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Cronin named energy fellow

WVU Law Energy Fellow Tim Cronin 2020

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—A West Virginia native has come home to serve as the new Energy Fellow in the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Attorney Tim Cronin, originally from Buckhannon, West Virginia, has spent the past five years working with renewable energy developers to build projects that have delivered affordable energy and job opportunities to communities across the United States. He is on leave from the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he is a member of the energy and infrastructure practice group.

“We are fortunate to have Tim join us,” said Jamie Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. “He is a talented and experienced energy lawyer with a national firm, and yet he saw an opportunity to come back to West Virginia to do good during a time of great transition for the state.”

As WVU Law’s Energy Fellow, Cronin is researching and promoting opportunities that West Virginia has to create jobs and expand businesses amid the push by public and private sector leaders to reduce emissions across the economy.

3L's European court clerkship cut short by COVID-19

WVU Law Hannah Steketee '20

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—It was a dream job for Hannah Steketee. The WVU Law 3L had earned a prestigious clerkship at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Then, just two weeks after she arrived, COVID-19 forced the ECJ to close indefinitely. Now, Steketee is back home in Morgantown, West Virginia—but her trip was not in vain.

“I was able to do some really cool work,” Steketee said. “I learned so much!”

Steketee was assigned to clerk for Romanian judge Octavia Spinaeu-Matei. In her short time working for Judge Spinaeu-Matei, Steketee conducted legal research on the recusal laws of ECJ member states. She also worked on a European Union harmonized standards case and a case involving EU trademark law.

WVU will not hold in-person classes this semester

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  West Virginia University and its divisional campuses in Keyser and  Beckley will extend alternative delivery of classes through the rest of the semester in response to the continued threat of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Additionally, all employees – except for those needed to keep online operations running and a select few others – must work from home, and residence halls will remain shuttered.

“It is clear the pace of this pandemic will only continue to grow across the United States,”  President Gordon Gee said. “Our medical experts share that there is little chance of it slowing down – unless we quickly and accurately implement measures that can impede the community spread and ‘flatten the curve.’”

Demmerle wins national legal writing award

WVU Law Amanda Demmerle '20

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Amanda Demmerle, a third-year student at West Virginia University College of Law, is a winner of the national Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award for Law Schools.

Demmerle won for her article “Pain in the Ash: How Coal-Fired Power Plants are Polluting Our Nation’s Waters Without Consequences,” published in the December 2019 West Virginia Law Review (122 W. Va. L. Rev. 289). She is the second WVU Law student in three years to win a Burton award.

Just 15 law students from across the country are selected for the Burton Award. Demmerle and the other recipients will be honored at a black-tie dinner at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in June.

In her article, known as a “Note,” Demmerle argues that the federal Clean Water Act is currently the best way to regulate water pollution caused by coal ash impoundments in the United States. She discusses options within the Clean Water Act, and each option’s likelihood of success, to hold coal ash impoundment operators liable and reduce water pollution.

WVU Law helps improve restroom access at WV Supreme Court

WVU Law ADA 30th Anniversary logo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— The restrooms on the main floor at the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia are now fully accessible due to the efforts of the West Virginia Access to Justice Commission.

Based at the West Virginia University College of Law, the Access to Justice Commission is charged with increasing equality in the state’s justice system. This includes investigating the state’s courthouses for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which marks its 30th anniversary this year.

The restroom improvements at the West Virginia Supreme Court include adding grab bars and electronic door buttons and reconfiguring the facilities for wheelchairs.

Attorney Duane Ruggier, a member of the Access to Justice Commission, raised the issue with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, requesting that the court’s restrooms be updated to ADA standards.

Gift establishes Cleckley minority scholarship at WVU Law

WVU Law Frank Cleckley

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— A new scholarship for students of color at the West Virginia University College of Law honors the late Franklin Cleckley, who was the first African American faculty member at the college and one of the first African American professors at WVU.

The anonymous donors have pledged $100,000 over four years to establish the scholarship fund.

