Hearing from an Alum in Criminal Law

newtonby Dakota Newton, Class of 2018

One of my favorite things about law school is listening to stories from the practicing attorneys and other speakers that professors and the school invite to campus. All of these people have good stories to tell, but I especially enjoy stories from the people who work in criminal justice. Nothing beats a good murder case, especially when the murderer was never caught.

On October 29, Professor Marcus invited Eddie Nickel, an Assistant Commonwealth Attorney from Richmond and 2007 graduate of the Law School, to talk with a group of 1Ls from his Criminal Law class. Eddie talked about his work as a prosecutor generally, the sort of cases he generally deals with, and how he manages to work through the seventy-plus cases that land on his desk each week (good judgment and long hours, if you are curious). He also discussed the full extent of his involvement as a prosecutor, which extends far beyond what I had ever thought.

Eddie’s job begins with talking to the police officers who are on patrol, so he can understand what challenges they are facing with previous offenders. On top of that, Eddia has a massive caseload, daily court appearances, data collection, recidivism analysis, and policy recommendation. So, if you are an excellent juggler and want to bear the responsibility of keeping the Virginia criminal justice system effective and equitable, then this may be the job for you.

Eddie Nickel

Eddie Nickel

After impressing us with his wide range of skills and prodigious work rate, Eddie settled into the stories, specifically a story of a suspected murderer in Richmond who has successfully evaded multiple convictions over the past quarter century but could be sentenced shortly if Eddie’s office is successful next month.

Overall, it was an excellent experience and a tantalizing glimpse of the careers that are just a few short years away.

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

See Eddie’s W&M Valentine’s post from 2011 here.


Interview with Amy Greer ’89, Public Service Fund Co-Founder

wentworthby Christie Wentworth, Class of 2017

Amy is a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Q: What sparked your interest in public service and pro bono work?

A: I have always been outwardly focused.  This may have been more an accident of birth than anything else, as I was an oldest child with responsibilities for my younger siblings, but for whatever reason, my biggest strengths have always been problem solving and personal interaction, which seem to be perfect qualities for this work.  I did not come from a family with lawyers in it, but I wanted to be a lawyer from a very early age, because they had the power to help others.  As far as I was concerned, public service and pro bono work were what lawyers did.

greer1Q: What inspired you to found the Public Service Fund?

A: Like so much of life, it was a happy accident.  Kathy Hessler ’88, a like-minded person, told me that other schools were doing programs like what became our Public Service Fund (PSF).  W&M had nothing available to support public interest work for students.  We identified a need and we filled it.  Together, and with the help of others, we considered what we thought we could accomplish, both in the short term and what PSF could be in the future and, acting with the support of the faculty and the administration, including Professors John Levy, Rob Kaplan, Jayne Barnard and then-Dean Sullivan, we got it off the ground.

Kathy Hessler ’88 and Amy Greer ’89, PSF Co-Founders

Kathy Hessler ’88 and Amy Greer ’89, PSF Co-Founders

Q: How did your time at W&M shape or encourage your commitment to public service?

A: Nothing succeeds like success, I guess.  The fact that PSF was so well received was very energizing for me — and the fact that the work being done was so inspiring to others and so meaningful to those being helped.

Q: What have you found to be the most meaningful way to stay involved in the community as a lawyer?

A: Legal work is very demanding of your time.  I have had periods of very significant community involvement and others when I have been less so, depending on my career demands.  However, I think the key is to commit to issues and organizations that you genuinely care about – that always makes it much easier to make the time.  And, though it may seem counterintuitive, given my last statement, I also try to find other ways to stay involved based solely on time commitment – like quick clinics, with real person-to-person interaction: helpful to clients, meaningful to me, and not a lot of time commitment.

Q: Do you have any advice for current law students or recent graduates who would like to continue to serve others?

A: Just do it.  And don’t feel bad about yourself when your life gets in the way.  Keep trying.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

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How to Get the Dean to Shave His Mustache…

Last fall, Dean Douglas promised that if the Class of 2014 reached 75 percent participation in its Class Gift effort, he would shave his 30-years-in-the-making mustache.

On April 17, the participation rate hit more than 85 percent–and out came the razor…

Watch the video below!

To date, the Class of 2014 has 90% participation, due to the hard work of 20 member class gift committee. Read more about the 3L class gift here.

From the Law School Library to the Altar

It’s that time of year– Virginia is for lovers, and we love to share posts about couples who met during their tenure at William & Mary Law School.

by Lindsay Sfekas, Class of 2016


Mary-Carson Saunders, Class of 2013, met her husband Josh Stiff during her first semester 1L year in the library during finals week, with intentions of getting some serious studying done. She speaks fondly of the moment she sat down next to Josh in the library, and he was watching a Youtube video of a parody of law school and giggling to himself.  He enticed her to take a break from studying and watch the rest of the video with him.

