Dean Wendy Perdue

New beginnings

September 22, 2023

Dean's Note

While we are always eager start the new academic year, this year was particularly special for us. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the renovation of the law school building, it has been four years since we’ve seen an August when our collective space was fully open and functional. As students, faculty, and staff entered our doors this year, they entered a new era in the history of Richmond Law.

Winston Churchill famously observed that “we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” In this issue, you will get a glimpse of our brand-new space. It is fresh and bright with areas for people to connect and engage, as well as to study quietly and reflect. New classrooms allow for better dialogue among students and their classmates and better collaboration among groups. We’ve brought our clinics back into the building and situated them in a prominently visible suite, and we now have a green roof — the first on the university’s campus. Finally, in the center of the building is our new law school commons, which is quickly becoming the gathering place for everyone in our community.

You’ll also hear from some of our recent graduates who, at the beginning of their careers, have decided to pursue paths as public defenders. State-level changes in public defender offices, growing interest in careers tied to social justice, and changes within our curriculum to more strongly support these interests have led to a surge in graduates — nearly 10 percent of the Class of 2023 — securing jobs in this field.

We introduce you to Sara Tandy, Richmond Law’s inaugural assistant dean of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And Professor Rebecca Crootof shares her insights on the boundaries of how law and liability should apply to the ever-changing landscape of AI.

Exploring new and innovative opportunities is central to the Richmond Law experience. I am very hopeful that our new spaces, new curricular pathways, new colleagues, and new ideas will continue to inspire our students and our entire learning community.

Here’s to new beginnings!