Kendrick Brings Supreme Court Experience to the U.Va. Law Classroom

May 23, 2008 — After a year in Justice David Souter's chambers, 2006 graduate Leslie Kendrick will join the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Law this fall, bringing the myriad experiences in U.S. law and politics that come with a Supreme Court clerkship. 

"This kind of bird's-eye experience of the legal process is a good reason to do a clerkship no matter what you want to do afterward," she said. "It gives you a better sense of courts as institutions, and it exposes you to many different legal areas and questions."

Kendrick's experience at the court will inform her teaching and research in many ways, she said. In her first year, she will teach courses in torts, First Amendment constitutional law and a First Amendment theory seminar with fellow law professor Lillian BeVier.

Prior to her Supreme Court post, Kendrick clerked in Charlottesville for 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a 1972 U.Va. law graduate.

"I knew from the moment I met her that she was cut out for a career in law teaching. She has an exceptionally creative mind," said professor Liz Magill, who first met Kendrick when she applied for the Dillard Scholarship as a student. "I am so happy she has decided to join our faculty. Our scholarly community and students will be enriched by her presence."

Kendrick was awarded the Dillard Scholarship, which is the highest honor bestowed to entering students and provides a full merit scholarship. She received the Margaret G. Hyde Award at graduation, the highest honor given to a graduating student by the faculty, and was an Olin Scholar.

As a student, Kendrick received the Virginia State Bar Family Law Book Award and served as the essays development and book reviews editor for the Virginia Law Review. Her student note, "A Test for Criminally Instructional Speech," published in the Virginia Law Review, won her the Law School Alumni Association Best Note Award and the 2006 Brown Award for Excellence in Legal Writing, a $10,000 national prize for excellence in student legal writing.

Before coming to the Law School, Kendrick was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where she received her Ph.D. in English literature in 2003. She received her bachelor's degree in 1998 with highest distinction in classics and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Kendrick is excited to return to Charlottesville. "Most definitely the thing I look forward to most is being back in not just any academic environment, but the happiest, most collegial academic environment anyone could imagine. In both its students and its faculty, U.Va. is unique. I also look forward to eating the Bellair Birdwood sandwich on a regular basis."

— by Emily Williams