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Guide to the Second Year

The Guide to the Second Year has been designed to equip you with the information you need to successfully plan for and succeed in your 2L year of law school.

Guide to the Second Year

Check out some of the most frequently asked questions from the guide below.

How should I plan my courses for the rest of my time at Richmond Law?

The Registrar’s Office publishes the 2017-2018 upper class Course Schedule in March. Registration for rising 2L students for Fall 2017 will begin on April 6, 2017, and for Spring 2018 on April 7, 2016.

Before exploring the Course Schedule and Courses of Study, consider the following questions:

  • What are your goals for the next two years of law school, and how would you prioritize them? For example, how important is it to you to develop expertise in a specific field of law or to develop a specific skill such as contract drafting or appellate advocacy? To produce a publishable academic paper? To have significant time for personal commitments or pursuits outside the law? To assume leadership roles in student organizations , moot court, or journals? To take a few courses just for fun?  To develop mentoring relations with faculty?
  • What classes have you particularly enjoyed in your first year or in other educational settings, and why? (Think about teaching style, substantive material, size of class, nature of graded exercises, the reading material, etc.)
  • Do you already have a clear idea of what you want to do after law school?  (Many first- and second-years do not.)  Are there several areas of law you hope to explore?
  • Are there experiences you are considering that will occupy substantially all of one of your remaining semesters (e.g., a clinic, a joint degree, or a semester abroad)?

Learn more: page 4 of the Guide.

How do I obtain my Third-Year Practice Certificate?

To obtain third-year practice certification, a student must have successfully completed four semesters of law school totaling at least 56 credit hours and satisfactorily completed a course or program of study in criminal law, professional ethics, evidence, and procedure. Sharon Krol, Assistant to the Dean (, prepares the letters submitted to the Virginia State Bar requesting third-year practice certificates on behalf of students. Anyone interested in pursuing third-year practice needs to read the applicable third year practice rules. See Code of Virginia, Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, Vol. 11, Pt. 6, § IV, Para. 15 (2008); See Michie’s Jurisprudence of Virginia and West Virginia, Vol. 21D, Appendix A, pp. 38-40 (1997 Replacement Volume).

Can I take courses during the summer?

Summer School at Richmond Law

The Richmond Law summer session runs for eight weeks, from Monday, May 16, 2016, until Friday, July 8, 2016. Classes are held during the day and in the evenings. Summer registration will begin on March 17, 2016. Please note that students may take a maximum of eight credits during a summer session.

Cambridge (UK) Summer Study Abroad

Richmond Law offers a five-week summer program at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, where students can take a maximum of six credits. Questions should be directed to Clark Williams, Professor of Law, at

London Clinical Placement Program

Students attending the Cambridge Summer Program may also participate in Richmond Law’s Clinical Placement Program in London. Students in the London Clinical Placement Program enroll for five credits, representing a combination of 32 work hours a week for five weeks and an academic component. The Clinical Placement Director places students with solicitors and barristers in varied work environments, including public interest groups and the private sector. Students may also be placed with members of Parliament. Questions about the London Clinical Placement should be directed to Margaret Ivey Bacigal, Clinical Professor and Director, Clinical Placement Program, at

Other Summer Study Abroad

The Law School permits students to study abroad at a summer program offered by another ABA-approved law school. Students interested in participating in a summer study abroad sponsored by another law school should consult with Jim Gibson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at

Do I need to reapply for scholarships or loans?


If you received a scholarship your first year, you will continue to receive it in subsequent years as long as you continue to meet all eligibility requirements. Note that scholarships are available to law students through their sixth term of enrollment (prorated for transfer students), excluding summer term.


Students must re-apply for loans and Federal Work-Study each year.

You will need to submit the following forms:

  1. Submit the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at  by the University’s May 15, 2017 deadline. (The deadline for financial aid for summer 207 is earlier; see below, item A3.)
  2. Submit the University of Richmond 2017-2018 Academic Year Federal DirectLoan application available at least six weeks prior to the start of the fall term. (The deadline for financial aid for summer 2017 is earlier; see below, item A3.)
  • How much can I borrow?

