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WVU Law Alumni Serving the State and its People

West Virginia University College of Law continues to prepare graduates to provide legal services in communities throughout the state. 

For the Class of 2023, WVU Law reported 90 graduates with full employment – full-time, long-term work in a Bar Pass Required or J.D. Advantage position. That’s a rate of more than 87 percent. 

In fact, 62 percent of these graduates stayed in West Virginia. The biggest share of graduates (24.3 percent) is employed at firms that employ up to 10 attorneys only. 

"WVU Law is thankful for the investment the legal community of West Virginia makes in hiring our graduates as they begin the next steps in their careers as attorneys,” said Lauren McCartney, WVU Law’s Director of the Meredith Center for Career Services and Professional Development

Three alumni who graduated in 2023 are now working to serve West Virginians in many facets of life. 

"Our graduates have a long tradition of joining small law practices that provide accessible legal representation to individuals and small businesses around the state and country,” said McCartney. “WVU Law is proud to see so many of our graduates deciding to begin their careers in West Virginia." 

William Shultz, WVU Law 2023 Graduate

Originally from the Eastern Panhandle in Summit Point, West Virginia, William Shultz did not always know he wanted to pursue law, but says it has been one of the best decisions he’s ever made. 

“As an animal science major, I was set on going to vet school and practicing in equine medicine,” said Shultz. “However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of becoming an attorney. Nearly everyone in my family worked in real estate and I thought becoming a closing attorney would be a great way to be involved and still help the community.”

Shultz currently works at his Aunt’s real estate firm, Catrow Law PLLC, in the Charles Town office. 

“Property law was my favorite 1L class, and, after doing my first summer internship with her, I knew it was where I wanted to practice,” he said. “ I think my job provides a very special service. The purchase of a home or the creation of an estate plan is often one of the biggest financial decisions a person makes. It can be complicated and stressful, but I am able to help these folks navigate the process.” 

In fact, Shultz says the connections he made at WVU Law has helped him nearly every day of his career.

“I am incredibly grateful that I get the chance to serve West Virginians, and soon to be West Virginians, every day,” he said. “I have so much love for this state and my community, and I get to share that with the clients.”

Petersburg, West Virginia native, Madison Martin, also did not immediately choose a career in law. 

2024 WVU Law Graduate, Madison Martin

“I went to college with no thought of being an attorney,” said Martin. “I graduated undergrad (with a business management degree) and worked in the Grant County Clerk’s Office, which is where everything fell into place. I was exposed to real estate and estate law and I really enjoyed those areas, but I was feeling unfulfilled. About that time, there was a pretty disturbing child exploitation case that caught my attention and ignited a fire inside me. It was then that I seriously considered law school.

“Being an attorney was everything I was looking for. It was a career in which I could make a difference, help my community, challenge myself, and support my family all while being able to stay in my hometown.”

Today, Martin works at Geary & Geary in her hometown of Petersburg and says it’s fulfilling to be able to help her community by lending a “helping hand.”  

“Being in a rural practice requires me to be a jack of all trades,” she said. “I’m a GAL (guardian ad litem), and represent respondent parents in abuse and neglect cases. I help people probate estates when loved ones pass away. I prepare wills, powers of attorney, and deeds. I also take criminal appointments, file expungements, and help people create businesses.”

“My favorite part, by far, is visiting with the kids. I love going to school and home visits. I take my toy bag with me everywhere I go and talk with the kids while we color, play, and do puzzles. They are so sweet and say the funniest things. I keep a cork board in my office that’s full of pictures they’ve colored and notes they’ve written for me. It is so rewarding.” 

Brigham Warf, originally from Barboursville, West Virginia, received a degree in public relations and advertising before pursuing law. 

2023 WVU Law Graduate, Brigham Warf

Warf admitted that he knew the “legal field was a challenging, yet rewarding career path” but giving back to the state in a meaningful way was always a goal of his. 

“Although I understood being a first-generation law student would pose many challenges, I realized obtaining a J.D., and ultimately passing the bar exam, would likely result in job security as lawyers are an integral part of our society,” said Warf. 

“I chose WVU College of Law because it is a true pillar of the legal community in the state of West Virginia. Being the only law school in the state, the choice to attend WVU Law was easy for me due to the connections I’d make with classmates, professors, and faculty who I would be practicing with, or against, throughout my professional career in West Virginia.”

Today, Warf is an Associate Attorney at Oxley Rich Sammons, PLLC in Huntington. 

Warf had the opportunity to be a legal assistant at Oxley Rich Sammons, PLLC while attending undergrad at Marshall University. Then, during his time at WVU Law, he spent two summers at the firm as a law clerk. 

“My role as a civil defense attorney in West Virginia allows me to defend and advocate for those who are involved in litigation,” he said. “One thing that I have learned thus far in my legal career is there are always two sides to every coin, per se. Therefore, making sure clients in the community get the best representation is crucial to me.”

He also loves that each day in litigation is different.

“One day I may be in the courtroom, another day may be spent traveling across the state for a client meeting or deposition, or a day spent drafting pleadings in the office,” said Warf. “I am constantly learning and adapting, which keeps me on my toes.

“As a proud West Virginian, it’s a real honor to represent clients throughout the state of West Virginia.” 

Learn more about our Class of 2023 employment here

For ways to get involved with our Meredith Center for Career Services and Professional Development, please contact Lauren McCartney here

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