William & Mary Moot Court

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

After an exciting two weeks of intense competition, 23 students have been selected to join the William & Mary Moot Court Team! 1Ls and 2Ls participated in the annual Bushrod T. Washington Tournament to earn a place on the team. The tournament was named for Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington, who graduated from William & Mary and served on the Court with Chief Justice John Marshall at the turn of the nineteenth century.

The Moot Court Team practices appellate advocacy, using the format of oral arguments presented before the Supreme Court. Participants in the Moot Court Program learn to write appellate briefs addressing pertinent legal issues. They then argue their positions before panels of judges, who may interrupt to ask questions about the law. Advocates must be able to think on their feet and persuasively defend their positions.

In most cases, the Bushrod Tournament is the first exposure that students have to appellate argumentation. For the current team members, it’s a chance to channel our favorite Supreme Court Justices as we don black robes and question competitors about the law. For the competitors, it is a chance to show their argumentative prowess and zealously advocate for their party’s position. This year’s problem dealt with potential First Amendment concerns surrounding a classification of Gay Conversion Therapy called “Talk Therapy.” Students did an excellent job of navigating the complex constitutional issues and delivering convincing arguments.

Moot Court TeamThe top eight competitors in the Bushrod Tournament will move forward to compete for the coveted Edmund Randolph Silver Tongue Award. The William & Mary Institute of Bill of Rights Law also presents this award to a practicing appellate lawyer for outstanding achievement in their field. The award-winning attorney serves on an esteemed panel of William & Mary faculty, who select the ultimate winner of the Bushrod Tournament.

In the fall, the new members will take an Advanced Brief Writing course to help them master the written advocacy skills required to write a persuasive brief. They will then practice oral arguments in a fun and competitive intra-team tournament. From there, they will have the opportunity to compete in Moot Court tournaments across the country in a variety of legal disciplines. Based on the exceptional skill displayed during this year’s Bushrod Tournament, the Moot Court Team is thrilled to welcome our new members!

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Lives Joined at Marshall Wythe: Jeffrey and Maribeth Lowe

by Jaime Welch-Donahue, Blog post reproduced with permission of the Communications Office.

If they had to guess, they would say that they probably met each other for the first time in the Law School’s lobby. As they prepare to celebrate their twenty- fifth wedding anniversary, Jeffrey Lowe ’89 and Mary (Maribeth) Baroody Lowe ’91 appreciate the special role Marshall-Wythe has played in their lives.

Jeffrey and Maribeth in 1991

Jeffrey grew up in Wantagh, New York, on the south shore of Long Island; Maribeth in Alexandria, Virginia. She worked for a Big 8 public accounting firm in Washington, D.C., after graduating from the University of Virginia. Conversations with her colleagues there, who were in the government contracts litigation support group, sparked her decision to study law. Jeffrey knew at an early age that he wanted to be a lawyer, and started law school the fall after he graduated from Cornell University. They met in the lobby when she was a first- year student, and he, a third-year.

“We both had a love of the Law School from the start,” says Maribeth. Both appreciate the education they received at William & Mary, and recall the friendly, supportive and collegial spirit among their classmates.

When she was a summer associate and, later, a young lawyer, it was clear to Maribeth that employers regarded the school highly for the preparation it provided students. “The Law School worked hard to give students the skills needed to perform in the workplace. That is a huge asset to the Law School, and it’s wonderful for the students and for the legal community,” she says.

A story begun at William & Mary

The Lowe Family

The family settled in Maribeth’s hometown of Alexandria and grew to include two children: a son, now a junior at Caltech, and a daughter, who recently began her freshman year at Northwestern.

Jeffrey is the Global Practice Leader of Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Law Firm Practice Group. He also serves as Managing Partner of their Washington, D.C., office, which he established in 2003, and where he leads the office’s Partner Practice Group. He previously was a partner in the Corporate & Securities Group at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells). Maribeth specialized in government contracts law at several D.C.-area firms, most recently at Crowell & Moring. She retired from practicing law as the couple raised their children and also helped to care for aging parents. Both have been very involved with The Campagna Center, with Maribeth serving on its Board of Directors. The not-for-profit organization provides before- and after- school programs for at-risk children in the Alexandria community, and also offers a variety of other programs to support children and families.

The Lowes remain in close touch with many of the friends they made during law school and with the school itself. Jeffrey is a trustee of the Law School Foundation and also has served as chair or co-chair of his 15th, 20th, and 25th reunions.

“We feel the stewardship of the school has been incredible, in particular during Dean Reveley’s and Dean Douglas’s tenures,” says Jeffrey. The couple has made gifts to the Annual Fund because they recognize that there are a number of challenges every law school faces. “We know the Dean and the Law School appreciate the flexibility to use the funds as they see fit to address those challenges,” he says, “and to remain nimble in a very competitive environment.”

Maribeth says it is evident that administrators and faculty take a personal interest in students, both while they are at Marshall-Wythe and after they graduate. “They get to know people as individuals and are very interested in continuing those interactions, those relationships, even into the alumni years,” she says. “I think that says a lot about the personality of the school and the culture that exists while you are there and afterwards.”

