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WVU College of Law Celebrates 2024 Graduates

On Friday, May 10, West Virginia University College of Law celebrated its 102 graduates at the Coliseum. 

WVU Law Celebrates 2024 Graduates – WVU Photo

The Class of 2024 has achieved great success throughout the past three years. 

Whether native to West Virginia or moving across the country to Morgantown to pursue their Juris Doctor degree, our law students are intelligent, compassionate and motivated young leaders who are ready to serve their communities. 

“Our students have learned the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the legal profession,” said the College’s William J. Maier, Jr. Dean Amelia Smith Rinehart. “Today, they are equipped to go out in the world, serve their communities, and make a difference in the lives of many.”

This year’s class also welcomes 28 legacy hooders – WVU Law alumni and relatives of the graduates – who will hood their loved ones at the ceremony.

Mary Kathryn Kay, a fifth-generation WVU Law graduate from Charleston, WV will be hooded by her father and WVU Law alumni, Craig Kay.

“I am deeply honored to continue the legacy of esteemed lawyers in my family who are also alumni of the College of Law,” said Kay. “The opportunity to follow in their footsteps is both humbling and inspiring. Words cannot express the significance of having my father hood me at my graduation ceremony—it's a moment both he and I will cherish forever.”

After graduation, Kay will be one of 12 students going into a state or federal clerkship. She will begin clerking for Judge Robert B. King of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit this fall.

These 12 students – approximately 12 percent of the class – were accepted to prestigious clerkships with state and federal judges across the country. 

Of these, nine were awarded federal clerkships, constituting nearly nine percent of the graduating class. This statistic places WVU Law among the top law schools in the country for federal clerkship placement.

“I think a clerkship seems like a great stepping stone for other things but also a great learning and growing experience in itself,” said Steve Smith, who is originally from Watchung, NJ. 

Smith will be clerking for Judge John Preston Bailey of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in the fall. 

Rosa Beyk, from Winter Garden Florida, chose WVU Law because she was interested in doing public interest work. 

“I also chose WVU Law because of the welcoming and inviting atmosphere,” said Beyk. “Most law schools that I visited had a very intimidating and competitive environment and while the WVU Law community is competitive, it has always been collegial and friendly.” 

Beyk was involved in the Moot Court, the National Moot Court team, was Vice President of the Class Council, President of the American Constitution Society, and a member of the Public Interest Advocates (PIA).

“My favorite thing about the WVU College of Law was competing on the National Moot Court team,” she said. “All 2Ls have the opportunity to compete in the Baker Cup for a chance to make it onto the National Team. I was thrilled when I landed the team. While it was hard work, it was the most rewarding experience in my three years at the College of Law. Our team traveled to Richmond, VA to compete in the 4th Circuit. This was a once in a lifetime experience being able to stand in the courtroom and argue the case that we had worked tirelessly on. Being on the National Team also forged lasting relationships with my teammates and coaches.”  

After graduation, Beyk will be working for ChildLaw Services, Inc. in the Charleston and Martinsburg offices. 

Isabelle Burden from Harrisonburg, Virginia, competed in the International Moot Court.

“During my 2L year I competed in the Jessup International Moot Court competition in Washington D.C.,” said Burden. “It was a great experience diving into international law and learning from my coaches and teammates. I ended up ranking 4th best oralist in the competition, which was a great way to round out that experience.”

She also admits that it was the sense of feeling “welcomed” that made her want to be a part of the Morgantown community and attend WVU Law.

“I also noticed a need for Immigration lawyers in this state. I wanted to become an immigration lawyer, so I decided to work towards filling that gap at WVU Law,” said Burden. “I've made some wonderful mentor-mentee relationships with faculty here.”

Burden will be working for Denton’s in Pittsburgh, PA after graduation. 

“I will be an Immigration Associate working on mostly employment-based and family-based immigration petitions. I'm very lucky to have found my dream job in a wonderful city.” 

Not only will students miss learning from well-known faculty, but many said they will miss spending time with their classmates in and out of the law school. 

Clarence Moore, from Moreno Valley, California, served as the Class President and President of WVU Law’s Black Law Student Association.

Moore said he initially chose to pursue law because it is the most effective way to impact the legal system, specifically the criminal justice process, and create positive change. 

“My favorite thing about WVU Law is probably my classmates,” said Moore. “WVU Law recognizes the value of diversity in the legal profession, which is important to me. Also, WVU Law houses the West Virginia Innocence Project and I wanted to attend a law school with that option.”

After graduation, Moore plans to prepare for the July 2024 California Bar Exam. 

“After I complete the bar exam, I will begin a 16-week program as a post-graduate law clerk for the Los Angeles County Public Defender,” said Moore. “After I complete the 16-week program I will return to West Virginia and prepare for the February 2025 West Virginia Bar Exam.

Once he completes the West Virginia Bar Exam in 2025, he plans to return to the state and practice in the area of child abuse and neglect in West Virginia for two years. 

In fact, Katie McClausley, from Moroefield, WV said her favorite experience at WVU Law was also being part of the WV Innocence Project clinic.

“Being able to help people and build relationships with real clients is an incomparable experience,” said McClausley. “I want to practice law in the state and WVU provided me with the best opportunities to do so successfully,”

After graduation, she will return to the eastern panhandle and work at the Hampshire County Prosecuting Attorney’s office in Romney, WV. 

Morgantown native Katie McClung also touts the WV Innocence Project clinic.

“One of my favorite memories was when I got to visit a client as a student attorney with the West Virginia Innocence Project clinic,” said McClung. “The experience I had at my time in the clinic is invaluable. Not only do you get to investigate cases and learn how the law works, but you get to talk to your clients who are real people and experience real issues. It solidified that I want to use my law degree to help defend those who may not be able to afford an attorney or have been wronged by the justice system in some way.”

As a 3L, McClung was the secretary of the Public Interest Advocates (PIA) and President of the West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest. Both of these organizations have the end goal of furthering public interest not only in the law school, but throughout the state.

McClung will graduate and begin working at the Preston County Public Defender’s Office representing clients who can not afford an attorney and making sure they get effective representation they are entitled to. 

Christopher Arnold is another law student and West Virginia native who aims to be a leader in his local community and the state. 

“WVU Law is the place to do law school the right way. As President John F. Kennedy once said, ‘The sun doesn't always shine in West Virginia, but the people do,’” said Arnold.

“Going to law school in a state with a smaller, yet friendly and personable bar is such an advantage. You will meet people all across the profession all across the state. WVU Law, and the State of West Virginia, is such a unique and welcoming place for all people, you will only regret not coming here.” 

Arnold will graduate and begin working at the Berkeley County (WV) Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

“Coming to WVU Law has been one of the most joyful experiences of my life,” he said. “I have made lifelong friends and memories. I will cherish the time I spent on the Hill.”

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