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WVU Law Grad Receives Prestigious Leadership Fellowship

Julian Pecora Law Grad

Julian Pecora, a 2020 graduate of the WVU College of Law, has been selected to represent the United States in the prestigious Atlantik-Brücke’s New Bridge Program, a leadership fellowship.  At the end of April, Pecora, an associate attorney at Huntington’s Farrell White & Legg PLLC, will travel to Europe with a small group of young American community leaders. While in Germany and Belgium, the group will meet with high-ranking officials, visit key government and cultural sites, and network with their European counterparts.

 My biggest hope is that I will be able to bring back connections and opportunities for West Virginia,” said Pecora, 28, originally of Clarksburg. “I want to establish a pipeline to this program for WVU Law grads.”

Pecora is only the second West Virginian ever selected by Atlantik-Brücke and will be the only leader from Appalachia on this spring’s trip. The fully funded 10-day program begins with a predeparture seminar in Washington, D.C., where participants get to know one another and make their first valuable connections with the transatlantic community. After completing the program, participants will be integrated into an alumni network with additional events and opportunities for continued exchange. With its New Bridge program, Atlantik-Brücke seeks to garner interest in Europe among more Americans and build a stronger transatlantic community.

Pecora said he is most excited about visiting the European Union and meeting people in Berlin. “I hope to be able to make contacts and then bring those connections back to West Virginia, either through economic development or programs or sending others to the fellowship,” he said.

Third-year law student awarded post-graduate fellowship for public interest work

Jack Swiney

Jack Swiney

When third-year law student Jack Swiney went to work at the Kanawha County Public Defender’s office last summer, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

 “I expected it to be quite overwhelming, as generally people in these offices are overworked and underpaid, like firm life without the luxury of the money,” the St. Albans native said.

 Instead, he found himself loving the environment, especially the opportunity to interact with clients and make an impact even before graduation.


The West Virginia University College of Law’s Clinical Law Program was recently awarded a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant of over $117,000 to provide reentry-related legal services to West Virginians recovering from substance use disorder. Primarily focusing on establishing economic stability, the services include bankruptcy, benefits eligibility, driver’s license reinstatement, and expungements. The SOR grant program is funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and supported by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Behavioral Health.

“It’s wonderful to see this investment in our state,” remarked Clinic Director and Associate Professor Nicole McConlogue. “Access to legal resources will help people get their lives back on track and support them in achieving a sustained recovery.”

The Clinical Law Program is partnering with the Clarksburg Mission, a residential recovery facility, as part of its activities under the grant. As a result, the Mission has already hosted two “lawyer of the day” events, during which law students provide 30-minute legal consultations to residents at the Clarksburg Mission. The students, acting under attorney supervision, answer questions about legal processes, review documents, help participants complete legal forms, make referrals, and identify next steps. Both events  have been met with significant demand and were well-received by participants. “Everyone was so glad to have some help,” Professor McConlogue commented. “But we’re just showing up and listening. They’re the ones doing the hard part.”

Shawna Pastuch White, a 2008 graduate of the College of Law, will meet client needs under this new grant in a staff attorney role. Ms. White is an experienced public interest lawyer, having served as a public defender and domestic violence advocate. Most recently, she spent six years as a staff attorney with Disability Rights West Virginia. As staff attorney, Ms. White will organize and facilitate more of these events both at the Mission and statewide, while maintaining a caseload and advising law students who represent reentry clients in the Clinical Law Program.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia convenes at WVU Law on March 21

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia will convene at the West Virginia University College of Law on March 21 to hear arguments in five cases.

Seating begins at 9 a.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom, with the first case starting at 10 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public. The arguments will be webcast live on the court’s YouTube channel.

The Supreme Court of Appeals is West Virginia’s highest court and the court of last resort. The five Supreme Court Justices hear appeals of decisions over matters decided in the state’s lower courts.

The first cases to be argued fall under the Supreme Court’s Rule 20. These are typically cases of fundamental public importance, constitutional questions, and inconsistency among decisions of lower courts.

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