For The Record

A question I am asked from time to time is, “Should I [or someone I know] go to law school?” In typical lawyerly fashion, my answer is, “It depends.”

Mostly it depends on the reasons the person is considering law school in the first place. A 2018 Association of American Law Schools study shows that today’s law students have some pretty compelling motivations to pursue a J.D. over other advanced degrees, including the following top four reasons:

As a pathway to a career in politics, government, or public service.

Because they’re passionate about the type of work.

Because they’re looking for opportunities to be helpful to others or to be useful in society.

To be advocates for social change.

As the stories in this edition of our magazine highlight, these four reasons are reflected in the work and the passions of our current students and our alumni. You’ll find the story of a group of remarkable African American alumni judges who forged their careers in public service. Another article highlights the work of two alumni who found their passion in representing whistleblowers in federal fraud cases. You can also read about the 15th anniversary of our Institute for Actual Innocence — one of our four in-house clinics in which our students serve our community — and an excerpt from Yale Law professor James Forman’s September talk on mass incarceration, which left many of our students ready to be advocates for social change.

Whether we’re representing a client or running a business, serving in government or working for a big corporation, ours is a service profession requiring a high level of passion and commitment. What Generation Z college students are looking for in their careers is completely consistent with what Richmond Law lawyers have been doing for 150 years. The more things change, the more they stay the same!