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3L's European court clerkship cut short by COVID-19

The pandemic put a stop to 3L Hannah Steketee's Dean Acheson clerkship, but it was still a good experience, she says.

WVU Law Hannah Steketee '20

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—It was a dream job for Hannah Steketee. The WVU Law 3L had earned a prestigious clerkship at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Then, just two weeks after she arrived, COVID-19 forced the ECJ to close indefinitely. Now, Steketee is back home in Morgantown, West Virginia—but her trip was not in vain.

“I was able to do some really cool work,” Steketee said. “I learned so much!”

Steketee was assigned to clerk for Romanian judge Octavia Spinaeu-Matei. In her short time working for Judge Spinaeu-Matei, Steketee conducted legal research on the recusal laws of ECJ member states. She also worked on a European Union harmonized standards case and a case involving EU trademark law.

Steketee earned her clerkship at the ECJ through the Dean Acheson Legal Stage Program, which is managed by the United States Embassy in Luxembourg. 

The program promotes a mutual understanding between the U.S. and the EU by giving law students an opportunity to gain insight into the European Court’s judicial process. Steketee was among students from more than 30 law schools, including Harvard, Yale and Stanford, that participated in the program this year.

“I want to work in public international law, and this program provided me with an opportunity to pursue my passion in a real-world international setting,” Steketee said. “I am grateful for the opportunity and for the faculty and staff at WVU Law who helped me throughout the application process.”

At WVU Law, Steketee is president of the WVU Chapter of the International Law Students Association and captain of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team. She is also a member of the Lugar Trial Association, an Executive Research Editor for Volume 122 of the West Virginia Law Review, a teaching assistant for Legal Analysis, Research and Writing, and a Dean’s Fellow for Criminal Law.

During summer 2018, Steketee clerked for the defense firm Robinson and McElwee, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia. Last summer, she lived in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, while working at Caras Alegres, a non-governmental organization that provides food, after school programming and educational resources to families and children living at or below the poverty line.

Steketee’s travels are far from over. This summer, after graduating from WVU Law, she heads to Alaska to clerk for Judge Jonathon Woodman of the Palmer Superior Court.

Steketee graduated from Marietta College in Ohio with an undergraduate degree in political science.


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