Frequently Asked Questions - Admitted Students

  1. When will I get my W&L email account?
  2. When will I get my W&L ID card?
  3. Where can I purchase a meal plan?
  4. Where should I live?
  5. Any tips on finding an apartment?
  6. How do students get to class? Do most law students have cars?
  7. Can you explain the Honor System?
  8. Are law students typically involved in many extracurricular activities?
  9. How does the Moot Court program work at W&L Law?
  10. When is Orientation?
  11. Where can I find more information about laptops, technology, etc.?
  12. When will I get my course schedule?
  13. Can I get my course schedule early?
  14. What classes will I take during my first year?
  15. Can I work during my first year?
  16. I am relocating to Lexington with a family, any tips?
  17. I am relocating to Lexington with a significant other, do you have any employment suggestions?
  18. What recreational opportunities are there on campus?
  19. Can my significant other use the Campus Fitness center?
  20. I am coming to visit Lexington, any suggestions for things to do?
  21. Is there anything I need to do in advance of matriculation?
  22. What should I do this summer?

When will I get my W&L email account?

Email accounts are created over the summer, and the timing of the email account distribution varies from year to year. However, it will definitely be after our second deposit deadline. 

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When will I get my W&L ID card?

You will receive your student ID card as part of the Orientation process (mid-to-late August). Please note, you do NOT need a student ID number to purchase a meal plan.

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Where can I purchase a meal plan?

Law students have full access to all on-campus dining facilities. Some law students have meal plans, others simply have expense dollars on their Student ID cards. There is a dining area at the law school (the Brief Stop) which typically offers daily sandwich specials, sushi, salads, and soups, as well as snacks and drinks. There are other dining options in the Student Commons building on the undergraduate campus, The Marketplace & Cafe 77, and also the E. Cafe which is located in the Hillel House. While the Brief Stop closes around 2:30 p.m. during the week and is not open on weekends, the other on-campus dining areas are open during the weekend.  The law school is also within a reasonable walk (about ten minutes) of the downtown area which has a number of restaurants.

For more information about purchasing a meal plan, dining location hours, and dining options, please consult the Dining Services webpage. Information about meal plans will also be available at Orientation.

For more information regarding Lexington restaurants, please see the Lexington Visitor's Center's restaurant webpage.

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Where should I live?

All law students live in off-campus housing. There are a significant number of affordable properties conveniently located near the law school. For off-campus housing, typical monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment can cost from $500-$750, and a two bedroom apartment can rent for $650-$1000. A great many of our students live in and around downtown Lexington (approximately a 10 to 15 minute walk from the law school).

For more information about law student housing, please consult our housing webpage. In addition, a number of property listings are available via our Facebook group for admitted students.

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Any tips on finding an apartment?

For those students seeking housing, we encourage you to consult the classified ads, utilize the local realtors (many of whom are located along Main Street and do not charge for their services), speak with current students, and drive around town.

Lexington is small enough that many landlords advertise an availability by simply posting a sign in front of the property. We encourage you to take a day or two, come to Lexington, and look around. Please note there are a number of living spaces for rent that you may consider less than suitable (admittedly there are some landlords in the Lexington area who have very creative definitions of "inhabitable"). We recommend that you do not rent any property site unseen.

Once you decide to attend W&L Law, you should begin your apartment search as soon as possible. Students who begin looking for housing in May or June typically have the best chances of finding a suitable apartment. However, while sooner is better than later, if you are not able to begin looking for a place to live until late summer, please do not worry. Plenty of housing options typically remain in July or early August.

For more tips and information regarding the procurement of off-campus housing, please see our housing website. In addition, a number of property listings are available via our Facebook group for admitted students.

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How do students get to class? Do most law students have cars?

Most of our students have cars, but Lexington is a fairly compact community and is pedestrian and bike-friendly. Several grocery stores are no more than a fifteen to twenty minute walk (or less) from the downtown area; however, Wal-Mart is slightly further away and most likely requires a ride. For those who choose to have a car on campus, there is parking available and the law student lots are immediately adjacent to the law school.

For more information visit the parking and transportation webpage

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Can you explain the Honor System?

W&L has an Honor System that has been in place for nearly 150 years. The system is based on the fundamental principle that a spirit of trust makes Washington and Lee a unique educational institution. As it is not codified, the Honor System applies to all aspects of campus life. Because of the honor system, our students know they can trust each other, and this trust allows them to relax and focus on being law students.

