Our Story

Our Story

Since our founding in 1870, the University of Richmond School of Law has served as the premier training ground for some of the greatest lawyers in Virginia and beyond. Join us in a look back at the steps along the way.

  1. 1870

    The School of Law is founded as part of Richmond College, with an inaugural class of 30 students. Professor James Neeson, pictured at center with the Class of 1873, is one of the first faculty members at Richmond Law.

  2. 1890

    In 1890, after a period in which the school had been closed, the law school reopened thanks to a growing interest in collegiate-level legal education and a $25,000 gift from the family of T. C. Williams Sr.

  3. 1893

    The law library is established in Residence Hall No. 1 with a donation of 700 books from Mrs. Harriet Purcell. Pictured here is the law library reading room in 1928.

  4. 1917

    The law school relocates to Columbia Hall on the corner of Grace Street and Lombardy Street in the Fan district of Richmond.

  5. 1920

    The law school is named in honor of Thomas C. Williams Sr.

  6. 1923

    Jane Brown Ranson is the first female graduate.

  7. 1954

    The law school joins the University on the Westhampton Campus.

  8. 1979

    The law library is named in honor of Dean William Taylor Muse.

  9. 1984

    Okianer Christian Dark becomes the first African American tenured faculty member.

  10. 1991

    The building is renovated and expanded to its present-day size and configuration.

  11. 1992

    Student carrels are installed in the law library, providing a dedicated study space for every student.

  12. 1994

    1L students at Richmond Law are the first in the nation to be required to use laptop computers.

  13. 1995

    The Journal of Law and Technology launches as the first exclusively digital law journal in the country.

  14. 2011

    Wendy Collins Perdue is named the first female dean of the law school.

  15. 2020

    The Law School celebrates 150 years.

  16. 2022

    The University of Richmond Board of Trustees changes the name of the school from T.C. Williams School of Law to the University of Richmond School of Law.

  17. 2023

    The Law School celebrates a century of women, marking the anniversary of our first female graduate.