Making the Journey Together: Claire and Justin’s Story

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

Every year around Valentine’s Day, Get Wythe It shares the stories of students who are in love in law school, and that number is even higher than you may think. Statistically speaking, over 25% of William & Mary alumni end up marrying each other! While most meet their future spouses on one of William & Mary’s campuses, 2Ls Claire Hunter and Justin Lashley were already ahead of the curve when they applied. Having met in undergrad, they knew that the best way to tackle the struggles and triumphs of law school would be to do it together.

Justin and Claire first met during their sophomore year at Dartmouth College. At that time they knew each other as friendly acquaintances; it wasn’t until the fall of their senior year that they reconnected and started dating. Justin was the Treasurer of his fraternity, and Claire was the President of her sorority. In true fairy tale fashion, their organizations’ houses were right across the street from one another. As their undergraduate careers were ending, their story was just beginning.

JustinClaireAfter graduation, Justin and Claire worked in New York City for a year. Claire, originally from Australia, wanted to be closer to her family, so she and Justin then got jobs in Sydney. Justin was grateful for the opportunity to get to know Claire’s friends and family, and Claire enjoyed being home after years of studying in the United States. After about a year in Sydney, Claire and Justin decided that they wanted to go to law school. Rather than pursuing a long distance relationship, the couple applied to the same schools, planning to go together. Both were excited to find out they had been admitted to William & Mary. Though they loved city life, they knew they wanted to study law in a quieter, more close-knit community, which made William & Mary the perfect fit.

Justin and Claire came to the law school as a couple, but they are pursuing their individual interests, are involved in different clubs and organizations. They have formed groups of friends on their own, while sharing mutual friends as well. They enjoy having each other as a support system, being able to study together, and discuss all they are learning.

In March of 2015, after spending a nice day in Richmond, Justin proposed to Claire at College Landing Park, just down the road from the Law School. Many of their classmates and professors were surprised at the engagement, thinking these 1Ls had only known each other for a matter of months! But Justin and Claire’s story spanned several years and multiple continents. They are thrilled to share their futures with one another.

This summer, Claire and Justin will be returning to New York City for summer associate positions at large law firms. Though they’ll be in the big city, their firms are located only a block apart, allowing for lunch dates and shared commutes. With Justin’s family living about an hour outside of New York City, the pair plans to work in New York after graduating next year. In the future, they hope to return to Australia as well, to be close to Claire’s family. Wherever life takes them after William & Mary, Claire and Justin are excited to be making the journey together!

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

From Paul’s Deli to New York City: Meredith and Matthew’s Story

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

In February of each year, we like to highlight some of the couples that have found love while at William & Mary Law School (you can find past stories here and here). This year, we are happy to showcase the love story of Meredith Hunt, J.D. ’14, and Matthew DeAtley, J.D. ‘13.

M&M DatingDepending on who you ask, you could get pretty different stories on how newlyweds Meredith Hunt and Matthew DeAtley first started their relationship. Meredith will say that she met second-year student Matthew at Paul’s Deli near the beginning of her first year at William & Mary Law School. Matthew, however, does not remember that interaction at all. The two do agree that, after first meeting each other (however it happened), they would often run into each other at the gym due to both sharing an enthusiasm for athletics and fitness. Meredith will then say that their first date was when she asked Matthew to go to the local coffee shop Aroma’s after he had been trying to ask her out for a year and a half. Matthew will claim the two’s first date was when he asked her to go to the DoG Street Pub.

Regardless as to how they first met or where they went on their first official date, Meredith and Matthew were able to make their relationship work after they started dating in early 2013. Matthew graduated in May of 2013 just as Meredith was preparing to start a summer associate position at the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett law firm in New York City. Matthew joined Meredith in New York City and studied for the bar exam there, and by the end of the summer, both returned to Virginia. Matthew began an associate position at Williams Mullen in Virginia Beach while Meredith returned to Williamsburg for her third-year as a law student. Throughout the year, Meredith would visit Matthew at his place in Norfolk each weekend.

M&M ProposalThe biggest change occurred in October of 2014. In one week, Matthew proposed to Meredith, the two moved into a new place in New York together, and both began new jobs at law firms in New York City. Meredith started as a first-year associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett focusing on mergers and acquisitions, while Matthew started a new job at Paul Hastings as an associate in its real estate group. With both working at large law firms, needless to say, the two’s engagement period was very busy, with most free time being devoted to wedding planning.

On January 2, 2016, the wedding day finally arrived. Meredith and Matthew were married in Meredith’s hometown of Palm Beach, Florida, in a large and well-attended ceremony. About thirty of the wedding guests were Meredith and Matthew’s former William & Mary Law School classmates. Now, as newlyweds, both Meredith and Matthew are happy to spend time with each other as a married couple, although the change that resulted from marriage is nothing compared to the week during which the two got engaged, moved to New York, and started new jobs.

