Phi Alpha Delta is Back!

greenby Kelly Green, Class of 2017

America’s oldest law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, has been revived at William & Mary Law School. Phi Alpha Delta (or PAD) provides a mix of fraternal camaraderie and professional benefits. Since the fall, over forty students have joined the George-Wythe Chapter, with membership continuing to increase as word spreads throughout the School.

Part of this growth can be attributed to the national prestige and major networking benefits associated with PAD, but a significant portion is due to successful programming. PAD kicked off its comeback last semester with a bonfire on a chilly Friday night, featuring hot cocoa and s’mores, and continued with a bowling night and a Super-Bowl watch party.

However, Phi Alpha Delta is undoubtedly more than a social organization. This semester, PAD is focusing on academics and alumni relations. Numerous law supplements have been collected in an effort to establish a bookshelf in the library to assist members with their studies. There are also several review sessions planned for first-year students looking to solidify their understanding of second-semester classes.

By far the most interesting event this semester is initiation at the United States Supreme Court on March 4, 2015. A group of future PAD members will be travelling with the rest of the membership to get initiated in Washington, DC. Members will also go on a private tour of the Capitol and meet several well-connected PAD alumni. The initiation should also feature at a Supreme Court Justice.

All in all, Phi Alpha Delta coming back is an excellent thing for students at William and Mary Law School. It features a uniquely diverse blend of programming and resources that will prove beneficial for students now and in the future.

 pad 2

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Halfway There!

lizradby Liz Rademacher, Class of 2016

On January 15, William & Mary Law celebrated a tradition that I’ve been looking forward to celebrating ever since my 1L year: the Halfway Through BBQ. Every year, the Law School throws a barbecue complete with all the fixings for 2L students who have just finished the first half of law school. After making it through our first three semesters here, my classmates and I felt like there was plenty to celebrate!

Over pulled pork sandwiches and generous helpings of baked beans and freshly-made applesauce, second-year students enjoyed catching up with each other. We chatted about what the second half of law school held in store and took some time to reflect on how far we’d all come since that first day of class a year and a half ago.

While people roasted marshmallows over a fire to make s’mores in the crisp winter air outside on the patio, I was struck by just how quickly my time in Williamsburg has passed. In my short time here, I’ve taken thirteen classes, worked as a summer intern in Washington, DC, become a Law Review staff member, done an externship in Richmond, and so much more. My classmates have won moot court tournaments or started their own organizations; they’ve worked as student attorneys at clinics and performed their own independent academic research. I’ve seen many of my classmates get engaged or get married—a few have even had their first children! And through all these milestones and changes, the entire Law School community has been a constant source of support and strength.

So much has happened since law school began, and I’m excited to see what new adventures and opportunities the second half of this journey will bring my classmates and me. Cheers, Class of 2016, we’re halfway through!

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Annual Thanksgiving Basket Competition

lennonby Kate Lennon, Class of 2017

On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, first-year law students were able to get a break from their studies and take part in a service project for the community. Each year, the Law School participates in a Thanksgiving food drive, sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, which collects thousands of food items to benefit families in need in the area. Each 1L Legal Practice section collects food items and money to buy food items for donation. But, collecting the items is not where it ends in this food drive. There is a competitive spin. The food items purchased and collected are used to create different displays. They call the displays “baskets”– I am guessing the competition used to be basket but now has grown much bigger. Each section creates their own display to compete with other sections based on three categories: best content, most creative, and judges’ choice.

The night before judging, the Law School lobby was full of first-year law students creating displays for their section. Everyone was having fun with it. Music and laughter filled the lobby. The competition resulted in a variety of different displays. My section initially went in with an idea to make a giant piece of pie. However, once we got to the school, we realized another section was doing the same thing. Within a moments notice, we scratched the idea and came up with a new one. This is what we came up with:

basket

A display of a fireplace in a living room won for judges’ choice; most creative went to a Wizard of Oz Display; and best content went to a courtroom display complete with an image of Dean Douglas in a robe as the judge. The food drive was able to collect 4,114 food items and coupons for 12 turkeys to be donated to help the community for Thanksgiving. While our section did not win (the competition was fierce), helping families in need was a victory all the same.