One of the most memorable parts of the first year Orientation experience is the Honor presentation, and as part of this process, all incoming students agree to uphold the Honor System. Students charged with violating the honor system are subject to a hearing process (conducted by their peers), and a great many law students are meaningfully involved with the various aspects of this process. Some law students serve as law class representatives to the Executive Committee (or "EC"), the student organization responsible for the hearing and adjudication of all honor disputes. A few law students have even served as executive officers in this organization. Other law students are involved as Honor Advocates. These students assist individuals accused of an honor or conduct violation in preparing and presenting their cases to the Executive Committee, Student Judicial Council, or Student-Faculty Hearing Board.

For more information visit the Honor System webpage

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Are law students typically involved in many extracurricular activities?

We have over thirty student organizations at the law school, ranging from the intellectual to the extremely extracurricular. A great many of our upper level students are involved in two or three different organizations during their second and third years of law school. For a complete listing of the many ways in which you can get involved during your time at W&L Law, please see our Student Organization Directory.

During the first few weeks of your time on campus, there will be an Organizations and Activities Fair which will provide you with an opportunity to meet and interact with organization leaders and figure out the organizations in which you may wish to be involved.

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How does the Moot Court program work at W&L Law?

Our Moot Court program is a little different than programs found at other law schools. Rather than having a fixed Moot Court team of ten or twelve individuals who represent the law school at all external competitions, we have internal competitions to determine the individuals who will represent the school externally. These competitions are not mandatory, but they are open to all second and third year students. The competitions include Negotiations, Appellate Advocacy, Mock Trial, Client Counseling, and Mediation. First year students do not compete in these competitions, however, they can participate as clients, witnesses, and bailiffs.

All participating students have at least one round of experience at the school level. Those students who perform well, advance to subsequent rounds, and the students who win go on to represent W&L Law at regional competitions, and potentially, nationally.

The Moot Court program is run by the Moot Court Executive Board. This organization consists of third year students, and while there is some faculty involvement, the students are responsible for the administration of the competitions. Faculty, practitioners, and judges are brought in to judge the later and final rounds of the individual competitions. For more information about our Moot Court program, please see our

For more information about our Moot Court program, please see our Moot Court webpage.

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When is Orientation?

Orientation typically begins in late August. Attendance at Orientation is REQUIRED. A tentative Orientation schedule is available by August 1. For a full listing of dates and scheduling information, please consult our academic calendar.

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Where can I find more information about laptops, technology, etc.?

Most of our law students use a laptop for a variety of coursework, and wireless internet is available throughout the building. According to our Technology Services personnelour exam software is Sakai, so any OS laptop will work just fine. Their recommendation is to get whatever machine has a solid state hard drive and at least 8GB of RAM.  For more information, feel free to email lawtech@wlu.edu.

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When will I get my course schedule?

You will get your schedule as part of the Orientation process. Schedules are set in advance for each student, and you will not need to register for any classes. For more information about the first year (as well as subsequent years of study at W&L Law) please visit our J.D. Program Information webpage

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Can I get my course schedule early?

No. Individual course schedules for incoming first year students are not available until the first day of Orientation.

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What classes will I take during my first year?

First-year students take a wide variety of classes during their first year. During your first semester, you will take Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts. Second semester you will take American Public Law Process, Professional Responsibility, Property, and Transnational Law.

For more information about your first year as well as subsequent years of legal study as W&L, please consult our J.D. Program Information webpage.  Please also visit our Curriculum webpage for a detailed outline of your three years at W&L Law. 

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Can I work during my first year?

While we do not have an absolute prohibition against first year employment, law students are strongly encouraged not to work during their first year of law school (due to the rigor and demands of the workload). If you are interested in working during your first year, we recommend you consider doing a work study. For more information about work study, please contact Cynthia Hintze, Senior Assistant Director of Financial Aid at 540.458.8032 or chintze@wlu.edu.

In addition, while law students can work no more than twenty hours a week (even during their second and third years), we typically recommend first-year students work no more than 10-12 hours per week.

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I am relocating to Lexington with a family, any tips?

Lexington is a wonderful area to raise a family. Its small town charm, low cost of living, good schools, and strong sense of community provide a high quality of life for those law students relocating to the Lexington area with spouses, significant others, or families. For an in-depth guide to living in Lexington with a family, please visit our Students with Families page.