We at William & Mary Law School wish Meredith and Matthew a happy and healthy marriage, and we are proud to have played a small part in bringing the two together!

M&M Wedding

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New Years in Williamsburg

firstnightwilliamsburgThere are plenty of great ways to spend the last day of 2015 in Williamsburg!

  • Busch Gardens’ Christmastown– Enjoy more than 5 million twinkling lights and their signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate as well as great shows.
  • Happy Hogmany in Colonial Williamsburg- In the 17th century the government had suppressed Christmas celebrations, so Scotland turned to New Year’s Eve for its end-of-year frivolity, a tradition that remains strong to this day.  Join John Turner, David Gardner, and Cliff Williams as they present songs, tunes, and stories to say farewell to 2015 and welcome 2016.  Happy Hogmanay is held at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum from 1:30pm-2:30pm.  Admission is $9 per person.
  • First Night Williamsburg– First Night of Williamsburg is a family-oriented, non-alcoholic New Year’s Eve celebration of the performing arts presented throughout the City and on the campus of the College of William & Mary. Buttons are $15/person.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year in Williamsburg

newtonzimmermanby Dakota Newton, Class of 2018, and Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

For most of the year, Williamsburg, VA is just a nice place to live. During the holidays, it is magical! Though finals inevitably keep students busy for most of the month of December, Williamsburg sure knows how to make our spirits merry and bright! It’s a balmy 65 degrees, yet the entirety of Colonial Williamsburg is trimmed with evergreen garland and old-fashioned fruit wreaths, and at night every window glows with candlelight. Colonial residents eagerly welcome visitors and share their holiday customs, creating an appreciation for new and old traditions.

christmas carolThe shops and restaurants on Duke of Gloucester Street and Merchant’s Square are filled with the endless bustle of cheerful Christmas shoppers. There are caroling groups and live music provided by the undergraduate W&M music students. A local theatre group has a clever stage-in-a-trailer from which they perform a two-person show of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” throughout December.

New this year is “Liberty’s Ice Pavillion,” located near the William and Mary Bookstore. You can rent a pair of skates and glide around the ice rink, and just after dark you can enjoy the strings of  shining lights overhead as you skate. Best of all, all of these attractions are within walking distance from the Law School, so students can take much-needed study breaks.

The shops at Merchant’s Square stay open late, so you can sneak into Wythe’s Candy Shop and grab a well-deserved treat. Or you can just stroll through the old colonial settlement and enjoy the lights with friends. On Saturdays, there is a wonderful farmer’s market in the morning with vendors from all over the Hampton Roads area.

grand illuminationThe holiday season kicks off with the Williamsburg Christmas Parade and the amazing fireworks display of the Grand Illumination, Hundreds gather in Colonial Williamsburg to see the Governor’s Palace light up in the legendary pyrotechnic show.

At any time of year, visitors to the Yankee Candle Flagship Store can enjoy the Yankee Holiday Park, where it snows every four minutes! People can browse through the selection of hundreds of ornaments and decorations while a night sky twinkles above them. In the middle of the room a bridge crosses over an iced-over pond, and lighted Christmas trees surround the landscape, making it the perfect location for a Christmas card photo!

Just a short drive from campus is Busch Gardens, which transforms into Christmas Town each December. Carolers sing for guests and fill the air with Christmas cheer. Dozens and dozens of Christmas trees shine brilliantly in the night, creating a true winter wonderland as visitors get to go from ride to ride. Patrons can even visit the North Pole and see Jolly Old Saint Nick himself. It’s a wonderful opportunity for law students to get out of the library and experience a bit of Christmas magic.

Though Williamsburg has indescribable charm year-round, there is just something about the holidays here that truly makes it the most wonderful time of the year!

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

BLSA’s Food Drive Extrava –CAN—za!

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

On the night of Wednesday, November 18th, 1L students stayed late after class to get work done. Now, this is nothing new; but unlike most nights, the students weren’t working in the library. Instead, they congregated in the Law School lobby to construct their canned food masterpieces for the Black Law Students Association’s Annual Thanksgiving Baskets Food Drive. Every year, sections of first-year students compete against other sections to collect canned goods and fashion them into the most creative, original, and impressive structures they can.

thanksgivingbasket4This year, the 1L class came out in full force to make sculptures that would blow the judges away. Teams drew inspiration from around the world, with one recreating the Berlin Wall, and another constructing the Eiffel Tower in a beautiful tribute to Paris. Others represented holidays: one team made a turkey of color-coordinating cans and another crafted a large cornucopia to celebrate Thanksgiving. Another team created a Christmas display, complete with Christmas lights, a tree, and a festive fireplace. Another team created nearly life-sized replicas of Darth Vader, Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda in a Star Wars-themed exhibit titled “May the Torts be Wythe You.” Students and professors alike were amused by the way this section incorporated their professors as all of the different characters.

