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A “Thank You” to William & Mary Law School

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017 

After periodically contributing to the Get Wythe It! blog during my first and second years of law school, I am happy to take some time post-graduation to reflect on my entire experience at William & Mary Law School. Where do I begin?

I suppose I can start with the fulfillment of my expectations. When choosing a law school back as a college senior back in 2014, I knew that I wanted to go to a law school that would get me to my ideal legal job. That was my number one priority. For me, that was doing large law firm work in Washington, D.C. With that outcome-focused goal in mind, I chose William & Mary Law School due to its record for placing students in the very type of job that I wanted.

My expectations were met, and then some. Not only will I be heading to the D.C. office to work for an international law firm after graduation, I will also first spend a year clerking for a federal judge in the D.C. area. Coming to law school, I did not even have clerking as a goal, or know much about it, but the resources at William & Mary Law School both informed me of the opportunities that come with clerkships and then helped me secure one.

But my time at William & Mary Law School is made up of much more than the outcomes, despite outcomes being my goal when coming to law school. I have always liked school, and I was very happy to find enjoyment in almost all of my classes. While some topics resonated with me more than others, each class helped me to pinpoint exactly what type of law I would like to practice. The same can be said for extracurricular activities. While I was more heavily involved in some groups than others, each of my involvements helped me improve the necessarily skills I needed to succeed in law school. Hopefully, those skills will continue to serve me well into the future.

While classes and extracurricular activities were aspects of law school I expected to enjoy, I was a little anxious to start law school and meet my classmates. But upon starting classes, I was pleasantly surprised at how kind and friendly my classmates were, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with them, made up of attending classes, working diligently in study groups together outside of class, and participating in extracurricular activities. I have since learned that great classmates are the status quo at the law school, thanks to getting to know not only my own classmates, but students that came before me through connecting with alumni, and students that are coming after me through volunteering with the Admissions Office.

While I am excited to move on to the next stages in my life, I know I will look back fondly on my time at William & Mary Law School. Part of me thinks that I will miss the certain charms of Williamsburg the most. For example, where else in the world will you see off-duty colonial reenactors using modern day amenities like cell phones and cars? But I know that I will most definitely miss being in a challenging, but rewarding, educational environment with friendly, talented, and hard working classmates.

And I will forever be grateful to William & Mary Law School for molding me into a legal professional and sending me on my way into the world.

Read John’s contributions to Get Wythe It! here.

Watch the graduation slideshow here.

Moot Court: A 2L Team Member’s Perspective

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

Last year, I made the decision to try out for the William & Mary Moot Court Team, and I ended up making the cut! This past week, I have been helping to judge and select new members for the Moot Court Team, and the experience has had me recollect on my experience with Moot Court over the past year. So far, as a second-year member on the Moot Court Team, I have been able to participate in a few different experiences thanks to Moot Court.

The first has been being involved with the Bushrod T. Washington Tournament. Each year, the Moot Court Team holds the intra-school Bushrod Tournament as a tryout competition for new members to join the Team. The tournament releases a problem over winter break about either a First Amendment, Second Amendment, or Fourth Amendment issue. The problem consists of a fact pattern and two mock court opinions that lay out a particular legal issue with two very compelling arguments on either side. Competitors are then tasked with formulating a 15-minute oral argument for each party in the case, and then the competitors present their arguments to justices (current team members) who interrupt them with questions—just like a real appellate argument. After presenting, the justices judge the competitors’ oral arguments, and after two or three weeks of competition, the top twenty competitors or so make the team as first-year members. I have had a blast being a justice for the tournament, because I have been able to help grade competitor’s arguments and presentation style while still being able to give them feedback to encourage improvement. Plus, it has been great to see so much interest in joining the Moot Court Team!

