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Meet Nathan Maxwell, Cleckley Fellow

Nathan brings a wide range of experience to WVU Law as the 2016-18 Justice Franklin D. Cleckley Fellow in the West Virginia Innocence Project.

WVU Law Nathan Maxwell

Nathan Maxwell says he can’t describe how great it is to be at the WVU College of Law.

In August, the 2016 graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law started his two-year term as the Justice Franklin D. Cleckley Fellow with the West Virginia Innocence Project (WVIP) law clinic.

“Most lawyers have five to 10 years of other experience under their belt before they get a chance to do this kind of work full-time,” said Maxwell, “I am very grateful for the opportunity and proud to have a position named for Justice Cleckley, a brilliant jurist and legal scholar.”

The Cleckley Fellowship was established in 2014 in honor of the first African American to serve on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Cleckley is the Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law Emeritus at WVU. He taught at the College of Law for more than four decades before retiring in 2013.

As the Cleckley Fellow, Maxwell will be heavily involved in the WVIP pro bono work on behalf of the wrongfully convicted. This includes screening client applications, conducting case investigations, and interviewing witnesses and clients. Maxwell also work on policy reform and supervise WVU Law students working in the clinic.

During law school, Maxwell completed more than 500 hours of pro bono work and interned with public interest organizations, including the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, the International Refugee Assistance Project, ACLU of Illinois and the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center.

He also worked on cases involving police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, prison health care administration, the False Claims Act, and employment discrimination as a summer intern for Loevy & Loevy, a prominent civil rights litigation firm in Chicago.

Maxwell was a member of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law. In January 2016, working in the clinic’s Exoneration Project, he helped free Ben Baker, who was serving an 18-year sentence on framed drug charges.

As a member of the International Human Rights Clinic, Maxwell helped research a report on the inclusion and implementation of women’s rights in constitutional reform that was presented to UN Women.

He also worked as a research assistant in the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation on Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Chicago, where he researched syndemic health concerns for multiple-minority populations on the South Side of Chicago.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Maxwell obtained a graduate certificate in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Chicago. He received the 2015 2L Public Service Award, the 2015 Norval Morris Public Interest Fellowship and the 2016 James C. Hormel Public Service Award for his work in the public interest as a law student. He was also named the 2014-2015 Ray E. Brown Fellow and the 2015-2016 Arthur Quern Fellow by the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy before joining the WVIP.

The Justice Franklin D. Cleckley Fellowship is a two-year position made possible by a partnership between the WVU College of Law and the University of Chicago Law School. It is supported by private donations.

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