"Franklin D. Cleckley devoted his life to contributing to law students, the judicial system, the underserved, the forgotten, the ignored and the disenfranchised,” the donors said in a joint statement. “He provided inspiration and mentorship to hundreds of lawyers who, under his guidance, sought to provide high-quality service to others. Professor Cleckley had a personal goal of increasing the undersupply of minority lawyers. It is with much pleasure that we are able to establish the Franklin D. Cleckley Minority Scholarship at the WVU College of Law.” 

Cleckley, also a prominent jurist and civil rights activist died in 2017, taught at WVU Law from 1969 to 2013.

Spring auction to benefit public interest law fellowships

WVU Law 2020 PIA Auction

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — All proceeds from an upcoming dinner and auction at the West Virginia University College of Law will support students who work for low-income and at-risk clients throughout the state.

The auction will be held on March 26 at the College of Law, and it is open to the public. Dinner begins at 5:00 p.m., followed by the live auction at 6:00 p.m. The dinner costs $10 for adults and is free for children.

The Public Interest Advocates, a law student organization, and the non-profit West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest host the annual auction. The theme this year is "Roaring 2020." In addition to live and silent auction items, there will be door prizes and a 50/50 cash raffle. Registration is required for live auction bidders.

"The PIA auction is one of the highlights of the school year at the College of Law," said Jennifer Powell , director of the Center for Law and Public Service. "Hundreds of community members, law students, law professors, local lawyers and business owners come to the auction each year to bid and raise money for the fellowships. It is a fun night for a great cause.”

Annual McDougall Lecture to address sustainable shipbreaking

WVU Law 2020 McDougall Visiting Professor Saiful Karim

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— An international expert on marine environmental law will deliver this year’s McDougall Lecture West Virginia University College of Law

Saiful Karim will discuss “ The Global Waste Trade: A Requiem for Environmental Justice” at noon on March 10 in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at WVU Law. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Karim is a law professor and the leader of the Ocean Governance Research Group at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is currently the Archibald McDougall Visiting Professor in International Law at WVU Law, teaching a course on climate change.

For his McDougall Lecture, Karim will discuss the need for an international legal framework to create a sustainable shipbreaking industry. Shipbreaking, the dismantling of obsolete ships, is harmful to the ocean, the coastal environment and local communities. It is prominent in nations such as Bangladesh, China, India, Turkey and Pakistan.

Tim Perry '97 to discuss his government relations career

WVU Law 1997 graduate Tim Perry of PWRJ

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Government relations expert Tim Perry ’97 will discuss careers in his field and his law school experience on March 9 at noon in Room 157 at WVU Law.

A leader in Maryland government relations, Perry is co-founder and chairman of Perry White Ross Jacobson, LLC. Based in Annapolis, Maryland, the firm represents a diverse group of clients at the state’s legislative and executive branches as well as in county governments.

PWRJ has been the top government relations firm in Maryland in terms of billing for five consecutive years. Its clients include Anheuser-Busch, Cisco, Airbnb, First Energy Service Company, AT&T, Fidelity Investments, Nissan, Altria, UnitedHealthGroup, the Washington Redskins and many more.

Before opening PWRJ, Perry worked as an associate and partner with Baltimore law firm Gordon Feinblatt. Prior to his government relations career, Perry served as Chief of Staff to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., the longest serving State Senate President in United States history.

Natural gas pipeline the focus of 10th annual energy moot court competition

Update 3/7/20: Congratulations to the University of Virginia School of Law for winning the 2020 National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition, and to the University of North Dakota for finishing in second place.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Law students from across the country will be in Morgantown, West Virginia, March 5-7 for the 10th annual National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Twenty four law schools are sending a record 36 teams to this year’s competition, which is organized by the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at WVU Law.

The moot court problem this year involves the construction of a large pipeline to transport natural gas from a shale play to surrounding markets. The three issues involved are whether the pipeline developer complied with the requirements of the Clean Water Act; the extent of eminent domain authority under the Natural Gas Act;  and the authority of a federal agency to grant a right-of-way across a property near a trail that is part of the National Park System.

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