Moot Court

After making the team, each Moot Court member is required to take the Advanced Brief Writing class during the Fall semester following their selection to the Moot Court Team. Advanced Brief Writing helps to prepare oral argument and appellate writing skills, and the class is currently taught by Professor Benjamin Hatch, who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Needless to say, Professor Hatch is well aware as to what makes an appellate argument persuasive. During my time in the class, we wrote briefs and gave oral arguments on the case Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which the Supreme Court actually heard arguments on while I was in the class. While I knew absolutely nothing about election law going into the class, I feel like I learned a lot of substantive material on election law along with improving my general knowledge of appellate practice.

Right now, in the early part of the Spring semester, I am preparing for my assigned tournament for the year. Each team member is required to compete in at least one inter-school tournament a year. My teammates have traveled pretty far to compete in places such as Chicago, Louisiana, and New York, or if they are do not want to travel that much, there are a variety of other tournaments in Virginia and Washington, D.C. My upcoming tournament is at West Virginia University and focuses on law that implicates energy, environmental, and sustainability issues. While writing the brief has been challenging, as I know very little about that topic, I am looking forward to traveling to Morgantown, West Virginia, with my teammate and experiencing my first inter-school tournament. Wish us luck!

The Moot Court Team does a variety of other events as well, such as hosting its own inter-school William B. Spong Tournament, which is now in its 45th year. The tournament is student-run, so as a team member, I have been required to help out with the tournament in some capacity since I joined the team. Also, we have an annual banquet to celebrate the successes of the team at the end of the Spring semester. While being involved with Moot Court takes up a lot of time and is quite a bit of work, I do feel as though I have learned a lot from the experience. I am excited to welcome the new team members soon!

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From Paul’s Deli to New York City: Meredith and Matthew’s Story

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

In February of each year, we like to highlight some of the couples that have found love while at William & Mary Law School (you can find past stories here and here). This year, we are happy to showcase the love story of Meredith Hunt, J.D. ’14, and Matthew DeAtley, J.D. ‘13.

M&M DatingDepending on who you ask, you could get pretty different stories on how newlyweds Meredith Hunt and Matthew DeAtley first started their relationship. Meredith will say that she met second-year student Matthew at Paul’s Deli near the beginning of her first year at William & Mary Law School. Matthew, however, does not remember that interaction at all. The two do agree that, after first meeting each other (however it happened), they would often run into each other at the gym due to both sharing an enthusiasm for athletics and fitness. Meredith will then say that their first date was when she asked Matthew to go to the local coffee shop Aroma’s after he had been trying to ask her out for a year and a half. Matthew will claim the two’s first date was when he asked her to go to the DoG Street Pub.

Regardless as to how they first met or where they went on their first official date, Meredith and Matthew were able to make their relationship work after they started dating in early 2013. Matthew graduated in May of 2013 just as Meredith was preparing to start a summer associate position at the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett law firm in New York City. Matthew joined Meredith in New York City and studied for the bar exam there, and by the end of the summer, both returned to Virginia. Matthew began an associate position at Williams Mullen in Virginia Beach while Meredith returned to Williamsburg for her third-year as a law student. Throughout the year, Meredith would visit Matthew at his place in Norfolk each weekend.

M&M ProposalThe biggest change occurred in October of 2014. In one week, Matthew proposed to Meredith, the two moved into a new place in New York together, and both began new jobs at law firms in New York City. Meredith started as a first-year associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett focusing on mergers and acquisitions, while Matthew started a new job at Paul Hastings as an associate in its real estate group. With both working at large law firms, needless to say, the two’s engagement period was very busy, with most free time being devoted to wedding planning.

On January 2, 2016, the wedding day finally arrived. Meredith and Matthew were married in Meredith’s hometown of Palm Beach, Florida, in a large and well-attended ceremony. About thirty of the wedding guests were Meredith and Matthew’s former William & Mary Law School classmates. Now, as newlyweds, both Meredith and Matthew are happy to spend time with each other as a married couple, although the change that resulted from marriage is nothing compared to the week during which the two got engaged, moved to New York, and started new jobs.

