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West Virginia Innocence Project, housed at WVU College of Law, awarded DOJ funding to investigate wrongful convictions

WVU Law Innocence project


MORGANTOWN, WV —The West Virginia Innocence Project, housed at the West Virginia University College of Law, is one of 13 organizations nationwide selected by the United States Department of Justice to participate in its Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions Program. WVIP will receive $359,208 to bolster its continuing efforts to investigate and challenge wrongful convictions in the Mountain State.


WVU law professor explores how West Virginia is missing the clean energy revolution

WVU law professor James Van Nostrand and his book's cover

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia is caught in a coal trap that’s causing it to miss the clean energy revolution. As a result, the state faces substantial economic obstacles and serious environmental and public health concerns.

That’s the case made in a new book by James Van Nostrand, a professor of law and the director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University.

"The Coal Trap: How West Virginia Was Left Behind in the Clean Energy Revolution" (Cambridge University Press, 2022) focuses on the years between 2009 and 2019.

Van Nostrand argues that is when the state’s politicians placed the interests of the coal industry above the economic and environmental health of the state and the planet. 

WVU professor marks the 10th anniversary of his groundbreaking Gandhi biography

WVU law professor Charles DiSalvo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A decade ago, West Virginia University law professor Charles DiSalvo published the first in-depth biography of Mohandas Gandhi’s life as an attorney.

“The Man Before the Mahatma: M.K. Gandhi, Attorney at Law” was released in 2012 by Random House in India and a year later by the University of California Press in the rest of the world. 

“I continue to be humbled by the acceptance that the book has received,” said DiSalvo, the Woodrow A. Potesta Professor of Law and a member of the WVU faculty since 1979. 

DiSalvo’s work on “The Man Before the Mahatma” required that he gain access to, among many other sources, over 10,000 issues of newspapers in archives in India and South Africa.  He was assisted by a number of research assistants, including WVU law and history students, as well as other Gandhi scholars in India, Australia, Britain and Africa.

Social justice gifts empower underrepresented WVU students

Ellen Archibald

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University students from underrepresented groups are gaining valuable experience in social justice work thanks to generous alumni support.

Ellen Archibald, of Minneapolis, formerly an attorney in Charleston, graduated from the WVU College of Law in 1989. She has given over $200,000 to establish two social justice awards at WVU — one for students at the College of Law and one for students enrolled in School of Social Work programs at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

For the School of Social Work award, preference goes to minority students – specifically Black, Indigenous and people of color – who are completing a field placement or internship focused on social justice. Deana Morrow, director of the School of Social Work, said Archibald’s gift has provided financial support to students completing internships in behavioral health, immigrant and refugee child care, legal justice, prison re-entry and trauma-informed care settings.

Recipients have received $10,000 to $15,000 each to assist with travel costs and living expenses associated with their internships, which are required to obtain a social work license.

WVU College of Law student spent her summer working for children

WVU Law student Olivia Lee

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia University law student spent her summer advocating for children in the justice system.

“Children are the most resilient members of society,” said Olivia Lee, a third-year student at the WVU College of Law. “People often forget that they are more than the worst thing that has happened to them.”

Lee worked on 10 to 15 cases in Charleston, West Virginia, for ChildLaw Services. It is the only non-profit law firm in the Mountain State that represents children exclusively, no matter the circumstance. Most of Lee's work involved abuse and neglect cases stemming from the opioid epidemic. 

“I met with my clients to evaluate their needs versus their wants,” she said. “I was able to argue on behalf of my clients in Circuit Court, write appeals, and actually get to know my clients.”

WVU College of Law scholarship honors past Steptoe & Johnson CEO Brewer

Steptoe & Johnson announced a new WVU College of Law scholarship established in honor of retiring former CEO Susan Brewer

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Emerging leaders studying at the West Virginia University College of Law will benefit from a new scholarship established by Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in honor of retiring former CEO Susan S. Brewer, the first woman to lead a major law firm in Appalachia.

Steptoe & Johnson contributed $100,000 to establish the Susan S. Brewer Law Leadership Scholarship, which goes to full-time students at the College of Law who demonstrate leadership in their academic career, community, work and other areas.

