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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.


The West Virginia University College of Law’s Clinical Law Program was recently awarded a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant of over $117,000 to provide reentry-related legal services to West Virginians recovering from substance use disorder. Primarily focusing on establishing economic stability, the services include bankruptcy, benefits eligibility, driver’s license reinstatement, and expungements. The SOR grant program is funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and supported by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Behavioral Health.

“It’s wonderful to see this investment in our state,” remarked Clinic Director and Associate Professor Nicole McConlogue. “Access to legal resources will help people get their lives back on track and support them in achieving a sustained recovery.”

The Clinical Law Program is partnering with the Clarksburg Mission, a residential recovery facility, as part of its activities under the grant. As a result, the Mission has already hosted two “lawyer of the day” events, during which law students provide 30-minute legal consultations to residents at the Clarksburg Mission. The students, acting under attorney supervision, answer questions about legal processes, review documents, help participants complete legal forms, make referrals, and identify next steps. Both events  have been met with significant demand and were well-received by participants. “Everyone was so glad to have some help,” Professor McConlogue commented. “But we’re just showing up and listening. They’re the ones doing the hard part.”

Shawna Pastuch White, a 2008 graduate of the College of Law, will meet client needs under this new grant in a staff attorney role. Ms. White is an experienced public interest lawyer, having served as a public defender and domestic violence advocate. Most recently, she spent six years as a staff attorney with Disability Rights West Virginia. As staff attorney, Ms. White will organize and facilitate more of these events both at the Mission and statewide, while maintaining a caseload and advising law students who represent reentry clients in the Clinical Law Program.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia convenes at WVU Law on March 21

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia will convene at the West Virginia University College of Law on March 21 to hear arguments in five cases.

Seating begins at 9 a.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom, with the first case starting at 10 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public. The arguments will be webcast live on the court’s YouTube channel.

The Supreme Court of Appeals is West Virginia’s highest court and the court of last resort. The five Supreme Court Justices hear appeals of decisions over matters decided in the state’s lower courts.

The first cases to be argued fall under the Supreme Court’s Rule 20. These are typically cases of fundamental public importance, constitutional questions, and inconsistency among decisions of lower courts.

The Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at West Virginia University College of Law Announces Award

The Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at West Virginia University College of Law (“Land Use Law Clinic” or “Clinic”) announced today that has been awarded $ 2,500 in funding from Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta), one of the 11 district banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

The award is through the FHLBank Atlanta Heirs’ Property Prevention and Resolution Grant Initiative, announced last August. Funding through this initiative was made available to organizations that submitted pilot initiatives during the Heirs’ Property Prevention and Resolution Funders’ Forum, held on December 2, 2021.

“We are grateful to FHLBank Atlanta for their partnership and for devoting the time, energy, and resources necessary to help address the many issues posed by heirs’ property,” said Jesse J. Richardson, Jr., a land use attorney with the clinic. “Heirs’ property has a significant negative impact across West Virginia and this award will help the Clinic to start to build a foundation to educate on this issue.”

Kirk Malmberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of FHLBank Atlanta, congratulated the Land Use Law Clinic on being selected for an award. “We are pleased to offer this award and we commend the Clinic for working to solve and prevent issues associated with heirs’ property,” said Malmberg.

West Virginia Innocence Project, housed at WVU College of Law, awarded DOJ funding to investigate wrongful convictions

WVU Law Innocence project


MORGANTOWN, WV —The West Virginia Innocence Project, housed at the West Virginia University College of Law, is one of 13 organizations nationwide selected by the United States Department of Justice to participate in its Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions Program. WVIP will receive $359,208 to bolster its continuing efforts to investigate and challenge wrongful convictions in the Mountain State.


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