During the lunch hour on Thursday, judges walked around and looked over all of the structures, judging based on content (variety of foods, size and volume of the items, etc.) and creativity. They had three awards to bestow, with the grand prize winners receiving a pizza party and the ever-important bragging rights.

The “Most Creative” award went to “Can-dy Land,” a beautifully crafted recreation of the beloved childhood board game. Featuring whimsical locales such as the Chocolate Swamp, Ice Cream Sea, Sundae Summit and CAN-berry Castle, the bright colors and striking design made the display a sweet treat to behold. Not to mention the fact that the team brought in a cotton candy machine to serve cotton candy and create a fully immersive experience.


The grand prize winner, winning awards for both “Best Content” and “Judge’s Choice” was “We Americ-CAN End Hunger.” The impressive sculpture featured a map of the United States constructed of cans and food boxes, complete with a Mississippi River made from the blue tops of mayonnaise jars. On the left of the map stood a five-foot tall replica of the Golden Gate Bridge made of color-coordinating cereal boxes. On the right side was a creative rendition of the Capitol Building. Up against the wall was an American flag made from pasta boxes and red and white soup cans. Boxes of macaroni and cheese spelled out USA as the final touch to give this amazing creation its winning look.


Not only was the competition fun for all involved, but BLSA ultimately collected over 4,600 canned and boxed foods for those in need in the Williamsburg area. In this season of Thanksgiving, it is events like these that make students especially thankful to be a part of the William and Mary Law School family.

My section- "May the Torts be Wythe You"

My section- “May the Torts be Wythe You”

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

To see the Law School news story, click here.

Happy Fourth!

fireworksEveryone is invited to Williamsburg for the holiday weekend!  Independence Day offers us the chance to celebrate our country’s freedom by participating in special events and taking in fantastic fireworks displays. Honoring Independence Day is an easy task in Virginia and all over Hampton Roads, where the history of the region stands as a constant reminder of the American Revolution. Hopefully, you will have a festive weekend wherever you are.

Below are the activities happening in Williamsburg and the surrounding areas on the Fourth:

Fireworks Viewing

  • Colonial Williamsburg: Market Square or Palace Green & Throughout the Historic Area.
  • Fireworks display over the York River in Historic Yorktown
  • Busch Gardens: Star Spangled Nights July 3 through August 10, 4th fireworks from July 3rd – 5th
  • Virginia Living Museum: (Planetarium)
  • Two Rivers Country Club

Other 4th of July Activities

  •  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 (goes through the 6th).
  • 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.
  • 5 p.m. Gates open for Danielle Bradbery (2013 winner of The Voice) at the Lake Matoaka Amphitheater, show starts at 6:30 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.

Love and the Law: Not Mutually Exclusive

graham bryantby Graham Bryant, Class of 2016

Every Valentine’s Day, we here at Get Wythe It! like to highlight couples from the Law School who met, became engaged, or were married during their time at William & Mary. Some examples can be found here, here, and here. This past year, we learned that just over one quarter of all William & Mary alumni across the university’s various campuses are married to one another. I’m nothing short of thrilled to say that I will soon count myself among that number.

I’m a 2L, and last semester I proposed to my longtime girlfriend Mary Seward, a first-year biology master’s student in the School of Arts and Sciences on the main campus. Mary and I have known each other for years, but we began dating the summer before I began my undergraduate career at William & Mary.

Because Mary did her undergrad just down the road at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, we spent many of our courting days on the William & Mary campus and walking the byways of Colonial Williamsburg.

View More: opted to stay at William & Mary for law school, and Mary joined me at the College by pursuing her biology graduate work here as well. In addition to our dates across the historic campus and surroundings in Williamsburg, we’ve spent a number of fond evenings together in the law library getting our respective projects done.

I proposed to her this fall at the Cascades waterfall in the western part of Virginia, but when the time came for our engagement photoshoot, I could think of no better surroundings than Williamsburg, my backyard for five years now.

View More: campus and Colonial Williamsburg were particularly appropriate for us, not only because of their sentimental meaning for Mary and myself, but also because the wedding ceremony itself is set for August 2016 in the historic Wren Chapel in William & Mary’s Sir Christopher Wren Building. Mary and I all but bleed green and gold, so we can’t imagine a better venue.

I’m now halfway through my time at William & Mary Law School, but I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead: three semesters, the bar exam, my wedding, and then we’ll see what life has in store. None of this would’ve been possible without William & Mary, where Mary and I have both met our closest friends, deepened our relationship, and gained the educations needed for a successful future life together.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Season’s Greetings

Holiday greetings to you from all of us at William & Mary Law School!

