2014-15 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!

liz berryLiz Berry, Class of 2016

My name is Liz Berry, and I am a 2L from Westfield Center, Ohio. I came to William and Mary directly after graduating from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. With a double major in History and Political Science and a Pre-law minor, I was certain I wanted to attend law school. I spent my 1L summer at the Ohio Attorney General, Education Division. At the law school, I’m a member of the William and Mary Law Review, part of the Honor Council, a Student Admissions Ambassador, and a Graduate Fellow. I’m interested in civil litigation and regulatory work. [Read more...]

William & Mary Law School Wins 2014 Legal Food Frenzy

Governor Terry McAuliffe (left) and Attorney General Mark Herring (right) stand with representatives from the William & Mary VBA Student Council at a reception in July. The school collected 4,961 pounds of food for those in need during the eighth annual Legal Food Frenzy.Photo courtesy of the Virginia Bar Association

Governor Terry McAuliffe (left) and Attorney General Mark Herring (right) stand with representatives from the William & Mary VBA Student Council (l to r; Phil Harvey, Graham Bryant, and Sue Buyrn) at a reception in July. The school collected 4,961 pounds of food for those in need during the eighth annual Legal Food Frenzy.
Photo courtesy of the Virginia Bar Association

Congrats to William & Mary Law School’s chapter of the Virginia Bar Association! Due to their hard work, William & Mary took home the Attorney’s General Cup after collecting nearly 5,000 pounds of food during the eighth annual Legal Food Frenzy.

The Virginia Attorney General’s office, the Young Lawyers Division of the Virginia Bar Association (VBA), and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks partner for the Food Frenzy to see who in Virginia’s legal community can collect the most food for food banks  during two weeks in April.

William & Mary Law School won the law school division, with other categories including law firms and government and public service legal agencies. This year, over 1.4 million pounds were raised.

For the full news story, written by student blogger, Graham Bryant, click here.

See the other award winners on the Federation of Virginia Food Banks’ website.

New Additions to the Law School

This past semester, William & Mary Law School received a gift of bronze two busts – one of John Marshall and one of George Wythe.  For many years, these busts belonged to the Federal Bar Association in Washington, D.C.  (In fact, at least one of the two busts was a gift from the Law School to the Federal Bar Association.)

The Federal Bar Association decided that it no longer wished to display the two busts and put them up for auction so that they might find a more congenial home.  One of our alumni in Washington, D.C., bought them at auction and gave them to the Law School – along with the marble pedestals on which they are displayed.  They are a great addition to the Law School Lobby and are featured prominently when you enter the building.

In person, the heads of both Marshall and Wythe appear worn. It is rumored that decades of passers-by have given them a pat on the head – perhaps for good luck!

George Wythe

George Wythe

John Marshall

John Marshall

Summer Experiences: Judicial Intern for the Eastern District of Virginia

BuyrnSue Buyrn is originally from Chesapeake, Virginia. She earned her B.S. from Virginia Tech, double majoring in Philosophy and Psychology. In her second year at the Law school, Sue will be joining the staff of the Journal of Women and the Law, as well as serving as the Community Service Chair for the Student Bar Association.

After hitting the books hard and finally finishing my first year of law school, I was ready to see what the real world had to offer an aspiring lawyer. Knowing that I wanted to practice law in Virginia, I focused on job opportunities in the Commonwealth’s capital city…and I hit the jackpot.

At the conclusion of this summer, I will have spent fourteen weeks interning for Judge David J. Novak, a magistrate judge at the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. While in the courtroom, I have observed all of the district court judges preside over a variety of civil and criminal matters: child prostitution, drug distribution, wire fraud, and identity document forgery, just to name a few. I have seen good lawyering and bad lawyering, and as time passes I have been able to identify the habits and skill sets that make an effective attorney.

Outside of the courtroom, I draft bench memoranda that are used to assist in pretrial settlement conferences. I then sit through the conferences with Judge Novak, and he teaches me how to gauge the value of a case. To date, I have been involved in settlement conferences focused on patent infringement and trademark infringement.

Last month, I turned in my first draft of a thirty-one page social security opinion. The issue is whether a man has been rightfully denied social security disability benefits. The case has been appealed four times before it gets to the federal court level. I spent weeks sifting through the plaintiff’s medical records, reading and re-reading the Administrative Law Judge’s opinion, and ultimately considered whether a substantial amount of evidence was provided to rightfully deny benefits to this man. Judge Novak will review the decision I made and offer me guidance on how I analyzed the issues and can better my legal writing skills.

