Intramural Sports

kaiserby Alyssa Kaiser, Class of 2019

My first semester at William & Mary Law School flew by!  Although the school work can be daunting, it is important that students also find a way to relieve stress and have some fun!  One of my favorite ways to let loose is by participating in intramural sports with friends.  There are a wide range of sports to choose from, with some of the games set up tournament-style that last just a day, while others have a weekly schedule.  The teams are not only from within the law school; there are teams made up of undergraduate students and other graduate programs, so it is fun to get the chance to meet new people during the games!

intramurals 1This semester, I played intramural softball, football, and basketball.  Some of the teams were more successful than others, but it was good to be active for an hour or two and forget about the stress of law school whether or not my team came out on top.  Of course it is more fun to win…which made basketball one of my favorite experiences.  My team won the tournament, which not only gave us bragging rights, but also landed us the coveted intramural champion t-shirts!  Quite a success in my book!  Before coming to law school, I often wondered whether or not I would still have time to have fun and relax.  I am happy that William & Mary provides us with an opportunity to do just that!  I cannot wait to play (and hopefully win) more games next semester!

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Women and Political Campaigns

alsawafby Sami Alsawaf, Class of 2017

As current President of the Women’s Law Society, I helped organize an event called “Women and Political Campaigns,” a panel discussion focused on helping women run for office. The panel featured Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Smith (a WM Law alum) and Julie Copeland of Emerge VA, an organization that helps train women to run for office. Professor Rebecca Green, Director of the Election Law Program, moderated the event.

The panel focused on issues that women face while running for office—lies about their personal life, the media drawing attention to issues that have no bearing on a woman’s ability to run for office, and subtle sexism about them as a person. It was great to hear both sides of the coin—a woman who has actually ran for public office, and another woman that helps train women to run for office. They were able to speak about real life experiences and talk about the science behind why certain techniques are more successful for women.

The event was inspiring, to say the least. I left the event feeling empowered with a desire to run for public office, and I wanted to do everything I could to help other women run as well.

The questions from the audience showed how much each person cares about this issue. Questions ranged from how we can help prevent the sexism in campaigns, to issues faced by younger women that may prevent them from running for office. The panelists were very open in their answers and willing to share their own personal experiences. They encouraged all of us to run, if that was our goal, and not to let anyone tell us that we could not win.

After the discussion, we all headed out to the law school patio for a small reception. It was a great way for me, as a 3L, to get to know some of the 1Ls and 2Ls that I have not met before, and all of the participants loved getting one on one time with our panelists. The event was a great way to wrap up this election cycle, as it was able to focus on a lot of the issues I am sure many people have been feeling. Everyone left the event feeling unstoppable and capable of running one day. I’m glad my organization was able to provide such an experience for our students.

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Sunday Softball Tourney in DC

grecoby Marc Greco, Class of 2018

Softball enjoys a great deal of popularity in the legal profession. Nearly every law school in the nation boasts a team, whether intramural or club, as do a large number of law firms. William & Mary Law, fortunately, is no exception. I’ve had the pleasure of playing a ton of games alongside classmates in two capacities: against undergraduate and graduate students through the College’s intramural program,and against other law schools through invitational tournaments. One such tournament was the recent Washington, DC Law School Ball on the Mall Tournament. Though our softball squad didn’t make a championship run, we had an absolute blast.

For starters, the venue was as picturesque as it gets. We played in Washington’s West Potomac Park, between the beautiful Tidal Basin and Potomac River, with the Washington Monument plainly in sight. Our coed team comprised of students from every class, as well as one alumnus who works at a firm in Washington—the alumnus, I might add, conducted the on-campus interviews at the Law School for that very firm this year. The other teams represented most of the law schools in Washington, and a few from Virginia. Our competition was George Washington, George Mason, Catholic, and UVA, each of which proved a worthy foe. We played four good games, and I loved the chance to spend time in our great nation’s capital competing in one of my favorite sports (and bet my teammates would agree).

Opportunities to pursue your interests abound at the Law School. Softball has proven, to me, to be not only a fantastic pastime, but also a useful talking point to share with attorneys during interviews or networking scenarios. I look forward to playing in the annual spring tournament at UVA next semester!

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Season’s Greetings from William & Mary

There’s no snow on the ground in Williamsburg, but enjoy the video reminiscing of past winters at William & Mary!