While the lobby brings back happy memories for the couple, they are aware that another locale played an even more important role in bringing them together: the Office of Admission. The story of their family began with acceptance letters from Associate Dean of Admission
Faye Shealy.

“If she hadn’t let both of us in, Maribeth and I never would have met,” Jeffrey says.

A Match Made in Torts Class: Alex and Elspeth’s Story

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

In first-year Torts class, students learn about duty, breach, and causation through cases about spontaneously combusting haystacks, accidentally igniting fireworks, and collisions of every type of vehicle imaginable. In a happy accident, you could say that Alex and Elspeth’s worlds collided when they sat down beside each other the first day. And after hearing their story, any reasonable person would know that they were meant to be together.

visser1

On that first day of Torts class, Elspeth sat on the end of the row, and Alex took the empty seat between her and a member of his Legal Practice Section. Elspeth remembers that day especially well, because when they introduced themselves, Alex asked her how to spell her name, and wrote it down. She was impressed by how determined Alex was to pronounce her unique name correctly; he was the first person to ever ask her how to spell it. During the semester, the two talked casually before and after class. One conversation revealed their shared interest in Celtic music, and Elspeth offered recommendations of songs for Alex to listen to.

Fall semester finals came and went, but when Spring semester started, they sadly didn’t have any classes together. After not seeing each other for several months, Alex got the surprise of his life: in his hanging folder, he found a CD of Celtic music that Elspeth had made for him.  Alex was thrilled to know that his sweet classmate from Torts class was still thinking of him. He didn’t have Elspeth’s phone number, so Alex decided to send her an email to thank her. Now it was Elspeth’s turn to be surprised! The two were so glad to get back in touch, and they spent their 1L summer getting to know each other by exchanging emails every couple days. When they came back in the fall, Alex and Elspeth were eager to see each other in person. The first time they met up, the pair got coffee and talked for six hours, not realizing until the end how much time had gone by. They discussed their mutual interests in Celtic music, genealogy, and history, and discovered their common faith as Christians. A few days later, they were officially a couple.

visser weddingAlex and Elspeth fell for each other quickly; they were both certain that they were meant for each other. So on April 6th, 2016, Elspeth’s birthday, Alex asked Elspeth for her hand in marriage. Neither one of them ever expected to get married in law school, but they were so happy to be together they couldn’t wait. The pair set the wedding date for December 17, and spent their 3L fall semester in a whirlwind of classes and cake tastings, cold calls and coordinating. They chose to get married in the historic Wren Chapel on main campus. It was a perfect fit: it encompassed the history that they both so loved, and it paid tribute to the place that brought them together.

On the special day, guests were welcomed to the chapel by the sound of bagpipes, played by the Law School’s own Raymond Bilter. Friends and family filled the chapel as the happy couple said their vows. Elspeth looked beautiful in her long-sleeved, lace gown, and Alex was dapper in his tails. A reception followed at the Alumni House, where the Bride and Groom made their grand entrance to the Star Wars Theme, played by a string quartet.

After a honeymoon in Scotland, Alex and Elspeth returned for their final semester of law school; this time as husband and wife. They are making sure to keep a good work-life balance. They do their readings and hold each other accountable, but they also take time to share meals and watch their favorite movies. They also make music together in their Celtic Band, the Highland Rogues. After graduation, the pair will move to North Carolina, where Elspeth plans to pursue opportunities in Elder Law or Mediation, and where Alex will work as a Prosecutor.

As Alex and Elspeth have found during their time in law school, it’s important to love what you’re learning. But it’s a special gift when you get to love someone you are learning with. As Alex so aptly put it: “William & Mary: It’s a great place to meet friends – or your future spouse!”

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Not even a blizzard could stop us from getting married!

morton

As is our yearly tradition– Get Wythe It is sharing Williamsburg and William & Mary Law School love stories. See last year’s posts here and here.

by Haley Morton Haines, Class of 2017

My name is Haley Morton Haines, and I’m a third year law student at the College of William & Mary Law School. My husband is Matthew Haines, and he is a sergeant in the Marine Corps. On Saturday, January 7, we got married… in the snow… in front of the Governor’s Palace!

We planned to get married on that day with just a marriage commissioner and a photographer friend present. It wasn’t until a few days before the ceremony that we found out a huge snowstorm was going to hit Hampton Roads. We came up with a few backup plans, but ultimately decided it would make a great story to get married in the snow. Gary, our marriage commissioner, encouraged the idea, which made us even more excited to go for it!

Afterward, we spent the evening at the Williamsburg Inn, and the incredible staff made the weekend even more meaningful for us.

Matt and I met two years ago while he was stationed in Norfolk, and we’ve been together ever since. Though he moved to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina soon after we met, he spent many weekends visiting me in Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg was the natural location for our ceremony. I’ve gone running down DoG Street more times than I can count, and Matt and I spent our first dates walking around  the Historic Areas. Now, the Governor’s Palace will forever be special to us.

Thank you for allowing us to share our story! And thank you to my dear friend, Devon Humphreys, another third year law student. When I asked her the morning of the storm if she’d come take pictures, she immediately bundled up and got to Colonial Williamsburg before I did!