I have never been so appreciative of a job. However, it is not the substantive law or the courtroom spectacle that make this job great. It is the people. Judge Novak and his team, Maria, Frank, Al, and Cheryl, have welcomed me and my fellow interns into chambers like we are a part of their family. They have created a program that has made this summer both educational and entertaining for us, organizing interesting field trips and bringing in outside speakers. In all ways imaginable, they work to help us succeed. Judge Novak and his law clerks have set great examples of what it means to be a citizen lawyer in today’s job market, and I have nothing more to say than thank you.

Summer Experiences: Circuit Court in MD

cooperMatthew Cooper is originally from Elkton, Maryland.  He earned his B.A. from Virginia Tech in 2013 with his major in Political Science.  As a 2L, Matt will be working on the staff of the William & Mary Business Law Review and as a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team.  Matt is currently interested in the fields of contract law and general business litigation, including both construction and government contracts.

After seven years of exposure to the law and life inside a private-practice firm, I entered my first year of law school with the goal of obtaining a judicial internship.  Being familiar with the process of an individual first obtaining legal representation and then finally having their dispute either settle outside of court or litigated in court, instilled in me the desire for gaining knowledge of how the process works from beginning to end in the court system.  As a result, I have spent my summer as a judicial intern for the Honorable Jane Cairns Murray at the Circuit Court for Cecil County in Maryland.

The experience and skills I have gained as a judicial intern for Judge Murray have been unbelievably rewarding.  As a judge at the state trial level, Judge Murray oversees a wide range of both civil and criminal litigation matters.  Among the most common areas of law that I have been exposed to in Judge Murray’s chambers include family law, criminal law, and estates and trusts.  The internship has been a phenomenal supplement to my first-year of law school, as I have been able to work on complex legal issues that I spent my first year of law school learning and studying.

From my first day on the job, Judge Murray has demonstrated complete confidence in my legal research and writing abilities.  I have drafted countless memoranda, and I have even drafted an Opinion on a complex civil procedure issue surrounding a riparian rights dispute on the Chesapeake Bay.  I have also had the opportunity to observe voir dire and the interviewing of potential jurors before a criminal jury trial, as well as assisting in the formulation of jury instructions in accordance with the Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions.  When I am not conducting legal research or drafting memoranda and Orders, I spend a significant portion of time in court observing trials and assisting Judge Murray on a myriad of different areas of the law.  Being able to view how different lawyers litigate, including how they formulate opening statements, motions, and closings, and then being able to discuss with the Judge exactly what she was thinking and seeing on the bench has been a truly invaluable experience.  The skills and knowledge that I have obtained as a judicial intern will be helpful as I enter my second-year at William & Mary and begin my fall externship with Kaufman & Canoles.

 

Summer Experiences: Federal Government in Washington, D.C.

by Liz Rademacher, Class of 2016

lizradLiz Rademacher (Class of 2016) is originally from Newtown, Pennsylvania. She graduated from American University in 2013 with degrees in Law and Society and Psychology. While attending AU, Liz worked as an intern with several different non-profit organizations and government agencies, including the Human Rights Campaign, the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Her interests include constitutional law, civil rights law, and the intersection of gender and the law. Liz’s passion for public service has motivated her to pursue a career in law, and attending W&M has only strengthened her commitment to helping others.

When I started my summer job search last fall, I wasn’t sure what kind of work I would be doing or where I would be by the time the summer came. I went to college in Washington, DC, and one of my summer job search goals was to find a way to return to the city. I also knew that I was interested in public service and civil rights. Fortunately, William & Mary’s Office of Career Services made it incredibly easy for me to track down these kinds of jobs in the DC metro area and choose between job offers to decide which would be the best opportunity for me.

This summer I’m a legal intern with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where I work in the Special Litigation Section (SPL). SPL is an office that investigates and litigates on behalf of the federal government in cases involving the rights of prisoners, juveniles, people with disabilities, people who interact with state and local police departments, and people accessing reproductive health care services. One of the things that I absolutely love about my internship is that it allows to do work with passionate attorneys on a variety of civil rights issues that are really important to me. In just the few weeks that I’ve been at SPL, I’ve already researched and written legal memoranda on civil rights issues, reviewed federal investigations findings, and helped attorneys to draft motions and pleadings at the trial and appellate level. And I still have five weeks left to go!

But it’s not all work. My office matched me up with two mentor attorneys who are always willing to grab coffee and chat, and I work with 12 other interns who love eating lunch by the White House or going to one of DC’s many happy hours after a day at the office. Different attorneys I work with frequently hold career development panels on judicial clerkships, resumes, and networking. DOJ also regularly organizes events for all of its interns, not just my section. A few weeks ago, I got to hear Attorney General Eric Holder speak, and just this week DOJ arranged for interns to take a Supreme Court tour. And when I’m not at the office, I’m exploring DC and taking advantage of all the things the city has to offer.

