When we say we specialize in pairing theory with practice, we mean it. So if you’re learning about housing law in the classroom, you might work with low-income residents in Richmond to resolve housing issues. If you’re studying theories in criminal law, you might ride along with law enforcement officials during a shift. It’s all part of a curriculum that’s carefully designed to give you not just the knowledge you need, but the practical experience to put it all into context.
Most law schools nowadays will tell you that they bridge theory and practice. Here at Richmond Law, we approach it in a little different manner. We have both theory and practice doctrine and clinical experiences. But even in our doctrinal classes, we tend to mix the theory with the practice.
So, for example, in my criminal-procedure class, I require my students to do a ride-along with the Richmond city police. And in my evidence class, I require students to watch four hours of courtroom practice, and I also bring in judges for a judges panel. So those are the sorts of things that you see across the curriculum.
If you want to get good at something, you have to work really hard at. What we do at Richmond is provide opportunities for students to work hard, not just for the sake of being tired, but for the sake of getting good at something.
One of the best ways to develop that is to work in one of the clinics. We have a clinic focused on family law some of the people who need legal services but are the least able to find it. They also have, sometimes, some of the most complicated and difficult cases involving not just complicated law, but very complicated emotional circumstances. That's where students can really grow. That's the type of expertise and experience that is going to benefit you when you first start practicing.
Clinical placements here are very accessible. I was actually at the district court in the fall of my second year. And it was such an amazing experience just because I had finished my 1L year, I finished my summer placement, and I am in this district court all of a sudden. And I'm dealing with concepts and legal terms that I've never heard before. And it was a great experience for me.