UVA Law Students Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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dailygrind
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UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby dailygrind » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:47 pm

This thread is for those considering UVA Law to ask current students about their experiences there.
Last edited by vanwinkle on Sun May 16, 2010 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

moose
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby moose » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:09 am

Hey,...i just got in yesterday. I have a couple of questions,...whats the atmosphere like? Are the students competitive? Is it easy going? Whats the curve like etc etc?

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playing-in-hair
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby playing-in-hair » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:12 am

vanwinkle wrote:I'm so happy I can start a thread like this. :lol:

Ask away! I'll try to be blunt and honest about anything UVA-related, as long as it's something I've already experienced. I'm sure other UVA 1Ls will also pop in and answer if it's something they know.


What are some strengths of UVA that you've witnessed, and which of those strengths, do you feel, can't be found anywhere else?

02082010
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby 02082010 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:16 am

I'm a city-centric guy and may apply to UVA ED. What do you think of Charlotteville? Also, how do you feel about UVA's placement ability ITE?

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Cavalier
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby Cavalier » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:17 am

I'll answer any questions as well... tomorrow, when I'm sober.

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hyunseoki
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby hyunseoki » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:29 am

Thank you thank you~~~

how are the facilities there? are buildings all worn-down, or have they renovated their stuff?

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:01 am

moose wrote:Hey,...i just got in yesterday. I have a couple of questions,...whats the atmosphere like? Are the students competitive? Is it easy going? Whats the curve like etc etc?


Atmosphere? Well, when I first got here it was sunny, 90F, and 90% humidity, but now it's settled down to highs in the 70s and cloudy or damp most of the time. :wink:

Seriously, though, the atmosphere here is, in my judgement, about as relaxed as law school can be. Our section is becoming a really tight-knit group, and after just a couple weeks we're all good friends and getting along. The school assigns us 2L and 3L Peer Advisors whose job is to basically help us get acclimated socially to the new environment of law school and UVA, and they've been setting up parties and social events to help us get to know each other, other sections, and our profs. They even set up a section dinner hosted by one of our professors, where he invited the professors of all of our classes, and we were all able to socialize with the profs in a totally out-of-class environment.

There's also softball. Lots and lots of softball. Each section forms a softball team, and then the sections play each other. I understand there's some kind of tournament coming up later this year where we'll compete for bragging rights. That kind of thing also helps bring us together to bond, as a section and a team.

The one thing I would warn people about is that the "easy going" thing translates in a lot of people's minds to "party school", and that isn't entirely unfair to the school. Some people seem turned off by how alcohol-centric many of the social events are or become, and the atmosphere is sometimes described as "frattish". I think this is kind of a natural consequence of the laid-back nature of the school, so it's something you either take or leave as a package.

Relating back to the section and atmosphere... it's very easy going. Everyone is incredibly helpful. We've got swine flu going around, and people have other problems, and whenever someone misses class, I'm not the only one going, Hey, need a copy of my notes? People freely share information (when it's allowed, in LRW you'll sometimes be forbidden from collaborating on assignments) and any kind of gunnerish/selfish-asshole behavior seems to be a real exception rather than the rule here.

Classes are on a B+ median curve. From what I understand, profs are allowed to adjust the ends however they want as long as it amounts to a B+ curve. This means that potentially a prof could give all B+s if they wanted, or a bunch of As and to compensate a whole bunch of B-s and Cs. But I'm a first-semester 1L, so this is all just based on what's been explained to me, and I haven't seen any grades myself yet.

There is no class rank issued. You can kind of figure out where you are from various things (you know the median is a 3.3, you know to make Law Review is less than top 10% and requires at least a 3.7, etc.) but there's no published ranking. No ranking like that means no direct rivalry, you're not looking at a list and seeing a couple other students directly above yours and getting an urge to sabotage them to help yourself.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:07 am

playing-in-hair wrote:What are some strengths of UVA that you've witnessed, and which of those strengths, do you feel, can't be found anywhere else?


See my comment to the previous poster about the lack of competitive atmosphere. UVA feels so friendly. That extends beyond the students, too.

The professors are willing to stop in the hall and talk to you, and that goes even for profs you don't have. I stopped Fred Schauer once just to say I loved his new "Thinking Like A Lawyer" book and talk to him about it, and I talked to Anne Coughlin for a few minutes about a few things just because I remembered having her for a mock class during ASW and wanted a chance to talk to her. And in my answer to the previous poster I wrote about our section having dinner at our prof's house. All of our professors came out and hung out with us for at least a little while during the evening, and we got to know them a little more personally.

