Life in the ‘Burg

For a prospective law student, there is a lot to consider when choosing where to study. Just as important as bar passage rates and employment data is the quality of life! Williamsburg has some of the best features of a small college town and a big city – enough that the New York Times named it one of 52 Places to Go in 2019! 2L Briana Jackson offers some of her experiences living and studying in Williamsburg as a law student.

Briana Jackson gives tips on law school research

Briana Jackson, 2L

Williamsburg is a charming city with deeply rooted history. When walking through Colonial Williamsburg, you will see beautiful horses, cobble stone walkways and historical interpreters in costume depicting daily Colonial life! Beyond the history and museums, Williamsburg and the surrounding area offer many places to eat, have fun, and relax.

There are countless restaurants, from mom and pop restaurants to chain-food eateries. A quick walk from the law school is Merchants Square, which houses some staples in the William & Mary culture – Cheese Shop and Aromas will forever be two of the most popular locations to grab some food or study for a few hours. Breads ends and House from Cheese Shop is highly sought after by current students and alums alike. Regardless of what you’re craving, Williamsburg probably has something that will hit the spot!

The Cheese Shop in Merchants Square is a university staple

The Cheese Shop in Merchants Square is a university staple

Beyond the surplus of food options in the area, there are many ways to unwind and take a break from the books. If you are an adrenaline junky or just like to enjoy the food and drinks at an amusement park like myself, Busch Gardens is just a short drive away. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is European theme with nine villages centered around six countries to visit. The park offers roller coasters, rides, and games. If you like being by the water, Williamsburg is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from Virginia Beach and forty-five minutes away from smaller beaches in Newport News! If you are looking for a getaway weekend, Williamsburg is also near Richmond, Virginia. In an hour drive, you can be surrounded by the business of city living. Long weekends could put you in Washington, D.C., the Blueridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, or the Eastern Shore really quickly!

While there are many neighboring cities to keep William & Mary students busy, most students spend their weekends locally in Williamsburg. A typical weekend in Williamsburg for me involves going to the Movie Tavern with some friends or staying in and watching Netflix. On Saturday mornings I go to the Farmer’s Market in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchant Square to pick out fresh flowers. Saturday evenings I typically hang out at Green Leafe Café or the College Delly on Richmond Road. This area is an excellent place to hang out with fellow law students and meet other students at William & Mary graduate and undergraduate campuses. Williamsburg is a close-knit and welcoming community!

Briana Jackson is a 2L from Leesburg, Virginia. She graduated from Christopher Newport News University in 2016 with a degree in Political Science. At the law school, she is involved with the Black Law Students Association, the Public Service Fund, and the Women’s Law Society; she currently serves on the staff of the Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice (formerly the Journal of Women and the Law), and spent last summer working at the Fairfax County District Court office.

Intramural Sports and Other Activities in Williamsburg

K KoballaBy Kasey Koballa, Class of 2018

At William & Mary, outside of the classroom, you can often find our students participating in Intramural sports or other athletic activities. These provide students with a mental break from the classroom as well as a great opportunity to engage with other law students and have some fun!  Law students participate in intramural sports with the rest of the College, which can heighten the competition, allows for the change to meet people outside of the law school, and provides stress-relief.  These sports range from team sports (such as volleyball, dodgeball, soccer, basketball, softball, and flag football) to a few individual sports (such as tennis and rock climbing).

With a large number of prior collegiate athletes at William & Mary in addition to the competitive nature of law students, our teams often fare well against the undergraduates, but offer some less-competitive avenues as well. Throughout my three years here, I have played on various soccer, basketball, and football teams.  A few of the teams have contended for championships, but with others, we were lucky to just get into playoffs.  Regardless of the success, engaging in intramural sports provided me with a great opportunity to get to know other students and let off a little stress, and most importantly, have fun!  When I entered law school, I was worried whether I would still have time to pay sports (or even go to the gym), but we highly encourage students to get involved in intramural sports and athletic activities alike.  It is nice to know that every time I go to the William & Mary gym I’ll run into another law student and a smiling, familiar face!

Outside of Intramural opportunities, William & Mary Law student organizations, such as the Military and Veterans Law Society, run weekly clubs as well as the Williamsburg Winery and a few other organizations throughout the Williamsburg Community. We also host an annual Faculty-Student Basketball game (as part of Admitted Students Weekend). William & Mary sends a team yearly to the UVA Softball Tournament in April.  Additionally, student groups such as the Sports and Entertainment Law Society and the Innocence Project have hosted basketball and dodgeball tournaments to raise money for a good cause – another source of engagement and stress relief!

Lastly, while we are not directly on the coast of Virginia, Williamsburg is surrounded by various bodies of water. With the mild-climate in Williamsburg, students will often rent boats, canoes, or paddleboards and get out on the James River or College Creek along the Colonial Parkway.  This offers students with more and diverse opportunities to stay active, relieve stress, and get some Vitamin D!  And, personally being from the coast, I feel that nothing relieves stress better than being out on the water!