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Class of 2020 selects Rhee, Powell for honors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Class of 2020 of the West Virginia University College of Law has selected William Rhee as Professor of the Year and Jennifer Powell as Staff Person of the Year.

It is WVU Law tradition for the Professor of the Year to give the commencement keynote speech. Rhee addressed the Class of 2020 in a video released on May 15.

Rhee has been a member of the faculty since 2008, and Powell has worked in the College’s administration since 2004.

“Professor Rhee is a role model,” said Kiana Bracciodieta, president of the Class of 2020. “He is trustworthy, kind-hearted and supportive. He does just about anything for anyone.”

Powell was recognized “because she is sincerely one of the most caring people at the law school. Not only is she caring, she’s hilarious and can quite literally brighten your day,” Bracciodieta said. 

WVU Law Will Rhee

Rhee teaches Civil Procedure, Evidence, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Firearms Law and Policy, among others. He also is the advisor for a number of student organizations, including the Marlyn E. Lugar Trial Association, the Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association, Defense Trial Counsel, and the Veterans and Military Advocacy Group.

He is a former educational civil rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, a litigation associate for Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, and a staff attorney for the National Juvenile Defender Center. Rhee also served as a U.S. Army infantry company commander and as a law clerk for Judge Sam J. Ervin, III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Rhee earned his J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law and his bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from Yale University.

WVU Law Jennifer Powell

Powell is the director of the Center for Law and Public Service and she previously served as the assistant dean for Career Services. She is the advisor to the Public Interest Advocates, the largest student organization at the College of Law, and OUTlaw.

Powell has worked for LexisNexis, served as a prevention educator and community fundraiser for Caritas House (an HIV/AIDS service organization), and she practiced with Regina Charon’s law office in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Powell earned her B.A. in English, M.S.W., and J.D. from West Virginia University.



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