We at William & Mary Law School wish Meredith and Matthew a happy and healthy marriage, and we are proud to have played a small part in bringing the two together!

M&M Wedding

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The De-Stress Funfest

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

While the month of December normally brings about holiday cheer, we here at William & Mary Law School have to get though our finals before we can truly be joyful. Finals are a necessary part of law school education, and while they are important, it can be tough to manage the stress that comes along with them. Finals can be especially stressful in law school, and that is because in many classes the entire grade is based off of the final exam. As a second-year student, I’ve survived finals twice before, but it can still feel overwhelming sometimes.

1As I was preparing for finals, I was very happy to learn about the “De-Stress Funfest” that took place at the law school the week before finals on December 2nd. The event was sponsored by two student organizations: Lawyers Helping Lawyers and the Women’s Law Society. Both organizations and their student volunteers stocked the law school lobby with a variety of food, items, and activities meant to lighten the mood at the law school. Students could be seen chilling out with some coloring books, grabbing some free food and coffee, and even just lightening the mood by trying on some funny headwear that was 3available. Personally, I grabbed some food and spent some time doing a quick coloring page in between classes.

Lawyers Helping Lawyers did a great job establishing this event last semester, and I was happy to participate again this semester. The group is at work throughout the semester, though. Lawyers Helping Lawyers does much more than just help coordinate the De-Stress Funfest before finals. 2The group runs a variety of other events to help law students manage law school, including having a game night and meditation events. In a major event to promote wellness for attorneys, Lawyers Helping Lawyers even had a federal District Judge come in and speak about his battles with alcoholism. In fact, volunteers for the student organization offer their time to talk with any students that are feeling overwhelmed.

I absolutely cannot wait to wrap up my finals. But it has been great to know that the student community here is able to help me put this stressful time in perspective and even be able to enjoy the week.

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Visit by FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

On Thursday, November 5, the Election Law Society sponsored an event in which Commissioner Ann Ravel, the chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), speak over the lunch hour. While a free lunch is always a draw to go to an event, the fact that the current chair of a major federal agency was speaking at the school made the event too good to pass up. I have always had an interest in election law and administrative law, and I am also interested in developing a career in the Washington, D.C. area, so I was eager to hear Commissioner Ravel’s perspective on election law and the FEC.

Before joining the FEC, Commissioner Ravel served on California’s version of the FEC—the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Commissioner Ravel shared with us a few stories from her time on the FPPC, including an instance that involved a strange group from Arizona donated money to support a California proposition, and the difficult process and legal battle that resulted in just trying to audit what turned out to be a “shell” of a political action committee. I thought it was very interesting to see how major money influences politics on a state-level, even though it seems nationally spent election money gets the most attention. After some time on California’s FPPC, Commissioner Ravel was nominated by President Obama to serve on the FEC and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

Ann Ravel

Ann Ravel

Discussing federal campaign finance, Commissioner Ravel described many of the problems with not requiring disclosure of campaign contributions in the United States. Commissioner Ravel spoke about how she feels that citizens should be as informed as possible when making decisions in a democracy, and the lack of disclosure requirements in some situations gives rise to “dark money” that hinders the ability of citizens to be fully informed. I will be honest—I do not feel well-versed enough in campaign finance and election law to describe the intricate processes of campaign finance completely, but I do generally agree with Commissioner Ravel that disclosure of campaign contributions should be a cornerstone of democratic elections. While Commissioner Ravel spoke about the realistic roadblocks in getting meaningful reform through the FEC (including an unfavorable Supreme Court decision in Citizen United), her articulate and honest statements about the challenges facing the FEC and campaign finance in generally make me think that the FEC is in good hands.

