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Vilasuso working for ChildLaw Services as Charon Fellow

WVU Law student Zoey Vilasuso

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A rising third-year student at the West Virginia University College of Law is spending her summer helping give the state’s children a stronger voice in the justice system.

Zoey Vilasuso is working in the Princeton, West Virginia, office of ChildLaw Services as the 2021 recipient of the Regina Charon Fellowship. The fellowship is paying Vilasuso a stipend of $5500 for 10 weeks of valuable work experience.

ChildLaw is the only non-profit law firm in the Mountain State that represents children exclusively. Its mission is to advocate for the well-being of children through legal representation, policy development, and coordinated planning.

“ChildLaw Services was my first choice for this fellowship because I have always been drawn towards working with kids,” Vilasuso said. “I worked full-time at a daycare in Morgantown before going to law school, and my mom is a middle school teacher in Morgantown.” 

WVU Law summer fellows are helping those in need

WVU Law student Sophia Runion

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Continuing a long-running tradition, law students at West Virginia University are spending this summer helping those in need.

More than a dozen WVU College of Law students are working as Public Interest Advocates Summer Fellows. They are helping at regional organizations that provide legal services to low-income clients, the elderly, children, victims of domestic violence, veterans and others. The program began in 1988.

Being a PIA Summer Fellow gives these students valuable legal work experience in areas such as children’s advocacy, civil rights, consumer matters, disability rights, and land use and conservation. At the same time, they are increasing access to justice for many people who cannot afford a lawyer.

“PIA Fellowships allow students to gain practical, real-world legal experience while they provide important support and staffing in busy public interest law offices,” said Jennifer Powell, director of the Center for Law and Public Service. “The fellowships have also inspired many students to provide pro bono legal services once they become lawyers and have launched hundreds of students’ careers in public interest law.”

Trychta wins national award for academic support

WVU Law Teaching Professor Kirsha Trychta

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kirsha Trychta, a teaching professor at the West Virginia University College of Law, has been recognized by a national organization for helping law students succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trychta, who directs the WVU Law Academic Excellence Center, recently received the 2021 Impact Award from the Association of Academic Support Educators. She was recognized for her approach to teaching students and connecting AASE members in the face of COVID-19.

“The last year has been extraordinarily challenging for the law school academic support community,” said Trychta. “To be individually recognized as having a substantial impact on the academic support profession during any year, let alone this year, is humbling and exceptionally meaningful. I am truly honored.”

Trychta is chair of the AASE Online Presence Committee. The national organization is made up of academic success professionals who work to make legal education accessible to all students. Members collaborate to develop and implement research-based teaching methods and design programs that help students succeed in law school, on the bar exam and in their legal careers.

Professor Friedberg discusses unseating Netanyahu

WVU Law Jim Friedberg

Jim Friedberg, the Hale J. and Roscoe P. Poston Professor of Law at WVU, discusses the political situation in Israel that culminated on June 2, 2021, with the formation of an unlikely coalition to remove Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Friedberg's expertise includes international law.

McClure-Demers ’91 named to board of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

WVU Law McClure-Demers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Marilyn McClure-Demers, a 1991 West Virginia University College of Law graduate, has been named to the Board of Directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“As a leader in the private bar and corporate America committed to this work throughout my career, it’s truly my honor to join the board at this time in our country to help advance the mission of the Lawyers’ Committee — working to eliminate racial discrimination and advance social justice, " McClure-Demers said. “I challenge each of us to take an active role in this work and to make a difference every day.”   

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes.

McClure-Demers is vice president and associate general counsel at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, a fortune 100 financial services company located in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to her law degree from WVU, she earned a B.A. in Political Science from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1988.

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