Lifelong learner

July 16, 2021


By Debbie Juniewicz

There is no statute of limitations when it comes to learning — just ask the Hon. Lucretia Carrico, W’76 and L’78.

She started college at William and Mary in 1960, but marriage and parenthood soon intervened. A decade after her son was born, Carrico returned to school, enrolling in Westhampton College to finish her degree.

“The kids saw Mom studying; in fact, we’d all sit down and study together,” Carrico said. She earned a degree in political science and — despite the small number of women in the legal field in the early 1970s — enrolled at Richmond Law. She acknowledges the “profound influence” her father, longtime Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Carrico — namesake of the law school’s Carrico Center for Pro Bono and Public Service — had on her choice of career. After graduation, she spent a few years working in a corporate law department and then set up a private practice, handling everything from traffic violations to death penalty cases before being appointed as a general district court judge.

“It’s been so interesting,” she said. “You really never stop learning.”

Mandatory retirement in 2013 did little to slow her down. She soon got involved with a program to implement evidence-based decision making in the criminal justice system. The initiative, sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections in partnership with the Center for Effective Public Policy, offers a collaborative and innovative approach to criminal justice reform.

Carrico — now a grandmother and great-grandmother — continues to share her legal knowledge with middle and high school teachers in the Justice in the Classroom program of the Richmond-based John Marshall Center for Constitutional History and Civics.

“These times call for educational programs like those offered by the center so that students and others can better understand the history of the rule of law and its importance to our country,” she said. “We encourage attorneys and judges to visit classrooms to share with students about law and the courts. Kids love this interaction.”