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Feature Stories

A closer look at the people and important issues from inside the WVU Law community.

Two Views on the EPA Power Plan

Two Views on the EPA Clean Power Plan

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, issued in August 2015, is designed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal fired electric power plants. Through a series of pollution reduction measures, the EPA aims to lower carbon dioxide emission from the power sector 32 percent by 2030. For West Virginia, that means reducing emission rates as a percentage from its 2012 levels. The EPA has given states until September 2018 to develop plans for achieving the required reductions. Emissions reductions must commence in 2022.

WVU Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development (CESD), in partnership with Downstream Strategies, a Morgantown-based environmental consulting firm, has been analyzing the new rules.

WVU Law Emily Cramer

Emily Cramer: Winning an ABA Fellowship

Emily Cramer, a rising 2L, reached out to the Career Services Center earlier this year for help applying for a summer fellowship opportunity that aligned with her passion for business law. After a lengthy interview process and guidance from the Career Services staff, Cramer was awarded the American Bar Association’s prestigious Janet Dempsey Steiger Fellowship.

Cramer is one of just 32 law students from across the country chosen for the fellowship. She will receive a $6,000 stipend to work eight weeks in the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General in Charleston this summer.

WVU College of Law Shane Young

My First Year of Law School

2L Shane Young, of Salem, Ohio, reflects on his first year at WVU Law. He is the 2016 recipient of the 1L Scholarship, Character and Activism Award.

WVU Law Student Sean Thomas

Sean Thomas: A gut feeling leads to law school

When Sean Thomas visited the WVU Law last year for Admitted Student Day, it did not take him long to decide that he would be coming back in the fall as a 1L.

Thomas, who is from West Chester, Pennsylvania, had never visited campus, let alone West Virginia, before that fateful day. He had even decided to accept admission to another law school. However, on a gut feeling, he decided to give WVU Law a chance.

Jackson Butler

Jackson Butler: Getting the most out of law school

Jackson Butler has been a leader and peer advocate at WVU Law since his first year as a law student.

The 3L from Oklahoma City rose through the ranks of the Student Bar Association (SBA), the College of Law’s student government, and currently serves as 2016-17 SBA president. He got his start as a 1L class senator and was elected SBA vice president as a 2L.

WVU Law Paige Diggs externship

Paige Diggs finds a Mountaineer mentor

Paige Diggs has always been passionate about sports.

Before she began in the JD/Online MBA program at WVU Law, she was a standout on the Fresno State women’s basketball team. Last summer, the 3L from Amarillo, Texas, combined her love of sports and the law into an externship that might lead to the career of her dreams.

WVU Law student Amanda Greene

Amanda Greene: A passion for the law and helping others

Before Amanda Greene met 2010 WVU Law graduate Jonathan Brill, she had never thought about going to law school.

“It never crossed my mind, not even once,” she said.

WVU Law - Ron Walters, Class of 2018

Ron Walters: Doing Law School His Way

Ron Walters is forging his own path in law school. It’s a little different than the typical approach — and it is working for him.

Walters is from Charleston, West Virginia, but he has set foot on five continents and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

WVU Law's Angie Meza, Class of 2019

Angie Meza Gets Her Dream Job

Even though Meza traveled across the country for law school, she was able to keep her dream alive and ultimately get the job she wanted. 

“I thought West Virginia would be a fun adventure. My undergraduate institution was small, so I was excited to be a part of a ‘big school’ culture,” Meza explained. “The College of Law also offered a substantial scholarship that made my legal education much more affordable.” 

WVU Law 2018 Google interns MacKenzie Milam and Jeremy Cook

Working at the intersection of law and technology

Two WVU Law students spent a month this summer working at the intersection of technology and the law for Google.

Second-year students Jeremy Cook and MacKenzie Milam participated in the tech giant's 2018 Legal Summer Institute, a four-week educational leadership program for underrepresented law students. They spent a week in Silicon Valley attending career development and legal education sessions led by Google’s in-house counsel and were paired with Google attorneys who served as mentors.  

WVU Law student Mitch Moore '19

Moot Court Puts Mitch Moore on a Career Path

A native of Hundred, W. Va., Moore graduated from Fairmont State University with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business administration. He chose to pursue a career in the law because it would allow him to use his problem-solving skills to help people.

“I think there is a high level of appreciation and connection between an attorney and his client because the attorney is there to advocate on the client’s behalf,” he said.

WVU Law student Emily Cramer

Opportunities and Connections: Working IP Law in China

Cramer, a 3L, was a legal intern at Schmitt & Orlov, an international law firm that provides legal services related to trademarks, copyrights and patents. As a member of the enforcement division, Cramer monitored the brand presence of the firm’s clients in Chinese business markets to find and legally address counterfeit products.

“The firm’s work helps protect its clients’ brand recognition by cleaning the markets of fake products. Its clients are global and local brands that do business in China,” she explained. “Consumers may not know they are buying counterfeit goods, so this work is also seen as a consumer protection issue because it helps ensure consumers are getting the quality they want from the products they buy.”

