M. Eleanor Schmalzl ‘20
Dear UVA Law students, old and new,
Welcome (and welcome back)! The Law Weekly has been gearing up for another great year these last few weeks, and we are so excited to be at it again. As an intro for 1Ls and LLMs who may not know who we are (or 2Ls and 3Ls who have somehow missed the glorious reign of this paper in their law school careers), the Virginia Law Weekly reports on matters big and small, be it a mouse in the WB hallway during health day, snakes under the WB floorboards, a new pricing regime in the UVA Law Copy Center, or changes in Virginia Law Review’s membership policy. While we aim to be informative and to report on major Law School happenings, we also try not to take ourselves too seriously. As last year’s Editor-in-Chief, Jansen VanderMeulen ’19, said in his outgoing column in the spring, this paper offers stories about life at the Law School from the perspective of students, and that’s something students really can’t get anywhere else. Because we have a clear monopoly on our readers, we hope to at least do a good job of it by making you laugh and helping you feel connected to the many parts of the Law School community, even those you may not interact with closely on a regular basis.
While I am writing to all students here, I want to emphasize to the 1Ls how much the paper hopes you will engage with us during your time at law school. The best way to do this is to attend weekly editing meetings in SL 279, eat some dinner (free Domino’s pizza every week; it’s not Bel-Air sandwiches—we’re not made of money—but free is free), and edit a piece or two. Who knows, maybe an employer will confuse the Law Weekly with a scholarly journal––as they have in past years––or ask you about the times the paper has been cited by SCOTUSblog or the Supreme Court.
The less obvious but no less critical way to engage with the paper is by being involved somewhere in the Law School community. Don’t find a hole in the library and stay there all year. Join organizations, write opinion pieces on things you are passionate about in the Law School community, be active, send us faculty quotes! (But not from Professors Mitchell or Doran—you have been warned.) Not only have you chosen one of the best law schools in the country to attend, you have also selected one with a huge array of options to make an impact on your surrounding community. Don’t waste that opportunity. There’s a reason UVA Law produces the happiest law graduates and why 3Ls are actually sad to leave, so don’t miss the good old days that are law school because you “need” to make Law Review or haven’t finished highlighting every line of your textbook because “it’s all important for the final.” You won’t remember what happened in Pennoyer v. Neff, but you will look back and recall the memories you made with good friends.
In case you need another reason to read and contribute to the paper every week, know that the Law Weekly has been named the best law school newspaper in the country for three years running by the American Bar Association. We work really hard to make this a paper you’ll enjoy. Many schools don’t have a law school newspaper, and not all of your fellow law students across the country have access to stories like these. The paper always has room to improve, but know that this—a weekly, semi-satirical paper—is a unique concept, and we want to keep that alive for years to come.
As you begin your Law School journey (or begin it again), the Law Weekly wishes you the greatest success and the least possible need to understand Latin phrases. We’ll be here, telling the stories of the Law School. We hope you’ll continue to pick up the paper and enjoy!