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WVU Law center finds Biden, Manchin energy plans will benefit West Virginia

WVU Law wind turbines

MORGANTOWN, W. Va.— Analysis from the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development  at the West Virginia University College of Law has determined that energy infrastructure incentives proposed in complementary plans from President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will benefit the Mountain State in job creation, energy costs and emissions reduction.

“West Virginia’s Energy Future: Built Back Better,” an update to a report released last year, illustrates how a dramatic increase in renewable energy production over the next decade could be feasible, notwithstanding electric utilities’ current dependence on coal.

“Built Back Better” finds the rapid expansion of renewable energy enabled by the energy infrastructure incentives in the American Jobs Plan would create 3,508 full-time jobs in West Virginia, while also reducing costs by $855 million through 2040. It would also allow electric utilities to achieve 79.4% emission-free electricity generation in 2030.

“Last year we showed how a major increase of wind and solar could be cost-effective even without any policy changes,” said  James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. “Now we’re showing how the Biden and Manchin plans would enable a swifter buildout of renewable energy while simultaneously creating thousands of jobs and significantly reducing energy costs in our state.”

WVU Law veterans clinic opens Charleston office

WVU Law Veterans Advocacy Clinic The Equities Hosue

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s nearly 170,000 veterans, many with unique legal needs related to their service or return to civilian life, will benefit from the regional office West Virginia University’s Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic has opened in The Equities House in Charleston.

“The state’s veterans who need legal assistance have a new resource in the capital,” said Amelia Rinehart, dean of the WVU College of Law. “This additional clinical law office will allow us to better serve our veterans in the central and southern part of the state.”

Under faculty supervision, law students in the clinic represent West Virginia veterans for free in litigation before administrative agencies and courts on benefits, discharge upgrades, employment claims and other civil matters. The clinic also works with U.S. Attorneys’ offices in the state to provide representation for veterans with petty offenses.

Attorney Jed Nolan is the program director of the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic. He will split his time between the Charleston office and the main clinic at the WVU College of Law in Morgantown. Student attorneys in the clinic will continue to work out of the College of Law and travel to Charleston as needed.

1L Novak wins BLSA award in honor of Justice Cleckley

WVU Law student Kinsey Novak

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Incoming student Kinsey Novak is the recipient of a $1500 book stipend from the Black Law Students Association at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Applicants for the stipend submitted an essay discussing a court opinion written by the late Franklin D. Cleckley, the first African-American justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. 

Cleckley, a longtime WVU law professor, served on the state’s Supreme Court from 1994 to 1996 and authored more than 100 majority opinions. He passed away in August 2017.

Novak, who begins her 1L year at WVU Law this month, won for her essay examining Cleckley’s 1996 decision in State ex rel. Suriano v. Gaughan (198 W. Va. 339, 480 S.E.2d 548).

Summer externs are gaining valuable work experience

WVU Law 2021 Summer Externs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  A group of WVU Law students has spent their summer working alongside practicing attorneys and judges, gaining real-world legal training.

The summer externship course at WVU Law allows law students to earn credit for 10 weeks of work in a variety of legal settings across the state. As they provide support to the legal offices in which they work, students apply what they learn in the classroom to hone valuable lawyering skills. 

“Externships are an excellent way for students to work on real cases and get relevant legal training in a government, judicial or public interest setting,” said Jennifer Powell, externship course instructor and director of the Center for Law and Public Service. “Students say their legal research and writing skills improve and that they get a chance to build their professional networks.”

The WVU Law summer 2021 externs are:

Peggy Browning Fellow working at Women's Law Project

WVU Law student Aliah Hasan

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia University College of Law student is working in Pittsburgh this summer helping defend and advance the rights of women, girls and LGBTQ+ people in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Aliah Hasan, a rising 3L, is a legal intern at the Women's Law Project as a recipient of a Peggy Browning Fellowship. The highly competitive national fellowship provides law students with unique, diverse and challenging work experiences fighting for social and economic justice.

Peggy Browning Fellows are distinguished students who excel in law school and have demonstrated a commitment to workers’ rights through their previous educational, work, volunteer and personal experiences. This year, the fellowship received almost 700 applications for about 80 positions nationwide.

