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Law School Snapshot: The University of Richmond

2L, The University of Richmond

The University of Richmond is the only law school in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond has more courts than any city outside Boston, housing all levels of state and federal courts other than the U.S. Supreme Court. I think it is the best law school because of the sense of collegiality among students. At the end of October, 2013, my grandmother passed away. My section had 55 students; my 1L class has 132 students. Within 24 hours, I received 26 Facebook messages, 21 texts, and during the week I was gone, 6 sets of notes from the classes I missed, ALL WITHOUT ASKING. We genuinely enjoy each other and I do not know of anyone who is a negative presence. In fact, Richmond is a "hugging" school. We rarely shake hands; instead we hug, a LOT. It may seem weird at first, but the Admissions Office has a policy that you can come in and get a hug if you need one. You would be surprised how many students, including myself, have taken advantage of this on a particularly bad day.

Richmond Campus.jpgThe University of Richmond is the only school with the Spider as a mascot. Our Dean, Wendy C. Perdue, takes this seriously, and is rarely seen without her quite large Spider Brooch. Dean Perdue was also the best professor I had 1L year; she taught Civil Procedure. At first, it was daunting having the dean of the school as a professor. Dean Perdue, however, put us right at ease. She was self-deprecating, constantly using humor to further the discussion and keep us interested (not easy for a class that began at 8:05AM.) Examples of what made her excellent were her referencing professional wrestling, taking on the persona of "The Church Lady" from Saturday Night Live, openly requesting editing fixes for her textbook, and possibly most illustrative, laughing at her own mistakes. In one PowerPoint presentation, she fell victim to Autocorrect and "Long Arm Statutes" became "Long Arm Statues". Her response was to laugh, say "Well that's what you get for doing your PowerPoints at 11PM on an iPad", and then the first slides of the next class were pictures of statues with long arms. FINALLY, she proved she was as human as the rest of us! She called on a student who said "I am going to cheat and look at the book." Dean Perdue immediately responded with "There's no such thing as cheating." Once she realized what she said, she immediately backpedaled, but she gleefully allowed us to not let her forget that statement and brought it up repeatedly.

Richmond Library.jpgAnother interesting fact about the University of Richmond School of Law is that we are NOT required to take our finals in a classroom. We can take them anywhere within the Law Building, except for certain study rooms. Each student is provided with an individualized carrel to study and take finals in. This is your own personal desk and storage area for 3 years, or you can switch locations if you wish.

If a student was considering attending our law school I would tell them if you are a "gunner", super competitive, and confrontational, Richmond is NOT the school for you. The sense of collegiality was very unexpected, and very, very welcome to me. It is the "gunners" who end up being the ones who do not do well here.

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