Ultimately, this internship has introduced me to some amazing people, given me plenty of practical experience working on issues that I care about, and helped me to sharpen my legal skills. Having an internship at an office with such a wonderful internship program has also proven to be a great advantage for me based on the kinds of events I’ve been to and opportunities that I’ve been given this summer. I’ve learned a lot about what it’s like to work with the federal government, and I’m looking forward to coming back to Williamsburg in the fall to continue building on what I’ve learned at DOJ!

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Summer Experiences: Law Firm in Silicon Valley

focarinoBrian Focarino is originally from Fairfax Station, Virginia. He earned his B.A. from William & Mary with majors in government and linguistics, and his M.Sc. in linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. As a 3L, Brian will be a member of the W&M Appellate & Supreme Court Clinic and serve as Executive Editor of the Law School’s Business Law Review.

I’m spending my 2L summer in Silicon Valley as a summer associate at Cooley, a firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. At Cooley, my work focuses on trademark, copyright and advertising litigation, intellectual property litigation and general business litigation, in addition to pro bono matters. I’ve worked on a host of litigation projects for the world’s most exciting established and emerging companies. In six weeks, I’ve written memos on the copyright implications of viral memes, trademark issues with new mobile “apps,” unique questions relating to shareholder derivative suits, and private and public company securities litigation. I’ve attended court and client meetings, and completed training in topics such as the lifecycle of companies and the anatomy of an initial public offering.

Cooler still, I’ve had meaningful exposure to pro bono work, participating in a legal aid clinic in rural Marin County, California, a housing clinic in San Francisco, and contributing to an affirmative application for political asylum on behalf of one of Cooley’s pro bono clients. Outside the office, I’ve spent time on Monterey Bay with all of the firm’s summer associates from across the country, attended countless events and mixers hosted by the firm, met brilliant lawyers, and made some incredible friends.

I’ve been thinking all summer about how cool it is that America’s oldest law school prepares its students to practice all kinds of law, for all kinds of clients, in all kinds of environments, all over the world. Because of that, jumping between Colonial Williamsburg and Silicon Valley couldn’t be easier. I’m having an eye-opening summer, and I owe it to William & Mary for helping prepare me to make the most of it.

Here are Brian’s other posts: Halfway Through BBQ, Thanks, and Meet a Member of the Class of 2015!

A Recent Grad Looks Back

by Laura Vlieg, Class of 2014

Laura Vlieg graduated from W&M Law School this May with the class of 2014. Prior to law school she attended Loyola University Chicago completing majors in Political Science and International Studies, and then worked for a year with an aviation law firm in Washington, DC. This August, she will be starting a position with Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein in Alexandria, VA. 

GraduationPicWell, three years have passed, and I am now the proud owner of a very fancy piece of paper conferring my J.D., and a pretty cool hat to boot.

My time at William & Mary Law was both challenging and rewarding, and I think I will always look back with a little bit of nostalgia, and a lot of relief that I not only survived law school, but thrived. My successes were due largely in part to the wonderful people and the support offered here at W&M, and I will always be happy that I chose such a supportive environment to spend these past three academically intense years.

I am now in the thick of studying for the bar exam, and there are certainly days where my fellow graduates and I throw up our hands and say “Why am I doing this to myself?!” However, I quickly remember the reason when I look ahead to August, when I will be starting my new job in the DC area. I came into law school hoping to work toward a career in aviation law, even though I knew it would be difficult to break into such a niche field in a tough economy. I can happily report that come August, I will be starting a job with a small firm in Alexandria, VA specializing in regulatory work in the field of aviation.

In addition to giving me a solid education and opportunities that helped me lock down my dream job, W&M enabled me to have some fun along the way as well. In my time here I was able to sing alongside some fellow recreational musicians in Law Cappella; teach eager middle and high schoolers about the Constitution through both Constitutional Conversations and the Constitutional Literacy programs; perform primary source research on constitutional history and documents for a nonprofit called ConSource for academic credit (yes, I consider that very fun); and of course participate in myriad social events hosted by student groups such as Barrister’s Ball, the PSF Auction, and so many others.

As I look back fondly on my time here at W&M, I hope you are looking forward to an equally rewarding three years!

Read Laura’s first semester reflection and her experience as a Graduate Research Fellow.

Summer Experiences: Law Firms in WV & NH

sheaBrian Shea is originally from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in Government with a minor in Spanish. At William & Mary, Brian is the Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Business Law Review and a member of the Law School Honor Council. 

After working at a law firm in New York City for two years before law school, I knew that the law firm environment was where I wanted to end up. I took advantage of the law school’s on-campus interview program during the winter of my 1L year, and landed a summer associateship at Steptoe & Johnson in Bridgeport, West Virginia. At Steptoe I gained exposure to a variety of corporate and business litigation matters, the majority of which stemmed from West Virginia’s booming coal and natural gas industries. I have always been interested in the legal and compliance concerns of the energy sector, given the robust regulatory regime that governs it and the often contentious political climate that surrounds it. Steptoe afforded me exposure to a range of issues relevant to its energy clients, everything from eminent domain and lease disputes to bankruptcy and antitrust.

