Richmond Law Dean Wendy Perdue

Richmond Law Dean inducted into Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame

June 14, 2024


Richmond School of Law Dean Wendy Collins Perdue grew up as the daughter, granddaughter, and sister of naval officers. But her heart led her down a different path.

“I didn’t have any lawyers in my family,” Perdue said. “In college, I majored in philosophy and economics. On a whim, I took a law course and loved it.”

In May, Perdue was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame, the most recent accolade in a storied career.

The Hall of Fame honors Virginia lawyers who have been in practice for 30 years and are selected based on career accomplishments, efforts to improve the quality of justice in the state, and contributions including the development of law in Virginia.

“The Commonwealth of Virginia has some of the finest lawyers in the country, so to be included in this Hall of Fame group is quite humbling,” she said.

Perdue was born in Hawaii and moved frequently, due to her father’s occupation. “Moving and changing schools instills a degree of flexibility and self-reliance that has no doubt served me well in adult life,” she said.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College — where she rowed on the crew team — and her law degree from the Duke University School of Law. She was the first female editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal. After that, she clerked for retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, then on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced law at the firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells). She then joined the faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an associate dean and professor of law.

In 2011, she became the first female dean of any law school in Virginia when she joined the University of Richmond.

She is past president of the Association of American Law Schools and a former vice president of Order of the Coif, the legal education honor society. She has also held numerous significant positions within legal education and the bar, including the editorial board of the Journal of Legal Education and the Board of Governors of the Virginia Bar Association.

Perdue’s scholarship includes civil procedure, conflict of laws, land use, and public health. Her publications include two case books and numerous articles and chapters, which have appeared in legal journals, including the Virginia Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, and the Journal of Law.

She said her roles have allowed her to partner with colleagues at UR and across the legal profession to strengthen legal education and the foundations of justice.

Perdue said, “I hope my legacy as dean is that the University of Richmond School of Law is a strong, more inclusive community, with wonderful faculty, students, and alumni who continue to model the best of the legal profession.”