Military Mondays

austin military mondays2015-16 student blogger, Austin Swink, was featured on the cover of Williamsburg’s Next Door Neighbors, a local magazine. The November 2016 edition focused on campus connections, and Austin shared his experiences with the Law School’s Military Mondays program.

Click here to view the magazine and the article.

 

1L Fall and the Office of Career Services

zaleskiby James Zaleski, Class of 2019

Since arriving at law school, every 1L has been asking himself or herself the same questions: (1) what kind of law do I aspire to practice? and (2) how am I going to secure a 1L summer job? The Office of Career Services (OCS) is here to help. OCS purposefully leaves 1Ls alone in August and September so that we can focus on our classes and adjust to law school without worrying about careers and interviews. With two months under our belts, we are now prepared to take on the additional responsibility of beginning our job search. Over the past month, we have had several productive sessions with OCS. We met as a large group for our first session, and each of us received a career planning manual. The manual includes a plethora of career information such as tools for assessing your ideal practice area, networking tips, and strategies for writing a cover letter just to name a few. One of the most useful items is a timeline for the 1L summer job search with specific steps we should take each month.

My second meeting with OCS was a valuable session on resume building. I attended this workshop with my small legal writing section (13 students), and we learned how to build a legal resume. OCS has a wealth of experience with legal employers and knows what distinguishes great law school resumes. The session included a variety of information including what type of resume layout legal employers preferred as well as how to emphasize the legal skills that employers are looking for in our past experiences. I gathered several useful strategies that I am currently incorporating into my resume as I prepare to enter the 1L summer job hunt. In addition to these periodic OCS sessions, every 1L sits down with their career advisor in OCS to touch base and to develop strategies for the 1L job search. I have my meeting next week, and I look forward to speaking with my career services dean about my career interests and job search.

OCS also does a great job of inviting practicing attorneys to the law school to serve on alumni panels. The purpose of these panels is to expose students to different practice areas and provide insight into the life of a practicing attorney. Many 1Ls, myself included, came to law school with an idea of an area of law they want to practice but are still interested in exploring different specialties. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the career panel: Alumni Perspectives, Transactional Law Careers. The panelists included Bonnie Brown (W&M ’12), Ryan Kendrick (W&M ’09), and Kristen Welsh (W&M ’12). I enjoyed hearing their perspectives and learning about their work. Bonnie is a senior assistant city attorney for the city of Hampton, and it was fascinating to hear the work she does as a city attorney. I never realized the diversity of legal issues that arise in local government! Ryan is an associate at Williams Mullen in Norfolk, VA. I enjoyed listening to Ryan talk about his experience as a first-year associate and his insight into how the job changes as you acquire more experience and responsibility. Kristen is corporate counsel for CarMax in Richmond, VA. It was helpful to hear her compare her experiences as an associate at a large law firm with her new experiences as in-house counsel at a Fortune 500 company.

All three panelists were highly informative and approachable as they were all happy to answer individual questions after the panel. Transactional law is an unfamiliar practice area, but it is one I would like to research further as a possible career. As a 1L who is busy with writing assignments and case reading, it is always refreshing to hear from young attorneys who are practicing law and who were in law school just a few years ago. I look forward to working with OCS as I begin my summer job search and research legal practice areas.

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The Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2017

On October 4, 2016, the Office of Career Services, the Student Environmental & Animal Law Society, and the Virginia Coastal Policy Center hosted “Careers in Environmental Law and with the DOJ,” featuring attorneys from the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division. Students had the opportunity to hear from William & Mary Law School alumna Patricia McKenna, who serves as General Counsel for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). The Deputy Section Chief of the ENRD Appellate Section, Andrew Mergen, also presented at the event.

The ENRD is comprised of 635 employees, including 451 attorneys. The Division operates primarily from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. but also has a number of field offices in locations such as San Francisco, Denver and Boston. ENRD attorneys represent the United States and various federal agencies; sometimes bringing affirmative cases against companies and municipalities, and sometimes defending the federal government against suit.

