University of Richmond School of Law

28 Westhampton Way, University of Richmond, VA 23173 | Google Map

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Founded 1870 | ABA Accredited 1929

Established in 1870, the University of Richmond School of Law is well-known for its small, welcoming environment and rigorous academic programs. Richmond maintains an enviably low 11.38 to 1 faculty to student ratio and an intimate class size of approximately 150 students. Students, faculty and staff promote a close-knit community in which a competitive but collegial spirit reigns. Diversity is important at Richmond: Its students typically hail from more than 30 states and foreign countries and 175 undergraduate institutions. Minorities represent approximately 16% of the class.

Richmond has several notable specializations. For more than twenty years, the law school's Robert R. Merhige Center for Environmental Studies has engaged in research, instruction, and public outreach on energy and environmental issues. In 2004, the school founded the Intellectual Property Institute, with four full-time professors, a clinic, a certificate of concentration in intellectual property, and a variety of engaging programs that focus on important intellectual property and cyberlaw issues. Richmond Law's most recent specialization is The National Center for Family Law, which offers a wide variety of courses, a certificate in Family Law, a pro bono initiative, and numerous annual events.

The University's 350-acre suburban campus is located six miles west of the center of Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Adding to the beauty of the campus are a lake, rolling hills, tall pines and Collegiate Gothic buildings. The close proximity to the heart of Richmond provides unsurpassed opportunities for observation and participation in the legal processes of various legislative, judicial and administrative departments within the local, state and federal governments.

NOTABLE ALUMNI

William K. Slate, President and CEO of the American Arbitration Association Lawrence L. Koontz, Jr, Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia Walter S. Felton, Jr., Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia A. Willis Robertson, Former U.S. Senator Rick Klau, Business Product Manager at Google

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Rankings

POLL OF POLLS#70

SELECTIVITY RANK#60

About Rankings Data

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Michelle Rahman

BETTER KNOW A DEAN

"The strangest personal statements I’ve read are the ones written in the third-person voice from the perspective of the writer’s obituary..." - Michelle Rahman - Associate Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid, Richmond Law

January 10, 2010 \ This is the 12th installment of our 224 part series, Better Know A Dean. Today we posted our interview with Michelle Rahman, Associate Dean for Admissions at the University of Richmond School of Law -- The Fightin' Richmond Laws!

Dean Michelle Rahman has been director of Admissions at the University of Richmond School of Law since 1990, and has been associated with the Office of Admissions since 1985. In her position, Dean Rahman manages the full admissions process, from recruiting prospective students and evaluating applications to facilitating decision-making with the Admissions Committee. She also administers financial aid and scholarships for the law school in addition to arranging on-campus housing for law students. From September to November of each year, Dean Rahman travels the entire country, personally meets thousands of prospective students on the road, as well as hundreds more in her office.

AD Since our interviews are done in the spirit of Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know A District” series, I’m compelled to ask: In your opinion is AdmissionsDean a great place to research law schools, or is it the greatest place to research law schools?
MR I believe this remains to be seen. Feel free to ask me again when you become as popular as Stephen Colbert.
AD Fair enough. We're gaining quite a following so I’ll circle back to you in a few months.
MR [Laughing] Please do!
AD Your website states that Richmond’s mission is “to instill in students the values that will help them lead good and meaningful lives and to inspire students to live lives guided by the highest traditions and aspirations of our profession.” As you know, the profession already has enough unhappy lawyers – so I support your mission! What steps does Richmond Law take to achieve this mission and make sure it is doing more than just churning out students who are able to pass the bar?
MR That’s a great question. I believe it starts with picking the right law school – finding a place where you feel like the culture and environment suit you, the faculty and staff support you, and you are in a position to shine. It’s all about outcomes, isn’t it? Reality should match expectations. At Richmond, we know the value of being part of a close-knit community; it’s why we keep our first-year class size around 150 and our student/faculty ratio low at 10:1. Classrooms are interspersed with professors’ offices, and the professors’ doors are always open. The dean is always accessible to the students. Career services, admissions, library staff, clinicians – we’re here for the students, not the other way around. Richmond Law has a history of producing lawyers who love what they’re doing; and it starts in the classroom, in the belief that the student has chosen Richmond in part for its wonderfully supportive, collegial environment, as well as the abundance of opportunities available to our law students by virtue of being situated in the capital of Virginia.

Additionally, our Career Services office sits down with each law student individually – beginning in the fall of 1L year – to explore each student’s interests and career goals, with the objective of pointing them in the direction of employment that really fulfills those interests and leads to a happier professional life. Our students believe in work/life balance, which is why many don’t opt for BigLaw and untenable billable hours – the pressures of which often produce those unhappy lawyers you speak of.
AD Richmond has long been ahead of the curve and is seen as an early adopter of technology to improve student learning by, for instance, being the first law school in the country to require its matriculating students to own a laptop computer. How is technology incorporated into the academics and pedagogy at Richmond today?
MR Richmond is at the forefront of the use of technology in legal education. Every classroom is equipped with the full panoply of digital teaching tools, and professors take full advantage -- PowerPoint presentations, movie and music clips, document display, real-time Internet searching, and even polling software that can instantly survey the students in the class. Professors also regularly use Blackboard, TWEN, and blogs to answer questions and distribute materials before and after class, in a wide variety of media.

The same technology-friendly dynamic continues outside the classroom. Everything from registration to professor evaluations is online and automated, and wireless access is available throughout the entire school. The Richmond Journal of Law and Technology was the first student-edited law journal in the nation to be published exclusively online. And the library has a vast collection of electronic materials, is a founding member of the Virginia Law Libraries Digital Collections Consortium, and is ranked thirteenth in the country in spending per student.
 

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