Reposted with permission from the author from makinghistorynow.com.

Read another news article about the wedding here.

2L Judicial Externship Experience

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

One of the most valuable things you can accomplish while being in law school, is to take the opportunity to extern at least once (but hopefully more). Like an internship, an externship will provide you with the opportunity to work with and learn from a practicing professional and to gain insight into a particular field of law.

courthouseThis semester, I will be working for a Virginia Circuit Court Judge in Newport News, Virginia. While it is still very early in the semester, the experience has already been invaluable. Though I have already been assigned important and interesting research projects, I have also been able to sit in court, observing preliminary hearings and motions, as well as to witness part of several trials. Additionally, I have been able to sit with the Judge and one of his clerks, in chambers, and discuss with them different legal issues, policies and procedures. While often the conversations seem casual, it has been an incredible experience to listen to two practicing attorneys of different levels and to hear their input on important issues. As the semester progresses, I am sure my time working for a Judge will continue to prove valuable, interesting and fun.

While this experience is awesome, it is certainly not unique for any one student at William & Mary Law School. Each semester, dozens of students partake in externships of different levels around Virginia. No matter what your interest, there is almost certainly an opportunity out there waiting for you to learn, and the faculty and Office of Career Services at the Law School are always looking to help.

For more information about externships at William & Mary Law School, click here.

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Finals at William & Mary Law

alsawafby Sami Alsawaf, Class of 2017

As a 3L student, I’ve taken plenty of exams over the last three years. While the classes and the exam content always change, one thing never does—the camaraderie between students studying together. I just ended my fifth semester of law school, and I honestly cannot remember studying for a single exam all by myself. I’ve always had a study buddy to help me sort through the material, which has made the last three years much easier.

When I first started looking at law schools, I assumed that the exam period would be a “survival of the fittest” type atmosphere, as usually the final exam is the only grade you have all semester. I started school prepared to study alone and never work with anyone else—everyone always told me law school was so competitive. But at William & Mary, I can tell you that’s not the case.

When exams start, everyone rallies together—students form study groups to review notes from the semester, work on practice exams together, and compile questions to ask at review sessions. If you want to study with someone, there’s someone there for you. Working together during exams helps you understand the material better and makes the process much more fun. After all, you can only laugh at your own torts jokes so many times.

Exam time at William & Mary Law is a great snapshot of what our school culture is like. Your classmates and the faculty all want you to succeed. If you miss class because you’re sick, someone will send you the notes ASAP. Professors hold ample office hours and often hold review sessions at the end of the semester. Many student groups hold “de-stress” events at the school, and there’s plenty of free snacks roaming around for when you want to take a study break. Exams aren’t easy, but the William & Mary Law culture helps make this time period easier. While at school, your classmates are like your family, and there’s always someone looking out for you.

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Whoa…We’re Halfway There! Reflections of a Second Semester 2L

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

There is no feeling quite like finishing your law school exams for the semester, but this time around the feeling is even sweeter: the close of this finals season marks the halfway point for the Class of 2018! We are halfway to being lawyers! (Notwithstanding the Bar Exam, of course, but we’ll worry about that later.)

It is incredible for me to reflect on how far our class has come, and how much we have learned over this past year and a half. This time last December, we had just conquered out first semester of Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, and Torts classes. Our professors taught us the ins-and-outs of the Socratic method by engaging us through cold-calls and open class discussions. In our Legal Practice Classes, we learned to conduct oral reports and client interviews, and we turned in our first Graded Legal Memo. Some of our classmates made the Alternate Dispute Resolution Team or National Trial Team, while others joined the Honor Council and Student Bar Association. Across the board, 1Ls got involved with numerous student organizations at the law school, and began to foster friendships within their Legal Practice Sections.

In the spring, the first-year class came back feeling a little more confident. With one semester under our belts, we had a better idea of how to tackle the new semester of Constitutional Law, Contracts, and Property. During the first few weeks back, some students traveled to West Virginia for the Student Bar Association’s Annual Ski Trip. Some students competed to join the Moot Court Team or the Transactional Team. Students began applying for summer jobs and interviewing with employers, while the Office of Career Services coached us along the way. After finals, the 1Ls stayed for one more week to participate in the Joint Journal Competition in order to be placed on one of the five legal journals. We worked hard to prepare a work product that would show the selection committee our strengths as legal writers, and our diligence was rewarded with positions on our respective journals.

They say that the fall semester of your 2L year is by far the busiest, and I have certainly found that to be true. The new responsibilities that come with being on a journal take a little getting used to, and many 2Ls extern and take on leadership positions within student organizations. Still, we are continuously learning to balance our commitments and budget our time to stay focused on our studies. I have personally enjoyed being able to choose classes that interest me, and to learn alongside 3Ls, as well as my fellow 2Ls.

It has been exciting for us to find our niche within the school, and to be able to pass on war stories and wisdom to the incoming 1L class. But although we’re halfway there, we’ve got a lot left to learn! After seeing how this first year and a half has prepared me and my classmates for our legal careers, I look forward to seeing what the next three semesters have in store for the Class of 2018!

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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!