I don't know if this can be found anywhere else or not, but I do know I'm impressed by the friendliness of everyone here.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:28 am

hopefulundergrad wrote:I'm a city-centric guy and may apply to UVA ED. What do you think of Charlotteville? Also, how do you feel about UVA's placement ability ITE?


I've heard from some 3Ls that've gotten callbacks. I don't know specifics. I've also heard from some that didn't. I'm going to at this point just claim I don't have enough experience, as a 1L, to really tell you how well or badly it's going for UVA 3Ls or how much better/worse that is than for 3Ls at other schools. I wish I knew better, but I don't.

I love Charlottesville so far. It's a great town, at least in my opinion. The city feels very friendly, it's very green (lots of trees and natural spaces), there's plenty of stuff going on. It's largely a college town, and has a lot of typical college-town stuff (bars and clubs near the main grounds, intramural sports and clubs all over the place, college-student discounts at grocery stores, etc). It's old and historic, and has a great relaxed feel to it. You're not far from Monticello, which I already went and toured, and it's an incredible place to see. But the city also has most of the retail outlets you'd expect, a Target, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Best Buy, Office Depot, a mall with Macy's and Penney's, pretty much everything you could need. It's not that small of a city, it's actually pretty big, certainly big enough that you can find whatever you need in it; it's kind of a good compromise between a small rural area and a big urban metropolis, and in a lot of ways has the best of both. It's not "too big" or "too small" but in many ways it's just right.

However, there are some things about Charlottesville that might frustrate people. The roads here are terrible. Because it's an old historic town, almost none of the roads around downtown and the grounds have been expanded beyond two lanes, and getting around can take forever depending on where and when you're out and about. Driving by car can be a real miserable experience here. Hell, don't even try driving on game day if there's a home game.

Also, C-ville is not what I'd consider ideal for bicycles. They have dedicated bike lanes on the outsides of the roads in some places, but they'll randomly end with a "BIKE LANE ENDS" sign and then you're stuck having to ride in the road or on the shoulder and hope not to get run over. Oh, and it's hilly here. You'd better be in pretty good shape if you want to bike anywhere.

You can walk a lot of places, though; if you get a place on Arlington Blvd., for example, you basically live halfway between the law school and a massive shopping center and can just walk a couple blocks each way to get to both. That greatly reduces your need for a car. The shopping center (Barracks Road) has two 24-hour grocery stores, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, several restaurants (McDonald's, Five Guys, Chipotle, Panera Bread, a Mediterranean restaurant, and I'm missing a couple), a CVS pharmacy, and other shops. You could conceivably live without a car entirely if you lived on Arlington or close to Barracks.

There are frequent university buses that will take you from the law school to the main grounds, and a city bus system, though honestly I value my time as a law student too much to rely on the city buses. If you're "city-centric" and that means you like living off the buses and rail system of somewhere like NYC or Boston, you're probably in for some culture shock. The university buses run frequently but the city buses less so, and from the law school to get a lot of places you'll have to transfer at least once. You can get directly to the main grounds from the law school with one bus on a 10-minute frequency, though, which is convenient if you want to go down there without driving.

Lastly, having been a film major, let me just say that the movie theaters here suck. I still haven't tried the Downtown Mall 6, but the other theaters (Carmike and Regal) are both old, small, and lousy. One is four-screen and one is six-screen; neither have stadium seating; both have hard uncomfortable seats. They're typical theaters designed in the 70s or 80s. Having come from a metropolis that had several nice new 18+ screen theaters, that's a hard adjustment to make for me.

That's what I can think of to answer. Maybe other UVA 1Ls can add more. Or you can ask something more specific and I can try to give you that.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:42 am

hyunseoki wrote:Thank you thank you~~~

how are the facilities there? are buildings all worn-down, or have they renovated their stuff?


The buildings for the most part feel incredibly new. The law school is actually made up of a couple of different buildings that are linked through hallways to form a giant square. You can walk around forever in circles through the hallways if you wanted to. In the middle of the buildings, inside the giant square of hallways, is an open outdoorsy green space where a lot of social events are hosted. There are also a few other spaces just outside the law school "square" that make great outdoor study spaces, with benches and tables.

The hallways are wide and the classrooms are large and fairly well-organized. Many of the classrooms are individually sponsored (so you have the "DLA Piper Classroom" and the "Hunton & Williams Classroom" and things like that) but apparently that money has been put to good use. I have no complaints about the classrooms or the buildings at all. At various places in the law school are also banks of student lockers, and you can rent a locker for $25/year; the lockers have doors made of cherry wood, and are very fancy looking.

