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Fitzsimmons Law Firm establishes litigation and advocacy center at WVU Law

WVU Law $1.25 million gift from Fitzsimmons Law Firm

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The newly-established Fitzsimmons Center for Litigation and Advocacy at the West Virginia University College of Law will provide additional opportunities for students to enhance essential lawyering skills—including understanding and analyzing the applicable substantive and procedural law while translating that knowledge into effective written and oral advocacy during the litigation process.

The Fitzsimmons Law Firm announced the Fitzsimmons Foundation pledged a gift of $1.25 million to establish the Center, which will have the goal to train law students to become effective legal advocates by enhancing and expanding the litigation and advocacy curriculum at the College.

WVU Law $1.25 million gift from Fitzsimmons Law Firm

McConlogue joins WVU College of Law faculty

WVU Law Professor Nicole McConlogue

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Nicole McConlogue has joined the faculty at the West Virginia University College of Law as an associate professor and clinic director.

McConlogue will teach in WVU Law’s Litigation and Advocacy (General Practice) Law Clinic. Under supervision, students in the clinic provide free legal services in family law, social security and other public benefits, property issues, consumer debt relief and bankruptcy, among others. As a result, they often appear in West Virginia’s state and federal courts.

“We are thrilled to have Nicole at WVU Law as part of our faculty,” said John Taylor, interim dean of the College of Law. “She has terrific experience as a public interest attorney and a clinical teacher, along with administrative experience that will serve her well in the role of clinic director. We are confident she will carry on our strong clinical tradition and that her teaching and scholarship will benefit both our students and the people of West Virginia.”

McConlogue's scholarship interests include consumer protection, competition law, poverty law and technological surveillance of the poor. She serves as a board member for the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition and she is a longtime volunteer for Alpha Gamma Delta Women's Fraternity.

Professor Van Nostrand named to new energy advisory council

WVU Law Professor Jamie Van Nostrand

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Professor James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law, has been named to the advisory council of the new Ohio River Valley Institute.

Launched in August 2020, the Ohio River Valley Institute is focused on creating jobs by researching and promoting a clean energy economy in the Appalachian regions of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Van Nostrand has an extensive background in clean energy issues.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Council of the Ohio River Valley Institute,” he said. “The goals of the Institute — to promote development of a clean energy economy and a more sustainable path for the region — are very compatible with the mission of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. I hope to be able to contribute to the impact of the Institute in shaping the future of the greater Ohio River Valley.”

Robinson to deliver Ihlenfeld Lecture on Constitution Day September 17

WVU Law Constitution Day 2020 Kimberly Jenkins Robinson

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Education law expert Kimberly Jenkins Robinson will address the right to education at West Virginia University’s annual observance of Constitution Day on September 17 at noon.

Robinson’s lecture, "A Federal Right to Education: Foundational Questions for the Future of Our Nation," will be webcast for the WVU community and general public.

Robinson teaches at the University of Virginia, where she is the Merrill Professor of Law, a professor of Education in the Curry School of Education, and professor of Law, Education and Public Policy in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

In 2019, New York University Press published Robinson’s book, “A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy,” in which leading constitutional and education law scholars consider how the United States can provide equal educational opportunity for its children.

Unger joins the West Virginia Innocence Project

WVU Law WV Innocence Project Fellow Devon Unger

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  Devon Unger has joined the staff of the West Virginia Innocence Project Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law.

A 2015 WVU Law graduate, Unger will serve as a program coordinator/staff attorney for the WVIP, which works to exonerate clients serving a prison sentence for crimes they did not commit.

He was formerly an assistant public defender with the Public Defender Corporation for the 15th Judicial Circuit in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Successful externships in the summer of COVID

WVU Law Patrick Crowe '22

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Summer 2020 was much like any other summer: a group of WVU Law students took on meaningful externships across the state, helping further access to justice for West Virginia’s most vulnerable residents. 

Summer 2020 was also unlike any summer before: because of the pandemic, the externs were challenged with adapting to quarantine guidelines and varying work environments as they carried out their work.

The 10-week summer externship course at WVU Law allows students to develop their skills in legal research, writing, analysis, interviewing and communication as they work alongside practicing attorneys and judges.

This year, nine students completed externships at the following host sites:

Professor's new book tells business and human rights stories

WVU Law Professor Jena Martin

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Around the world, corporations sometimes put profit before people. Until now, victims’ stories have been omitted from scholarship about business and human rights.

A new book, “When Business Harms Human Rights” (Anthem Press, 2020), solves that problem. Co-edited by Jena Martin, a professor at the West Virginia University College of Law, it is a collection of stories from around the world, including the United States, Brazil and Cameroon.

Martin hopes the book sheds light on some of the atrocities that can happen when businesses pursue profit without regard to their impact on communities or workers. It also provides some guidance to businesses that would like to be good corporate citizens and be profitable at the same time.

"Too often in the academic world we tend to look at phenomena and policy through divorced, seemingly objective lenses,” Martin said. “But we need to remember the why. For me, the why at the heart of what I do has been and will always be humanity.”

WVU Law teaches pilot course on civility

WVU Law Anne Marie Lofaso

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University College of Law recently became the first law school in the country to teach a new civility class developed with the national College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

The class addressed topics such as reasonable diligence versus offensive tactics, prejudice, rudeness and the positive outcomes of civility. It was part of a summer course on lawyer professional responsibility taught online by Anne Marie Lofaso, the Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law.

During the two-hour course, students interacted with Beth Walker, a justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia; Richard Griffin, former general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board; and attorney David Borgen with Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, and president of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

“I liked the class a lot, especially in regards to our current societal context," said Austin Stewart, a rising second-year student. "It was interesting to hear how accomplished lawyers from both sides of the aisle felt about the topics, and how to maintain professionalism with people with whom you may not agree.”

Sprouse Fellows are working for public defenders this summer

WVU Law 2020 Sprouse Fellows

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Four West Virginia University College of Law students are working in public defender’s offices around the state this summer.

Andrew Cooper, Jordan Dishong, Jennifer Kenel and Graham Platz are Sprouse Fellows. They each receive a $5,500 stipend to work for 10 weeks in for a state or federal public defender.

“Sprouse Fellowships allow students to provide support to busy public defender offices and their clients while they earn real-world experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney,” said Jennifer Powell, director of the WVU Law Center for Law and Public Service.

Cooper is working for the Fifth Circuit Public Defender Corporation in Spencer, West Virginia. At WVU Law, he is a member of the West Virginia Revitalization Association. Cooper is from Spencer and earned his bachelor’s degree from WVU in 2009. He also holds a master’s degree from WVU in Secondary Education.

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