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McCartney to lead West Virginia Continuing Legal Education

WVU Law WVCLE director Lauren McCartney

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Lauren McCartney has been named director of Continuing Legal Education at the West Virginia University College of Law.

McCartney will develop and implement seminars for the professional development of lawyers who practice in the Mountain State. She will also lead strategic planning, assessment and evaluation of WVCLE initiatives in alignment with the college's strategic plan.

“I look forward to serving the members of West Virginia’s Bar in designing a curriculum of timely topics and engaging speakers to help each of them move forward with their professional goals,” McCartney said. “Legal professionals hold themselves to the highest standards of integrity and professional responsibility, and the Bar self-regulates through the fulfillment of continuing legal education requirements.”

McCartney has worked as an attorney with Jackson Kelly PLLC and Huddleston Bolen, now Dinsmore & Shohl LLP.

Demmerle nominated for national legal writing award

WVU Law Amanda Demmerle '20

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—WVU Law has nominated 3L Amanda Demmerle for the prestigious Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award for Law Schools.

Demmerle was chosen for her Note, “Pain in the Ash: How Coal-Fired Power Plants are Polluting Our Nation’s Waters Without Consequences,” which was published in the December 2019 West Virginia Law Review (122 W. Va. L. Rev. 289).

A Note is a student-authored academic article that discusses and analyzes a legal issue.

In her Note, Demmerle argues that the Clean Water Act is currently the best way to regulate water pollution caused by coal ash impoundments in the United States. She discusses options within the Clean Water Act, and each option's likelihood of success, to hold coal ash impoundment operators liable and reduce water pollution.

WV Innocence Project receives local human rights award

WVU Law Marjorie McDiarmid and Melissa Giggenbach

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—The West Virginia Innocence Project, a clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law, has received an award from the Morgantown Human Rights Commission.

The award is given annually to an organization in recognition of International Human Rights Day on December 10.

Marjorie McDiarmid, director of the clinical law program, and Melissa Giggenbach, director of the West Virginia Innocence Project, accepted the award from Jacob Powers, chair of the Morgantown Human Rights Commission.

“It requires painstaking work on the part of the students first to identify and then to advocate for clients who have been wrongfully convicted. This award goes to those students and the faculty and staff who work with them,” McDiarmid said.

WVU Law team qualifies for national ABA competition

WVU Law 2019 ABA Labor and Employment Trial Ad team

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—A team from WVU Law has advanced to the national round of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Trial Advocacy Competition.

Michael Hicks, Lauren Mahaney, Kenshandra Mitchell and Holly Netz, all third-year law students in WVU Law’s Marlyn E. Lugar Trial Association, recently competed in the competition’s regional round in New York City. They won three trials in a row to reach the regional final before falling to St. John’s University School of Law. 

As a New York finalist, WVU Law will now compete against seven other law schools in the national Labor and Employment Trial Advocacy Competition to be held in January in New Orleans.  

“WVU Law students have such incredible opportunities to graduate with practice-ready skills, and Michael, Lauren, Kenshandra, and Holly have taken advantage of those opportunities and are already terrific advocates,” said Amy Cyphert, lecturer in law and advisor to Lugar Trial Association. “We are all proud of them and know they will impress those they meet at the national competition next month.”

WVU Law joins ABA wellness campaign

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—The West Virginia University College of Law has joined a national campaign focused on well-being in the legal profession.

The college is one of the first 26 law schools in the country to sign the American Bar Association's Well-Being Pledge. The program brings attention to ways to improve the health and well-being of lawyers and law students. 

Research shows that lawyers struggle with addiction and mental health problems at rates much higher than the general population and other professionals. To encourage those in need to seek help, WVU Law is working to change attitudes and eliminate bias related to addiction and mental health.

“We are making the wellness and mental health of our students a priority in our programming,” said Tina Jernigan, assistant dean for student life. “The statistics on substance abuse and mental health in the legal field are staggering, and we can no longer accept the status quo. By signing on to the pledge, we are committed to wellness in our student body and the legal profession.”

National Moot Court Team wins best brief

WVU Law 2019 National Moot Court Team

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—A team from the West Virginia University College of Law recently won the best brief award on the way to a quarterfinal finish in a regional round of the National Moot Court Competition.

The college’s National Moot Court Team is made up of third-year law students Britany Dolan, Emily Ford, Julian Pecora, Garrett Spiker and Chris Weed. They competed in two groups at the National Moot Court Competition Region IV Round held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, in November.

Ford, Weed and Pecora won the best brief award, beating teams from 18 law schools from Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia. It is WVU‘s first best brief award at this competition in more than 20 years.

Spiker and Dolan were among the top eight teams to reach the regional’s quarterfinal round. They are the third WVU Law team in 10 years to advance that far in the National Moot Court Competition.

Students win discharge upgrade for veteran

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Students at the West Virginia University College of Law have helped a U.S. Navy veteran receive a discharge upgrade.

“Our client now qualifies for a range VA benefits including healthcare, disability compensation, pension, and home loans,” said Jed Nolan, director of the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic.

The client was discharged unfavorably in 1986 after being diagnosed with a mental health condition. Nevertheless, he experienced success in school and work following the discharge, according to Nolan

The clinic requested the veteran’s discharge status be upgraded to “General, Under Honorable” because the behavior that led to his discharge was a direct result of service-related issues. Students in the clinic also argued that the discharge upgrade was in the interest of justice because the Navy had failed to provide him with adequate treatment, which impacted his ability to serve. This fall, the Board of Naval Corrections concurred.

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