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...]

Election Law Society

cookeby Will Cooke, Class of 2017

Will is a 2009 graduate of UNC- Chapel Hill and is from Greensboro, NC.

The Election Law Society is forward to another great year with plenty of opportunities to get involved in anything and everything related to the American electoral process. From excellent guest speakers to meaningful community outreach, ELS covers the gambit of election law.

Working with the nationally-known Election Law Program, we bring in a broad spectrum of prominent figures in the world of election and political law. Throughout the year our members are given the unique opportunity to interact directly with devoted practitioners in order to get the inside scoop on the industry and learn more about this quickly growing area of law. Last year, we hosted the former counsel to multiple presidential campaigns, several partners at some of the most prominent law firms in the country, and distinguished advocates leading non-profit organizations dedicated to reforming our electoral system.

We also go hands-on with projects such as VOTEline, Revive My Vote, and the State of Elections Blog. VOTEline is a student-run phone bank designed to answer voters’ questions and help them work through any problems they encounter on Election Day. In addition, Revive My Vote is a great way to be a true William & Mary citizen lawyer. Promoting civic involvement is an important way to avoid recidivism for people with past felony convictions, but, in Virginia, these people can lose the right to vote indefinitely. Revive My Vote works closely with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office to restore this fundamental right to those who need it most. Lastly, ELS members can also get involved with the ELS State of Elections Blog. The Blog provides a unique forum for ELS members to publish their thoughts and engage in meaningful dialogue with the community about important election law issues.

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

Law Cappella

proutby Allison Prout, Class of 2016

Allison is from Annapolis, MD and is a 2011 graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park.

In Law Cappella, we like to take breaks from studying to fill the law school hallways with the sounds of sweet, sweet music.

Founded by law school students in 2011, Law Cappella is really just about having fun making music! We arrange our own songs, from Carry on My Wayward Son to Royals, and make our own beats. We smile in lieu of choreography because we are uncoordinated. We meet each week to practice and usually finish up with a late night dinner at Applebee’s. And, most importantly, we perform! This past year we performed at multiple alumni events, plus Singer-Songwriter, the annual Student-Faculty Basketball Game, the highly-anticipated PSF Auction, and our very own spring concert. We also serenade students and faculty with singing valentines for Valentine’s Day and hope to do some law school caroling this coming holiday season!

law cappella

We’re always looking for students who like to sing or who think Pitch Perfect would be cool to do in real life! And you don’t need a musical background either-just a love for singing! If you want to learn more about Law Cappella, please send an email to akprout@email.wm.edu or check us out on Facebook.

Criminal Law Society

bogertby Dee Bogert, Class of 2016

Dee is a 2014 graduate of Lebanon Valley College and is from West Chester, PA.

The Criminal Law Society (CLS) focuses on educating students about our criminal justice system in the United States. The organization does not focus on either prosecution or defense, but rather on how the system works as a whole. Each year, we host different events including guest speakers who discuss different aspects of criminal law and answer questions. The society also occasionally collaborates with other student organizations to host larger events for the school that discuss current events or other interesting issues. Students who join the organization include those who want to be prosecutors, defense attorneys, or are simply interested in the topic and wish to take full advantages of the opportunities offered in law school.

This upcoming year, the society is excited to host its first-ever mock trial event. The event will take place in the Fall and allow the incoming 1Ls to learn the facets of a criminal trial and practice forming oral arguments. Students who participate will be given a practice criminal scenario and asked to prepare and present an argument to the judges. After the students have presented their arguments, the judges will give them feedback about their performance. The experience will give students the chance to hone their skills while getting a feel for what a criminal case looks like. CLS is also looking forward to hosting a few special guest speakers.

You can learn more about topics of discussion and our upcoming events by liking us on Facebook or visiting our website.

