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WVU Law professor, expert on international criminal law offers expertise at the International Legal Ethics Conference

West Virginia University College of Law Associate Professor Cody Corliss, an expert on international criminal law, recently offered his expertise at the Tenth International Legal Ethics Conference (ILEC), held July 17-19, 2024 at the University of Amsterdam’s Law School, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Corliss presented his research on Friday, July 19, as part of a panel focused on ethics and government lawyers, speaking alongside legal experts from Botswana and Kenya.

His individual presentation focused on the qualifications and role of the United States special counsel, a position designed to operate when the United States Department of Justice has a conflict of interest that precludes its investigation. Notable recent special counsel investigations include the federal prosecutions of Hunter Biden and former President Donald Trump. 

Specifically, Corliss advocated for increased attention to the specific qualifications that complement the special counsel role, arguing that a prosecutor with international criminal justice experience is best positioned to serve as special counsel, particularly in situations where the rule of law is under stress. His research forms the basis of a forthcoming article in the Utah Law Review.

Mon Forest Towns initiative partners awarded $150K to support land use planning

 Community members from across the region gather at Elkins Amphitheater to set positive intentions before the Mon Forest Towns Mon-U-Mental Event.

Partners supporting the Mon Forest Towns initiative have been awarded $150,000 to support land use planning in the Mon Forest. 

The program is a collaboration among the WVU College of Law Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, Downstream Strategies and the Mon Forest Town Partnership, with the support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

 Community members from across the region gather at Elkins Amphitheater to set positive intentions before the Mon Forest Towns Mon-U-Mental Event.

WVU Law Pedagogy on Forefront of AI

Student sits in class at WVU Law

If you were to walk into the law school this fall, you would find many classes that have been taught for over a century: torts, contracts, criminal law, etc. But you might be surprised at some other classes today’s law students can take at West Virginia University College of Law.

Student sits in class at WVU Law

As the field of law has evolved, and especially as advances in artificial intelligence have changed the legal landscape, the College of Law has innovated its course offerings. For example, the College of Law has offered Artificial Intelligence and the Law since 2020. Professor Amy Cyphert, who developed the course, notes that it provides students with a background in the important concepts in the field of AI, as well as an overview of all the ways that AI is changing the practice of law. The class is so timely that Professor Cyphert builds days into the syllabus to cover all the breaking news that has happened in the field since the start of the semester. 

In a favorite moment from the spring of 2024, she was leading the class in a conversation on AI and antitrust when students started receiving breaking news announcements that the government had brought antitrust actions against Apple. Students learn about large language models like ChatGPT, hear from experts in cybersecurity, and review computer science research papers.

WVU Law Professor, Director of the WV Innocence Project Clinic Serving the State and its People

WV Innocence Project Clinics director, staff and students

Originally from Roanoke, West Virginia, Melissa Giggenbach said she saw the power lawyers had to protect people's rights, especially those who are the most vulnerable in our communities, and wanted to join those lawyers whose primary goals were to help people.  

Today, as West Virginia University College of Law’s Teaching Associate Professor and Director for the West Virginia Innocence Project Clinic (WVIP), Giggenbach does just that.  

WV Innocence Project Clinics director, staff and students

WVU Law Alumni Serving the State and its People

William Shultz, WVU Law 2023 Graduate

West Virginia University College of Law continues to prepare graduates to provide legal services in communities throughout the state. 

For the Class of 2023, WVU Law reported 90 graduates with full employment – full-time, long-term work in a Bar Pass Required or J.D. Advantage position. That’s a rate of more than 87 percent. 

In fact, 62 percent of these graduates stayed in West Virginia. The biggest share of graduates (24.3 percent) is employed at firms that employ up to 10 attorneys only. 

"WVU Law is thankful for the investment the legal community of West Virginia makes in hiring our graduates as they begin the next steps in their careers as attorneys,” said Lauren McCartney, WVU Law’s Director of the Meredith Center for Career Services and Professional Development

WVU Law’s Amy Cyphert Discusses Her Love for West Virginia, Law Students and AI Law

Morgantown, West Virginia native and Lecturer in Law at West Virginia University’s College of Law Amy Cyphert chose a career in law because she was inspired by people who made a difference in their communities. 

“I was drawn to law for many reasons, including that I was inspired by people who made a difference in their communities through impact litigation,” said Cyphert. “I also appreciated that so many lawyers were leaders, including as elected representatives. I also really liked the logic of law, and the way you could use the persuasive writing techniques I learned as an undergraduate to help accomplish justice for your clients.” 

Cyphert’s law career took her from Morgantown to Manhattan. 

“After clerking for a judge in Manhattan, I practiced law there for several years,” she said. “I knew I wanted to get home to Morgantown, where I have a large extended family I’m very close with. A position opened up in WVU’s Honors College just as I was thinking about next steps. It was an unexpected path and one that many of my Big Law colleagues were confused by, but I have never looked back. Within a couple of years of settling in at WVU, I began teaching as an adjunct at the College of Law and then eventually had a formal joint appointment between Law and Honors.” 

Mary Claire Davis Finds Teaching Law an Opportunity to Have a Positive Influence in Public Service

Originally from Richwood, West Virginia, Mary Claire Davis, Teaching Associate Professor at the West Virginia University College of Law, admits she didn’t always want to be a lawyer but knew she wanted to stay in her home state and serve its people. 

Davis comes from a family of public servants – her mother and sister have served as West Virginia public school teachers; her father has been a prosecutor, judge, and mayor; and her grandfather was a delegate in the West Virginia Legislature, county sheriff, and public school teacher.

“At the time I applied to law school, I was seeking a new personal and professional challenge,” said Davis. “Law seemed to be a good fit. I enjoyed reading and writing, and I knew you did a lot of both in law school.” However, she quickly realized that earning a law degree would present more ways to carry on her family’s long history and tradition of service.

After earning her J.D. from WVU Law in 2008, Davis served as a judicial law clerk for twelve years, working for three federal judges at both the trial court and appellate court levels.

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