments—from publishing books to winning Supreme Court cases to leading initiatives of the National Academies—of those who have been the backbone of our intellectual community.

In other words, this issue of UVA Lawyer exemplifies our rejoinder. In response to a fundamental challenge to the core values of our profession, our University and our community, we have become, and pledge to continue to become, more of ourselves and more of our best selves.