Student News

When Holly Rasheed was in the fourth grade, she told her parents that she wanted to go to law school. In 2016, Rasheed became the youngest lawyer in Virginia. Across the world in Russia, Elizabeth Ross was conveying a similar idea when she decided at age 10 that she wanted to focus on law. Eight years later, Ross became the youngest person in northwestern Russia to pass the bar.

Their paths to practice law both include Richmond Law. Rasheed, L’16, graduated when she was 22, while Ross, L’19, now 31, is in the two-year Juris Doctor program for lawyers with a degree from outside the U.S.

Originally, Rasheed made a point to not disclose her age to fellow Richmond Law students. She also remembers not being allowed to go to the Barrister’s Ball her first year because she was the only person under the age of 21.

Now an assistant Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Rasheed says that her age doesn’t really affect her career.

“I have definitely felt conscious of my age, especially when it became public knowledge that I was the youngest prosecutor,” Rasheed said in an article in UVA Today. “But most people don’t treat me differently.”

In contrast, Ross — who started working as a legal assistant at her university at age 15 and passed the bar at age 18 — used her age to her advantage when facing lawyers who underestimated her.

Still, it was a challenge when clients would second-guess her ability to win a case.

“Clients would walk in and see my young age and think to choose another lawyer who was older and more experienced,” Ross says. “It was my job to make sure that clients would believe in me and my work.”

Despite this, Ross said she would not do anything differently, claiming the energy and desire she had helped her to win cases.

Rasheed, however, said she might have tried to get more experience between her undergraduate degree and law school.

“It’s a benefit to people who take at least a year or a few years to get some experience,” Rasheed said in UVA Today. “I think it would have made more sense if I had seen it in practice a little more.”