This summer I am working at McLane Law Firm, a mid-sized firm in Manchester, New Hampshire, close to my family and geographically where I hope to settle. Unlike larger firms, McLane hires associates into just two practice tracks–corporate and litigation. My focus has been primarily corporate, and after six weeks, I have already been staffed on several M&A transactions, as well as securities, tax, and corporate governance matters. By working at McLane, I hope to emerge with a more robust corporate skill set than I might at a larger firm with specialized, discrete practice areas. The most personally impactful aspect of my summer, however, has been the opportunity to work with several of McLane’s pro bono clients, helping them to navigate complex issues of personal bankruptcy and post-divorce asset distribution. It is particularly rewarding to know that my legal training can have a meaningful and positive impact on individuals living in the state where I grew up. My summer has certainly helped to fortify my sense of what it means to be a Citizen Lawyer.

I look forward to returning to William & Mary in the fall to build upon my practical business acumen as an extern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and by participating in the law school’s Federal Tax Clinic.

Summer Experiences: House Judiciary Committee

lukishTom Lukish is originally from Richmond, Virginia.  Choosing to remain in the Commonwealth for his undergraduate studies, Tom graduated from Virginia Tech in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science.  In his second year at the Law School, Tom will be joining the staff of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, as well as serving on the Board of William & Mary’s chapter of the Virginia Bar Association.

One of the many wonderful things about William & Mary is the incredible Office of Career Services (OCS).  In the first meeting with my counselor, Dean George Podolin, the two of us discussed my hobbies, interests, career goals, and a number of things in between.  Upon learning of my desire to become involved with the federal government, Dean Podolin suggested that I do two things: research a variety of avenues to our nation’s capital, and reach out to individuals in government whom I have met over the years.  Very fortunately, I applied to and was offered a position with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.

The House Judiciary Committee passes a high number of bills each year, and it has been an absolute pleasure to assist counsel, staff, and Members of the Committee in their effort.  Addressing a variety of areas of the law, the Committee regularly holds hearings and drafts legislation relating to the U.S. Constitution, crime, homeland security, immigration, and intellectual property.

Thus far, my experience with the Committee has been nothing short of spectacular.  Placed within the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, I have been able to use the writing, communication, and research training I gained at W&M to help Congress address one of the nation’s most pertinent issues.

One of the more thrilling aspects of this position is that each day presents something new.  No day is identical to the last for many offices on Capitol Hill, and while subcommittees remain consistent in terms of their overarching focus, the same is true for Members and staff of the House Judiciary Committee.  The myriad of current events and challenges facing this country, in combination with the inherent excitement that accompanies the Hill, has made for an unforgettable experience.  I could not be more appreciative of the opportunity to use my legal education to enter the world of American politics and public service.

Very thankful for what OCS and the entire W&M Law community has helped me with thus far, I hope that my experience in Washington will encourage other students interested in government to look into the plethora of opportunities that exist in D.C.  It is a tremendous feeling working in a way that serves the country as a whole, and I look forward to hopefully working in or around government in the future.

Williamsburg Most Popular Fourth of July Destination

williamsburgHappy Fourth of July!

Yahoo! Travel recently names Williamsburg the most popular destination for Fourth of July. Who can blame there? There are many activities and events in the Historic Triangle, not just on the Fourth but also throughout the weekend.

Watching fireworks? The most popular fireworks viewing locations in the area are Colonial Williamsburg (Market Square or Palace Green & throughout the Historic Area), over the York River in Historic Yorktown, Busch Gardens, the Virginia Living Museum, and Two Rivers Country Club.

During the day of the Fourth, there is a lot more to do in the Historic Triangle.

  • 8 a.m. Yorktown Independence Day 8K Run and 5k Walk at York High school.
  • 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Liberty Celebration at the Yorktown Victory Center.
  • 9 a.m. Parade on Water Street with Live Music – Yorktown U.S. Coast Guard Ceremonial Band.
  • 10 a.m. Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums with musket and cannon salutes behind the courthouse.
  • 12 p.m. Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Colonial Williamsburg at the courthouse.
  • 6:30 p.m. Danielle Bradbery (2013 winner of The Voice) at the Lake Matoaka Amphitheater (doors open at 5 p.m.).
  • 7 p.m. Sounds of Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony at the Riverwalk Landing Stage in Yorktown.
  • 8 p.m. United States Army Training and Doctrine Command Band (Dixie Band) – Riverwalk Landing Stage.

Click here for more information.

Yes, there is something for everyone in Williamsburg!

Happy Fourth  – wherever you are this weekend!

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