Hasan grew up watching her mother work multiple low-wage retail jobs with little time to think about “justice.” As a child of immigrants, Hasan aspires to use her law degree to aid marginalized people in understanding and exercising their rights. Before law school, Hasan worked at the International Institute of Buffalo, where she advocated for foreign-born survivors of domestic violence and forced labor.

Sprouse Fellows are helping access to justice

WVU Law student Ashley Brash and Rayann Yocum

Two West Virginia University College of Law students are helping increase access to justice for clients in need while adding valuable work experience to their credentials.

As recipients of WVU Law’s Sprouse Fellowship, rising third-year students Ashley Brash and Rayann Yocum are working for 10 weeks this summer in public defender offices.

The Sprouse Fellowship is a competitive opportunity that allows students to obtain their Rule 10 law practice certifications and appear in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Recipients receive a $5,500 stipend.

“These fellowships provide important support and staffing to busy public defender offices and their clients while giving WVU Law students practical, hands-on learning experiences,” said Jennifer Powell, director of the Center for Law and Public Service.

Vilasuso working for ChildLaw Services as Charon Fellow

WVU Law student Zoey Vilasuso

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A rising third-year student at the West Virginia University College of Law is spending her summer helping give the state’s children a stronger voice in the justice system.

Zoey Vilasuso is working in the Princeton, West Virginia, office of ChildLaw Services as the 2021 recipient of the Regina Charon Fellowship. The fellowship is paying Vilasuso a stipend of $5500 for 10 weeks of valuable work experience.

ChildLaw is the only non-profit law firm in the Mountain State that represents children exclusively. Its mission is to advocate for the well-being of children through legal representation, policy development, and coordinated planning.

“ChildLaw Services was my first choice for this fellowship because I have always been drawn towards working with kids,” Vilasuso said. “I worked full-time at a daycare in Morgantown before going to law school, and my mom is a middle school teacher in Morgantown.” 

WVU Law summer fellows are helping those in need

WVU Law student Sophia Runion

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Continuing a long-running tradition, law students at West Virginia University are spending this summer helping those in need.

More than a dozen WVU College of Law students are working as Public Interest Advocates Summer Fellows. They are helping at regional organizations that provide legal services to low-income clients, the elderly, children, victims of domestic violence, veterans and others. The program began in 1988.

Being a PIA Summer Fellow gives these students valuable legal work experience in areas such as children’s advocacy, civil rights, consumer matters, disability rights, and land use and conservation. At the same time, they are increasing access to justice for many people who cannot afford a lawyer.

“PIA Fellowships allow students to gain practical, real-world legal experience while they provide important support and staffing in busy public interest law offices,” said Jennifer Powell, director of the Center for Law and Public Service. “The fellowships have also inspired many students to provide pro bono legal services once they become lawyers and have launched hundreds of students’ careers in public interest law.”

Trychta wins national award for academic support

WVU Law Teaching Professor Kirsha Trychta

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kirsha Trychta, a teaching professor at the West Virginia University College of Law, has been recognized by a national organization for helping law students succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trychta, who directs the WVU Law Academic Excellence Center, recently received the 2021 Impact Award from the Association of Academic Support Educators. She was recognized for her approach to teaching students and connecting AASE members in the face of COVID-19.

“The last year has been extraordinarily challenging for the law school academic support community,” said Trychta. “To be individually recognized as having a substantial impact on the academic support profession during any year, let alone this year, is humbling and exceptionally meaningful. I am truly honored.”

Trychta is chair of the AASE Online Presence Committee. The national organization is made up of academic success professionals who work to make legal education accessible to all students. Members collaborate to develop and implement research-based teaching methods and design programs that help students succeed in law school, on the bar exam and in their legal careers.

Professor Friedberg discusses unseating Netanyahu

WVU Law Jim Friedberg

Jim Friedberg, the Hale J. and Roscoe P. Poston Professor of Law at WVU, discusses the political situation in Israel that culminated on June 2, 2021, with the formation of an unlikely coalition to remove Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Friedberg's expertise includes international law.



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