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

Immigration Law & Service Society

k_janiby Krishna Jani, Class of 2016

Krishna is from Philadelphia, PA and a 2012 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Immigration Law & Service Society (ILSS) began when two passionate law students created the student group De Vecino a Vecino, or From Neighbor to Neighbor. The two students have since gone on to create their own immigration law firm called L&L Immigration PLLC. ILSS has taken their inspiration and guidance in shaping a larger, more comprehensive student group. ILSS continues to evolve as each class brings its own talents and goals.

In recent years, ILSS has partnered with Hogar’s Naturalization Clinic. The clinics are held about once a month in a church in Northern Virginia. Dedicated law students wake up in the early hours of Saturday mornings to drive to Northern Virginia to attend these clinics. This offers students training from immigration attorneys and practical legal experience during one of the most significant points of the immigration process–naturalization. Last year, our faculty advisor, Angela Banks, won a grant that started a Speaker Series. Professor Banks and ILSS hosted working professionals in the field of immigration to speak to current William & Mary Law students about their work. The speakers ranged from current attorneys to anthropologists and community activists.

During the 2015-16 scholastic year, ILSS hopes to continue its work with the Naturalization Clinic while adding local community outreach opportunities to the mix, including “Know Your Rights” presentations in the Hampton Roads area. For example, ILSS hopes to lead a group of volunteers to the Farmville detention center to see first-hand the conditions in which undocumented immigrants are detained, and potentially work on issues related to the detention of such immigrants.  In addition, ILSS wishes to expand Professor Banks’ Speaker Series by inviting more attorneys, immigration judges and other professionals to speak with current students. Lastly, ILSS will broaden its scope to include issues related to business immigration.

ILSS is ever grateful to the wonderful William & Mary Community for its support, zeal, and creativity!

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

Latino Law Students Association

diazby Angela Diaz, Class of 2016

Angela is from Satellite Beach, FL and a graduate of the University of Florida.

The Latino Law Students Association (LLSA) provides a community through which we celebrate the cultures of Latin American countries while promoting and increasing the presence of Latinos in the study and practice of law.  We also advocate for the appointment of Latino professors to the faculty and establish an alumni network for students to connect with practicing Latino lawyers.

llsa 2LLSA collaborates with other W&M Law student organizations to sponsor a variety of events and programs aimed at academic support, community building, professional development, and cultural awareness. Within the organization, LLSA aims to provide a fun and social community for students to build friendships while enjoying Latin American cultures, cuisines, music, and traditions. We host social events, arrange for speakers, meet weekly to talk in Spanish, and do community service. One especially fun event is our beginning of the year fajita lunch. LLSA members get to enjoy socializing on the law school patio with food and drinks.

Furthermore, members benefit from our affiliation with the national chapter: they have access to nation-wide diversity scholarships and internships, and the opportunity to participate in the National Latino Law Student Association (NLLSA) Moot Court Tournament and NLLSA job fair. New members are also assigned a student mentor, and are encouraged to apply for leadership positions even as first years. Membership is open to everyone, and our members come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.

llsa 1

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

Environmental Law and Policy Review

beacomby Erica Beacom, Class of 2016.

Erica Beacom is from Elkhorn, NE and is a 2012 graduate of St. Cloud State University. She is the Managing Editor of William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review.  

The William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review (ELPR) is a student-run legal journal devoted to discussing, publishing, and advocating for relevant and timely environmental law and policy issues. As a student journal, we believe that providing a forum for environmentally-interested professionals, practitioners, and students fosters educated discussion as well as a tremendous opportunity to be at the forefront of pressing legal issues.

ELPR was first established in 1975 as a newsletter and, by 1990, reached the status of a published law journal at the William & Mary Law School. ELPR was recently ranked by Washington and Lee’s Law Review Rankings as the top energy law journal in the nation. ELPR also garnered top national distinction in environmental, natural resource, and land use law.

symposium1As a part of our evolving involvement in the environmental sphere, we strive to push the boundaries of environmental publications by including domestic, international, and student authors in each of our publications. ELPR has a wide and varied scope, and we pride ourselves in our ability to publish material that showcases all stances in environmental law and policy. ELPR hosts an annual symposium where practitioners and academics are invited to educate the general student body, local citizens, and other law school advocates in their pursuit of environmental justice.

