University of Richmond School of Law
The mission of the University of Richmond is to sustain a collaborative learning and research community that supports the personal development of its members and the creation of new knowledge. A Richmond education prepares students to live lives of purpose, thoughtful inquiry, and responsible leadership in a global and pluralistic society.
Five academic schools and two coordinate colleges form the University of Richmond, with authority and responsibility vested legally in the Board of Trustees and the president of the University. The several colleges and schools award no degrees individually, but all degrees for work done in any one of them are conferred by the University of Richmond.
The University enrolls approximately 2,900 fulltime undergraduates, 92 percent of whom live on campus; 600 full-time law and graduate students; and 1,300 part-time students.
The University of Richmond is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and juris doctor degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Richmond. The University also is certified by the Virginia State Board of Education to offer teacher licensure programs. Various departments and divisions have more specialized accreditation. Included in this category are the music program, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music; the chemistry program, accredited by the American Chemical Society; and the education program, accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. In addition, the Robins School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and the T.C. Williams School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and the American Association of Law Schools.
The University of Richmond campus consists of about 50 major buildings of Collegiate Gothic architectural style set amid 350 acres of lawns, lake, and woodlands. The beautiful and harmonious setting has been recognized nationally by college guides. Richmond's history began almost two centuries ago with Richmond College, founded in 1830 by Virginia Baptists as a college of liberal arts and sciences for men. Around this nucleus were established the School of Law (1870); Westhampton College, a college of liberal arts and sciences for women (1914); the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, for advanced study in the liberal arts and sciences (1921); the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, for undergraduate and graduate study in business (1949); University College, now known as the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, for evening, summer, and continuing education (1962); and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, the first school of leadership studies in the United States (1992). In 1992, the academic missions of Richmond College and Westhampton College were combined in a separate school, the School of Arts and Sciences. Richmond College and Westhampton College are the coordinate colleges for men and women respectively, providing special programming and leadership opportunities in student life.
The law school was established within the college in 1870. In 1890 the family of the late T.C. Williams, who had been a devoted and valued trustee, donated $25,000 as the nucleus of an endowment for the law school. In recognition of this gift, the school was named the T.C. Williams School of Law. At various times the school has received further generous gifts from members of Mr. Williams' family. A substantial gift came through a bequest from T.C. Williams Jr. who, like his father, was long a trustee of Richmond College, and for 20 years was the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. The largest gift was received in 1952 by bequest from A.D. Williams, another son of T.C. Williams. In 1976, George E. Allen Jr., Ashby B. Allen, and Wilbur C. Allen provided the initial endowment for the school's first chair, the George E. Allen Chair. For a number of years, this endowment brought to the law school outstanding scholars, lawyers, and judges in a variety of fields, as visiting professors teaching in the annual Allen Chair Seminar. As a result of recent additions to the endowment by members of the Allen family, the Allen Chair became a full-time position on the law school faculty in 1998. Former Dean Rodney A. Smolla was the first full-time holder of the Allen Chair. Through a $2 million pledge from Russell C. Williams, L '84, the law school has established its second chair, the Williams Chair. Williams, who practiced law in Richmond in the 1980s and 1990s, and who worked in the Virginia attorney general's office, is vice president of Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pa., which breeds horses for harness racing. The Williams Professor focuses on fundamental subjects such as torts, contracts, and civil procedure. Carl Tobias is the first full-time holder of the Williams Chair.
The University of Richmond School of Law is an integral part of the University of Richmond. The University Senate, on which sit representatives of all the faculties, provides for intercollegiate cooperation. The degrees in law are conferred by the corporation of the University of Richmond. While possessing a proud tradition, the law school continues to keep pace with the changing methods of legal education in order to prepare its graduates for the practice of law in today's society.
The University of Richmond campus consists of 350 acres located about six miles west of the center of the city of Richmond, Va. The law school building, of Collegiate Gothic architecture, was originally opened in 1954 and enlarged in 1972 and 1981. In 1991, the building was significantly expanded, renovated, and refurbished. The law school building provides modern and technically equipped classrooms, seminar rooms, a law library, a courtroom, faculty study and offices, administrative offices, student lounges, and offices for the Law Review, three other journals, and numerous other student organizations.
Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is where the Virginia General Assembly holds its annual sessions and the Supreme Court of Virginia sits. The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit also hold regular terms here. In addition, the State Corporation Commission, the Workers' Compensation Commission, and many federal administrative agencies hold hearings in the city. Washington, D.C., where the United States Supreme Court sits, is only about a two-hour drive away. Thus, students find, in addition to the formal law school program, unsurpassed opportunities for observation of the legal process at work in various legislative, judicial, and administrative departments of the local, state, and federal governments.