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Online auction benefitting public interest law fellowships starts March 15

WVU Law Spring 2021 PIA Auction

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The annual auction at the West Virginia University College of Law that supports students who work in the public interest is online this year due to the pandemic.

The Public Interest Advocates Spring Auction begins on March 15 at 9 a.m. and ends on March 19 at 5 p.m. Proceeds help pay for students who work for low-income and at-risk clients at legal agencies in West Virginia.

To participate in the auction, bidders must register at

Last year’s PIA auction helped fund 28 law students working at organizations such as Legal Aid of West Virginia, ChildLaw Services, Senior Legal Aid and Mountain State Justice.

West Virginia Law Review symposium to explore artificial intelligence

WVU Law 2021 West Virginia Law Review Symposium AI and the Law

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As Artificial Intelligence becomes more commonplace in society, it is having an impact on the law.

On February 25 and 26, the West Virginia Law Review will explore topics at the intersection of AI and the law with a range of experts in a virtual symposium hosted by the West Virginia University College of Law.

Artificial Intelligence and the Law starts at 10 a.m. on February 25 and 9:30 a.m. on February 26. Panelists and speakers will explore AI in legal ethics, intellectual property, access to justice, consumer protection, technology and social media.

Admission is free for the public and $125 for attorneys seeking continuing legal education credit. All symposium attendees must register at West Virginia Continuing Legal Education.

BLSA, Career Services receive $9000 gift

WVU Law Flowers gift to BLSA and Career Services

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A $9,000 gift from the West Virginia Bar Foundation is benefiting the Black Law Students Association and the Meredith Career Services Center at the West Virginia University College of Law.

The Bar Foundation recently raised the funds at its annual Lunch and Laughs with Legal Legends. The virtual event honored Edwin (J.D. ’54) and Ellie Flowers (’54). 

Ed is a former WVU vice president, federal bankruptcy judge and justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Ellie is a former journalist and higher education administrator who led the career services office at WVU Law for 20 years.

The Flowers selected the gift recipients, who will share the funds equally.

Professor Cyphert wins national award for AI surveillance article

WVU Law Amy Cyphert

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Amy Cyphert, a lecturer at the West Virginia University College of Law, has won a national award for a legal article on machine-learning algorithms and online surveillance.

Cyphert received the Privacy Papers for Policymakers Award from the Future of Privacy Forum for “Tinker-ing with Machine Learning: The Legality and Consequences of Online Surveillance of Students,” which was published in the Nevada Law Journal in 2020.

In her article, Cyphert discusses what First and Fourth Amendment legal challenges to third-party surveillance might look like, as well as the likelihood of success of those arguments.

The Privacy Papers for Policymakers Award recognizes research relevant to Congress, federal agencies and data protection authorities around the world. Recommended to policymakers as the “must-read” privacy scholarship of the year, winning papers highlight work that analyzes current and emerging privacy issues and proposes solutions that could lead to real-world policy solutions.

2020 Baker Cup Finalists to Share Honors

WVU Law 2020 Baker Cup Co-Champions Humphrey and Jonese

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Every spring semester, a group of WVU Law students face each other in the George C. Baker Cup Moot Court Competition. Their goal: reach the final round argued before the Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and hoist the Baker Cup trophy in victory.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Blake Humphrey and Makeia Jonese from competing in the Baker Cup final round. On their way to the final, however, Humphrey won Best Brief and Jonese earned Best Oralist honors. 

And while they were to be rivals in the Baker Cup final, Humphrey and Jonese were also teammates on WVU Law's 2020 National Moot Court Team, which advanced to the regional competition final rounds.  

These were extraordinary circumstance in the history of the Baker Cup, which dates to 1968. Because of their performance as teammates on the national team and their individual success in reaching the final round, Humphrey and Jonese are being recognized as Baker Cup “co-champions” for 2020. They will split the winnings and their names will be engraved on the trophy.  

WVU pays tribute to alumnus, longtime supporter George Farmer, Jr.

WVU Law - George R. Farmer, Jr.

MORGTANTOWN, W.Va.— West Virginia University alumnus George R. Farmer Jr. was a successful attorney who devoted his career to carrying on the giving tradition of one of West Virginia’s most celebrated benefactors. In doing so, he helped transform his alma mater and the Morgantown community through impactful philanthropic giving that will be remembered long beyond his passing Monday, at the age of 92.