DOJ ENRDMs. McKenna and Mr. Mergen explained the diverse roles of each of the 10 specialized sections within the ENRD. For instance, in the Wildlife and Marine Resources Division, litigators defend cases brought under Federal Wildlife and Marine Species Conservation laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The lawyers in the Environmental Crimes Section work closely with United States Attorneys’ Offices to prosecute organizations and individuals who violate the federal laws that protect our country’s natural resources. The Environmental Enforcement Section handles the civil side of those cases, working extensively with Superfund, The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. Attorneys assess the amount of damages that respondents’ actions have caused the environment, and they sue for damages accordingly. The Land Acquisition Section handles condemnation cases and proprietary matters. Of all the sections, the Land Acquisition Section takes the most cases to trial. The Law and Policy Section is responsible for coordinating the ENRD’s international work. They also review pending regulations and legislation. The Appellate Section handles appeals from every litigation division and prides itself on giving new attorneys practical experience arguing in the Federal Court of Appeals early on in their careers.

At the conclusion of the program, the attorneys provided insight into opportunities for interning and working at the ENRD. One of the most appealing aspects of their jobs is that they are always doing something different. In an evolving field like environmental law, every case presents its own interesting new challenges. Having Ms. McKenna and Mr. Mergen speak at the Law School provided an invaluable opportunity for students to gain an inside look at the workings of the ENRD.

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Opportunity to Attend the Local Government Attorney’s Conference

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

A major part of law school is networking, and William & Mary certainly provides its share of opportunities for students to meet practitioners and learn from their experiences. One recent example is the opportunity to attend the Virginia Local Government Attorney’s Conference, which was held here in Williamsburg at the end of October. The three-day conference was held at the Kingsmill Resort, just miles from the Law School, on Oct. 28-30. Each year, the conference provides a scholarship for law students who are interested in working for or with local governments in Virginia to attend – and this year, four William & Mary Law students had the privilege of attending. The conference took place over the course of three days, and had sessions which covered a variety of topics ranging from property and rezoning, foster care, new case law, employment law, conflicts of interest, legislative actions, negotiations and parliamentary procedure, bonds and pro bono work. Each session was conducted by practicing attorneys in Virginia, both those who work for the state and those who work in private practice. Attending the conference allows students the chance to hear from real lawyers who work in these areas every day, and to gather valuable information about what the practice of law is really like. The Law School has a great reputation for its commitment to public service, and this conference is a great way to learn more about public service as an avenue to practice law.

In addition to the educational sessions, the conference holds multiple social events, including happy hours, and a dinner reception. As a student attendee, these events are a great time to go and network with attorneys from across the state with whom a common interest may be shared. Further, many of these attorneys are alumni of William & Mary Law School and are always happy to meet and talk with current students. In addition, they love to hear about the current state of the law school and of Williamsburg. While the conference is not always held in Williamsburg, students do attend every year, and it’s a great opportunity to learn, meet attorneys and network, and to have fun.

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2016 Thanksgiving Baskets

zaleskiby James Zaleski, Class of 2019

Every year William & Mary’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) hosts a Thanksgiving Basket Competition at the Law School in order to collect food items for local families. First-year law students compete as sections of the legal practice program against other sections to create displays from canned and boxed foods in the lobby of the law school. Displays are graded on creativity, the diversity of products, and the quantity of goods.

Assault and BatteryThe competition officially began on Monday night, and sections soon began to bring in their canned goods and assemble their displays. It was exciting to walk into the lobby and see displays become more elaborate by the hour. The displays were evaluated during the lunch hour on Wednesday by two professors, a law student, and a representative from the Dean’s office. This year Section 8’s entry, “Assault and Battery”, reigned supreme by winning 1st place in all three categories: Best Content, Most Creative Display, and Judge’s Choice for overall winner. Other notable entries were Section 15’s “Supreme Court” and Section 7’s “Photo Booth.” Congratulations to Section 8 for winning this year!

TurkeyThe Thanksgiving Basket Competition was a great opportunity for the Law School community to come together before the holidays, and it provided students with a much-needed break from studying. Over 2,000 canned goods and boxed foods were collected during the competition which were donated to Campus Kitchen which organizes the donations and assembles Thanksgiving baskets for local Williamsburg families. Campus Kitchen seeks to address the hunger and nutritional needs of the community and works to foster connections between college and community.  I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s competition, and as we approach Thanksgiving, I would just like to say that I am thankful for having such a great section, fellow, and community here at William & Mary Law School. Happy Thanksgiving!

To read the William & Mary Law news story, click here.

