The Year in Photos, 2020-21
Explore the 2020-21 school year at the University of Virginia School of Law.
The Class of 2023 set new records for gender and racial diversity. Women made up a majority of the first-year class for the first time in the school’s history, and the students were the most racially diverse in a decade. (Pictured: Class of 2023 members Christian Diaz-Ritz, Probese Leo, Lauren Murtagh, Samira Nematollahi and Brooke Schafer)
Libby (Stropko) Baird ’19 will clerk for Justice Amy Coney Barrett at the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2021 term and Avery Rasmussen ’21 will clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the 2023 term. A record 109 alumni clerked in courts nationwide during the 2020 term, including 20% of the Class of 2020.
Alumni generosity continued to support the academic experience at UVA. The University plans to invest $100 million in the study, teaching and promotion of democracy, made possible with a $50 million gift from Martha ’81 and Bruce Karsh ’80 to establish the Karsh Institute of Democracy. Despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus, 47% of alumni gave to the Law School during the 2019-20 annual giving campaign, which concluded June 30.
As the Black Law Students Association celebrated 50 years at UVA Law, two of the founding members — Bobby Vassar ’72 and Margaret Poles Spencer ’72 — described how it all began and the group’s immediate impact. Virginia Law Women also marked 50 years as Mary Jane McFadden ’74 looked back at how the organization began.
Initiatives at UVA Law sought to bridge divides. The Karsh Center for Law and Democracy and the Virginia Bar Association launched a campaign to see what lawyers can do to improve civic engagement and social trust. The student organization Common Law Grounds (pictured on Zoom above), founded after the 2016 election, continued to offer a venue for respectful discussion of issues that divide Americans.
Jehanne McCullough ’21, using American Sign Language, and Nina Oat ’21 successfully argued on behalf of a client before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for the Appellate Litigation Clinic.
A January snowfall offered students a reason to get outside and build a snowman.
Faculty scholarship and teaching were awarded or otherwise recognized. (Clockwise) Papers by Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis and Cathy Hwang were named among the top 10 corporate and securities articles of 2020 in an annual poll; Frederick Schauer was named a corresponding fellow of the British Academy; Ashley Deeks received the American Law Institute’s Early Career Scholars Medal; incoming professor Jay Butler won the American Journal of International Law’s Francis Deák Prize; and Molly Bishop Shadel taught another class in The Great Courses series. (continued)
(Clockwise) Deborah Hellman won the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Jurisprudence Article Award; Cynthia Nicoletti won the Supreme Court Historical Society’s Hughes-Gossett Award for Best Journal Article; Michael Livermore was named a fellow at the Intercontinental Academia; incoming professor Craig Konnoth was named a 2024 Greenwall Faculty Scholar; and incoming professor Bertrall Ross was named a Berlin Prize Fellow. Kimberly Jenkins Robinson was elected a member of the American Law Institute, bringing the number of UVA Law faculty affiliated with ALI to 25.
Eleven new academic centers launched at the Law School to serve as hubs for intellectual exchange and faculty research, focusing on law and philosophy, public law and political economy, family law, national security law, the environment and communities, tax law, international and comparative law, criminal justice and the First Amendment.
Students received a number of fellowships to work in public service. Nooreen Reza ’21 was named the 20th Powell Fellow in Legal Services and winner of Virginia State Bar’s Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award. Carly Wasserman ’21 will help schoolchildren facing court fines and fees as UVA Law’s latest Equal Justice Works Fellow.
Recent graduates added more accolades to their résumés. David Goldman ’19 will serve as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice. Mariette Peltier earned the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence by graduating with the highest GPA in the Class of 2020. Nine graduates and alumni will join the Department of Justice as attorneys in the fall through the Attorney General’s Honors Program.
Faculty lent their expertise through public service. Ashley Deeks was named associate counsel and deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council in the Office of the White House Counsel. Paul Stephan ’77 served as special counsel to the general counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense. President Joe Biden named Caleb Nelson and incoming professor Bertrall Ross to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. (continued)
Cale Jaffe ’01 was appointed to the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission. Danielle Citron advised lawmakers on Section 230 reform, and Saikrishna Prakash testified before Congress on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Megan S. Stevenson testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
New clinics gave students hands-on experience. The Federal Criminal Sentence Reduction Clinic helped free clients on compassionate release. (Gerald Smith, center, greeted family members after being freed.) Students in the State and Local Government Policy Clinic helped all of their state lawmaker clients, on a bipartisan basis, see their bills through to approval this term.
Annual student fundraisers continued despite the pandemic. In May, students with the North Grounds Softball League raised $15,000 for the Charlottesville nonprofit ReadyKids. The Public Interest Law Association moved its annual auction online in November and raised $20,000 for public service internships.
The Environmental Law and Community Engagement Clinic celebrated a milestone in their client’s fight to preserve a historic African American schoolhouse in June. The school was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Places for 2021.
Justice Cleo E. Powell of the Supreme Court of Virginia delivered her commencement address online to the Law School Class of 2021. Graduates participated in an in-person ceremony at Scott Stadium with UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce and Darden School of Business.
Robert S. Mueller III ’73 and three former senior members of his team — including Aaron Zebley ’96 — are participating in a class at UVA Law in the fall that will take students inside the special counsel investigation that dominated headlines during the Trump administration.
With the help of a historically high $750,000 in Public Interest Law Association grants, 162 students will work in public service roles this summer. (Pictured: PILA grant recipients Montell Brown ’23, Madeleine Hart ’23, Sujaya Rajguru ’22 and Tim Shriver ’22)
- Academic Calendar
- Current Courses
- Programs and Centers
- J.D. Application
- Inside the Classroom