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Two U.S. senators, business and law leaders, philanthropists, television writer and others to join graduates for WVU Commencement ceremonies

Eight honorary degrees will be awarded during WVU Commencement Weekend May 10-12 at the Coliseum. (WVU Photo/David Malecki)

Thousands of West Virginia University graduates will celebrate their successes Commencement Weekend May 10-12 alongside eight honorary degree recipients and two speakers during nine ceremonies at the Coliseum.

Eight honorary degrees will be awarded during WVU Commencement Weekend May 10-12 at the Coliseum. (WVU Photo/David Malecki)

“It is important for our graduates to see and hear from those who have successfully followed their own paths of purpose,” President Gordon Gee said. “Our esteemed honorary degree recipients and speakers, representing fields from politics to performance to philanthropy and more, are making the world a better place. Our hope is our graduates can find inspiration as they take important steps in their own lives.”

See the full Commencement Weekend schedule.

WVU Law Student Receives “Best Overall Attorney” Recognition at National Competition

WVU 3L Law Student, Parker D'Antoni

Third year West Virginia University Law student Parker D’Antoni recently received national recognition for his outstanding performance at a student trial competition held at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore. 

WVU 3L Law Student, Parker D'Antoni

At the conclusion of the preliminary rounds of the National Trial Competition hosted by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, D’Antoni was named “best overall attorney” out of 22 teams representing twelve regional law schools. He received the highest score in each of the four rounds of preliminary competition, held in early February. 

D’Antoni, 26, of Saint Albans, and his teammate, Lucas Tanner, 24, of Rosedale, were required to argue both sides in a criminal trial that involved a fictional burglary and felony theft. WVU Law alumni John Pizzo and Mitch Moore coached the team, who spent nearly ten hours arguing the cases over the course of the two-day competition.

Law Students Place Second at National Tax Challenge Competition

WVU Law Students at ABA Student Tax Challenge in 2024

On January 19, West Virginia University Law students Emmanuel Backus and Logan Wagner came in second place in the 23rd Annual American Bar Association Law Student Tax Challenge – J.D. Division – (LSTC) held during the ABA Tax Section’s its Mid-Year meeting in San Francisco, California. The LSTC, organized annually by the Tax Section’s Young Lawyer Forum, is recognized as one of the premier transactional tax law competitions in the country.

WVU Law Students at ABA Student Tax Challenge in 2024



Steptoe & Johnson PLLC Proudly Waves Gold and Blue in Recognition of WVU College of Law Alumni Lawyers

Evan Conard

With a rich history in West Virginia, it is no wonder that so many West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law alumni choose to spend part (or in some cases all) of their careers at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. In fact, 110 years after the firm got its start in Clarksburg, 110 of the firm’s 320 plus attorneys completed their law degrees as Mountaineers. 

In 2023, six new attorneys with a J.D. from WVU College of Law joined Steptoe & Johnson. Many of them say their invaluable experience gained as a law student can be attributed to their success today.

Evan Conard

“The opportunities available at WVU College of Law provided me with an opportunity to gain firsthand experience working in the energy industry through an internship with Chesapeake Energy LLC during the summer between my 2L and 3L years,” says Evan Conard, an energy litigation attorney who joined Steptoe & Johnson in November. “Additionally, various course offerings at the College of Law also provided the necessary background of legal principles of energy law that I regularly apply in my practice. I am able to build upon this background and experience through my practice at Steptoe & Johnson by focusing on energy litigation matters.” 

College of Law grads, alumni bond over bar exam

Law Student Reads Textbook Between Class

Law Student Reads Textbook Between Class

WVU College of Law alumni Ben Vanston and Jacob Trombley became friends through an unlikely matchmaker: the West Virginia bar exam. They met through a new College of Law initiative that pairs recent graduates with newer alumni to mentor them and provide support as the bar exam approaches. About 40 WVU Law graduates participated in the pilot Peer Bar Exam Consultant project.

Vanston, who graduated in 2021 and now works for a Charleston law firm, was paired with Trombley, a 2023 graduate now working in Kingwood. Beginning in May, they talked weekly —sometimes for up to two hours — about the rigor of the test and the effort needed to pass the July exam.

About halfway through the summer study marathon, Vanston said he realized that Trombley was scoring well on practice tests and was likely to pass, so he shifted his attention to helping ease the stress and mental exhaustion of preparing for a three-day exam.

WVU Law Ranked Number 5 Best Law School Public Interest

PreLaw Magazine Ranks WVU Law #5 Best Law School for Public Interest

PreLaw Magazine Ranks WVU Law #5 Best Law School for Public Interest

PreLaw Magazine has named WVU Law among the 2023 Best Schools for Public Service: Public Interest. Lawyers who practice public interest law help those who cannot afford legal services and the underrepresented, including the poor, the elderly, children and victims of domestic violence.

The College of Law, in conjunction with the nonprofit West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest, has a long history of commitment to public interest law.

Since 1987, these two entities have built a program that provides approximately 20 summer fellowships along with one-year postgraduate placements with a public interest entity in West Virginia. These experiences have created a generation of attorneys ready to serve the greatest needs of our state. 

Q&A with Student Bar Association President Aly Fleenor

3L and Student Bar Association President Aly Fleenor

3L and Student Bar Association President Aly Fleenor

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

A: I am from Oceana, WV, and I'm currently a 3L at WVU Law. I graduated from WVU Tech in Beckley, WV, where I majored in Public Service Administration. 


WVU Law Grads Tackle New Positions Across Country

Nakia Ridgeway

WVU Law Class of 2023 graduates will spend their summers preparing for the bar exam and then dive into new careers, which range from clerkships with federal and state judges to positions in law firms and government agencies all across the country. Here are a few of their stories:

Nakia Ridgeway

Nakia Ridgeway

Ridgeway will begin a two-year clerkship with the Hon. Michael J. Aloi, United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia, in Clarksburg. She served as a judicial extern in Judge Aloi’s chambers during law school and was eager to return to the “very hands-on opportunity.” While externing, Ridgeway attended hearings, helped write orders, and even assisted in handling two civil motions from start to finish.

Attorney Paul T. Farrell, Jr. Honored with WVU College of Law Justitia Officium Award

Paul Ferrell receiving award



Prominent trial attorney and West Virginia University College of Law alumnus Paul Thomas Farrell, Jr. is the recipient of the 2023 College of Law Justitia Officium Award.  Established in 1978 to mark the 100th anniversary of the College of Law, the Justitia Officium is the highest honor bestowed by the law faculty in recognition of outstanding contributions and service to the legal profession.  Mr. Farrell received his award at Commencement on May 12.

Paul understands how lives hang in the balance when injustice exists in our courtrooms and in our communities – and that, often, what can be accomplished in the courtroom can change the lives of countless others outside of it.  Although he’s most recently fought for justice from the opioid industry for the devastation it has caused throughout West Virginia, Paul’s passionate advocacy for all and his relentless dedication to the legal profession and its role in society have had an immeasurable impact throughout his career. We are so honored that he and his wife, Jackie, are our alumni and continue the Farrell family’s lasting legacy to the College of Law,” said WVU College of Law Dean Amelia Smith Rinehart.

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