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Legal Knowledge Podcast Bonus Content - S1E6

A Library Podcast

Legal Knowledge

6. Professionalization and Coeducation at UVA Law

Bonus Content

Rose May Davis, Catherine Lipop, and Elizabeth Tompkins ’23 entered UVA Law in 1920 after meeting higher admissions standards than those required of their male counterparts. Female applicants had to hold a B.A. or be 22 years old; male applicants had to complete only one year of college and be at least 18. In 1922 and during their second year, Tompkins and Davis were two of the first three women to pass the Virginia bar exam. Both earned perfect scores. Davis left UVA Law after passing the bar to begin private practice, but Tompkins remained to complete her degree. She became the first woman to graduate from the Law School in 1923. Read more below about the first three women to enroll.

Rose May Davis

Davis joined her brother’s private practice after passing the Virginia bar exam as a 2L. She later earned her PhD in chemistry at Duke University, where she was the first woman to receive a doctorate degree. Davis went on to teach chemistry at Randolph-Macon College. (Image courtesy Duke University Archives)

Catherine Lipop

Lipop was the Law School’s librarian and enrolled as a non-degree student in 1920. She took classes until 1923 and served as law librarian until 1945. Law School Dean William Minor Lile described Lipop as “efficient,” “intelligent,” and “indefatigable.”

Elizabeth N. Tompkins

Tompkins clerked for two years after graduation and then entered private practice in Richmond, Virginia, where she had a successful 54-year legal career.

100 Years of Coeducation

We encourage you to explore the history of coeducation at UVA Law via this online booklet, written and designed by UVA Law Special Collections staff.