Shaping the Community On Many Fronts

Virginia Nelson ’79 (JD) says that, as a student, she had a “wonderful” experience at USD School of Law. “I had professors each year who are so memorable to me; they were supportive and took an interest in me, which made a big difference.” Nelson, who clerked in her second and third years at law school, says she found USD in general to be “a terrific environment, good learning experience, and was the crucial foundation for the legal career I have had.”

Nelson, who is the founder of her firm, Law Offices of Virginia C. Nelson, is also an adjunct professor at USD School of Law, teaching the Civil Practicum. “USD law students from my observation have always been a very talented group. As an adjunct, I’m incredibly impressed with the caliber of current students.”

Nelson’s course, which is designed to be a practical experience for students, teaches hand-on experience to second and third years. “Most of what they get in their first and second years is an academic education. I want to help them develop the skills, techniques and confidence to go out and be successful practicing law, which is a very important and different component from the academic focus.”

Nelson is very active at USD. Apart from being an adjunct professor, she is also on the Board of Visitors and is vicechair of the current capital campaign. Nelson credits her positive experience as a student and active practitioner in the community, as what has compelled her want to give back to the school. “It’s a long-term relationship. It started as a student, but it’s increased and grown as my career evolved and my relationship with the university progressed. It’s much stronger now than ever. I would have never been able to achieve the things I’ve been able to achieve if I hadn’t gone to USD School of Law.”

When asked what she loves most about USD, Nelson reveals, “I find the people here warm, welcoming, and supportive. They’re eager to make students’ experiences at USD better and as valuable as possible to their ultimate professional development as lawyers.”

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Virginia Nelson