You may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance minus any other aid you are receiving. Cost of Attendance information is available online. Law students may borrow up to $20,500 under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program. Amounts borrowed for summer session will reduce borrowing capacity from this program for the following academic year. The Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan provides additional loan funding to assist with academic year costs. The Direct Grad PLUS loan is a credit-based loan. Students are encouraged to review their credit reports and resolve any issues immediately. Students who are denied the Direct Grad PLUS Loan will receive information about the reason(s) for the credit denial. You may appeal the decision or apply with an endorser, or co-signer.

Visit for more information and applications on Federal Direct Loans.

Private, credit-based loans are also available. However, we strongly encourage students to borrow from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan programs rather than from a private lender as loan terms are usually better, and a poor credit history can prevent a student from obtaining these loans, even with a co-signer. If you are thinking about using a private credit-based loan to finance your  education, we encourage you to speak with a financial aid advisor first.

  • When will I be notified of my aid?
    Aid will be posted to BannerWeb, and notifications will be sent to returning students by the end of June, assuming that the FAFSA is submitted by the deadline. 

  • When will my aid disburse?
    Aid for Fall 2017 will disburse on August 23, 2017 as long as all eligibility requirements are met.  Aid for Spring 2018 will disburse on January 11, 2018.

    If your financial aid exceeds your billable charges, you will have a credit balance. Students will receive a refund for the credit balance, from the Bursar’s Office, within 7-10 business days of disbursement. Refunds will be issued by Direct Deposit or by check.  Students should contact the Bursar’s Office (804-289-8147 or 1-866-241-8893) regarding the refund process and/or if they wish to sign up for Direct Deposit.  Please visit:

  • Is there an installment plan? 
    An installment plan is offered by the Bursar’s Office for Fall and Spring term charges only.  The plan offers payment schedules of equal payments over the academic year or semester.  Additional information can be found at

  • Loans For Summer 2017
    Loans are available for summer study, including the London Clinical Placement Program and the Cambridge program. If you want to borrow loans for Summer 2017, you must submit the 2017-2018 FAFSA ( at least six weeks prior to the start of your summer session. If you submit the FAFSA closer to the beginning of the term, your summer loan may not be available by the start of your summer school session.

    You must also submit a 2017 Summer Federal Direct Loan application (available at to the Office of Financial Aid at least six weeks prior to the start of your summer session. Loan applications will not be processed if the required paperwork is submitted after the midpoint of your summer enrollment period.

    Register for your summer session classes as soon as possible.  We will not process your loan application until your registration is completed.  You must be registered at least half-time (three hours for summer term) in order to be eligible for loans.

    The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program provides loans of up to $20,500 per year. Amounts borrowed for summer session will reduce borrowing capacity from the Direct Unsubsidized Loan program for the following academic year.

Learn more: pages 21-26 of the Guide or

What steps do I need to take now to plan for the bar exam?

Yes, we know that you are not a 3L yet. However, there are a few important things pertaining to bar admission that you should be thinking about during your second year.  Specifically, (1) How might your conduct during law school impact your Character and Fitness review? (2) When should you take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)? (3) Does your state offer discounts for early filing for admission to the bar? (4) Does your state have any additional requirements for admission for the bar?

Character and Fitness

All jurisdictions require a Character and Fitness exam, and your conduct during law school can significantly impact your character and fitness investigation. Criminal activity, academic misconduct, and employment misconduct, particularly when such conduct occurs close in time to your bar application (e.g. during law school), could prevent or delay your admission to the bar. And while serious criminal conduct naturally may jeopardize your admission to the bar, please note that bar examiners have also investigated applicants for more minor infractions, such as speeding tickets. Finally, pay careful attention to your finances during law school, and be sure to pay debts as they come due.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam

Nearly all jurisdictions, with the notable exception of Maryland, require applicants to achieve a passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) for admission to the bar. The MPRE is separately administered from the bar examination and it is offered three times per year: in March, August, and November. Learn more at

Learn more: pages 12-16 of the Guide or the Richmond Law Bar Information Handbook.

How do I plan and publicize student events?

When planning an event, visit the Event Planning Page to do the following:

Learn more: page 30 of the Guide and pages 3-7 of the Student Organization Handbook.