With the start of classes in August, Richmond Law hit a milestone: its sesquicentennial. The university began offering a law program in 1870 to an inaugural class of 30 students.

The school’s living graduates number more than 7,000. Its high-profile alumni include Virginia’s current attorney general; the U.S. representative of Virginia’s 6th Congressional District; two justices on Virginia’s Supreme Court; and one of the senior executives of GV, Google’s venture capital arm.

Graduates populate benches around the state and beyond; indeed, it’s said that more of Virginia’s judges hold degrees from Richmond Law than from any other law school. Richmond Law graduates serve the profession and their clients and communities in extraordinary fashion every day — at criminal hearings and corporate negotiations, from within companies or nonprofits, or as independent practitioners.

Richmond Law’s advantages have been there from the beginning — notably, local access to every level of court except for the U.S. Supreme Court, a short 90 miles away, and a commitment to excellence — the very focus of the ceremonial address opening the school in October 1870.

Today, Richmond Law places a significant emphasis on professional skills development, particularly writing, and on the expansion of justice, particularly for marginalized groups. Robust clinics focus on the needs of children, families, the wrongly convicted, and others. It is all aimed at developing what Richmond Law has become best known for: developing lawyers who are experts in their fields, distinctly collegial in their interactions, and committed to justice and service.