Commissioner Ravel also spoke about some of the new and upcoming changes to the FEC. In particular, the FEC is aiming to improve its online systems and make federal election campaign contributions more readily available to those interested in such information. While the website is currently in a beta form right now, Commissioner Ravel seemed especially excited about what the new website would be able to provide. Feel free to check it out here! I used the beta site to look up information on home district’s congressman, and I was surprised to see how many contributions came from different states other than my home state of Pennsylvania.

Overall, I had a great time listening to Commissioner Ravel speak. I owe the Election Law Society a big thank you for sponsoring the event, and I owe an even bigger thank to Commissioner Ravel for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with us.

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Annual Wythe Lecture with Professor Cristina Rodríguez

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

Legal scholars and top-of-the-line practicing attorneys regularly visit William & Mary Law School and give presentations, talks, and lectures to the law school community, and I do my best to attend the presentations that are of interest to me. This year, I made the decision to attend the annual Wythe Lecture. The 2015 lecture took place on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, and Professor Cristina Rodríguez of Yale Law School spoke with a presentation titled “Policy Making Through Enforcement in Immigration Law and Beyond.”

Personally, I have never had too much of an interest in immigration law, but Professor Rodríguez’s lecture definitely piqued my interest. While the core of the lecture focused on the Obama Administration’s recent deferred action plan on immigration, Professor Rodríguez weaved in a variety of other topics aside from immigration law, including administrative law, constitutional law, statutory analysis, and American government. I have always been interested in administrative law, and I learned a lot by listening to Professor Rodríguez explain how administrative law doctrines affect immigration policies.

Cristina Rodríguez

Cristina Rodríguez

In my opinion, perhaps the most stimulating part of Professor Rodríguez’s lecture was her description of the interplay between the executive and legislative branches when it comes to implementing the clear enforcement priorities of legislation. Interestingly, when applied to immigration law, no clear enforcement priorities truly exist. Immigration law is made up of  a variety of contradictory laws that have been passed through the back-and-forth of the political parties throughout the years, with each party in power having different priorities when shaping immigration law. While some topics of immigration law may seem clear, such as crafting immigration policy that promotes family unity, refugee protections, and economic development, the laws do not seem to provide enough guidance on its specific priorities. For example, regarding family unity, United States immigration law offers clear guidance to promote family unity when a family separated by immigration policies includes a United States citizen. But what about family unity when a family does not include a United States citizen? Immigration law remains almost entirely silent on that topic. So is family unity truly a priority, and if so, how far can the executive branch go in implementing pro-family unity policies when they do not involve United States citizens? I found the idea that politically-charged, oft-changed laws can hinder executive implementation by not providing clear priorities fascinating.

Each year, the Wythe Lecturer publishes an article in the William & Mary Law Review based on his or her talk the previous year. If immigration law or any of the topics I discussed above are interesting to you, definitely be on the lookout for Professor Rodríguez’s article when it is published!

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A Tribute to Our Past: The George Wythe Room in the Wolf Law Library

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

After a summer away, I returned to William & Mary Law School this semester and was welcomed by a brand new edition to the Wolf Law Library: The George Wythe Room. To learn more about the George Wythe Room, I sat down and spoke with Ms. Linda K. Tesar, Head of Technical Services and Special Collections, and I got some more information about the newest edition to William & Mary Law School. As a fan of history, museums, and libraries, I appreciated having the opportunity to learn about the Room.

George Wythe Room

George Wythe Room

In 2007, the Wolf Law Library began gathering books for the George Wythe Collection. The special collection was meant to contain books and other documents that are important the legacy of George Wythe. The idea to create a room dedicated to displaying the collection blossomed in 2010, and the Room was completed and opened in August 2015. Why the focus on George Wythe? Not only is he the partial namesake of our law school with its official title as the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, but George Wythe was the first ever professor of law in the United States while he taught as the Professor of Law and Police at William & Mary in the  late 1700s. Wythe is so important, in fact, that along with having his own room, the Wolf Law Library also runs an academic wiki called the Wythepedia that is an online database of all things George Wythe-related.