Student membership to ELPR is controlled by the annual William & Mary Law Joint Journal Competition, but we accept all types of questions concerning ELPR and strive to answer all questions and comments in a timely fashion! Learn more about ELPR here!

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

Moot Court

knipeby Kimberly Knipe, Class of 2016

Kimberly is a 2013 graduate of the University of Maryland and is from Damascus, MD.

The Moot Court Team is one of William & Mary Law School’s best opportunities for students to develop and refine oral advocacy and brief writing skills.  Team members participate in moot court tournaments, which require each team to research and write an appellate brief, then defend it before a panel of judges in an oral argument.  Membership on Moot Court is an honor, and tryouts for the team are competitive.  We take about 18-20 new members per year on the team.

Each year William & Mary’s Moot Court Team sends its members to approximately fifteen inter-collegiate moot court tournaments around the nation.  William & Mary’s teams have enjoyed resounding success, and some of the team’s accomplishments from this past year include: Finalists at the Sutherland Moot Court Competition; Semi-Finalists at the St. John’s Bankruptcy Invitational Moot Court Competition; and Quarterfinalists and Best Brief Winners at the Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Moot Court Competition.

In addition to competing, the William & Mary Moot Court Team annually hosts the William B. Spong Invitational Moot Court Tournament.  Now in its 45th year, the Spong Tournament focuses on current issues in various areas of the law and is judged completely by panels of federal and state court judges.

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

Black Law Student Association


by Willie Wilson, Class of 2017

Willie is the president of the Black Law Student Association. She is a graduate of Hampton University.

The William & Mary Chapter of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) is thrilled to welcome the Class of 2018! We are comprised of an energetic and diverse cohort of law students fully committed to the promotion and protection of human and civil rights, the empowerment of our communities, and bringing about meaningful change in our legal and political institutions.

blsa 1Each year, we host events that bring to the forefront issues that face Black Americans and other minority groups. For instance, our annual symposium addresses contemporary legal and sociopolitical issues facing the Black and African American community. In light of polarizing events, this past year’s symposium, “Where Do We Go from Here: Community or Chaos?” provided an opportunity for the entire Williamsburg community to discuss racial injustice with distinguished panelists. BLSA also hosts Law Day, which gives students of color an opportunity to learn more about the law school experience and how to prepare for a legal education, and the Oliver Hill Banquet, which brings alumni, professors, and students together to honor the contributions of civil rights attorney, Attorney Oliver W. Hill.

blsa 2Our service projects include the Annual Thanksgiving Basket Canned Food Drive in partnership with the Legal Practice Program, the Angel Tree Project in conjunction with the Christian Law Society, and speaking on behalf of Revive My Vote to inform the community of opportunities to restore the rights of convicted felons in Virginia.

BLSA’s theme this year, “Justice Matters More…”, demonstrates the need for a collective prioritization of justice in the lives of all Americans over comfort, convenience, and the status quo. We welcome all students to join us as citizens, leaders, and soon to be “citizen lawyers” who aim to positively impact others and transform our society. If you identify with this mission, we hope that you choose to join BLSA and fight for justice with us!

blsa 3

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

Journal of Women and the Law

oppenheimby Shana Oppenheim, Class of 2016

Shana is from New Hope, PA and is a 2011 graduate of New York University. Shana is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Women and the Law.

In 2015, the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law (“JOWL”) hosted a symposium entitled “20 Years of Feminism.” The event was not only a fantastic opportunity to have the authors JOWL published that year return to speak, but also an important moment marking the 20-year aAdd Newnniversary of the Journal.

When JOWL was founded in 1993, the journal and its founding staff, faced discrimination and backlash. Founding member, Linda Jackson J.D. ‘93, recalls many staff members being called “feminazis.” But they persevered. Today, the Journal of Women and the Law thrives as a student-edited journal following its founding principles: to focus scholarly debate on gender, sexuality, and family law related issues and to encourage discussion about the impact these biases can have on our laws and society.

