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Justice Carrico remembered for dedication to UR law students

Published: February 7, 2013, 1:21 am ET
Collegian Reporter

Justice Harry L. Carrico loved University  of Richmond so much that his family arranged for his funeral to be held at the Cannon Memorial Chapel on Friday, where a large crowd came to honor the longest-serving Virginia Supreme Court jurist.

“The church was full of the highest dignitaries from the state, as well as people of all different walks of life,” law professor Clark Williams said. Those dignitaries included Gov. Bob McDonnell, as well as all members of the state’s highest tribunal.

Carrico earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the George Washington University, but had “adopted” Richmond, particularly later in his career, Williams said.

“When I say he adopted our law school and students, he did,” Williams said. “He took a personal interest in them.”

After retiring from 42 years of service on the Virginia Supreme Court – 22 years of which he served as the chief justice – Carrico came to University of Richmond as jurist-in-residence at the T.C. Williams School of Law.

Carrico taught seminars, judged Moot Courtroom competitions and held regular office hours for Richmond law school students, law school Dean Wendy Perdue said.

“Notwithstanding his exceptional accomplishments, he was a genuinely kind, thoughtful and down-to-earth man who loved spending time with students,” Perdue  said. “We have all been enriched by having him in our community and he will be greatly missed.”

Williams said that Carrico  would come in on Thursday afternoons to spend two hours sitting in the dean’s conference room, making himself available for one-on-one conversations with students.

Carrico’s open door for discussion signified that he was “very much a mentor,” Williams said. “Students realized this was someone that had such an impact on the judicial system, and to give up his time on a one-on-one basis was just really generous.”

Carrico also developed a professionalism program to help law school students begin to understand some of the expectations of the legal profession. He placed significant emphasis on communicating the importance of the career as a high calling, Williams said.

John Douglass, who served as dean of the law school from 2007 to 2011, worked closely with Carrico  during that time. In 2010, Douglass  nominated Carrico for the John Marshall Medal in Law, a prestigious award recognizing professional excellence in the field of civic service, which he won.

In his nomination letter, Douglass  shared some of his own personal observations regarding Carrico’s work with Richmond law students. Douglass said Carrico was “a stalwart voice for judicial independence and the rule of law, a dedicated advocate for excellence and high ethical standards in the legal profession and a devoted teacher for a generation of young lawyers.”

Carrico  died at age 96. All state flags were flown half-staff at the governor’s mandate in honor of Carrico.

Contact reporter Mara LugoRudner at

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