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WVU Law Hosts Largest Gathering of Federal Judges in West Virginia

WV Judges

WV Judges

Thirteen federal judges gathered with nearly 70 law students and members of the state bar at WVU College of Law earlier this month for a national diversity event designed to demystify the process of becoming a bankruptcy or magistrate judge.

The purpose of the event, according to co-chair Judge David Bissett, was to “put the bug in people’s ears that lawyers from a variety of practice backgrounds” can become judges.

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.”

WVU Law Student Wins National Legal Writing Award

Maggie Lohmann

Maggie Lohmann

Maggie Lohmann, a third year WVU Law student from Bridgeport, has been named one of the “finest law school writers” in the country by the Burton Awards, a national non-profit program run in association with the Library of Congress and the American Bar Association.

Lohmann, whose student law review note was chosen from nominations submitted by the nation’s top law schools, will receive the “Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award” in Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony, which will be held at the National Portrait Gallery in June, will be followed by a gala reception and performance by comedian and late-night talk show host Seth Meyers. 

Lohmann’s winning piece, featured in the West Virginia Law Review, examines Federal Indian Law and land rights disparities. Lohmann said she wanted to investigate the topic after reading a seminal case in Professor Alison Peck’s property law class.

WVU Law Professor Appointed to Presidential Task Force on Environment

Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson

The White House Council on Environmental Quality recently announced that WVU College of Law Professor Jesse Richardson has been appointed to a new task force on responsible development of carbon management technologies. He will be part of a group providing recommendations to the federal government on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) projects, including carbon dioxide pipelines. Richardson and the task force will ensure that projects are permitted efficiently and with the input of a wide range of stakeholders.

 According to Richardson, CCUS projects capture carbon instead of allowing it to be released into the atmosphere, potentially cutting pollution.

 We’re trying to reduce carbon to the maximum extent possible but when we can’t, let’s make lemonade out of lemons and see what we can do to capture it and use it to minimize the environmental impact,” Richardson said.

WVU Law Students Attend Supreme Court Argument For Case They Helped Prepare

WVU Law at the supreme court

Ten WVU Law Supreme Court Clinic students got to witness something last week that many attorneys never experience over an entire legal career. These WVU Law students were on hand at the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to watch an oral argument that they assisted in preparing.

The students helped write several documents related to the case, including the petition for certiorari. Lawrence Rosenberg of the international law firm Jones Day, who co-teaches the clinic with WVU Law Professor Anne Lofaso, presented the oral argument. The case focused on the interplay between two subsections of federal criminal law dealing with firearm offenses. Lofaso sat at the counsel table with Rosenberg, and the students sat a few rows back in an area of the courtroom typically reserved only for members of the Supreme Court bar.

 “They were so pumped afterwards,” Lofaso said, “They were practically touching the justices.”

 Lofaso said highly motivated students enroll in the year-long clinic, which teaches advanced advocacy skills, including advanced legal research. Students learn what makes a case a good candidate for Supreme Court review.

WVU Law Students Argue in Charleston Before WV Supreme Court

Baker Cup 23

It’s not every day that law students find themselves arguing complex legal issues in front of actual Supreme Court justices, but that’s exactly where WVU College of Law 2Ls Anna Williams and Augustus Graff found themselves earlier this week.

 The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia judged the West Virginia University College of Law’s Baker Cup Moot Court appellate advocacy competition in the Supreme Court Courtroom in Charleston on March 28. The Court named Williams, 23, of Bluefield, the winner and Graff, 27, of Ghent, the runner up. The Baker Cup, first awarded in 1927, has become an annual College of Law tradition.

 “This is not something that most law students would get to experience,” said Amy Cyphert, moot court adviser and lecturer in law. “It’s a unique opportunity because we’re the only law school in the state.”

WVU Law Grad Receives Prestigious Leadership Fellowship

Julian Pecora Law Grad

Julian Pecora, a 2020 graduate of the WVU College of Law, has been selected to represent the United States in the prestigious Atlantik-Brücke’s New Bridge Program, a leadership fellowship.  At the end of April, Pecora, an associate attorney at Huntington’s Farrell White & Legg PLLC, will travel to Europe with a small group of young American community leaders. While in Germany and Belgium, the group will meet with high-ranking officials, visit key government and cultural sites, and network with their European counterparts.

 My biggest hope is that I will be able to bring back connections and opportunities for West Virginia,” said Pecora, 28, originally of Clarksburg. “I want to establish a pipeline to this program for WVU Law grads.”

Pecora is only the second West Virginian ever selected by Atlantik-Brücke and will be the only leader from Appalachia on this spring’s trip. The fully funded 10-day program begins with a predeparture seminar in Washington, D.C., where participants get to know one another and make their first valuable connections with the transatlantic community. After completing the program, participants will be integrated into an alumni network with additional events and opportunities for continued exchange. With its New Bridge program, Atlantik-Brücke seeks to garner interest in Europe among more Americans and build a stronger transatlantic community.

Pecora said he is most excited about visiting the European Union and meeting people in Berlin. “I hope to be able to make contacts and then bring those connections back to West Virginia, either through economic development or programs or sending others to the fellowship,” he said.

Third-year law student awarded post-graduate fellowship for public interest work

Jack Swiney

Jack Swiney

When third-year law student Jack Swiney went to work at the Kanawha County Public Defender’s office last summer, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

 “I expected it to be quite overwhelming, as generally people in these offices are overworked and underpaid, like firm life without the luxury of the money,” the St. Albans native said.

 Instead, he found himself loving the environment, especially the opportunity to interact with clients and make an impact even before graduation.

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