Law students have recently completed their exams and enjoying some much-deserved rest and relaxation over winter break.

Graham Bryant, a graduate of the College and second-year law student, has written about the annual Yule Log.  Students receive a spring of holly as they enter the courtyard.  The yule log is passed through the crowd and everyone touches it for good luck. Afterwards, students walk through the Wren Great Hall and throw their sprig of holly on the fire to throw away the worries of the past year.

Wherever you are this holiday season, we encourage you to throw a sprig and wish you a wonderful year in 2015!

Best Wishes and Happy Holidays!

PSF’s Halloween Party

wentworthby Christie Wentworth, Class of 2018

As I’m sure you have been warned, law school can be scary. This is not necessarily for the reasons you think, though! This past Halloween, the Law School transformed into a ghouly, eerie scene. Spider webs consumed tables, statutes transformed into the ghosts of their past, and witches cackled as they greeted innocent party-goers. Over three hundred students donned their finest—or bloodiest, or wittiest, or silliest—costumes for the Public Service Fund’s Annual Halloween Party. If there is anything law students take more seriously than academics, it might be Halloween costumes!

For the price of a ticket, students got to eat, drink, dance, and, most importantly, show off their creativity. The law school was filled with movie stars, cartoon characters, skeletons, farm animals, historical figures, vampires and the like (credit thomas). Students voted for their favorite costume in two categories—individual and group costume—and the winners in each received prizes for their creativity.

Best Group Costume: Seven Deadly Sins

Seven Deadly Sins

Best Individual Costume: Ricky Vaughn



As with all PSF events, the proceeds from the Halloween Party will be used to support students pursuing unpaid summer internships. Thanks to generous donations from local retailers*, this year’s event raised over $3,400!

*Thank you to the following restaurants and retailers for their generous donations: Dominos, Z Pizza, Harris Teeter, Martin’s, Trader Joe’s, Firehouse, Qdoba, Brickhouse, Emily’s Donuts & Café, Sal’s, Papa Murphy’s.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

First Annual Friendsgiving Celebration

brownby Cathy Brown, Class of 2017

Since Thanksgiving is approaching, I want to say how thankful I am for the sense of community at William & Mary Law School, and specifically within my “firm,” Section 13.

What, you might ask, is a firm?  In the weeks before the 1L class arrived on campus, the Law School sorted us into “firms,” or sections of approximately twelve students.  We have all of our 1L classes with our firms, with our Legal Practice class consisting solely of this small group of twelve.

As most pre-law students probably know, there’s an ugly rumor that law students are ruthless and will stop at nothing to sabotage their classmates in an effort to get a better grade.  With this in mind, I arrived at school with pretty low expectations for my firm-mates.  I was hoping we could at least reach a level of tolerance so maybe – just maybe – I wouldn’t have to watch my back every single minute of the semester.

Fortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong about my firm, or about the William & Mary community in general.  Everyone here is incredibly nice and really wants me to succeed, and nobody shows this more than the other students in my firm.  My whole section has become friends, and we’ve formed a great support system for each other throughout the past few months.  We help each other get through the week, whether it’s by loaning a charger for a dying laptop, going for takeout when we simply don’t have energy to make dinner, or sharing funny links on Facebook as a study break.  Of course, we also meet up on weekends for dinner, drinks, or a trip to a local pumpkin patch.

This past weekend, however, was by far the most fun I’ve had with my firm.  Weeks ago, we began planning “Friendsgiving,” which, in case you couldn’t guess, is a Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Since most of us are going home to our families for Thanksgiving itself, we wanted to have an early celebration as a group.  Although we’re all busy with schoolwork and prepping for finals, each of us took time out of our busy schedules to make something to share and to relax with our friends

Friendsgiving buffet

Friendsgiving buffet

One brave soul offered to host and cook a turkey big enough for eighteen people (our entire firm, plus significant others)!  The rest of us contributed side dishes and desserts, ranging from homemade sourdough bread to mashed potatoes, and honey-baked ham to cranberry stuffing.  Needless to say, we were all pretty stuffed by the end of the night!

My contribution: apple pie and pumpkin cream pies

My contribution: apple pie and pumpkin cream pies

Although all the food was delicious, my favorite part of Friendsgiving wasn’t the green bean casserole or cornbread.  Instead, it was the company.  I’m so grateful that my firm bonded so quickly to form a “law school family,” and I’m thankful that I can share my law school experience with all of these great people.

So, until next year (yes, we’ve already decided to make this an annual event!), Happy Friendsgiving!

Section 13, aka: The best firm at the Law School

Section 13, aka: The best firm at the Law School

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

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!