But JOWL is not only a place for progressive academic discourse, it is also a family. JOWL, and other legal journals, are the one place in law school that students can work as a team towards a larger goal. JOWL is a place where 2L and 3L law students come together to produce wonderful content that advances discussion in the academic world, but also creates life long friends.

  • “JOWL gave me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most fantastic 3L students, when I was a 2L, that I would not have otherwise interacted with. I hope as a 3L executive team member I can have the same positive impact on the 2L staff.” — Shana Oppenheim, Editor-In-Chief, JOWL Vol. 22
  • “Serving on a journal has allowed me to hone basic skills for practicing law, like critical thinking and time management – all while getting to work with a group of diverse, accomplished team members. Joining JOWL is one of the best decisions I’ve made during law school.” — Lindy Gunderson, Managing Editor, JOWL Vol. 22

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

National Trial Team

brittanby Janie Brittan, Class of 2016

Janie is from San Diego, CA and graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2010.

The William & Mary Law National Trial Team is one of William & Mary Law’s most successful competitions teams, focusing on (you guessed it) trial advocacy! Each year, the Trial Team competes in many of the country’s best trial competitions. Just this past season, the Team won championship titles at:

  • Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County (Gourley)- Championship Team

    Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County (Gourley)- Championship Team

    The Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County Trial Competition (Gourley) in Pittsburgh, PA

  • The MABLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition in Washington, DC
  • The American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Trial Advocacy Competition in Washington, DC

The Team also placed as finalists in:

  • Finalists of the Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition in Puerto Rico with the youngest ever Associate Justice on the Puerto Rican Supreme Court, the Hon. Maite Oronoz Rodríguez

    Finalists of the Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition in Puerto Rico with the youngest ever Associate Justice on the Puerto Rican Supreme Court, the Hon. Maite Oronoz Rodríguez

    The TYLA National Trial Competition in Washington, DC;

  • The Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • The NBLSA National Tournament in Portland Oregon

William & Mary’s Trial Team earned semi-finalist and quarter-finalist finishes at the Capitol City Challenge, Florida State Civil Mock Trial Competition, and the John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Competition. Additionally, the Team won Best Trial Brief at the South Texas Mock Trial Challenge in Houston, TX and earned multiple individual awards throughout the season, including six best advocate awards.

South Texas Mock Trial Challenge- Best Brief Winning Team

South Texas Mock Trial Challenge- Best Brief Winning Team

Preparing for each competition gives all 26 members of the team (plus an incoming class of 1Ls in the fall!) great opportunities to learn and refine trial advocacy skills including opening statements, closing arguments, direct and cross examination of witnesses, and evidentiary objections. Each member also receives advanced evidentiary training in preparation for in-depth and spontaneous objection battles during trial. For most tournaments, each individual team of two to four students prepares case strategies for both the plaintiff/prosecution and defense. With that case theory, each team works for weeks to refine their arguments and presentation style with practical guidance from Trial Team coaches. The Team is coached by former Virginia Trial Lawyers Association president and seasoned trial lawyer, Jeffrey Breit, and former Virginia Supreme Court Justice, LeRoy Millette. Both coaches bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to help sharpen the Team’s case strategy, presentation, and evidentiary argument skills.  Additionally, because the Team travels across the country, members benefit from exposure to different litigation styles nationwide.

Most importantly, Trial Team offers a collaborative environment to work closely with every team member, and gives members the opportunity to not only win championships, but also to form close friendships. A selection tournament for new members is held during the fall term. The Team selects approximately 12 candidates each year; however, no prior experience is necessary or required to secure a spot. The Trial Team is always looking for new, raw talent and consistently selects candidates from all backgrounds and experience levels. Come join us!

2014-2015 Trial Team

2014-2015 Trial Team

For a list of our accomplishments from this season and seasons past, click here. For questions feel free to contact us at wmnationaltrial@gmail.com.

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

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