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Online auction benefitting public interest law fellowships starts March 21

WVU Law summer 2021 PIA fellow Brooke Antol

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University College of Law is hosting an online auction to support students who work in public interest law.

The Public Interest Advocates Spring Auction begins on March 21 at 9 a.m. and ends on March 25 at 5 p.m. Proceeds help pay fellowships 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 32auctions.com/wvupia2022auction.

Last year’s PIA auction helped fund 15 fellowships for law students to work at organizations such as Legal Aid of West Virginia, ChildLaw Services, Senior Legal Aid and Mountain State Justice. It also helped fund two other students working in public defenders' offices.

Professor Tu co-authors new edition of IP law book

WVU Law professor S. Sean Tu

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — S. Sean Tu, a West Virginia University College of Law professor, has co-authored a new book on U.S. intellectual property law.

“Fundamentals of United States Intellectual Property Law” (Wolters Kluwer, 2022, 7th ed.) is a revised and updated comprehensive review of U.S. copyright, patent, and trademark laws. The book introduces recent amendments to these types of law and examines their impact.

“Patent law is constantly changing with important topics such as the growing prominence of the Western District of Texas as a venue for patent lawsuits, changes to Inter Partes Review procedure, and the use of sovereign immunity to protect patent validity,” said Tu.

Major themes in the book include registration procedures; scope of exclusive rights; transfer of interests; fair use; rights in unregistered marks; protection of computer software, code, and databases; remedies and procedural issues in infringement actions.

WVU national moot court competition focusing on coal and solar energy

UPDATE 3/5/22: Congratulations to Autumn Brehon and Brianka Yzaguirre of the University of Houston Law Center, winners of the 12th annual National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition, arguing for the Appellee. Great effort by the second-place team of Chris Cerny, Eden Faure and John Schwieters from the University of Minnesota Law School!

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Students from a record 29 law schools are competing March 2-5 in the 12th annual National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition, hosted by the West Virginia University College of Law.

The competition is organized by WVU’s  Center for Energy and Sustainable Development for students who want to work in energy and environmental law. It is being held virtually.

This year, 39 teams will grapple with legal issues related to the Clean Air Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The moot court problem involves a fictitious federally owned electric utility company that operates an aging coal-fired power plant and a concentrating solar power facility.

Law Review symposium to explore rural health care

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Appalachian communities have long struggled with access to care, hospital closures, gaps in insurance coverage and higher prevalence rates of chronic disease — and the global pandemic has only created more challenges.

On February 24 and 25, the West Virginia Law Review is hosting a symposium to explore these topics at the intersection of law and health, seeking to understand their impact on rural Appalachia.

Health in the Hills: Understanding the Impact of Health Care Law in Rural Communities is being held in-person at the West Virginia University College of Law and streamed on YouTube.

Health care law experts from across the country will address a wide range of topics, including how finances affect medicine in rural communities, how technology can improve medicine in rural communities, how international factors can affect rural medicine, and how practices in rural medicine specifically impact Appalachia.

WVU Law team helps Afghans resettle

WVVU Law students Tori Bruno, Aliah Hasan, Lauren Knowlden, Matt Regan and Natalia Watkins

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Several West Virginia University College of Law students recently spent a week in Wisconsin helping Afghans resettle in the United States.

Third-year students Tori Bruno, Aliah Hasan, Lauren Knowlden, Matt Regan and Natalia Watkins are members of the WVU Immigration Law Clinic. They worked at a U.S. government facility in January, assisting hundreds of Afghans who had fled their country following the fall of Kabul last year.

Immigration Law Clinic co-directors Professor  Alison Peck and Robert Whitehill, a Pittsburgh-based immigration attorney, accompanied the students on the trip.

WVU colleges collaborating on $3.4 million USDA grant

WVVU Law Dean Amelia Rinehart

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A cross-campus collaboration at  West Virginia University will help the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service research and review its Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, which has safeguarded millions of acres of productive farm and ranchland into perpetuity.

The NRCS has awarded a $3.4 million grant to the  Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the WVU  College of Law, which will partner with the  Energy Land Management program in the  Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design on the project.

“A grant of this magnitude and scope takes WVU Law’s national service to a new level,” said  Amelia Rinehart, dean of the College of Law. “The project ultimately benefits the American people and it provides our students with invaluable work experience in land use law.”

Darrell Donahue, dean of the Davis College, agreed.

Professor McDiarmid wins lifetime achievement award

WVU Law professor Marjorie McDiarmid

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Professor Marjorie McDiarmid of the West Virginia University College of Law has received a lifetime achievement award from the Association of American Law Schools.

McDiarmid, the Steptoe & Johnson Professor of Law and Technology, was recognized for her work in pro bono and public service law. 

For 35 years, McDiarmid directed and helped expand the clinical law program at WVU until stepping down in 2021. She continues to teach the law, including evidence and civil procedure courses.

“Over the course of her career and continuing today, Professor McDiarmid changed the landscape of clinical legal education and has trained hundreds of lawyers to carry those same values of service and leadership to their communities,” said Amelia Rinehart, dean of the College of Law. “She pioneered using technology to break down barriers to legal services, and she committed herself and our college to improving the lives of multiple generations of West Virginians with her vision to provide free legal assistance throughout the state. We cannot measure the impact she has had on the state of West Virginia and on the legal profession.”

Michael Johnson '03 named GLAD chief legal strategist

WVU Lawa 2003 graduate Michael Johnson

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Michael Johnson, a 2003 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law, is the new chief legal strategist for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

Known as GLAD, the Boston-based organization uses strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education to fight discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status and sexual orientation. 

“For more than four decades, GLAD’s cutting-edge legal work has driven monumental advancements in LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections, transgender rights, family equality, the rights of people living with HIV, and more across New England and nationally,” Johnson said. “But even as we gain increased legal protections, our efforts are constantly being challenged.”

Johnson joins GLAD after nearly 20 years in leadership roles at Western New England University School of Law, where he most recently served as associate dean for student affairs and enrollment planning. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Students attend national defense attorney conference

WVU Law students Mattie Shuler, Shelby Turley and Alley Jordan in Lugar Courtroom

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three students at the West Virginia University College of Law recently participated in a national conference for defense attorneys. 

Second-year law students Alley Jordan, Mattie Shuler and Shelby Turley traveled to Boston for the annual meeting of DRI, where they networked with attorneys while learning about legal defense practice through presentations and workshops.

DRI, founded in 1960, is an organization of defense attorneys and in-house counsel that aims to build connections, educate members and improve the justice system. 

"There were a lot of changes of views that people held about their career and it was really interesting to hear all of those different perspectives," Jordan said.

President Biden nominates Williamson '10 to lead mine safety

WVU Law 2010 graduate Christopher Williamson

WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden has announced his nomination of Christopher J. Williamson for Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Williamson is a 2010 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law.

From the White House news release:

A proud Appalachian and native of the coalfields of southern West Virginia, Williamson currently serves as Senior Counsel to Chairman Lauren McFerran of the National Labor Relations Board. Prior to joining the NLRB, he served in the Obama-Biden Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor as a member of the senior leadership team at the Mine Safety and Health Administration. In that role, he advised the Assistant Secretary for MSHA on all aspects of agency policy, operations, and communications. 

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