The Year in Photos, 2017-18

Explore the milestones and achievements of the 2017-18 school year at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Law School

For a record 12 years in a row, more than 50 percent of alumni participated in the Law School’s annual giving campaign.

Stand against hate

The UVA Law community stood against hate in the aftermath of the Aug. 11-12 unrest in Charlottesville, and Dean Risa Goluboff was selected to chair the working group on the University’s response.

Zane Memeger

Zane Memeger ’91, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and current partner at Morgan Lewis, welcomed the Class of 2020 during orientation. In a Q&A, Memeger talked about his career and classmates who became high-profile prosecutors.

Community fellowship

The Student Affairs Office launched a new community-building program for first-year students that emphasizes working together across differences. The orientation also included a variety of team-building activities.

Class of 2020

Members of the Class of 2020 started their legal careers and looked forward to building a tight-knit community as they headed into the classroom. “We chose each and every one of you to be here for your whole selves, who you are, and all the different ways that you exist in the world,” Dean Risa Goluboff told them.

Jim Ryan

James E. Ryan ’92, a former UVA Law professor and dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, was named the next president of UVA. His term begins Aug. 1.


In national law school rankings, UVA Law was ranked No. 1 in best professors and best quality of life, No. 2 in best classroom experience and No. 6 for best career prospects by The Princeton Review; No. 2 overall by Above the Law; No. 4 in Supreme Court clerkships; and No. 4 in jobs at top law firms.

Supreme Court

UVA Law tied for second in the number of lawyers from an organization arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court this term, excluding the U.S. Office of the Solicitor General, and was first among law schools.

Supreme Court Litigation Clinic

The Supreme Court Litigation Clinic argued Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis and City of Hays v. Vogt before the justices and cert was granted in a third, Culbertson v. Berryhill.

New Faculty

Some familiar faces returned to UVA Law. Program in Law and Public Service Director Crystal Shin ’10, legal historian Farah Peterson and health law expert Dayna Bowen Matthew ’87 joined the faculty. Amy Wharton succeeded Taylor Fitchett as director of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. Melody Barnes, a former White House Domestic Policy Council director, joined as a distinguished fellow. Elizabeth L. Kade ’11 returned as director of career services, and Ashley Claffee Merritt ’15 as director of admissions.

Merrill and Hylton

The UVA Law community mourned the deaths of two faculty members: former Dean Richard Merrill and professor J. Gordon Hylton ’77.

Duester and Cheema

UVA Law launched the new Virginia Public Service Scholarship for students who aspire to serve others by pursuing careers in public service. The scholarship provides full tuition to two or more first-year law students. Suzanne Deuster ’20 and Manal Cheema ’20 were the first recipients.

Legal Aid Justice Center

The Legal Aid Justice Center marked 50 years of service in Charlottesville, and its partnership with UVA Law has only grown since then. In September, LAJC gave the Law School its inaugural Champion of Justice Award.

Innocence Project

The Innocence Project at UVA Law notched two notable victories for clients: Messiah Johnson was released from prison and Gary L. Bush was officially exonerated.

Student Legal Forum

From Harry S. Truman and Oliver Stone to Justice Lewis Powell and “Miss Manners,” the Student Legal Forum celebrated 70 years of hosting influential public speakers.

Students in the group Outdoors at VA Law hiked to Spy Rock in Montebello, Virginia, in the fall. More on the group's adventures.

Cory Sagduyu

Cory Sagduyu ’18 received a Skadden Fellowship to work on behalf of immigrant victims of workplace crimes or labor exploitation. Additionally, Maya Iyyani ’18 was selected the 17th Powell Fellow in Legal Services, and Joanna Kelly ’18 was named a Dorot Fellow with the Alliance for Justice.

Toby Heytens

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring named Professor Toby Heytens ’00 solicitor general.

Aditya Bamzai

Professor Aditya Bamzai made his debut at the U.S. Supreme Court after a rare decision by the justices to allocate argument time to an independent amicus curiae.

Don McEachin

The Black Law Students Association named U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin ’86 recipient of the inaugural BLSA Alumni Spotlight Award.

Laura Cooley ’18 and Tanner Russo ’18

Tanner Russo ’18 and Laura Cooley ’18 argued an Appellate Litigation Clinic appeal before an en banc panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. They previously argued before a panel of three Third Circuit judges in the case.

Jonathan Babcock ’18 and Keyawna Griffith ’18

Among students and faculty making a difference in the public interest were Jonathan Babcock ’18 and Keyawna Griffith ’18 (above), who successfully convinced a judge to release on bond a client facing deportation. The UVA Law Library and students collaborated with Professor Brandon Garrett on a new website that uses a data-driven, interactive map to illustrate the rapid decline of the death penalty. The Virginia Criminal Justice Policy Reform Project’s first-of-its-kind survey of state judges found wide discrepancies in alternative sentencing for low-risk offenders. Professor Richard Bonnie ’69 released a preliminary report urging Virginia’s state legislators to prioritize community mental health services.