If I were going to complain about anything here it's the copiers in the library. I ranted about this elsewhere on TLS, but the copiers in the law library frequently jam. I'm disappointed that a school that spends so much money on maintaining thousands of volumes of books and then brags about that fact isn't keeping their copiers working reliably. (There *is* an assumption that for most of law school students will use Lexis or Westlaw to print copies of cases, but there are situations where you'll need to hit the books.)

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bluejayk
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby bluejayk » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:06 am

how are the student gym facilities? Pool available? Is it convenient?

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:22 am

bluejayk wrote:how are the student gym facilities? Pool available? Is it convenient?


There are several school gyms which are free during the school year to UVA Law students. One, the North Grounds Rec Center, is walking distance from the law school. Basically from the law school you walk past Darden (the business school) and then you're at North Grounds. If you end up living at Ivy, NGRC is on your walk home.

There's no pool at NGRC that I've seen though. There is an acquatic fitness center, but I've never been there. I understand that (like most of C-ville) the parking there is terrible. And that brings me to something I forgot to mention earlier: The parking here sucks. A lot. You can walk, or take a bus, or a lot of people take taxis if they're going drinking, but you just can't find a good place to park without paying for it either near the grounds or in the downtown area. It's ridiculous, at least to someone who came from a big city with lots of parking.

There are also problems with parking near the law school, because the lots are kind of poorly marked. Most 1Ls will end up parking in the Blue Lot, which is down the bottom of the hill from the law school--living on Arlington Blvd, you'd be closer to the school than if you drove and parked in the Blue Lot. But not all of that parking lot is the Blue Lot! If you park on the wrong side of a row you might accidentally be parked in the Orange Lot, which is a ticket.

And the parking enforcement is ridiculous too. I don't have a parking permit since I live so close to the school, and I can't get a permit for the lots literally next to the school anyway as a 1L. One day I parked in a spot for less than five minutes in a hurry to run in and grab something out of my locker, and I had a ticket when I came out. The first one is free, but it's rigid enforcement.

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby Kohinoor » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:29 am

vanwinkle wrote:
bluejayk wrote:how are the student gym facilities? Pool available? Is it convenient?


There are several school gyms which are free during the school year to UVA Law students. One, the North Grounds Rec Center, is walking distance from the law school. Basically from the law school you walk past Darden (the business school) and then you're at North Grounds. If you end up living at Ivy, NGRC is on your walk home.

There's no pool at NGRC that I've seen though. There is an acquatic fitness center, but I've never been there. I understand that (like most of C-ville) the parking there is terrible. And that brings me to something I forgot to mention earlier: The parking here sucks. A lot. You can walk, or take a bus, or a lot of people take taxis if they're going drinking, but you just can't find a good place to park without paying for it either near the grounds or in the downtown area. It's ridiculous, at least to someone who came from a big city with lots of parking.

There are also problems with parking near the law school, because the lots are kind of poorly marked. Most 1Ls will end up parking in the Blue Lot, which is down the bottom of the hill from the law school--living on Arlington Blvd, you'd be closer to the school than if you drove and parked in the Blue Lot. But not all of that parking lot is the Blue Lot! If you park on the wrong side of a row you might accidentally be parked in the Orange Lot, which is a ticket.

And the parking enforcement is ridiculous too. I don't have a parking permit since I live so close to the school, and I can't get a permit for the lots literally next to the school anyway as a 1L. One day I parked in a spot for less than five minutes in a hurry to run in and grab something out of my locker, and I had a ticket when I came out. The first one is free, but it's rigid enforcement.

I go pretty often. The Aquatic Center's flaws begin and end in the parking lot. Go there after 5 when parking is free and you'll also find a spot thereby killing two birds in the hand and one in the bush.

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Cavalier
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby Cavalier » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:41 am

The atmosphere is definitely relaxed. "Fratty" might be an appropriate description - not douche bag, popped-collar fratty, but we do tend to drink a lot. Most people are very friendly. In my section we've already done several poker games, gone to football games together, had tailgates, we pregame for school-wide events, etc. The students here are obviously smart and hard-working, but they're also interested in having an enjoyable time in law school.

So far it doesn't seem very competitive. Sure, there's always a couple people who will brag about how much reading they've done the moment the opportunity arises, but most people here are still relaxed. I'm sure it will change around finals, as it does at every school, but as of now I definitely don't feel that I'm competing against everyone in my classes. I think vanwinkle is correct on the curve - the professors must give a B+ median, but they can do whatever they want as long as they have that median. This makes things less stressful - it's not like the students are competing for a strict number of As or anything.

