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WVU Law Students Thrive in Judicial Clerkships

While WVU Law Director for Career Services and Professional Development Lauren McCartney sees much to be proud of in the College’s recently announced employment statistics for the Class of 2022, the most exciting news is that 18 graduates secured judicial clerkships at both the state and federal levels.

 We’re seeing a major trend with our students wanting government service, and the judicial clerkship is an opportunity for WVU Law students to get really hands on with work that matters,” McCartney said. “A judicial clerkship is a great place to learn how the court works and thinks.”

 Six of the 2022 WVU Law grads secured clerkships with federal judges, often besting students from Ivy League institutions for these extremely prestigious and sought out positions, McCartney said. Shawn Hogbin, a 2022 graduate originally from Hedgesville, is working in Charleston for the Honorable Irene C. Berger in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

“Working in chambers is truly a delight,” said Hogbin, 26, who will begin a second clerkship in the fall with Judge Robert King in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. “I’ve heard people compare it to a small practice group. It feels very close-knit, and we talk about all of the issues.”

As a first-generation college and law student, Hogbin said he was not aware of clerkship opportunities prior to enrolling at WVU Law. The experience with Judge Berger has exceeded his expectations because it has given him “the chance to directly put what I just learned in law school to the test.”

Judicial clerks get a front row seat to courtroom activity, often sitting at a judge’s side during hearings or arguments. Grace Morris, a 2022 graduate clerking for Judge Maryclaire Akers in

West Virginia Circuit Court, said the experience has helped her bridge the gap from student to attorney with invaluable practical experience, including many legal research and writing assignments.

“I understand now what judges have to deal with,” said Morris, 26. “I have learned that any attorney appearing before a judge has to understand that judge’s preferences. It’s a great place to start, especially if you want to go into government work.”

In addition to students clerking in West Virginia, Class of 2022 graduates also reported clerkships in New Jersey, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Each year, the American Bar Association requires accredited law schools to disclose employment information about their most recent graduates. For the class of 2022, WVU Law reported an extremely high number of job placements — 96% of students completing the survey were employed, with 91% in positions that required or favored a law degree. West Virginia was the top state for graduates to be employed, followed by Ohio and then Pennsylvania.

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