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Federalist Society, American Constitutional Society Host Panel on Felons and the Right to Vote

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

2016 has been a year for elections. Not only is it a presidential election year, but there have also been numerous law suits surrounding election issues around the country. In April, Virginia made headlines as its governor signed an executive order re-instating the civil rights (namely the right to vote) of 206,000 convicted felons who had completed their sentences and supervised probation. The order was called unprecedented, challenged by members of the state legislature, and eventually stricken by the Supreme Court of Virginia. It also reinvigorated a national debate about the rights of those who have been convicted of crimes.

blakeOn November 2, the Federalist Society and American Constitution Society, two national groups with student branches at William & Mary Law School, hosted a debate on the issue of felon’s rights when it comes to voting. The debate was moderated by William & Mary professor, Rebecca Green, who teaches Election Law at the Law School, and also acts as a supervisor for the Election Law Society, another student group. The debate featured 2 prominent speakers in the election law field, Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation, in Washington, D.C., and Hope Amezquita from the ACLU in Virginia. Over the course of the debate, the two speakers discussed the policies behind different arguments both for and against felon’s rights to vote, when they should be taken away, and how they should be returned. Additionally, the two speakers took questions from the audience, a packed room of students all eager to hear what the speakers had to say.

blake 2In addition to sharing their thoughts on a hotly debated legal issue, the two speakers also took time to share a bit about each of themselves, their paths to where they are today, and advice for students who are looking for opportunities to work at the nexus of law and elections – a growing field.

The talk is yet another example of the tremendous opportunities for students at William & Mary Law School to learn from experts and tonetwork with attorneys from around the country.

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Career Conversations: A Summer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

During the lunch hour on Thursday, October 20, the Law School lobby was bustling with people, participating in the Office of Career Services’ Career Conversations Program. Second-year and third-year students stood wearing nametags and smiles, eager to share stories of their internships from the previous summer. The Office of Career Services (OCS) arranged for students from a variety of legal backgrounds to meet with 1Ls to get them thinking about their upcoming summer job search. The interns provided a range of perspectives, from summer associates at large law firms, to summer research assistants, to interns at non-profits, to summer law clerks for federal judges, among others.

Blog1During Career Conversations, I had the opportunity to talk to interested 1Ls about my summer as a law clerk at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. I am originally from the Buffalo area, and I intend to return there to practice, so I was thrilled to gain experience within the legal market I hope to work in after graduation.

The U.S. Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorneys serve as federal prosecutors, representing the United States in all federal cases that arise within the 17 counties of Western New York. The office is comprised of a Criminal Division, a Civil Division, and an Appellate Division. I was assigned to three supervising attorneys in the Criminal Division, who acted as mentors over the course of my internship. Each handled a unique caseload and specialized in specific types of crimes, so I learned a great deal about a broad range of cases.

Blog3My daily routine consisted of working in the law library with my fellow law clerks on legal research tasks from our respective supervising attorneys. I often accompanied my attorneys to District Court and observed court proceedings as well. On days when high profile defendants were appearing in court, the media would often stop my attorneys at the door and ask for their comments. It was incredible to have the “inside scoop” on the confidential details of these cases before they were made public!

One such case, handled by the Chief of the Criminal Division, dealt with a civil rights violation. The crime in question took place the week before I began my internship, so I had the chance to see the case evolve from the very beginning. I participated in witness interviews and meetings with opposing counsel and the FBI agents investigating the case. I also completed a legal memorandum that helped determine whether additional individuals should face charges.

Another of my supervising attorneys, who works within the Narcotics and Organized Crime Section, handled a well-known and highly publicized Buffalo narcotics case. I was able to sit in on court proceedings and contribute research to help build the case against the defendant. I also wrote a memorandum on the admissibility of hearsay evidence, which was then submitted to the District Court on my supervisor’s behalf.

Blog2Under my third supervising attorney, I learned a great deal about Human Trafficking prosecutions, an area for which I have a particular passionate. I participated in meetings of the Western District of New York Human Trafficking Task Force and Alliance, wherein representatives from numerous agencies meet to create a unified force against human trafficking in Western New York. I also wrote a memorandum that evaluated the probability of success in prosecuting a potential defendant for harboring and concealing a fugitive.

In addition to all the practical knowledge I gained by putting my writing and researching skills to use, my attorneys taught me how to be a successful professional in the legal field. My summer at the US Attorney’s Office confirmed my desire to become a prosecutor, and I was grateful to get to share my experience with my peers.

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