University of Virginia School of Law

The University of Virginia School of Law (Virginia Law or UVA Law) was founded in Charlottesville in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as one of the original subjects taught at his "academical village," the University of Virginia. Virginia Law is the fourth-oldest active law school in the United States and the second-oldest continuously operating law school. The law school offers the J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees in law and hosts visiting scholars, visiting researchers and a number of legal research centers.

Virginia Law is perennially regarded as one of the 10 most prestigious law schools in the United States. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Virginia Law as tied for eighth in the nation with Michigan, in 2018, and in 2011, ranked Virginia Law as sixth among major law firm recruiters. In the 2010 Super Lawyers Law School Rankings, Virginia Law ranks fourth in the nation. In the 2015 Above the Law rankings, Virginia Law ranked sixth in the nation. A 2013 Above the Law report also notes that Virginia is second in the number of graduates leading the nation's top 100 firms.

A study published in the Journal of Legal Education ranked Virginia Law fourth in the number of partners in the National Law Journal's top 100 firms. Virginia Law also places high in clerkships, recently ranking behind only Harvard Law School and Yale Law School.

The Princeton Review ranked Virginia Law as first in "Best Quality of Life" among the nation's law schools, along with second in "Best Professors," third in "Best Classroom Experience," fifth in "Career Prospects," and seventh in "Toughest to Get Into."

The 2016 QS World University Rankings for law school, places Virginia Law in the range of 51–100 worldwide and the 13th-best law school in U.S.

The Law School has 19,984 alumni in all 50 states, more than 60 foreign countries and several U.S. protectorates, and the Law School's alumni giving rate of more than 50 percent for the past 11 years is among the highest of the nation's law schools. Virginia Law recently completed an eight-year capital campaign, raising $173.9 million to enhance the student experience.

The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School operated by the United States Army is located next to UVA.

University of Virginia Law Logo


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The University of Virginia School of Law.
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Clay Hall and Caplin Pavilion

Virginia Law is among the most selective law schools in the nation. For the class entering in the fall of 2016, 297 out of 4,811 J.D. applicants matriculated. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2016 entering class were 164 and 170, respectively, with a median of 169. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.48 and 3.94, respectively, with a median of 3.86.

The Class of 2019 come from 39 states, the District of Columbia, and 138 undergraduate institutions. The age range was 20 to 37. 55% of the class was male, 45% female, and 24% identified themselves as people of color (including non-citizens). 59% of the class had work experience after college.

Cost of attendance

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) for first-year law students at Virginia Law for the 2016-2017 academic year is $78,002 for Virginia residents and $81,002 for nonresidents. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years, based on data from the 2015-2016 academic year, is $287,175 for residents; the estimated cost for non-residents is $293,211.


In 1995-1997, the Law School used entirely donated funds to renovate and expand its buildings on the University's North Grounds to include the former facilities of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration which built a new campus several hundred yards away.

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library holds more than 820,000 volumes, including substantial collections of federal, state, and international documents, manuscripts, archives, and online research databases.

Student organizations

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UVA Law Library

The Law School maintains an extensive roster of student organizations, including chapters of the Federalist Society, the American Constitution Society and the St. Thomas More Society.

The Virginia Law Weekly, the Law School's student-run weekly newspaper, has been published since 1948. The paper has been cited in several court cases including the U.S. Supreme Court case Patterson v. New York. In addition to its news content, the VLW also contains student-submitted content which often includes humorous and creative pieces. The Law Weekly has won the American Bar Association's previous three "Best Newspaper Awards," in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Each spring over a hundred students write, direct and perform in The Libel Show, a comedy and musical theatre production that was first organized in 1904. Its performers roast Law School professors, student stereotypes and life in Charlottesville throughout each of its three nightly showings. Professors write and sing their response to the students' jokes at the penultimate performance.

The school hosts an annual softball tournament to raise money for ReadyKids, an organization that provides care and counseling for at-risk families in Central Virginia, and the Public Interest Law Association, which provides public service internships for law students. 51 different law schools send teams to compete in men's and co-rec brackets. In 2017, $25,000 were raised.

Law journals

The Law School is host to 10 academic journals, including the Virginia Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the country:


The Law School's curricular programs include the programs in Law & Business and Law and Public Service, as well as programs in international law, legal and constitutional history, criminal law, human rights, race and law, environmental and land use law, immigration law, intellectual property, public policy and regulation, health law, law and humanities, and animal law.

The Law School also has programs that help students build skills, such as the legal writing program, courses in professional ethics, trial advocacy and public speaking, and other practical-skills courses.


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Supreme Court Clinic

Among the more than 250 courses and seminars offered each year by the Law School, Virginia has 18 clinics:

  • Appellate Litigation
  • Child Advocacy
  • Criminal Defense
  • Employment Law
  • Entrepreneurial Law
  • Environmental and Regulatory Law
  • Family Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • First Amendment Law
  • Health Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Innocence Project
  • International Human Rights
  • Litigation and Housing Law
  • Nonprofit Clinic
  • Patent and Licensing I
  • Patent and Licensing II
  • Prosecution
  • Supreme Court Litigation

Study abroad

Students may participate in eight international exchange programs:

  • Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany
  • Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain
  • Melbourne Law School in Australia
  • Seoul National University in South Korea
  • University of Auckland in New Zealand
  • University of Sydney in Australia
  • Tel Aviv University Law School in Israel
  • Waseda University in Tokyo

In addition, the Law School offers rising third-year students the opportunity to obtain a dual degree from Sciences Po in Paris. Students who successfully complete this program earn a French law diploma (entitling them to sit for the French bar exam) and a J.D. degree from Virginia.

Students also may spend one semester abroad through the student-initiated study abroad program or as an external studies project. Each year one-credit courses are offered in Paris and Tel Aviv through the January Term.

Institutes and centers

The Law School includes several internationally known special programs directed by faculty members who are respected in their fields and often called upon by private and governmental organizations worldwide for their expertise.

  • Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy
  • John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics
  • Center for National Security Law
  • Center for Oceans Law and Policy
  • Center for Children, Families, and the Law
  • Center for the Study of Race and Law

Post-graduate employment

According to Virginia Law's official 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 84.8% of the Class of 2014 obtained non-school funded full-time, long-term, JD-required employment ten months after graduation.

Law firms

Virginia Law is fourth in the number of partners in the National Law Journal's top 100 firms, and a survey by the NLJ found that the law school ranked third in the number of associates promoted to partner among the NLJ's top 250 firms in 2015. Additionally, Virginia Law is second only to Harvard in the number of alumni serving as chief legal counsel at Fortune 500 companies. Alumni from Virginia Law are also employed at 100 of the American Lawyer top 100 law firms (as of May 2016). In a 2010 study by Stanford Graduate School of Business professors, Virginia ranked fifth in the number of lawyers at the top 300 U.S. law firms.


From 2005 to 2016, Virginia Law had the fourth-highest placement of law clerks on the United States Supreme Court, surpassed only by Yale, Harvard and Stanford. In 2016 UVA Law alumni set a school record for obtaining the most appellate court clerkships in a term.

Notable alumni

Virginia Law maintains a list of prominent alumni.






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