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WVU Law students are working in public service this summer

WVU Law 2019 Land Use clinic PIA Fellows

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—This summer, 25 WVU Law students are practicing public interest law across West Virginia.

As Public Interest Advocates Summer Fellows, these students are working in full-time, paid positions for 10 weeks serving the poor, the elderly, children, and victims of domestic violence, among others. They are gaining valuable experience in children’s advocacy, civil rights, consumer law, disability rights, and land use and conservation law.

PIA is a WVU Law student group that raises money to support the nonprofit West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest. Each year, the WVFLIPI sponsors paid summer fellowships that make it possible for WVU Law students to work for public interest law organizations throughout the state.

“PIA fellowships benefit the organizations who host our fellows and the clients they serve,” said Jennifer Powell, PIA advisor and executive director of WVFLIPI. “Fellows help give access to justice to so many West Virginians who could not otherwise afford a lawyer. Fellowships supported by PIA and the Fund have also helped launch hundreds of law students’ careers and inspired many to work in public interest law and provide pro bono legal services once they become lawyers.”

Professor Martin conducting research for consumer rights

WVU Law Professor Jena Martin

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—WVU Law professor  Jena Martin is exploring consumer rights issues with the goal of creating best-practice guidelines for policymakers.

Martin is the inaugural recipient of the Ralph C. Young Fellowship awarded by the Center for Consumer Law and Education, a joint program between WVU College of Law and Marshall University.

“The fellowship is giving me the opportunity to engage with regional, national and international audiences on issues of data privacy and access to justice,” said Martin

Martin’s consumer protection research is long-term. In the coming year, she will survey and interview victims of misused data, specifically asking them what satisfactory outcomes they would seek as a result of data-privacy violations.

Wood '19 awarded Equal Justice Works fellowship

WVU Law Brendan Wood '19

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Brendan Wood '19 has been awarded a post-graduate legal fellowship from Equal Justice Works that will allow him to offer legal assistance to West Virginians recovering from addiction as they work towards greater socioeconomic stability.

Starting in September, he will create a referral network for education, counseling, group therapy and self-help materials that address the underlying issues associated with substance use disorder. Wood will also use the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws to advocate for his clients to give them improved access to employment, housing and educational opportunities.

“The nature of substance use disorder deprives many victims of access to resources and employment necessary for recovery, including legal counsel to protect their rights under the ADA and other legislation,” he said.

Wood will be working closely with Legal Aid of West Virginia in Charleston. They plan to make the fellowship project a blueprint to help communities across the United States address substance use disorder.

Clinic client's conviction overturned

WVU Law WV Innocence Project Nathaniel Barnett team

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— WVU Law's  West Virginia Innocence Project recently helped overturn the conviction of a man who spent more than seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit.   

On May 1, Judge Alfred E. Ferguson of Cabell County, West Virginia, vacated the manslaughter conviction of Nathaniel Barnett in light of newly-tested DNA evidence. Barnett was convicted in connection with the 2002 murder of Deanna Crawford.

Ferguson gave the Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office 90 days to decide if they want a new trial for Barnett or if the charges should be dismissed.

Nathaniel Barnett, his brother Phillip, Justin Black and Brian Dement were all convicted in 2008 of charges related to Crawford’s murder despite the lack of physical evidence connecting them to the crime scene.

WVU Law-Marshall consumer center joins federal program


MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— The  Center for Consumer Law and Education, a joint program between WVU Law and Marshall University, has joined a federal program that empowers consumers.

The CCLE is now a member of “Your Money, Your Goals,” a grassroots initiative of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CCLE is one of 40 organizations nationally admitted into the program this year.

As a member of “Your Money, Your Goals,” CCLE staff will receive training and tools that will help consumers achieve financial wellbeing and learn important financial skills such as developing budgets, reviewing credit reports, and managing debt.

Since 2013, the “Your Money, Your Goals” program has trained more than 26,000 frontline staff and volunteers in service organizations across the country. Members of the group include federal, state, and local government agencies, faith-based and social service organizations, and financial service providers.

Kimberly Reed '96 sworn in as president and chairman of federal EXIM Bank

WVU Law 1997 graduate Kimberly Reed (EXIM Bank)

Washington, D.C.—Kimberly A. Reed, a 1996 WVU Law graduate, is the new president and chairman of the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). 

The swearing-in ceremony took place at EXIM headquarters in Washington, D.C. Reed was sworn in by Joyce Stone, EXIM assistant corporate secretary and Ambassador Jeffrey D. Gerrish, EXIM’s former president and chairman (acting). 

Reed was confirmed to EXIM’s top post by the U.S. Senate on May 8, 2019, by a bipartisan vote of vote of 79 to 17.

“I am incredibly grateful to President Trump for this opportunity to execute his agenda by growing jobs and helping U.S. businesses prosper. I am committed to ensuring that American workers can compete on a fair playing field in international trade. It is a tremendous honor to be appointed by President Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead this distinguished mission,” said Reed.

McClure-Demers ’91 shortlisted for national diversity and inclusion award

WVU Law - Marilyn McClure-Demers '91 by Columbus Headshots

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Chambers USA has shortlisted Marilyn McClure-Demers, a 1991 WVU Law graduate, for its 2019 Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year award.

The Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year award recognizes a general counsel who has shown dedication and commitment to gender diversity programs and/or taken an active role in organizing events and/or discussions to further the advancement of women in the law.

Just 11 lawyers nationally are shortlisted for the 2019 award. The winner will be announced on June 6 at a ceremony in San Francisco.

"To be shortlisted by Chambers means you are a true diversity and inclusion pioneer for the legal profession," said GregoryBowman, dean of the College of Law. “We are proud of Marilyn and inspired by her work.”

Professor Joshua Fershee named dean of Creighton School of Law

WVU Law professor Joshua Fershee

OMAHA, NE—WVU Law professor  Joshua Fershee has been named the 11th dean of Creighton University School of Law. He will officially begin his duties as dean on July 1.

Professor  Kendra Fershee has accepted a tenured faculty position at Creighton School of Law. 

Joshua Fershee has served as professor of law and director of LLM programs in energy and sustainable development law at WVU Law since 2012. He was also the associate dean for faculty research and development from 2015-2018.

Kendra Fershee joined the WVU Law faculty in 2012 and served as the associate dean for academic affairs from 2015-18. She is editor-in-chief of the ABA's Family Law Quarterly.

The Class of 2019 graduates from WVU Law

WVU Law 2019 Commencement

MORGANTOWN, W. Va.— WVU Law awarded degrees to 101 members of the Class of 2019 at commencement on May 10 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the WVU Creative Arts Center.

“As you go forth to live your lives greatly within the law, it is vital that you do so with idealism,” Gregory Bowman , dean of the College of Law, told the graduates.

Vincent Cardi, who was selected Professor of the Year by the Class of 2019, delivered the commencement address. He explored five general characteristics of a good lawyer: show up for work; return phone calls; be honest with your clients; do the work; and get involved in the community.

Cardi also added four more traits of good lawyers: courage, teamwork, organizational skills, and independence.

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