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Professor Blake wins Significant Scholarship Award

WVU Law Professor Valarie Blake

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Professor Valarie Blake has won this year’s Significant Scholarship Award at the West Virginia University College of Law for an article about insurance discrimination.

Blake won for “Ensuring an Underclass: Stigma in Insurance,” which will be published in the Cardozo Law Review this year.

In her article, Blake points out that the cost and coverage of insurance—whether it be car, life, housing, health, or disability insurance—varies by social factors like sexual orientation, age or gender, even though such discrimination is not allowed in other settings. Insurers defend this practice on the basis that some social groups are costlier to insure than others. 

Using social science research, Blake argues that insurers are prone to the same biases as everyone else and are relying on stereotypes, rather than objective math, to decide insurance rates and coverage. The result is that the same social groups who suffer discrimination elsewhere in life also suffer insurance discrimination. Laws and regulations are needed to address and minimize this harm, she asserts.

Gutmann elected to lead next West Virginia Law Review

WVU Law Nick Gutman - West Virginia Law Review

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Nick Gutmann, a rising third-year student at the West Virginia University College of Law, has been elected by his peers to serve as the next editor-in-chief of the  West Virginia Law Review.

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

As editor-in-chief of volume 123 of the West Virginia Law Review, Gutmann will lead a team of fellow students to review articles and publish three issues during the 2020-21 academic year. He will also take the lead in organizing a symposium and overseeing the law review’s website and online edition.

“It is my hope, as editor-in-chief, to continue the law review’s tradition of publishing exceptional legal scholarship,” Gutmann said. “I also want to dedicate a significant part of my time to implementing a strategic plan, which was developed over the past year with the goal of improving the publication as well as the experience of our members.”

Practical training and environmental law earn top marks from preLaw

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—The West Virginia University College of Law has earned top national recognition in two areas that prepare students for their careers.

PreLaw Magazine has given WVU Law a grade of A in practical training and environmental law.

For practical training, the magazine looked at WVU Law’s opportunities in clinics, externships, simulation courses, moot court participation and pro bono hours.

WVU Law’s environmental law grade is based on the college’s energy and environmental law curriculum, the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, externships and student groups.

Professor Cardi named WVU Foundation Outstanding Teacher

WVU Law Professor Vince Cardi

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Three exceptional West Virginia University faculty members have been honored with the University’s 2020  Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching. This year’s honorees are: 

Vincent Paul Cardi, Bowles Rice Professor of Law, College of Law.  

Dawn Hunter, Associate Professor of Pathology, Anatomy and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine.

Scott A. Myers, Professor and Peggy Rardin McConnell Endowed Teaching Chair of Communication Studies, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

John Taylor appointed interim dean

WVU Law 2020-21 Interim Dean John Taylor

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A First Amendment expert with extensive administrative experience at West Virginia University will guide the College of Law as interim dean, an appointment that will likely encompass the next academic year. 

Jackson Kelly Professor John E. Taylor will step into the role on July 1, upon the departure of Gregory Bowman who was recently named dean of the Roger Williams University School of Law. 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed made the announcement Monday (April 13). 

“While we are sad to see Greg Bowman leave the University after his long tenure here, we wish him well in his new endeavor,” Reed said. “We are confident that that Professor Taylor, a well-respected faculty member and administrator, will bring a steady hand to his leadership role and help propel the law school the forward.” 

Donor support providing legal relief to West Virginia veterans

WVU Law Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—When Lawrence Brown returned stateside from the Vietnam War, the combat veteran from Pursglove, West Virginia, was overwhelmed by the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rooted in that daily struggle, Brown was absent from the U.S. Army without leave on a couple of occasions, ultimately leading to a less than honorable discharge.

Immigration Law Clinic wins asylum appeal in U.S. Third Circuit (AP)

WVU Law Paige Beddow and Scott Cain Class of 2019

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An asylum seeker from Ghana who said he was attacked by a mob led by his father because of his sexuality has shown a valid fear of persecution, a U.S. appeals court said in a case argued by two law students.

The petitioner, a gay man in his late 20s from Accra, said he had a secret relationship with a friend from his Muslim school days when his father found out in 2016 and flew into a rage. He said he was beaten, doused with kerosene and threatened with being beheaded before escaping, naked and bleeding.

He later made his way to the U.S., where immigration judges rejected his case, in part because it involved only a single attack. The initial judge suggested he could avoid further prosecution back home if he kept his sexuality a secret, according to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

Same-sex male relationships are misdemeanors in Ghana and can bring up to three years in prison, the ruling said. The Associated Press is not naming the petitioner at the request of his lawyer, Adrian Roe of Pittsburgh, who fears for his client’s safety if he is deported and hopes to have his name redacted from court records.

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