As luck, or fate, would have it, Mary-Carson and Josh lived right across the street from one another.  They became fast friends over pot luck dinners, trivia nights, and movie nights with their mutual friends.  During their spring semester, they began dating.  Williamsburg turned out to be a great place to date for these two outdoors loving people.  In fact, their first date was at Jamestown Beach, which is a local beach close to Williamsburg.  Other dates consisted of walking through Colonial Williamsburg, spending time in York River State Park, walking in the College Woods, canoeing on the Chickahominy River, and swimming in the river at Jamestown Beach.

At William & Mary Law School, the two became involved in the George Wythe Society and in the Inns of Court, a leadership networking organization.

During their 3L year, Mary-Carson and Josh returned to Jamestown Beach, the site of their first date, and Josh proposed.  The two were married in Suffolk, Virginia (Mary-Carson’s hometown) on October 5, 2013 with almost 20 of their classmates in attendance.

View More: http://httpkristinpartincom.pass.us/stiffwedding      View More: http://httpkristinpartincom.pass.us/stiffwedding

Mary-Carson and Josh live in Norfolk, Virgina where she works for the Law School and he a small bankruptcy firm.  When asked about whether she expected to meet her husband in law school, Mary-Carson says, “Absolutely not! I never dreamed in a million years!”

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Lawyers in In-House Practice

by Lauren Bridenbaugh, Class of 2016

From September 19-20, I attended several sessions at the Lawyers in In-House Practice Conference hosted by the Law School. In-house counsel are lawyers who work in management and/or are employed directly by companies to do legal work. It is estimated that 8 to 10 percent of lawyers are “business lawyers.” The event featured 20 female William & Mary Law School alumnae discussing a variety of topics related to their work as in-house counsel.

Inhouse CounselThe first session I attended was on “What Issues Keep In-House Counsel Awake at Night?” where the panelists discussed privacy concerns, regulatory compliance and cyber-security as some of the key issues they are facing in their respective fields. Other sessions I attended talked about similarities and differences between in-house counsel and compliance professionals and the work they do as well as what in-house counsel expects from outside lawyers. These sessions were especially helpful in learning more about who does what in corporate legal work and the differences in the expectations and type of work done in different industries.

Inhouse CounselThe Conference was also interesting because I was able to see the varied fields female alumnae of William & Mary have found success, including energy, finance, healthcare, insurance and telecommunications among others. It is encouraging to see the success these William & Mary graduates have found across these varied industries throughout the country.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

W&M Law Super Lawyers

Super LawyersThe Super Lawyers list has been published, and 631 William & Mary Law School alumni have made the list. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from all different practice areas. They are deemed Super Lawyers based on peer recognition and professional achievement.

Of particular note to the Admission Office are the Super Lawyers who also volunteer their time as Alumni Admission Ambassador. Our Alumni Ambassadors take time out of their busy lives, both professionally and personally, to speak to and to meet with prospective and admitted students. 73 W&M Super Lawyers are also Alumni Admission Ambassadors.

Congratulations to all of our William & Mary Super Lawyers!

Click here to see a full list of William & Mary Law School alumni who were named Super Lawyers.

Recent Grad Wins Prize in Intellectual Property

Congratulations to Jarred O. Taylor ’13 for winning an award in the American Intellectual Property Law Educational Foundation’s annual Jan Jancin Award Competition!

Jarred Taylor

The award is sponsored by the Virginia State Bar and honors an outstanding law student, either from Virginia or attending a Virginia law school, who has excelled in the study of Intellectual Property law and intends to pursue a career in that field.

Jarred will soon be joining the Palo Alto, Ca., office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Congrats Jarred!

Being a Citizen Lawyer

William & Mary Law School was founded under the ideals of the citizen lawyer. Our students, faculty, and alumni are trained to be good lawyers, but also good citizens and leaders in their respective communities.

Over graduation weekend, we saw many examples of how our community epitomizes the citizen-lawyer model.

Judy Conti J.D. ’94 received the 2013 Citizen-Lawyer Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and citizenship in her work. In 2000, Conti co-founded the Employment Justice Center, which provides free legal advice to low-wage workers in the District of Columbia. Conti was the Executive Director for seven years, and under her leadership, the organization assisted 10,000 workers. Conti continues to be an advocate for workers as the federal advocacy coordinator for the National Employment Law Project.

Chris Rey J.D. ’10 received the 2013 Taylor Reveley Award from the William & Mary Law School Alumni Association. The award is given to an alumnus or alumna who has graduated within 10 years and has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service. Rey enlisted in the Army during his senior year in college and served for seven years. During law school, Rey served as a member of the Electoral College, representing Virginia’s first congressional district in 2008 and was the first African-American presidential elector in the history of Virginia. In 2011, Ray ran for mayor in his hometown of Spring Lake, N.C. and secured 76 percent of the vote and serves as mayor today.

Professors Susan Grover and Trotter Hardy were the 2013 recipients of the John Marshall Award. The award is given to a member, or members, of the Law School faculty or staff who has demonstrated selfless service to the Law School community.