“Susan is a brilliant litigator and leader who always carries others as she climbs,” Amelia Rinehart, William J. Maier, Jr. Dean and Professor of Law, said. “Honoring her trailblazing career in the legal profession with a scholarship of this caliber will enable the College of Law to recruit and educate students who reflect those same values of leading through excellence and service to the profession. We are so grateful for Susan’s lasting leadership and impactful commitment to WVU, as well as Steptoe & Johnson’s ongoing partnership with the College of Law to develop West Virginia’s future lawyers and leaders. This scholarship will support WVU students for many years to come, and we can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Susan’s incredible legacy in our profession.”

Brewer joined Steptoe & Johnson in 1980, two weeks after graduating from George Mason University with her law degree. She worked under managing partner Bob Steptoe as a litigator and served on the firm’s Executive Committee for over 20 years before taking the helm as CEO in 2009.

PIA Summer Fellows are helping West Virginians

WVU Law 2022 PIA Summer Fellow Madison Carroll

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Every summer, a group of law students from West Virginia University spread out across the state to help those in need.

These Public Interest Advocates Summer Fellows work in local organizations that provide legal services to low-income clients, the elderly, children, victims of domestic violence, veterans and others.

“It has been a very rewarding summer for our PIA Fellows, as they get hands-on experience while providing important support and staffing in various public interest law offices,” said Dan Kimble, director of the Center for Law and Public Service at the WVU College of Law. “In many cases, these experiences have launched our students to careers in public interest law or led them to provide pro bono legal services as they grow into the legal profession.”

PIA Summer Fellowships are full-time, paid 10-week appointments sponsored by the non-profit West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest. PIA, one of the most active student organizations at WVU Law, is a fundraiser for WVFLIPI.

WVU initiative born in the pandemic is helping community land use

WVU downtown campus and surrounding hills

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia University initiative born out of the pandemic is benefiting rural and urban communities across the mid-Atlantic.

In spring 2020, COVID-19 canceled the fifth annual Mountain State Land Use Academy. Founded by the Land Use and Sustainable Development Clinic at the WVU College of Law, the academy informs community leaders about issues in planning, economic development, resiliency and the law.  

The pandemic shutdown did not stop law professor Jesse Richardson and attorney Jared Anderson, who both work in the clinic. They began reaching out to associates and, within weeks, they established what has become the Mid-Atlantic Planning Collaboration

"Right after the pandemic started, Jesse reached out because he wanted to create a way that we in the Mid-Atlantic area could teach more people about issues that impact our region," said Alan Feinberg, a representative of the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association. "He and everyone in the Land Use clinic take a bird's eye approach to planning, in that they look out to the entire area around them during their efforts so they can do things to benefit everyone."

Alum establishes new scholarship in honor of WVU Law professor

WVU Law alum Martin Harrell

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — About 40 years ago, Martin Harrell met an environmental law professor who mentored and inspired him.

Now, the successful attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is honoring that professor with a new endowed scholarship at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Harrell graduated from WVU Law in 1982 and has been a lawyer at the EPA regional office in Philadelphia since 1983. He now manages all legal aspects of the agency’s criminal enforcement program in five Mid-Atlantic states. 

As one of the government’s top environmental enforcement lawyers, Harrell is helping protect the land, communities and people from environmental and public health threats.

Young alum launches legal tech company

WVU Law 2022 graduate Luke Yingling standing outside of the law school

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—While many of his classmates were pondering their future career paths, Luke Yingling was blazing his own trail.

The 2022 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law is the founding President and CEO of Analytica Legalis, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers win in court.

Analytica Legalis is the first company to quantify jurisprudence and analyze judges’ sentiment, according to Yingling. It was a finalist in the American Bar Association TechShow 2022 Startup Alley competition.

“We measure the philosophy of the law to which judges and courts subscribe, and we analyze the sentiments judges express in their opinions regarding facts, legal arguments, and other factors that are important to the outcome of a case,” Yingling explained.

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