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President Biden nominates Williamson '10 to lead mine safety

WVU Law 2010 graduate Christopher Williamson

WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden has announced his nomination of Christopher J. Williamson for Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Williamson is a 2010 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law.

From the White House news release:

A proud Appalachian and native of the coalfields of southern West Virginia, Williamson currently serves as Senior Counsel to Chairman Lauren McFerran of the National Labor Relations Board. Prior to joining the NLRB, he served in the Obama-Biden Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor as a member of the senior leadership team at the Mine Safety and Health Administration. In that role, he advised the Assistant Secretary for MSHA on all aspects of agency policy, operations, and communications. 

Professor Richardson named co-editor of Water Law Newsletter

WVU Law professor Jesse Richardson

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Professor Jesse Richardson of the West Virginia University College of Law has been named co-editor of Water Law Newsletter.

The newsletter is a national publication of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and provides information and updates on federal and state water law developments. 

As co-editor the Water Law Newsletter, Richardson will help expand the publication's coverage of laws in the eastern United States. He already serves as the newsletter’s reporter for Virginia and West Virginia.

In addition to teaching, Richardson  is the lead land use attorney in WVU’s Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic. His areas of expertise are agricultural law, land use law and water law. 

WVU Law students are focusing on abuse and neglect practice

WVU Law students Mullins, Miller and LaParne

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three students at the West Virginia University College of Law are learning firsthand how to provide quality legal representation for children in abuse and neglect cases.

Rachael Mullins, Carrie Miller and Christian LaParne are participating in a new externship program through the West Virginia Court Improvement Program Board. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has designated the CIP with improving the state’s foster care and judicial processes.

The students, all 2Ls, are conducting 100 hours of fieldwork in addition to their semester-long externship course. They attend hearings and multi-disciplinary team meetings, tour group homes and juvenile centers, make home visits, conduct legal research and prepare legal documents.

Mullins, Miller and LaParne are supervised by attorneys from Lyons Phillips Legal Group, PLLC, and Jessica Haught, director of the Fitzsimmons Center for Litigation and Advocacy at WVU Law.

Social work student takes on new role at the WVU College of Law

WVU Law social work graduate student Hannah Jack

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Graduate student Hannah Jack is making her mark as the first social work intern in the law clinics at the West Virginia University College of Law.

While earning her Master of Social Work from the WVU School of Social Work, Jack is helping the law clinics serve clients holistically, including connecting them to resources to improve their quality of life. She also consults with law students working in the clinics on topics such as communication and stressors in their relationships with clients.

“I hope to pave the way for this kind of partnership to continue in the future and to demonstrate the role a social worker can play in helping the law clinics provide legal resources,” Jack said. “This role holds opportunities to collaborate with a variety of people: lawyers, clients and even other social workers.”

Jack is supervised by Nicole McConlogue, associate professor of law and clinic director. She sees the potential for social work graduate students to enhance the legal representation the clinics already provide.

Veterans clinic hosting legal services day Nov. 12

WVU Law - West Virginia National Guard uniform with flag and patch

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia veterans and their families will have access to free legal services during a one-day event hosted by the West Virginia University Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic.    

Student attorneys in the Clinic will offer free legal advice and services related to Veterans Affairs claims, wills and other issues on November 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second floor of The Equities House, 900 Virginia St East, Charleston, WV, 25301.  

The legal services day is open to all veterans living in the Mountain State, their spouses and children. Walk-ins will be accepted throughout the day or guests can register in advance by calling 304-460-1476 or emailing  

Veterans must bring with them identification, medical records, prior wills, DD214 forms, service records and any other relevant paperwork.  

WVU Law student awarded diversity and inclusion scholarship

WVU Law student Caroline Toler

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Caroline Toler, a 1L at WVU Law, is a recipient of the 11th annual Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship from the law firm Frost Brown Todd.

Toler earned her bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish from WVU with minors in philosophy and law and legal studies. She was named an Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Senior and earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to travel to Spain where she worked as an English teaching assistant at the University of Málaga and volunteered with La Voz de Los Adoptados.

A first-generation college student and former foster youth, Toler has worked as a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer. After law school, she plans to practice family law, advocating for foster children and transforming how children are treated within the U.S. foster care system.

Frost Brown Todd awarded its 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Scholarships to just five graduate and law school students nationally. Winners were selected from 140 applicants for demonstrating the highest level of academic excellence and a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities.

Important announcement regarding WVCLE

WCLE logo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  For more than 40 years, West Virginia Continuing Legal Education (WVCLE) has been dedicated to the professional development of thousands of lawyers. It has proudly served the state’s attorneys by delivering premier, affordable, relevant and creative programming.

Recently, the WVU College of Law has implemented some strategic organizational changes regarding WVCLE. In the midst of changes to the landscape of continuing legal education services throughout the state and beyond, the WVU College of Law has decided to pause the business operations of WVCLE as a standalone unit.

As a result, WVCLE cannot provide ongoing continuing legal education opportunities throughout the year. However, WVU College of Law will be working alongside other entities to support their continuing legal education programs and, looking toward the future, we are exploring the ever-changing professional continuing legal education needs of attorneys and how the College might best meet those needs. 

WVU Law plans to rethink how to continue our commitment to serving the legal community by providing service-based continuing legal education programs through different centers and departments within the College and through strategic partnerships with organizations outside the law school.

WVU College of Law awarded IRS taxpayer clinic grant

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics logo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A grant to the West Virginia University College of Law from the Internal Revenue Service is going to help more low-income taxpayers in the Mountain State.

The IRS has awarded $100,000 to convert the college’s Taxpayer Advocacy Law Clinic into the only Low Income Taxpayer Clinic in the state. The grant will help fund a new full-time program director and the clinic will be renamed the WVU College of Law Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.

“We will now be able to serve more clients through statewide legal representation and community outreach,” said Nicole McConlogue, associate professor of law and clinic director. “It also means that the clinic can enroll more student attorneys interested in hands-on work experience in taxpayer advocacy.”

LITCs assist low-income individuals who have a tax dispute with the IRS and provide education and outreach to individuals who speak English as a second language. LITCs are independent from the IRS and from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS that ensures taxpayers are treated fairly.

Murder charge against WVU law clinic client dismissed

WVU Law Melissa Giggenbach, Nathaniel Barnett and Devon Unger

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After more than 14 years, Nathaniel Barnett has walked away from the Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington, West Virginia, a completely free man.

On October 5, the state dismissed murder charges against him because DNA testing identified the actual perpetrator. Barnett is a client of the West Virginia Innocence Project Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law.

“It feels great to finally put this behind me,” he said. “Even though I was out of jail, having the charge and another trial hanging over me was extremely stressful. Now I feel like I can finally move on with my life.”

Charges were also dismissed for Barnett’s brother, Philip, and Justin Black. The Barnetts, Black and a fourth man, Brian Dement, were all convicted in 2008 of charges related to the murder of Deanna Crawford in 2002 despite the lack of physical evidence connecting them to the crime scene.

Lawyers and Leaders Class of 2021 inducted

WVU Law 2021 Lawyers & Leaders Class

Morgantown, W.Va. —  WVU Law and West Virginia Executive magazine recently inducted the Lawyers & Leaders Class of 2021. 

Founded in 2017, the Lawyers & Leaders program recognizes the accomplishments of exceptional legal professionals who have made a positive impact on the state and the nation and have dedicated their careers to serving others and their communities. Nominees are required to either be practicing law in West Virginia or be a graduate of WVU Law. 

The 2021 Lawyers and Leaders are:

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