As far as Charlottesville goes, I definitely like it. I don't have a car, but living on Arlington, it's not a problem. I can walk to school, I'm five minutes away from a shopping center that has pretty much everything I could want (two grocery stores, a ton of restaurants, a pharmacy, stores with school supplies, banks, clothing, etc). The city is not very pedestrian friendly, but I can walk to the Corner if need be. The university bus system is, surprisingly, very efficient, especially if you're not opposed to walking a few blocks to catch one. There's a bus that goes to the main grounds (and the Corner), and there's another nearby one that goes to the medical area, so I think the buses will enable you to get all of your needs taken care of.

The facilities are nice. I am disappointed that the law school is one of the few buildings without the Jeffersonian architecture, but it is still a nice building. Honestly, the only "worn-down" aspect I've noticed is the carpet in a couple areas, but other than that, everything looks great.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:12 am

Cavalier wrote:The facilities are nice. I am disappointed that the law school is one of the few buildings without the Jeffersonian architecture, but it is still a nice building. Honestly, the only "worn-down" aspect I've noticed is the carpet in a couple areas, but other than that, everything looks great.


I get the impression that this must be a pretty great law school if we're collectively down to bitching about the copiers and the carpeting.

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Kohinoor
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby Kohinoor » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:21 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Cavalier wrote:The facilities are nice. I am disappointed that the law school is one of the few buildings without the Jeffersonian architecture, but it is still a nice building. Honestly, the only "worn-down" aspect I've noticed is the carpet in a couple areas, but other than that, everything looks great.


I get the impression that this must be a pretty great law school if we're collectively down to bitching about the copiers and the carpeting.

Nothing to really bitch about until we get no-offered.

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Cavalier
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby Cavalier » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:28 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Cavalier wrote:The facilities are nice. I am disappointed that the law school is one of the few buildings without the Jeffersonian architecture, but it is still a nice building. Honestly, the only "worn-down" aspect I've noticed is the carpet in a couple areas, but other than that, everything looks great.


I get the impression that this must be a pretty great law school if we're collectively down to bitching about the copiers and the carpeting.

Seriously though, if the carpet is peeling in places, they should repalce it! Ugh...

Nothing to really bitch about until we get no-offered.

Yes, but that's a problem at every non-HYS school, not UVA specifically.

moose
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby moose » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:09 pm

Are there any Steeler fans at UVA? I need Steeler fans to commiserate with.

showNprove
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby showNprove » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:17 pm

I can answer some questions in here as well, or if you don't want to post the question publicly, feel free to PM me.

vanwinkle wrote:Classes are on a B+ median curve. From what I understand, profs are allowed to adjust the ends however they want as long as it amounts to a B+ curve. This means that potentially a prof could give all B+s if they wanted, or a bunch of As and to compensate a whole bunch of B-s and Cs. But I'm a first-semester 1L, so this is all just based on what's been explained to me, and I haven't seen any grades myself yet.

Just to clarify this: There's a binder in the student records office that has the grade distribution for each class. I looked up my professors, and none gave out any C+'s, let alone a C or lower. On the other hand, one professor gave no A's, but only a few B-'s.

showNprove
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby showNprove » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:18 pm

moose wrote:Are there any Steeler fans at UVA? I need Steeler fans to commiserate with.

One of my friends is a big time Steelers fan. He's from PA.

Pearalegal
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby Pearalegal » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:18 pm

moose wrote:Are there any Steeler fans at UVA? I need Steeler fans to be terrible people with.


fixed.

Applied ED today. Jason Dugas seems nice. I'm close to throwing up.

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missvik218
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby missvik218 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:19 pm

I feel like there are Steeler's fans everywhere. You're going to be fine!

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Cavalier
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby Cavalier » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:55 pm

moose wrote:Are there any Steeler fans at UVA? I need Steeler fans to commiserate with.

No, there are no Steelers fans here. Don't come here. We all hate the Steelers.

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missvik218
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby missvik218 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:55 pm

What is your workload like? How many hours a day do you spend studying, etc? Obviously with all of the drinking/softball/social events it can't be too hellacious, or do you just have ridiculous time management skills?

Edit: Also, how much do you typically pay in living costs / month?

moose
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Re: UVA 1L taking questions

Postby moose » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:20 pm

haha,..haters.

Oh I have another question,...I applied and was accepted ED. Does that mean I have no shot at financial aid? Don't think I can go to law school without some kind of aid.




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