The George Wythe Room has been modeled off of the Thomas Jefferson Collection in the Library of Congress, which makes the room seem like a modern replication of the type of library Wythe himself would have had. Currently, the Room contains nearly 330 titles and over 650 volumes. You can even check out a digital recreation of the Room here. Due to some of the books being many, many years old, the displays are protected by ultraviolet (UV) glass, special lighting, and a climate control system that keeps the temperature and humidity consistent. The precautions are important for preservation of the historical documents, or as Ms. Tesar puts it, “That’s what rare books like.”

Room 2Aside from books and related documents, other features of the Room have historical significance as well. In particular, the Room contains three notable paintings. The first is one of George Wythe himself, which is displayed prominently in the Room for obvious reasons. There are also two lithograph paintings in the George Wythe Room: one of Thomas Jefferson and one of John Marshall. These two men are among the most notable and nationally prominent of Wythe’s legal students, with Jefferson serving as the third President of the United States and Marshall serving as the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

One of the reasons I chose to attend William & Mary Law School is due to its well-regarded status as a starting point of American legal education. Walking past the George Wythe Room each day helps to remind me of the important legacy William & Mary has, as well as a legacy that I am now a part of.

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A Focus on Firms: My 2L Summer Job Search

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

Law school certainly is fast-paced, and that characteristic rings true for the job search process as well. After wrapping up a great 1L summer internship, the time had come to start the application process for 2L summer associate positions, as interviewing started in August! Despite the quick turn around, William & Mary Law School’s Office of Career Services (OCS) did its best to keep things running smoothly and comfortably.

Looking back, I realized that the 2L summer job search process began during the spring semester of my 1L year. OCS had a variety of programs to help to get students thinking about what type of position we wanted to pursue after our 2L year. These included panels with 2L students that have secured summer positions as well as with employers that will be doing summer hiring.

I learned that, as someone interested in working for a large to mid-size law firm, the application process starts in July, with interviews beginning in August. But the OCS programs explained the timelines for different opportunities, and some of my friends who are more interested in government, nonprofit, or small firm work did not have to worry about starting their application processes until a bit later.

Knowing that my application deadlines would be on the early side, I regularly updated and revised my resume and created some cover letter templates throughout the summer. My application materials were put to good use in July, as law firms began accepting applications. Specifically, OCS runs a website called Symplicity where I uploaded my resumes, cover letters, and writing samples. There were two major outlets for interviews that I had applied to: regional interview programs and on-campus interview (OCI) programs.

William & Mary Law School offered four different regional interview programs that allowed students to interview with a variety of employers based in different geographic locations. The offered areas were Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Texas. Personally, I applied for and attended the Greater Washington D.C. Interview Program (GWDCIP). GWDCIP took place in early August. Since my internship was in Arlington, Virginia, I was able to extend my summer lease a few days to stay for the interview program, but many students drove into town for the day. My classmates and I interviewed with a variety of law firms and other legal employers, and the day was busy but very worthwhile. It was great to have the opportunity to interview with a variety of firms from a convenient location.

Once I arrived back in Williamsburg in preparation for my 2L year, I was also able to take part in the on-campus interviewing (OCI) process. A variety of law firms and other legal employers from across the country rent out rooms in the law school and interview students for summer positions. While OCIs are not condensed into one day like the regional interview programs are, the process is still very convenient and students are able to meet with a variety of employers.

The final step of the process involved being selected for callback interviews after the screening interviews at the regional interview programs or from OCIs. The callback process involves a law firm setting up interviews with a variety of individuals at the firm, which can last a few hours but is a great opportunity to learn more about the firm. After the callback interviews, all that is left to do is wait and see if the firm is willing to extend an offer or not. While I am currently awaiting to hear some final results from my own 2L summer job search, I am thankful to have had so many opportunities available to me thanks to the guidance of OCS. While the 2L job hunt seems like an arduous process, I am glad that it is knocked out so early in the year!

