Students in the courtroom

June 8, 2018
Nearly 40 percent of Richmond Law students tried case or argued motion before graduation

Charles Petran, L’18, first met his clients at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he was volunteering as part of the Carrico Center’s pro bono immigration program. The young woman had fled her home country after being harassed by a member of the MS13 gang, and she and her mother were seeking asylum in the United States. Under the supervision of adjunct professor Jacob Tingen, L’12, Petran participated in a master hearing, took depositions, and filed a couple of motions. And finally, in April 2018, he appeared before the Federal Immigration Court in Arlington. His clients were granted asylum and permitted to remain safely in the United States.

“When you hear ‘practice-ready,’ this is what that comes to mind,” said Janet Hutchinson, Associate Dean of Career Development at Richmond Law. ”Employers are looking for this kind of experience when making new hires.” 

Luckily, that experience is available in spades when it comes to new Richmond Law grads: Nearly 40 percent of the Class of 2018 tried a case or argued a motion before graduation – including 17 students who tried a jury case.

“That figure is truly remarkable,” said Dean Wendy Perdue. “Not only are our students trying cases in record numbers, we regularly hear from judges about their stellar performance in the courtroom.”

Virginia’s Third Year Student Practice Rule means that students can get real courtroom experience – under the supervision of a practicing attorney – before graduating or passing the bar.

Richmond Law students put their skills to use in the courtroom through internal clinics, over 60 clinical placement opportunities, and extensive pro bono offerings. Plus, the Summer Public Service Fellowship Program guarantees every student the opportunity to gain real experience in a public sector internship. In addition to immigration proceedings, students have represented clients in criminal appeals, custody hearings, and a variety of other civil matters. “This type of experience means that our students come to the job ready to practice,” said Perdue.