Law Library Podcast: Legal Knowledge

This spring, Law Special Collections launched Legal Knowledge, a limited series podcast that examines UVA Law’s impact on legal education from the University’s founding to the present. The podcast is based on the Law Library’s forthcoming book with UVA Press—a volume which brings together thirteen contributors to trace UVA Law’s pedagogical history. Season One of the podcast covers the first hundred years of the Law School, from Thomas Jefferson’s founding vision in 1819 to coeducation in 1920 and, in turn, the first half of the book.

In each episode of Season One, Meggan Cashwell, former Postdoctoral Fellow in Legal History and a co-editor of the forthcoming publication, interviews one of our contributors about the topic of their respective chapter. In this season, our listeners will learn how Thomas Jefferson meticulously chose every text for the law curriculum, the ways law professors used their classroom as a platform to advance a pro-slavery agenda, how the daughters of Professor John B. Minor navigated and circumvented coverture laws (the same laws Minor taught to his male students), and many others.

Three women seated in a room with high fidelity microphones.
Meggan Cashwell (far left) and Addie Patrick interview Anne Coughlin at WTJU for episode six of Legal Knowledge.

The Season One episodes are:

  1. David Konig, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Law, “The Jeffersonian Vision for Legal Education”
  2. Justene Hill Edwards, UVA History, “Teaching the Laws of Slavery”
  3. Randi Flaherty, UVA Law, “John B. Minor and the New Era of Legal Education” 
  4. Liz Varon, UVA History, “The Civil War and Reconstruction”
  5. Laura Edwards, Princeton University, “The Legal Status of Women and the Female Relatives of Virginia Law Professors”
  6. Anne Coughlin, UVA Law, “Professionalization and Coeducation” 
Rebecca Barry with James Zehmer, Historic Preservation Project Manager at UVA, on the balcony of Pavilion X. James and Rebecca are discussing a historic photograph in preparation for James’ field recording (bonus content for episode five).

The podcast helps to fulfill Law Special Collections’ mission: to preserve, interpret, and share the history of UVA Law and make accessible our collection of legal history materials. The book and podcast both utilize our archive and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library extensively. The podcast website,, features digitized scans of archival materials mentioned in the episodes. Legal Knowledge has allowed us to go beyond the scope of the book, as our contributors expand on topics that fell to the cutting room floor, discuss sources in greater detail, and consider the importance of reparative historical initiatives at UVA.

Legal Knowledge has been an immensely collaborative effort, involving every member of Law Special Collections as well as faculty, staff, students, and colleagues on Grounds and elsewhere. In summer 2022, we hired an intern through the Institute of Public History to partner with us on the podcast. Rebecca Barry, who just completed her M.A. in English at UVA, was our sound engineer and an invaluable member of the team. WTJU 91.1 FM at UVA hosts many University and local history podcasts, including ours. We recorded all our episodes at WTJU’s studio off Ivy Road.

Listen to Legal Knowledge today on the podcast’s website, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Three women stand on the Lawn with the Rotunda in the background. One of the women is wearing headphones and holding a camera.
Left to right: Randi Flaherty, Addie Patrick, and Meggan Cashwell discuss the early history of UVA Law in the Academical Village on Main Grounds.

Written by

Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick is the Curatorial Specialist with the UVA Law Library.

Meggan Cashwell

Meggan Cashwell

Meggan Cashwell is a postdoctoral research associate in legal history for UVA Law Special Collections. She is spearheading the library’s forthcoming edited history of legal education at the Law School (UVA Press).

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