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.

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?

    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)?
  • 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?

    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 Ali Silva Fannon (, Director of the Externship Program.

    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 Jack Preis, 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 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at by the University’s May 15, 2019 deadline. (The deadline for financial aid for summer 2018 is earlier).
    2. Submit the University of Richmond 2018-2019 Academic Year Federal DirectLoan application available at at least six weeks prior to the start of the fall term. (The deadline for financial aid for summer 2017 is earlier).

    Visit the University’s Financial Aid website for more information and applications on Federal Direct Loans.

  • 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

  • How do I plan and publicize student events?

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

    Learn more in the Student Organization Handbook.