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I am relocating to Lexington with a significant other, do you have any employment suggestions?

The job market in Lexington is tight; however, law students' companions have two advantages. First, every year a certain number of jobs become available when law students' companions leave Lexington after graduation. Second, the law school's active "grapevine" supplements more traditional methods of job-seeking. Informal networking can provide many opportunities, so you'd be wise to make your talents and qualifications known, whether at Open House or through email conversations with current students, your Kirgis Fellow, or law school administrators. It's best to come early and look hard!

Lexington is a residential town with many banks, stores, restaurants, and business offices that are potential sources of employment. It is also a college town, and, in addition to Washington and Lee, is home to the Virginia Military Institute. Nearby institutions of higher learning include Southern Virginia University, in neighboring Buena Vista (pronounced B'YOO-nuh VIS-ta), Roanoke College in Salem (55 miles), Mary Baldwin College in Staunton (pronounced STAN-ton) (30 miles), James Madison University in Harrisonburg (60 miles), and The University of Virginia in Charlottesville (65 miles). Each of these nearby cities offers a wider range of employment opportunities than does Lexington. Commuting in this region isn't characterized by the rush hour traffic that plagues larger metropolitan areas and spouses/partners/professors and others in the community sometimes carpool to make the trips easier.

For more information regarding securing employment in Lexington and the surrounding areas, please see our the "Job Seekers" portion of our webpage for Law Students with Families.

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What recreational opportunities are there on campus?

There is a Fitness Center on-campus to which law students have access, as well as regular Yoga, Hip-Hop, Spin and other group exercise classes. For more information regarding group exercise courses, please see the University's webpage for group fitness opportunities.  Next to the law school is the W&L Natatorium which offers excellent, year-round swimming. There is also a 24-hour fitness center located in the third year housing village, which is accessible with a student ID. For other Campus Recreation opportunities, including intramurals, please see the University's Campus Recreation webpage. Intramural sports are a big part of law school life. In fact, the law school has its own intramural league, run by third year law students affectionately known as the Sport Czars. Students play a variety of sports throughout the year - football in the fall, floor hockey and basketball in the winter, and soccer and softball (the annual Dean's Cup softball tournament is a popular campus event) in the spring. The individual law classes often field teams to compete in the campus-wide intramural competitions. For more information regarding intramurals, please the University intramurals webpage.

There are also a number of outdoor activities available in the Lexington area. Lexington is situated a short fifteen minute drive from the Blue Ridge Parkway; outdoor activities in the area abound. Whether they're sitting by the river at Goshen, swimming at Panther Falls, cycling on one of Rockbridge County's scenic by-ways, hiking House Mountain, running on one of Lexington's many trails, golfing at one of the area's two golf courses, skiing at one of the four nearby resorts, or simply working out at the University Fitness Center, our law students are an active group.

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Can my significant other use the Campus Fitness center?

The Washington and Lee University fitness center is available for use by W&L students, faculty and staff, spouses, domestic partners, children of W&L employees, and W&L alumni living in Rockbridge County. Spouses and significant others are eligible to apply for privilege cards which allow them to use the fitness center facilities. Those interested should contact Emily Nicely in the Athletics Department: nicelye@wlu.edu or 540.458.8672.

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I am coming to visit Lexington, any suggestions for things to do?

The Lexington Visitor's Center's webpage is a great resource for those seeking additional information about accommodations, dining and shopping, as well as historical points of interest.  You can also visit our Life in Lexington webpage to see our suggestions for while you are in town. 

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Is there anything I need to do in advance of matriculation?

Yes. There are documentary requirements for every matriculating student, and a few updates that the Admissions Office requires of each student.  Please visit our Requirements Prior to Matriculation webpage for this information. 

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What should I do this summer?

We know there are a great many contrasting suggestions as to what one should do in the summer prior to the first year of law school. We encourage students to relax and enjoy these months. As you are undoubtedly aware, law school can be very demanding, and you will not have a great deal of free time in the coming years. While it is a good idea to stay mentally engaged in some fashion through the summer months (reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc.), rest and relaxation can be invaluable before one starts law school. Whether you take a trip or opt for a staycation, we hope you will arrive in Lexington in August rested and ready to begin three years of challenging, legal study.

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