In 1920, the same year American women obtained the right to vote, the first female students matriculated at the University of Virginia School of Law. Elizabeth N. Tompkins of Albemarle County, Virginia, was the first to graduate in 1923. After graduating, Tompkins clerked for two years in Charlottesville before relocating to Richmond for a distinguished 54-year legal career. She was the first woman admitted to the Virginia State Bar.
Since then, more than 6,000 women have enrolled and pursued their studies at the Law School. As students, women have been leaders at the Law School, editing academic journals, winning moot court competitions, earning fellowships and awards, and directing student organizations. As graduates, women have been leaders of the bar, business and academia. In 1995, UVA Law women students and graduates led a tribute to the women who came before them, as well as those who would follow, by designating and funding the Law Alumnae Lobby, located to the right of the school’s main entrance. In 2004, they paid further tribute to all alumnae by creating and funding the Law Alumnae Scholarship, one of the most generously endowed scholarships at the Law School.
These alumnae represent excellence in public service and private practice, the judiciary and the academy, and corporate counsel and business. They represent the best of the University of Virginia School of Law.