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Blackburn, Scott Reach the Last Rounds of ABA Moot Court Competition

WVU Law students Stephen Scott and Karissa Blackburn

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two WVU Law students recently competed in the semifinals of an American Bar Association national moot court competition — and one advance to the final round.

Third-year students Karissa Blackburn and Stephen Scott both made it to the last stages of the ABA’s First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition in Miami, Florida.  

Blackburn and Scott earned one of the four highest brief scores in the competition’s quarterfinal. That put them on the road to Miami, where they competed against law students from Yale, Duke and Michigan State.

“Karissa and I were eager to compete because we wanted to improve our writing and oral argument skills, as well as further increase WVU Law's visibility and participation in the American Bar Association,” said Scott. “Preparing for and performing in the competition went extremely well because we have great synergy between us and we know each other's strengths. In each phase of the competition, we worked tirelessly to make WVU Law proud.”

U.S. Fourth Circuit Judges to Hear Arguments at WVU Law on Feb. 19

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  A panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will convene at WVU Law on Feb. 19.

The judges will hear arguments in three cases beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the public is invited to attend. Security screening and seating begin at 8:00 a.m. and photo ID is required. Bags, backpacks, cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed in the courtroom.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for anyone interested in the law to see a federal appellate court in action,” said  Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “We are extremely grateful for the court’s willingness to conduct its business at West Virginia University and provide our students with this wonderful learning experience.”

The court will hear one civil case and two civil rights cases.

Cyphert Cited in Iowa Court Case

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Lecturer in Law Amy Cyphert has been cited by the Iowa Court of Appeals in a parental custody rights case.

The court cited Cyphert’s article " Prisoners of Fate: The Challenges of Creating Change for Children of Incarcerated Parents" in  In the Interest of R.B., Minor Child919 N.W.2d 769 (2018).

The appeals court upheld the district’s court ruling that terminated a formerly incarcerated mother’s parental rights to her child, who now resides with his grandparents.

Cyphert's article was cited by a judge who wrote separately to raise concerns that no case worker had reached out to the mother while she was incarcerated to arrange visitation with her son, and to urge the relevant departments to "not operate on the assumption that incarcerated parents are irredeemable and not worthy of pursuing reasonable efforts toward family reunification."

Williams '85 Establishes Endowed Scholarship

WVU Law 1985 graduate Marc Williams - credit Nelson Mullins

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As the son of teachers, getting a quality education was a primary focus of Marc Williams’s life.

A degree from WVU Law helped prepare Williams for a successful legal career, and scholarships helped him fund his education. Now, the 1985 graduate has pledged $50,000 to help WVU Law students offset the cost of their legal education.  

The Marc E. Williams Endowed Law Scholarship will be awarded to students who are graduates of Marshall University or residents of Cabell or Wayne Counties in West Virginia. Williams earned his bachelor’s degree from Marshall.

Based in Huntington, Williams is the managing partner of the West Virginia office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP. He serves as team leader and co-chair of the firm’s consumer and mechanical products practice group.

Justice Starcher Gives to Veterans Clinic in Memory of His Brother

Ronald S. Starcher

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  Larry Starcher, a West Virginia Supreme Court Senior Status Justice from Roane County, has donated $3,915 to the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic at WVU in honor of his late brother, Sgt.1st Class Ronald R. Starcher.

A native of Spencer, West Virginia, Ronald Starcher joined the U.S. Army, with parental permission, at age 16. He served for more than 22 years in Korea, Japan, Germany, Alaska and Hawaii. He also served three tours of duty in the Vietnam War. Ronald Starcher died in 2015 following several years of blindness.  

Housed at WVU Law, the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic represents clients in litigation before administrative agencies and courts on benefits, discharge upgrades, employment claims and other civil and criminal matters.

“The veteran’s clinic does remarkable pro bono work for the state’s former service members,” said Starcher. “Supporting it is a fitting tribute to my brother who, like many West Virginians, served his country with honor and distinction.”

WVU Law is now home to the state’s Access to Justice Commission

WVU Law Dean Greg Bowman

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA —  Across the country, special commissions remove barriers to justice for low-income and disadvantaged people by working with courts, the bar, and legal aid organizations.

WVU Law is now home to the state’s Access to Justice Commission.  Only two commissions in the country are administered by law schools.

“The Access to Justice Commission is central to fulfilling our mission as a law school to serve the region and make a national impact through our programming and service,” said Gregory Bowman, dean of the College of Law.

The West Virginia Supreme Court founded the state’s Access to Justice Commission in 2009 and transferred it to the College of Law last year. The commission recently hired a new director and has restructured its governance to include law professors, attorneys, government officials and legal aid providers. The West Virginia State Bar awarded a $75,000 grant to support the commission’s work and its transition to WVU Law.

Panel Discussion Jan. 28 to Focus on Community Survival After Coal

WVU Law guest speaker Tom Hansell

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —Tom Hansell of Appalachian State University will discuss  After Coal: Stories of Survival in Appalachia and Wales on Jan. 28 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in the Event Hall at WVU Law. 

Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Hansell will be joined by panelists Caity Coyne of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Nicholas Stump of the George R. Farmer Jr. Law Library at WVU. Ashton Marra of WVU’s Reed College of Media and 100 Days in Appalachia will moderate this conversation about how communities and cultures survive after coal.

The discussion is sponsored by the WVU Humanities Center, the Appalachian Justice Initiative at WVU Law, Reed College of Media, and West Virginia University Press.

WVU Law, Marshall University Launch the Center for Consumer Law and Education

WVU Law President Gordon Gee

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU Law and Marshall University have established a one-of-its-kind Center for Consumer Law and Education to build advocacy for those in West Virginia and beyond.

The universities officially launched the CCLE at special events on their campuses Nov. 28 and 29.

CCLE’s mission is to serve as a principal consumer, law, policy, education and support resource in West Virginia and nationally. It is the only center of its kind on the East Coast and the only one that is a collaboration between two universities.

“I am proud that our university has partnered with Marshall University and many others in the state to help West Virginia move forward and to help our consumers be protected,” said Gordon Gee , President of West Virginia University. “We have an opportunity to improve the lives of West Virginians. This is about education, but it is also about advocacy. It is about making certain we continue to make progress in this state.”

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