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WVU initiative born in the pandemic is helping community land use

WVU downtown campus and surrounding hills

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia University initiative born out of the pandemic is benefiting rural and urban communities across the mid-Atlantic.

In spring 2020, COVID-19 canceled the fifth annual Mountain State Land Use Academy. Founded by the Land Use and Sustainable Development Clinic at the WVU College of Law, the academy informs community leaders about issues in planning, economic development, resiliency and the law.  

The pandemic shutdown did not stop law professor Jesse Richardson and attorney Jared Anderson, who both work in the clinic. They began reaching out to associates and, within weeks, they established what has become the Mid-Atlantic Planning Collaboration

"Right after the pandemic started, Jesse reached out because he wanted to create a way that we in the Mid-Atlantic area could teach more people about issues that impact our region," said Alan Feinberg, a representative of the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association. "He and everyone in the Land Use clinic take a bird's eye approach to planning, in that they look out to the entire area around them during their efforts so they can do things to benefit everyone."

Alum establishes new scholarship in honor of WVU Law professor

WVU Law alum Martin Harrell

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — About 40 years ago, Martin Harrell met an environmental law professor who mentored and inspired him.

Now, the successful attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is honoring that professor with a new endowed scholarship at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Harrell graduated from WVU Law in 1982 and has been a lawyer at the EPA regional office in Philadelphia since 1983. He now manages all legal aspects of the agency’s criminal enforcement program in five Mid-Atlantic states. 

As one of the government’s top environmental enforcement lawyers, Harrell is helping protect the land, communities and people from environmental and public health threats.

Young alum launches legal tech company

WVU Law 2022 graduate Luke Yingling standing outside of the law school

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—While many of his classmates were pondering their future career paths, Luke Yingling was blazing his own trail.

The 2022 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law is the founding President and CEO of Analytica Legalis, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers win in court.

Analytica Legalis is the first company to quantify jurisprudence and analyze judges’ sentiment, according to Yingling. It was a finalist in the American Bar Association TechShow 2022 Startup Alley competition.

“We measure the philosophy of the law to which judges and courts subscribe, and we analyze the sentiments judges express in their opinions regarding facts, legal arguments, and other factors that are important to the outcome of a case,” Yingling explained.

Class of 2022 graduates from WVU Law

WVU Law Class of 2022 on the steps

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The  West Virginia University College of Law awarded the Juris Doctor to the Class of 2022 on May 13.

For the first time since the pandemic, the commencement ceremony was held in the Lyell B. Clay Theatre at the  Canady Creative Arts Center

Dean Amelia Smith Rinehart presided over her first WVU Law commencement. 

“During the past three years, my colleagues, your professors, have equipped you with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the legal profession,” she told the Class of 2022. “As you leave here and embrace your future, please do so with the aspirations this law school was founded upon in 1878 — that the graduates of our West Virginia law school would do something and be something that impacts our communities and our world.”

Magazine gives top marks to WVU College of Law

WVU Law front entrance

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University College of Law is among the best schools in the country for practical training, environmental law and intellectual property law, according to preLaw Magazine.

The national publication ranks WVU Law No. 26 in the country for practical training and gives the college a grade of A for environmental law and a B+ for intellectual property law.

For practical training, preLaw considered WVU Law’s opportunities in clinicsexternships, simulation courses, pro bono work and moot court competitions.

For environmental law and intellectual property law, the magazine looked at the range of courses, depth of faculty expertise and programs, such as the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, the National Energy and Sustainable Moot Court Competition and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic.

Redding elected editor-in-chief of West Virginia Law Review

WVU Law student Devin Redding

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Devin Redding, a rising third-year student at the West Virginia University College of Law, has been elected by her peers to serve as the next editor-in-chief of the West Virginia Law Review

The WVLR is a professional legal journal that publishes practical and theoretical articles for legal scholars, students, legislators and lawyers. Founded in 1894, it is the fourth oldest student-governed law review in the country.  

Redding will lead the team that will publish three issues of Volume 125 of the WVLR in 2022-23. She will also oversee the law review’s annual symposium, website and online edition. 

Redding’s main goals as editor-in-chief are to expand the law review’s reach and impact while continuing to publish outstanding and innovative legal scholarship.  

Shuler captures Baker Cup in Supreme Court final

WVU Law 2022 Baker Cup finalist with West Virginia Supreme Court Justics

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two West Virginia University College of Law students argued before the state’s highest court on April 12. One of them will now have their name engraved on a cherished trophy.

Second-year students Mattie Shuler and Cameron LeFevre were finalists in WVU Law’s annual George C. Baker Moot Court Competition. They argued before the Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in Charleston.

In the end, it was Shuler who was awarded the historic Baker Cup by the Justices.

"The Baker Cup finals gave Mattie and Cameron an amazing opportunity to argue in a historic courtroom before the Justices,” said Amy Cyphert, moot court advisor and lecturer in law. “We were transfixed watching their excellent arguments and I know the Justices were very impressed."

WVU Law hires its first behavioral health counselor

WVU Law behavioral health counselor Kathy Servian

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Across the country, the pandemic intensified a growing trend of increased rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and serious thoughts of suicide.

In response, the West Virginia University College of Law has hired its first in-house behavioral health counselor, Kathy Servian.

“An embedded counselor is a long-felt need in our student support system,” said Amelia Smith Rinehart, William J. Maier, Jr. Dean of the College of Law. “Law students deal with stress in a competitive and challenging environment and that stress continues even as they graduate and head to future legal careers. Kathy’s exceptional counseling experience makes her the perfect addition to our Student Services and Engagement group. Ultimately, our efforts to destigmatize and address mental health concerns will impact not just students in their daily lives as healthy professionals but the legal community throughout our state and region.”

A Licensed Professional Counselor, Servian has more than 23 years of experience in the mental health field. She has provided individual and group therapy to clients experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loss, relationship problems, substance use and gambling addiction. 

Addo to deliver international law lecture on April 7

WVU Law 2022 McDougall Lecture - Michael  Addo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A specialist in international human rights law and business policy is delivering the annual Archibald McDougall Lecture at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Michael K. Addo will speak at noon on April 7 in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom. He will address the United Nation’s guiding principles on business and human rights and its impact on international law making.

Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. 

Addo is a former member of the U.N. Working Group that promoted and implemented the organization’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In that role, he prepared policy papers and thematic reports for the U.N. Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, as well as policy advice for governments, companies and advocacy groups. He currently directs the London Law study abroad program at Notre Dame Law School. 

Coleman named director of WVU College of Law taxpayer clinic

WVU Law low incom taxpayer clinic director Stephanie Colemean

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University College of Law recently named attorney Stephanie M. Coleman program director of its Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

As program director, Coleman will make free legal representation available to low-income West Virginians dealing with tax controversy matters. She will supervise law students working with clients to receive unclaimed refunds, to resolve tax amount disputes, or to assign tax debt responsibility.

The LITC is funded by a grant from the Internal Revenue Service, which recognizes West Virginia as being underrepresented in tax-related legal services.

Coleman is a career veteran of the LITC program, having managed clinics for Legal Aid of West Virginia and Rhode Island Legal Services. She has also been a team leader for the tax representation firm JK Harris & Company.

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