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WVU Law Bids Farewell to the Class of 2018

WVU Law Dean Greg Bowman

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — WVU Law awarded degrees to the Class of 2018 at Commencement on May 11 at the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the WVU Creative Arts Center.

“You have mastered the academic challenges of law school. And now you take your rightful place in the world as lawyers fighting for justice. That is a noble cause and you should be proud; we are certainly proud of you,” Gregory Bowman, dean of the College of Law, told the graduates.

Jennifer Oliva, associate professor of law and public health, delivered the Commencement address. She was selected Professor of the Year by the Class of the 2018.

Oliva, director of the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic, praised the graduates for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom, including providing much-need legal services to West Virginians.

Class of 2017 Employment Rate Beats National Average

WVU Law Class of 2017

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — The employment rate for WVU Law 2017 graduates is higher than the national average.

According to data gathered by the American Bar Association (ABA), 82 percent of the WVU Law Class of 2017 secured full-time, long-term jobs that require passing the bar exam or where a J.D. is an advantage. The national average is 75.3 percent.

WVU Law’s 2017 employment rate places it in the top 60 of the 203 law schools in the country approved by the ABA.

“It is a clear sign that employers value a law degree from WVU,” said Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “We work hard to prepare our students to succeed in a very competitive job market.”

WVU Law Faculty Award Aloi, Stanley the 2018 Justitia Officium

WVU Law Hon. Michael J. Aloi

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — Judge Michael J. Aloi and attorney Bruce E. Stanley are the recipients of the 2018 Justitia Officium Award presented by the WVU Law faculty

The Justitia Officium recognizes outstanding contributions and service to the legal profession. Founded in 1978, it is the highest award presented by the law faculty. Aloi and Stanley will receive their award at the College of Law’s Commencement on May 11.

Aloi is the United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia in Clarksburg.

He serves on the board of the West Virginia State Bar’s Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Program and he is a member of the bar’s Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. He is also an Instructing Judge for Basic Criminal Advocacy at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, and a faculty member at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, DC.

First Rural Practice Scholarship Awarded at WVU Law

WVU Law Class of 2020 Rural Scholarship Recipients Nathan Bennett and Sarah Petitto

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – Nathan Bennett and Sarah Petitto are recipients of the first scholarship at WVU Law meant to increase the number of lawyers practicing in the state’s rural communities.

Established by the West Virginia State Bar, the Rural Practice Scholarship pays tuition and fees for three years of law school in exchange for the student’s commitment to three years of post-graduate legal practice in a rural county.

Bennett and Petitto were chosen for their academic performance and strong commitment to practicing law in the state’s under-served areas after they graduate in 2020. The inaugural Rural Practice Scholarship was offered only to members of the WVU College of Law’s Class of 2020.

“I applied for the scholarship because I want to dedicate my career to serving those who are in need of affordable, equal access legal representation in rural West Virginia,” said Bennett. “As a single parent, this scholarship will also allow me to concentrate less on the financial cost of law school and more on my family and my studies as I obtain my legal education.”

Dean Bowman, Professor McGinley Named WV Bar Foundation Fellows

WVU Law Dean Greg Bowman

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — WVU Law's Dean Gregory Bowman and Professor Patrick McGinley have been named Fellows of the West Virginia Bar Foundation.

Foundation fellows are a select group of the state’s lawyers and judges who have professionally and personally demonstrated dedication to the welfare of their communities and service to the legal profession.

Bowman is the William H. Maier, Jr. Dean of the WVU College of Law, a position he has held since 2015. A nationally recognized scholar in international trade law and remedies, he joined the WVU faculty in 2009. Bowman is a past recipient of the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching and the College of Law Professor of the Year. Prior to his teaching career, he practiced law in Chicago and Washington, D.C. with Baker McKenzie.

Oliva Selected 2018 Professor of the Year

WVU Law professor Jennifer Oliva

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — WVU Law's Class of 2018 has selected Jennifer D. Oliva their Professor of the Year.

Oliva is an associate professor of law and public health, and director of WVU’s Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic. As Professor of the Year, she will deliver the College of Law’s commencement address on May 11.

“Professor Oliva is a true mentor in her instruction and willingness to assist students in and out of the classroom,” said Shane Young, president of the Class of 2018. “Her self-awareness and energy as an attorney are inspiring and energetic, and she brings exceptional teaching, research and service to the College of Law.”

Oliva is currently one of only four national Bellow Scholars selected by the American Association of Law Schools for conducting legal scholarship that promotes social justice. The focus of her work is interdisciplinary research to help veterans released from prison return to society and lead productive lives.

Professor Weishart Wins Significant Scholarship Award

WVU Law professor Joshua Weishart

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — Professor Joshua Weishart is the winner of WVU Law's  2017-18 Significant Scholarship Award.

The in-house award recognizes Weishart’s article, “Equal Liberty in Proportion,” published in a 2017 issue of the William and Mary Law Review (see citation on the right). 

In the article, Weishart explores the increasing role state courts play in settling education rights. He asserts that most courts have failed to fully enforce such rights, in part because they lack suitable legal standards.

Weishart thus proposes a new standard for determining whether states are satisfying constitutional mandates to improve educational opportunity. He urges courts to maintain vigorous enforcement of education rights as public schools continue to endure “inequitable and inadequate funding.”  

Wessels Elected Law Review Editor-in-Chief

WVU Law Blair Wessels

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — Rising 3L  Blair Wessels has been elected by her peers to serve as editor-in-chief of Volume 121 of the West Virginia Law Review.

The West Virginia Law Review is a professional legal journal that publishes articles of interest to scholars, students, legislators, and lawyers. Founded in 1894, it is the fourth oldest student-governed law review in the country.

“I want to continue the great legacy of the West Virginia Law Review and connect the law school to lawyers practicing in West Virginia and across the country to share the meaningful work that we’re doing here,” said Wessels.

As the next editor-in-chief, Wessels will lead a team that reviews and selects legal articles for three issues of the law review during the 2018-19 academic year. She will also oversee the law review’s website and online edition, and play a lead role in organizing a symposium.

New class offers title research certification for graduating 3Ls

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – WVU Law is offering a legal certification class on title research for graduating students interested in working in the energy sector.

Students in the five-day Title Research Certification Program will learn how to efficiently research real property title chains from experienced attorneys. As part of the class, students will conduct supervised field work at records offices in Monongalia and Marion counties. 

Upon successful completion of the class, students will receive a Certificate in Real Property Title Research from West Virginia Continuing Legal Education. Classes start May 8.

“A certification in title research can greatly increase a new attorney’s value to potential employers and clients,” said Heather Spielmaker, assistant dean for Career Services. “Title research is a common assignment for new associates and a certification will help our graduates hit the ground running at firms with clients in the energy sector.” 

$1 million gift establishes a consumer rights program at WVU Law

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — WVU Law and Marshall University have each received $1 million to launch a Joint Consumer Assistance Project for West Virginians.

“This is great news for the state,” said Gregory Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “Using legal research, scholarship and outreach, we plan to provide publications on consumer rights and remedies that will help our state’s residents.”

WVU law professors and students working on the project will analyze consumer regulations and make policy recommendations to state agencies and the state legislature. They will also help lawyers and organizations who protect the consumer rights of West Virginians.

“This program is a perfect example of higher education's power to improve West Virginians’ lives,” said Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University. “West Virginia University is proud to partner with Marshall University in protecting consumer rights through research, outreach and public policy advocacy.”

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