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WVU Law Grads Tackle New Positions Across Country

Nakia Ridgeway

WVU Law Class of 2023 graduates will spend their summers preparing for the bar exam and then dive into new careers, which range from clerkships with federal and state judges to positions in law firms and government agencies all across the country. Here are a few of their stories:

Nakia Ridgeway

Nakia Ridgeway

Ridgeway will begin a two-year clerkship with the Hon. Michael J. Aloi, United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia, in Clarksburg. She served as a judicial extern in Judge Aloi’s chambers during law school and was eager to return to the “very hands-on opportunity.” While externing, Ridgeway attended hearings, helped write orders, and even assisted in handling two civil motions from start to finish.

Attorney Paul T. Farrell, Jr. Honored with WVU College of Law Justitia Officium Award

Paul Ferrell receiving award

Prominent trial attorney and West Virginia University College of Law alumnus Paul Thomas Farrell, Jr. is the recipient of the 2023 College of Law Justitia Officium Award.  Established in 1978 to mark the 100th anniversary of the College of Law, the Justitia Officium is the highest honor bestowed by the law faculty in recognition of outstanding contributions and service to the legal profession.  Mr. Farrell received his award at Commencement on May 12.

Paul understands how lives hang in the balance when injustice exists in our courtrooms and in our communities – and that, often, what can be accomplished in the courtroom can change the lives of countless others outside of it.  Although he’s most recently fought for justice from the opioid industry for the devastation it has caused throughout West Virginia, Paul’s passionate advocacy for all and his relentless dedication to the legal profession and its role in society have had an immeasurable impact throughout his career. We are so honored that he and his wife, Jackie, are our alumni and continue the Farrell family’s lasting legacy to the College of Law,” said WVU College of Law Dean Amelia Smith Rinehart.

WVU Law Professor Shares International War Crimes Experience

Cody Corliss

This spring, WVU Law students and members of the West Virginia State Bar have been learning about international and domestic terrorism from former international war crimes prosecutor Cody Corliss, a Wetzel County native who returned to West Virginia to join the College of Law faculty last August.

Prior to coming to WVU Law, Professor Corliss served in the Office of the Prosecutor at a United Nations criminal tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands. He was a member of the team that secured the conviction of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.  

Corliss spoke to judges and practicing lawyers at the West Virginia State Bar 2023 Annual Meeting this spring and also taught a new law school seminar focusing on terrorism.

“What’s nice for me is that my talk for the bar and my scholarship dovetail really nicely with the seminar I’m teaching on domestic and international terrorism,” said Corliss, who holds degrees from Harvard University, Universiteit Leiden, and Cornell University. Fourteen students took the introductory terrorism seminar.

WVU Law Hosts Largest Gathering of Federal Judges in West Virginia

WV Judges

WV Judges

Thirteen federal judges gathered with nearly 70 law students and members of the state bar at WVU College of Law earlier this month for a national diversity event designed to demystify the process of becoming a bankruptcy or magistrate judge.

The purpose of the event, according to co-chair Judge David Bissett, was to “put the bug in people’s ears that lawyers from a variety of practice backgrounds” can become judges.

WVU Law Students Thrive in Judicial Clerkships

While WVU Law Director for Career Services and Professional Development Lauren McCartney sees much to be proud of in the College’s recently announced employment statistics for the Class of 2022, the most exciting news is that 18 graduates secured judicial clerkships at both the state and federal levels.

 We’re seeing a major trend with our students wanting government service, and the judicial clerkship is an opportunity for WVU Law students to get really hands on with work that matters,” McCartney said. “A judicial clerkship is a great place to learn how the court works and thinks.”

 Six of the 2022 WVU Law grads secured clerkships with federal judges, often besting students from Ivy League institutions for these extremely prestigious and sought out positions, McCartney said. Shawn Hogbin, a 2022 graduate originally from Hedgesville, is working in Charleston for the Honorable Irene C. Berger in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

“Working in chambers is truly a delight,” said Hogbin, 26, who will begin a second clerkship in the fall with Judge Robert King in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. “I’ve heard people compare it to a small practice group. It feels very close-knit, and we talk about all of the issues.”

WVU Law Student Wins National Legal Writing Award

Maggie Lohmann

Maggie Lohmann

Maggie Lohmann, a third year WVU Law student from Bridgeport, has been named one of the “finest law school writers” in the country by the Burton Awards, a national non-profit program run in association with the Library of Congress and the American Bar Association.

Lohmann, whose student law review note was chosen from nominations submitted by the nation’s top law schools, will receive the “Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award” in Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony, which will be held at the National Portrait Gallery in June, will be followed by a gala reception and performance by comedian and late-night talk show host Seth Meyers. 

Lohmann’s winning piece, featured in the West Virginia Law Review, examines Federal Indian Law and land rights disparities. Lohmann said she wanted to investigate the topic after reading a seminal case in Professor Alison Peck’s property law class.

WVU Law Professor Appointed to Presidential Task Force on Environment

Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson

The White House Council on Environmental Quality recently announced that WVU College of Law Professor Jesse Richardson has been appointed to a new task force on responsible development of carbon management technologies. He will be part of a group providing recommendations to the federal government on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) projects, including carbon dioxide pipelines. Richardson and the task force will ensure that projects are permitted efficiently and with the input of a wide range of stakeholders.

 According to Richardson, CCUS projects capture carbon instead of allowing it to be released into the atmosphere, potentially cutting pollution.

 We’re trying to reduce carbon to the maximum extent possible but when we can’t, let’s make lemonade out of lemons and see what we can do to capture it and use it to minimize the environmental impact,” Richardson said.

WVU Law Students Attend Supreme Court Argument For Case They Helped Prepare

WVU Law at the supreme court

Ten WVU Law Supreme Court Clinic students got to witness something last week that many attorneys never experience over an entire legal career. These WVU Law students were on hand at the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to watch an oral argument that they assisted in preparing.

The students helped write several documents related to the case, including the petition for certiorari. Lawrence Rosenberg of the international law firm Jones Day, who co-teaches the clinic with WVU Law Professor Anne Lofaso, presented the oral argument. The case focused on the interplay between two subsections of federal criminal law dealing with firearm offenses. Lofaso sat at the counsel table with Rosenberg, and the students sat a few rows back in an area of the courtroom typically reserved only for members of the Supreme Court bar.

 “They were so pumped afterwards,” Lofaso said, “They were practically touching the justices.”

 Lofaso said highly motivated students enroll in the year-long clinic, which teaches advanced advocacy skills, including advanced legal research. Students learn what makes a case a good candidate for Supreme Court review.

WVU Law Students Argue in Charleston Before WV Supreme Court

Baker Cup 23

It’s not every day that law students find themselves arguing complex legal issues in front of actual Supreme Court justices, but that’s exactly where WVU College of Law 2Ls Anna Williams and Augustus Graff found themselves earlier this week.

 The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia judged the West Virginia University College of Law’s Baker Cup Moot Court appellate advocacy competition in the Supreme Court Courtroom in Charleston on March 28. The Court named Williams, 23, of Bluefield, the winner and Graff, 27, of Ghent, the runner up. The Baker Cup, first awarded in 1927, has become an annual College of Law tradition.

 “This is not something that most law students would get to experience,” said Amy Cyphert, moot court adviser and lecturer in law. “It’s a unique opportunity because we’re the only law school in the state.”

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