In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. The following joint degree may be earned: J.D./M.H.A. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Health Administration).
Various clinics, open to second- and third-year students, provide direct service to miners seeking black lung benefits, to clients facing the death penalty, and to lower-income clients in the region. Credit ranges from 3 to 10 hours. Seminars, available to upper-level students, are worth 2 or 3 credits and are offered in a variety of areas. Upper-level students may perform internships with judges or prosecutors during the academic year for 4 graded credits or with government or nonprofit employers in the summer for 2 ungraded credits. Independent research projects may be undertaken by second- or third-year students; credit varies. The Frances Lewis Law Center sponsors research fellowships for third-year students. Bain and Shepherd Fellowships provide stipends to support collaborative research projects between students and faculty. Special lecture series include the annual John Randolph Tucker Lecture and visiting lectures sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center and other law student organizations in areas of special interest to their members. The school offers no summer session but may accept credit for courses taken in programs offered by other ABA-approved law schools. The school offers exchange programs with Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany; Trinity College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland; and the University of Western Ontario in Ontario, Canada. Tutorials are offered to upper-class students in a variety of fields. The Academic Support Program offers a series of programs introducing the case method and legal analysis and provides continuing academic support throughout the year. Special interest group programs include Women Law Students Organization, Black Law Students Association, Christian Legal Society, and Gay Law. The most widely taken electives are Federal Income Tax, Family Law, and Close Business Arrangements.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 85 total credits, of which 38 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 1.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: American Public Law Process, Civil Procedure I and II, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Legal Writing, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of Constitutional Law and Professional Responsibility. The required orientation program for first-year students is 3 days and includes social activities for the entire student body, an introduction to the case method and case briefing techniques, an introduction to legal research, an honor system orientation, and a university orientation.
To graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 2658 applied, 627 were accepted, and 116 enrolled. Thirty-one transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 94; the median GPA was 3.62 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 40; the highest was 99.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. All factors of a candidate’s background are considered important. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is February 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a nonrefundable application fee of $50, and 2 letters of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is by April 1. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 95% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $34,186; maximum, $43,020. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is February 15. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.
About 38% of the student body are women; 20%, minorities; 5%, African American; 9%, Asian American; 2%, Hispanic; 1%, Native American; and 4%, multiracial. The majority of students come from the South (38%). The average age of entering students is 25; age range is 19 to 46. About 40% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 4% have a graduate degree, and 55% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 1% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 99% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit the Washington and Lee Law Review, Capital Defense Journal, Environmental Law Digest sponsored by the Virginia State Bar, Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, and the newspaper Law News. Moot court competitions include Robert J. Grey, Jr. Negotiation Competition, John W. Davis Moot Court, and Jessup International Law Moot Court. Other competitions include National Mock Trial, Client Counseling, Mediation, and Negotiation competitions. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include American Constitution Society, Federalist Society, National Lawyers Guild, Environmental Law Society, Intellectual Property and Technology Law Society, International Law Society, Public Interest Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, and Asian American Law Society.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 6 semesters. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is no summer session. Transferable summer courses are not offered.