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

2015-16 Student Bloggers

The Admission Office is lucky to have a number of student bloggers lending their writing talents to us by posting about their law school experiences throughout the year. 

Learn more about them below!

borkMy name is Emily Bork, and I’m a 1L from Buffalo, New York. I attended Niagara University where I received my BA in Spanish with minors in Law and Jurisprudence, International Studies, and Latin American Studies. I spent my summers throughout college interning in the private legal sector and hope to gain experience in the public sector and government. One of the many things that attracted me to William & Mary is the DC Semester Externship Program and the opportunity to work and study in our nation’s capital. I am interested in learning more about immigration law and look forward to participating in the various international legal opportunities that William & Mary has to offer! [Read more…]

Student Legal Services

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

No other student organization allows William & Mary law students to get a jump start on practicing their legal skills quite like Student Legal Services (SLS). True to its mission to educate and train citizen lawyers, William & Mary Law School’s SLS offers free legal information to members of the William & Mary community. Day in and day out, volunteer law students manage the operations of the organization from its headquarters in Blow Hall.

SLS’s mission is two fold. First, the organization provides legal information to William & Mary students, faculty, and staff. Second, the organization helps its volunteers apply their classroom-learned research, writing, and client interaction skills in a practical environment.

slsA variety of legal issues have developed into case files in the SLS office, including drug and alcohol charges, landlord-tenant issues, and violations of the William & Mary Student Code of Conduct. However, volunteers never know what type of case they may encounter when they walk through the door for their weekly, one-hour shift. We have had cases involving personal injury, intellectual property, and family law, just to name a few topics.

SLS volunteers also quickly learn how to uphold standards of professional conduct, which is a skill needed by all attorneys. As an organization run by law students, SLS can give only legal information (not legal advice) to clients that utilize our services. Volunteers remain mindful to avoid giving advice and learn when to provide a client with information on an attorney referral service.

For students looking for a way to give back to the William & Mary community while sharpening their legal skills, they need to look no further than SLS. Although the organization is closed during the summer months, we will be back up and running in the fall and we welcome new volunteers! Consider joining our ranks.


If interested in getting involved please contact our Logistics Chair, Victoria Jensen, at

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.



Financial Basics Seminar

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

During my time at law school, I aim to learn more about business and corporate law. However, I was always a bit intimidated about jumping into those areas of law, because I have never taken a formal accounting or business course in my life. Thankfully, the Office of Career Services (OCS) partnered with BARBRI Financial Skills Institute to offer a free seminar called “Their Business is Your Business: Financial Basics for Legal Careers.” As someone interested in business law, I immediately signed up for the event.  Knowing that the course was covering “basics,” I looked forward to finally beginning to learn about finance.

Structured as a “mini-MBA” program, the event was broken down into three parts: financial analysis, financial statements, and problems in financial reporting. The financial analysis portion introduced me to a variety of new financial terms and vocabulary, while the financial statements part helped me become capable of reading and understanding balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. I even received a much-needed introduction to accounting.

In my opinion, the most interesting part of the seminar was learning about the problems in financial reporting. With the newfound knowledge of how to read business statements, we ran through a variety of scenarios that had us analyzing financial statements to pinpoint information in financial documents that helped tell the story of the companies in question. We were also given a history lesson of sorts about scandals in the accounting and auditing industries in order to help understand when a business might be floundering, or even recognize if the business was engaging in fraud or manipulation.

The program ran on a Saturday from 9:30am to 4:30pm, but it was well worth my time. (Plus, we were served breakfast and an excellent lunch—so I really cannot complain.) I learned so much about how business transactions affect every day life, and I left the crash-course with a wider array of knowledge surrounding topics not only relevant to business law, but also to white-collar crime and property law.

Ultimately, I would say the event was a huge success, and I look forward to the other events that OCS brings to William & Mary Law in order to help enrich its students’ education.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.