Farmer was a longtime attorney, advisor and friend of Hazel Ruby McQuain, who donated millions of dollars to WVU and other charitable causes in the greater Morgantown area during her lifetime. Following her death in 2002, he continued to build upon her legacy as chairman of the board for the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust and J.W. Ruby Foundation. Largely via the Trust, Farmer provided many generous gifts to support education, healthcare, athletics and more at WVU.

A native of Morgantown, Farmer earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WVU’s  Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1953 and his J.D. from the  College of Law in 1956. He practiced law with the Morgantown firms Farmer & Farmer – founded by his late father – and Jackson Kelly, specializing in litigation, banking, business and corporate law, real estate and estate planning.

“George Farmer has been a dear friend of mine for more than 40 years,” WVU  President E. Gordon Gee said. “I met him when I was the dean of the College of Law, and we became fast friends. He was always a strong advocate of the University, as well as the College of Law, and I respected and admired him immensely. He and his beloved family have continued to support the University with both time and treasure. His vision for our University and the State of West Virginia was always forward thinking and his love for both ran deep. He had a great wisdom about him, and I will deeply miss my friend.”

Legal education innovator and leader to serve as next dean of WVU Law

WVU Law - Amelia Rinehart

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - An experienced academic leader and patent law expert has been selected as the next William J. Maier, Jr. Dean of the West Virginia University College of Law.

Amelia Smith Rinehart’s appointment was announced today (January 12) by Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed

Rinehart currently serves as associate dean of academic affairs and professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Her appointment at WVU Law will begin June 30.

“From her childhood in rural Louisiana to her role as a problem solver and innovator at the University of Utah, Amelia Smith Rinehart has honed the ideal vision to make our College of Law a leader in 21st century legal education and an engine for progress and equity throughout West Virginia,” WVU President Gordon Gee said.

West Virginia University researchers collaborate on energy policy study

WVU Law Jesse Richardson

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A team of researchers from the West Virginia University College of Law, WVU’s Energy Institute and the University of Wyoming have completed the first phase of a policy study for the United States Energy Association.

The study examines the regulatory environment in 12 states regarding the use of using CO2 (carbon dioxide) to extract additional oil from depleted reservoirs, a practice known as enhanced oil recovery. This method can extend an oil reservoir’s production by an additional 20%to 40%.  

The principal authors of the study are Professor Jesse Richardson of WVU Law; Dr. Sam Taylor of the WVU Energy Institute; Kris Koski of the University of Wyoming; and Professor Tara Righetti of the UW College of Law. Students at both institutions provided crucial research support on the project.

In the U.S, active commercial EOR projects inject over two billion cubic feet of CO2 into oil reservoirs. There is very little CO2-EOR activity in West Virginia but there is tremendous potential, according to Richardson, and the study could help promote oil production in the Mountain State.

Lawyers and Leaders Class of 2020 announced

WVU Law 2020 Lawyers and Leaders

Morgantown, W.Va. —  WVU Law and West Virginia Executive magazine are pleased to announced the exceptional legal professionals who have been named to the Lawyers & Leaders Class of 2020. 

Founded in 2017, the Lawyers & Leaders program recognizes the accomplishments of legal professionals who have made a positive impact on the state and the nation and have dedicated their careers to serving others and their communities. Nominees are required to either be practicing law in West Virginia or be a graduate of WVU Law. 

The 2020 Lawyers and Leaders are:

Renewable energy is key to West Virginia’s economic future

WVU Law Jamie Van Nostrand

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Investing in renewable energy is a viable solution to diversifying and strengthening West Virginia’s economy. And according to a new report issued by the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law, the switch to renewable energy would be cost-effective and can be done in a way that creates thousands of jobs — and may even save consumers money.

Titled “ West Virginia’s Energy Future,” the report shows West Virginia can dramatically increase renewable energy production over the next 15 years, generating over 70% of the state’s electricity from wind and solar by 2035. Currently, less than 5% of the state’s electricity comes from those sources.

“West Virginia’s electric utilities are already planning to retire their coal-fired power plants by 2050 at the latest,” said James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. “The question we need to confront today is whether we want the electric utilities to continue tacking costs onto customer’s bills over the next few decades to keep those plants afloat, or do we want them to invest now to create local jobs in the growing renewable energy economy and reduce our exposure to downswings in the coal industry.”

The report compares the current trajectory of West Virginia’s electric utilities — estimated to maintain 84% coal-fired generation in 2035 — against an alternative future of more energy efficiency, solar energy, and wind energy. The result is 78% emission-free energy generation by 2035.

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