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WVU Law’s Amy Cyphert Discusses Her Love for West Virginia, Law Students and AI Law

Morgantown, West Virginia native and Lecturer in Law at West Virginia University’s College of Law Amy Cyphert chose a career in law because she was inspired by people who made a difference in their communities. 

“I was drawn to law for many reasons, including that I was inspired by people who made a difference in their communities through impact litigation,” said Cyphert. “I also appreciated that so many lawyers were leaders, including as elected representatives. I also really liked the logic of law, and the way you could use the persuasive writing techniques I learned as an undergraduate to help accomplish justice for your clients.” 

Cyphert’s law career took her from Morgantown to Manhattan. 

“After clerking for a judge in Manhattan, I practiced law there for several years,” she said. “I knew I wanted to get home to Morgantown, where I have a large extended family I’m very close with. A position opened up in WVU’s Honors College just as I was thinking about next steps. It was an unexpected path and one that many of my Big Law colleagues were confused by, but I have never looked back. Within a couple of years of settling in at WVU, I began teaching as an adjunct at the College of Law and then eventually had a formal joint appointment between Law and Honors.” 

She was drawn home to WVU because she loves the students and the University’s land-grant mission. 

“We have exceptional students who are deeply committed to improving their communities. As someone who was born and raised in this state and who is choosing to raise a family here, I am especially grateful to the many students who are committed to furthering justice in this great state.” 

At this stage in her career, Cyphert has been immersed in AI Law.

“Artificial intelligence is one of the most important developments of my lifetime,” she said. “It can be a profound force for good or a profound negative force, and I feel honored to be someone who gets to help shape the direction in some small way through my writing, teaching, and speaking.”

Whether it’s research or speaking on a local or national level, Cyphert has been busy educating students and informing the public of AI laws. 

This year alone, she has been fortunate to participate in several speaking engagements, such as speaking with WV judges and legislators in Charleston, with journalists in New Mexico, as well as other lawyers at NYU Law. 

She also enjoys teaching law students about artificial intelligence in her AI and the Law class. 

“This spring, we were discussing AI and antitrust in my AI and the Law class,” said Cyphert. “As we were talking about the FTC’s and DOJ’s roles in enforcing antitrust laws, a breaking news alert came out that the DOJ was suing Apple for monopolies in the smartphone market. It was an amazing example of how deeply timely and relevant the topics in that course are.” 

Most recently, she was recognized as a 2024 West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow. 

“It was an incredible honor to be recognized among so many exceptional West Virginia lawyers and jurists who are doing the important work of achieving justice in our state,” she said. “I am inspired by the examples of my fellow inductees."

Starting Fall 2024, Cyphert is most looking forward to teaching 1Ls again and teaching a seminar on Regulating AI for the first time. 

Cyphert will also join WVU Law’s faculty full time as an associate professor. 

“When I was in law school, I kept this quote by philosopher and poet Henri Frédéric Amiel tacked above my computer: “Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.” It helped me tackle procrastination and stay motivated,” she said. 

“In this phase of my life, I need less help with procrastination and more help with ruminating and being too hard on myself. So, I try to keep this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote in mind: ‘Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.’”

When asked about her goals for the future, Cyphert said she would love to someday be a guest on her favorite AI podcast, Hard Fork. 

Learn more about Cyphert and the work she is doing at WVU Law and the world of AI Law, here

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