WVU Law Brice Phillips '21

Brice Phillips: Being the Best Attorney He Can Be

Brice Phillips ’21 wanted to study the law in a unique environment away from his home state of Texas. So the Houston native stepped out of his comfort zone and onto Law School Hill.

“For me as an attorney, it’s important to be familiar and comfortable with different types of people who face a variety of legal issues,” Phillips said. “I thought WVU Law was the ideal place to provide the kind of learning experience I was looking for when I decided to go to law school: it is in a different region of the country from where I grew up, and the people in Appalachia face different legal issues.”

WVU Law Tim Perry '97 Maryland government relations

Tim Perry ’97: Maryland’s Top Lobbyist

“I think when I started law school I expected to be a small-town practitioner,” Perry recalled. “I didn’t have a very sophisticated understanding of the scope of the practice of law, but I loved Morgantown and knew I wanted to attend law school here after I received my undergraduate degree from WVU.”

Shortly after earning his J.D., Perry received an opportunity to work for Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., then president of the Maryland State Senate. That sparked Perry’s passion for government relations and jumpstarted his career.

WVU Law Francesca Rollo '20

Francesca Rollo: Inspired by Family, Mentored by Professors

Francesca Rollo ’20 is a third-generation WVU Law student, but she’s going to be the first female attorney in her immediate family. 

And while it was male relatives who sparked her passion for the law, Rollo has made her own way in law school with the mentorship of some special faculty.

WVU Law Artificial Intelligence

Exploring Artificial Intelligence and the law

They learned how deepfake videos might impact the 2020 election, why explainability and interpretability matter, and whether an algorithm can be biased.

The students took the class Artificial Intelligence and the Law, a summer course aimed at familiarizing future lawyers with the basics of AI because the technology is increasingly being used in the legal profession and beyond.

WVU Law Graduate Kelly Tomblin of El Paso Energy

Kelly Tomblin: Global Energy Leader

The 1988 WVU Law graduate has worked for more than 25 years in energy and utility markets in the United States, Caribbean, United Kingdom and Latin America, leading billion-dollar companies with millions of customers.

Tomblin hopes her journey from Logan County, West Virginia, to Morgantown for college and law school, to an international career, will empower other women to pursue executive leadership roles.

WVU Law - Drug Court

Compassion from the Bench: Judge Aloi and the Drug Court

Spurred by compassion, the Honorable Michael J. Aloi is leading a support system that helps non-violent offenders overcome addiction to become law-abiding members of their communities.

Aloi, a 1983 WVU Law graduate, is the United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia in Clarksburg, where he presides over the Drug Court. He established the state’s first adult Drug Court in Marion County as a judge for the West Virginia 16th Judicial Circuit.

WVU Law Louis A. Johnson Scholars

Louis A. Johnson Scholars: A Living Legacy

The Louis Johnson Scholarship at WVU Law was established with a $1.3 million gift from a trust created by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Louis Arthur Johnson.

“It’s one of our most prestigious scholarships,” said Beth Pierpont, assistant dean for enrollment management. “The selection committee invites 1L applicants based on their academic excellence and superior leadership skills.”

WVU Law 2020 graduates Petitto and Bennett

Petitto and Bennett: Succeeding in rural practice

On Main Street in the small town of West Union, West Virginia, there’s a new law firm in a former bed and breakfast. It is Sarah Petitto’s practice.

The 2020 WVU Law graduate, who grew up 30 miles away in West Milford, has always dreamed of operating a solo general law practice.

WVU Law David Hardesty teaching

New Hardesty Fellowship Supports Public Service

The President David C. Hardesty Public Service Fellowship was established at WVU Law by Ola Adekunle, a 2007 graduate and senior patent attorney for Google. The multinational technology company provided matching funds for the fellowship.

“President Hardesty epitomizes public service and he is one example of so many WVU alumni, leaders, teachers, and administrators who are passionate about helping WVU students fulfil their dreams,” Adekunle said. “This is my small way of giving back and encouraging WVU Law students to become leaders in the public service field.”

WVU Law students Darcy Delligatti and Darwin Harris

Working in conservation law

Delligatti was a legal intern for the National Wild Turkey Federation, an organization that works to preserve America’s hunting heritage through increasing wild turkey populations, conservation and improving natural habitats for many species of wildlife. 

Under the supervision of NWTF’s Carol Frampton, in-house counsel and Chief of Legal Services, Delligatti conducted legal research for multiple projects including the structuring of non-profit organizations and amendments to state constitutions.

WVU Law Headley Ballard

Classmates: A Success Story

It has been said that Brian Headley takes Bar exams for fun, but that’s not really true.

The 2004 WVU Law graduate is, however, licensed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and South Carolina. 

WVU Law - JR Clifford and the Niagara Movement group photo

Black History Month: The Legacy of J.R. Clifford

Clifford did not earn his law degree from WVU, but his legacy is enshrined and honored at the College of Law.

Born in 1848 in present-day Moorefield, West Virginia, Clifford enlisted in the United States Colored Troops when he was 15 years old and served in the Civil War as a corporal in the Union Army.

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