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Peck wins law faculty scholarship award

WVU Law Professor Alison Peck

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Professor Alison Peck is the winner of this year’s Significant Scholarship Award at the West Virginia University College of Law

Peck won for her recent book, "The Accidental History of the U.S. Immigration Courts: War, Fear, and the Roots of Dysfunction," published earlier this year by the University of California Press.

In her book, Peck uses unstudied legal decisions from the Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush administrations to outline humanitarian crises that led to the modern immigration court system. She also argues that the fundamental flaw of the immigration courts is that they are under the U.S. Department of Justice — and she proposes that the courts become independent.

WVU Law’s Significant Scholarship Award is presented annually by the faculty to a fellow professor whose written work addresses an important public issue while demonstrating thorough research and clear and concise writing.

WVU College of Law Librarians win scholarship award

WVU Law Caroline Osborne and Stephanie Miller

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two librarians at the West Virginia University College of Law have been honored by the American Association of Law Libraries.

Caroline Osborne and Stephanie Miller recently won the Outstanding Article Award from the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the AALL for their analysis of citation metrics.

Their article, “The Scholarly Impact Matrix: An Empirical Study of How Multiple Metrics Create an Informed Story of a Scholar's Work," was published in volume 39 of Legal Reference Service Quarterly.

The paper is based on citation data for 282 scholars from 57 U.S. law schools collected in in early 2019. The dataset also captures individual characteristics of the scholar such years in legal education, gender identity, and discipline in order to measure whether any of these characteristics impact either exposure or citation.

WVU College of Law Class of 2021 honored online and in-person

WVU Law Class of 2021

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented the West Virginia University College of Law Class of 2021 from having a traditional Commencement ceremony. Still, each member of the graduating class is being honored on the law school’s website.

This virtual celebration includes photos of the graduates and recognition of their accomplishments. Students also submitted personal photos, favorite law school memories, their inspiration for becoming a lawyer and messages of thanks to those who helped them along the way.

Interim Dean John Taylor, who was selected Professor of the Year by the Class of 2021, delivered his traditional commencement address in a video that is posted online. In his remarks, Taylor discussed the “value of embracing risk” and the opportunities that come with taking chances. Risk-taking, he said, is an admirable trait that often comes with great rewards. Discomfort, he said, comes with growth.

“I’ve always admired people who do not back away from fear, who do not back away from risk, who are not afraid to fail,” he said. “People who see only possibilities where others see only limitations… Trying things that make you uncomfortable or trying things that are new where you know that you might fail – these are difficult things to do.”

New book proposes how Appalachia can recover from exploitation

WVU Law librarian Nick Stump

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In his inaugural book, West Virginia University law librarian Nick Stump offers ways to create systemic legal change in Appalachia to help the region rebuild from centuries of industrial exploitation.

“I wrote this book because, in my view, more traditional approaches to law and social change are not up to the task of our current contemporary crises,” said Stump, who is head of reference and access services in the George R. Farmer, Jr. Law Library at the WVU College of Law.

“This is perhaps especially true in our home region of Appalachia, which is often characterized as an energy ‘sacrifice zone’,” he said.

In Remaking Appalachia: Ecosocialism, Ecofeminism, and Law (WVU Press, 2021), Stump outlines a long history of laws created to support industrial growth that has helped extractive corporations thrive in the region. 

Hicks awarded WVU College of Law Justitia Officium

WVU Law 2021 Justitia Officium Elliot Hicks

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Trailblazing attorney Elliot G. Hicks is the recipient of the 2021 Justitia Officium Award from the West Virginia University College of Law.  

The Justitia Officium is the highest honor bestowed by the law faculty in recognition of outstanding contributions and service to the legal profession. Hicks received his award at WVU Law’s Commencement in Milan Puskar Stadium on May 16. 

Hicks was inspired to become an attorney by the lawyers who led the Civil Rights Movement. He spent his first two years of college at Washington and Lee University, where he was the first African American elected to the Executive Committee of the Student Body. He later transferred to West Virginia University, earning his B.A. in 1978 and his J.D. in 1981. 

After three years of solo practice, Hicks joined Kay Casto & Chaney in 1984, becoming only the second lawyer of color in West Virginia to be hired by a large firm. Fourteen years later, he became the first African American President of the West Virginia State Bar. 

WVU College of Law clinic earns national recognition

WVU Law Professor Alison Peck

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A law clinic at West Virginia University has earned an Honorable Mention Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project from the Clinical Legal Education Association.

CLEA recently presented the award to the Immigration Law Clinic at the WVU College of Law for its efforts to represent and empower the state’s underserved immigrant population. In West Virginia, there is only one full-time immigration lawyer for a statewide community of 30,000 foreign-born residents and their families.

“This recognition by the Clinical Legal Education Association highlights the important role that the WVU Immigration Law Clinic plays in providing and expanding legal services to immigrants in our state,” said law professor Alison Peck, director of the clinic.

The Immigration Law Clinic serves the state’s immigrant community through legal practice, community education and resources, and advocacy. The clinic is also working to build a local immigration bar from by facilitating attorney mentorship, developing a continuing legal education program and recruiting law students who will commit to local immigration practice. 

These 2021 graduates are headed to federal clerkships

WVU Law 2021 Five Federal Clerks


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Five 2021 graduates of the  West Virginia University  College of Law are headed to prestigious year-long positions in the federal court system.

As federal law clerks, Tyler Barton, Denali Hedrick, Blake Humphrey, Nick Gutmann and Lauren Trumble will gain an intimate perspective on the inner workings of the courts while sharpening vital career-defining skills.

“A clerkship is an unparalleled learning experience, providing the opportunity to hone research and writing skills on various, weighty matters while guided by respected, seasoned, and accomplished legal professionals,” said law professor  Joshua Weishart. “Because they are so formative, provide such a unique perspective, and are relatively few in number, federal clerkships are highly coveted — a prized credential sought by prospective employers — which can grant law clerks access to prestigious networks and relationships that can influence the trajectory of their legal careers.”

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