In one of the nomination letters for Susan Grover, a student wrote:  “Susan Grover embodies all of the qualities of the John Marshall Award. She is compassionate. She is brilliant. She continually reminds students that we are, in her words, part of a community who cares. When she sees students struggling, whether academically or emotionally, she does not always wait for them to come through her door, though her door is always open, but she seeks them out to make sure that they know that resources are there to help them, and that she cares. She is humble, generous with her time, and quite possibly the best listener I have ever encountered.”

Trotter Hardy retires after teaching at William & Mary for 31 years. He was the first intellectual property professor and served for over 10 years as the Dean for Technology. One nominator said: “Beyond his excellent classroom teaching, Professor Hardy has provided tremendous service to the Law School as the dean of technology. He always reaches out to students for their feedback whenever technology changes are being made. Best of all, he is just an all-around great guy.”

Congratulations to our Citizen Lawyers!

Perspective on the Job Search Process

by Jillian Jacobs, Class of 2013 and recent graduate

jill jacobsJill is from from Rochester, New York, and received her B.A. in Policy Studies and Economics from Syracuse University. Jill was an Articles Editor for the Bill of Rights Journal, Chair of the Community Service Committee for the George Wythe Society, and a Graduate Research Fellow. 

Prior to my first year of law school, I was nervous about a lot of things. I wondered whether I would make friends, how I would handle an embarrassing cold call, and if I could keep up with the demanding work schedule. My greatest fear, however, was that I would not be able to find a job.

I came to law school straight from undergrad, and I had very little experience with the job search process. I had worked at a retail store, at a restaurant, and at a small local firm during school breaks, but I had never formally searched for a legal job. I was overwhelmed at the thought of reworking my resume, writing cover letters, identifying potential internships, and interviewing with respected attorneys.

Soon, I realized that I was not alone – the majority of my classmates viewed the job search process as daunting and confusing. Fortunately, the Office of Career Services (OCS) annually holds informational sessions for first-year students in early October. At the sessions, the OCS Deans talk about the job search process. Additionally, OCS gives students a binder containing information such as sample resumes and cover letters, recommendations for interview attire, and other interview tips. When I walked out of the session, I felt a wave of relief. I knew that the job search process would not be easy, but I found comfort in knowing that OCS would help me in any way possible

In November of my first year of law school, I met with my assigned dean, Ramona Sein, to discuss my internship search. She suggested that I continue networking and that I consider a variety of internships for the summer after my first year of law school. In a stroke a pure luck, I met an alumnus of the law school who helped me secure an internship with a federal judge in Houston, Texas. The internship was educational and an overall great experience.

I finished my internship in Houston at the end of June, and I immediately started preparing to apply for second-year internships. My goal was to work at a large firm in New York City, but I applied to firms in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. as well because I was worried about the legal market. A contact helped me to obtain interviews in Philadelphia, and firms in New York City offered me interviews after receiving my resume through a William & Mary interview program.

In order to prepare for my interviews, I frequently called Dean Sein and Dean Knowles to ask questions. I think that some of my questions may have been trivial, but I appreciated that every dean in OCS was willing to listen to my concerns and was able to answer my questions. Finally, after two months of interviewing for summer associate positions, I accepted an offer from Dechert LLP in New York City. I loved my internship with Dechert, and I am so excited to return as a first-year associate. I am incredibly thankful to OCS for helping me to find this position.

Congratulations Dean Shealy!

by Elizabeth Cavallari

Each year, the William & Mary Alumni Association honors individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the College. Our own Dean Faye Shealy was one of the five award winners for 2013.

Dean Shealy has devoted more then 30 years of service to William & Mary Law School. It’s a privilege to work with her and learn from her on a daily basis. Congratulations to Dean Shealy on this honor!

Dean Shealy and Her Family

Dean Shealy and Her Family

Photo by Davis Morrill.

Photo by David Morrill.

Terrific Applicants + Involved Alumni + Engaging Dean

William & Mary has a fantastic group of applicants again this year and is among a small group of law schools with an increase of applicants for the Class of 2016 compared to last year.  We are excited with the interest in legal education at the nation’s oldest law school.  Applications to join this special community are the sincerest form of flattery and we are appreciative of the compliment!

The review and evaluation of 5500+ applicant credentials is the challenge.  Meeting the outstanding individuals that submit applications is the fun.  Placing names and faces with applications makes the experience personal.

Dean Douglas tells the William & Mary story best and is busy doing so! The admission deans enjoy our off-campus recruitment contacts and individual appointments with visitors in our offices.

Dean Douglas delivers the most information and enjoys engaging applicants.

Dean Douglas delivers the most information and enjoys engaging applicants.


William & Mary Law School alumni remain involved and form a tremendous network.  Our Alumni Ambassadors share their William & Mary experience and their passion.  Dean Douglas is vested in the admission program and cares deeply about each and every student.

Michael Dick ’06, US Department of Justice

Michael Dick ’06, US Department of Justice

The connection is personal for applicants as was the spirit during a recent gathering of applicants with alums and Dean Douglas in D.C.

Julie Silverbrook ’12, Constitutional Sources Project

Julie Silverbrook ’12, Constitutional Sources Project


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