Dean Risa Goluboff’s new book, “Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change and the Making of the 1960s,” won this year’s Littleton-Griswold Prize, Lillian Smith Book Award, David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History and John Phillip Reid Book Award. Professor Brandon Garrett published “End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice. Professor Cynthia Nicoletti published “Secession on Trial: The Treason Prosecution of Jefferson Davis.”

Kerry Abrams

Professor Kerry Abrams, UVA’s vice provost for faculty affairs, was named the next dean of Duke Law School.


UVA and the Law School honored the legacy of Gregory Swanson with a ceremony that recognized his significance as the University’s first black student and revealed Swanson’s official Law School portrait. Also at the event, Jah Akande ’19 and Toccara Nelson ’19 won the inaugural Gregory H. Swanson Award. The honor recognizes students with traits that Swanson embodied, including a commitment to justice within the community.


Adam Sorensen ’17 was named one of four Bristow Fellows in the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice. As a Bristow Fellow, Sorensen will help attorneys draft briefs in Supreme Court cases and prepare for oral arguments there.

Jennifer Davidson ’18 and Jay Swanson ’18

Other recent graduates notched notable achievements: Jay Swanson ’18 and Jennifer Davidson ’18 won the 89th William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition; Florian Knerr LL.M. ’14 will take part in the International Court of Justice University Traineeship Program as a UVA Law World Court Fellow; Ashley Finger ’18 served as rapporteur to the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria; and Mauricio Guim S.J.D. ’18 will join the faculty at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.

Service Trips

Students took their public service work overseas, with a Human Rights Study Project return trip to Myanmar and a Black Law Students Association service trip to South Africa.

Shaping Justice Awards

Three alumni were honored at this year’s Shaping Justice Conference, including Jeffrey Kerr ’87, general counsel of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation; Jeree Thomas ’11 of Campaign for Youth; and Kim Rolla ’13 of the Legal Aid Justice Center. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, delivered the keynote address.

Faculty Honors

Among faculty honors, four professors — Dean Risa Goluboff, Vice Dean Leslie Kendrick ’06, and professors Julia Mahoney and Saikrishna Prakash — were elected to the American Law Institute. Professor Paul G. Mahoney was appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee. The International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation, based in Amsterdam, named Ruth Mason its 2018 professor in residence. A. Benjamin Spencer was named chair of the British Marshall Scholarship Selection Committee for the D.C. region. Goluboff was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


During a speech at UVA Law, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer encouraged students to keep abreast of how law is addressed outside of the United States.


Two student organizations were named chapters of the year: the Black Law Students Association (above) and the American Constitution Society.

Harris legal team

A legal team of UVA Law students and Rhonda Quagliana ’95 successfully defended DeAndre Harris, who was beaten during the “Unite the Right” rally and charged with assault.

Spring Break

The Public Interest Law Association sent 46 students to 11 locations in five states and the District of Columbia as part of its Alternative Spring Break.

Student leaders

New student leaders were selected, including Frances Fuqua ’19 as president of the Student Bar Association, and Campbell Haynes ’19, as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review (pictured with the new board, second from left).

John C. Jeffries Jr.

Former Dean John C. Jeffries Jr. ’73 received UVA’s Thomas Jefferson Award for excellence in scholarship, and was named by UVA President-elect James E. Ryan ’92 as senior vice president for advancement.

Frank H. Easterbrook

Judge Frank H. Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was this year’s recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law.

Libel Show

Outside the classroom, the Libel Show in its 110th year lampooned life at UVA Law with “Libel’s Angels,” above, and the annual North Grounds Softball League Invitational raised $22,500 for charity. Photo by Eric Hall

International and European Tax Moot Court

UVA Law students won the International and European Tax Moot Court in Belgium, becoming the first U.S team to earn that honor in the competition’s almost 15-year history.

PILA grants

UVA Law’s grant program supporting summer public interest work during the summer gave out more money to more students than ever before this year.

Kent Sinclair

Known for helping to reform state court procedure, Professor Kent Sinclair announced his retirement after 35 years.


UVA Law hosted several symposia and conferences, tackling issues ranging from immigration and the environment to forensic evidence and Loving v. Virginia

UVA Lawyer

In its spring issue, UVA Lawyer looked at how black graduates made history at UVA Law and in the legal field.


UVA Law Alumni Weekend drew a record attendance and featured a panel of all five living UVA Law deans. Check out more photos here.


Martha Karsh ’81 and Bruce Karsh ’80, philanthropists who met at UVA as law students, announced at a celebratory dinner in May that they will donate $43.9 million to the Law School. The gift is the largest in the school’s history and makes the Karshes the institution’s first $50 million donors.

Cynthia Hogan

Cynthia Hogan ’84, Apple Inc.’s vice president for public policy for the Americas, offered lessons learned from former Vice President Joe Biden to the UVA Law Class of 2018 at graduation.