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Intramural Sports During Law School

greenby Kelly Green, Class of 2018

Arriving at law school, I was told that I need to spend time throughout the week on a recreational activity. For most students, this activity is watching Netflix. However, another recreational avenue exists that has proved to be a great counterbalance to the rigors of law school– intramurals!

On a brisk November night, ten law school students warm up for a flag football game on a muddy field next to the William & Mary Fitness Center. Unlike the other intramural football teams, this team never practices, but they show up ready to play for each game and have an undefeated record. They have a great time playing since many of the members of the Law School’s intramural sports teams played a sport for their undergraduate schools. Some ran track or played soccer while others played football or volleyball. Others have no experience and are simply playing to just let loose. After a day filled with case briefs and cold calling, a night that features good old-fashioned running and camaraderie is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Overall, William & Mary Law School students are heavily involved in intramural sports. This semester, almost every class year had teams in both the men’s and co-ed division of multiple sports. The co-rec indoor soccer championship game pinned two first-year Law School teams against each other with the “True Americans” beating “1L of a Soccer Team” in a nail biter. The first round of the flag football playoffs featured the undefeated third year co-ed team “Semi-Pro Bono”. At all these games, Law School students could be seen on the sidelines cheering on their fellow classmates.

“True Americans” Winners of the Co-ed Indoor Soccer Intramural Champtionship

“True Americans” Winners of the Co-ed Indoor Soccer Intramural Champtionship

It seems like many Law students have found just the right balance of physical and mental exercise necessary throughout the semester. With volleyball, tennis, and basketball intramurals coming up in the spring, it appears that students here at William & Mary Law School will be plenty involved in both the mental and physical challenges that this school has to offer.

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Arsenic & Old Lace

keefeby TJ Keefe, Class of 2018

For law students, the end of the semester can be very stressful. With various deadlines looming, most of us start spending far more time in the library than we’d like to admit. Yet, as many students prepare to perform on finals, members of the William & Mary Law Revue prepare to perform on stage.  Providing their classmates with an excellent diversion from the stresses of November, the law school’s drama group, Law Revue, performs a new play each fall.

This year, the William & Mary Law Revue delivered two performances of Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic & Old Lace.  To be honest, I had no idea what to expect going into Saturday night’s performance of the comedy. To say that the show was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement. Law Revue managed to transform the law school lobby into an intimate theater, complete with a solid crowd and homemade refreshments. Once the play began, the performers had the audience laughing throughout the entire show. Perhaps the funniest performance of the evening was delivered by Michael Wyatt, portraying the unscrupulous Dr. Einstein. Maintaining an absurd German accent throughout the show, Wyatt received giggles from the audience with nearly every one of his lines.

Given the time of the year, Law Revue’s performance of Arsenic & Old Lace was an impressive feat. Faced with the workload of November, the group’s student-actors managed to provide an extremely polished play. Without reservation, I would recommend checking out Law Revue’s next show!

arsenicandlace

Cast and Crew (pictured above and listed below)

Abby Brewster Amanda Hamm (3L)
Martha Brewster Rose Moore (2L)
Teddy Brewster Eric Taber (1L)
Mortimer Brewster Peter Landsman (3L)
Jonathan Brewster Andrew Pecoraro (1L)
Dr. Einstein Michael Wyatt (2L)
Dr. Harper Karl Spiker (1L)
Elaine Harper Lydia Magyar (2L)
Mr. Gibbs Alex Reidell (3L)
Officer Brophy Nicholas Medved (1L)
Officer Klein Ajinur Setiwaldi (1L)
Officer O’Hara Jennifer Watson (2L)
Lieutenant Rooney Seth Peritz (2L)
Dr. Witherspoon Michelle Weinbaum (1L)
Hoskins/Spenalzo Teresa Donaldson (1L)
Director Ashley Johnson (JD/MPP 2016)
Production Manager Jane Ostdiek (3L)
Stage Manager Mary Catherine Amerine (1L)
Technical Director  Kevin Bender (2L)
Publicity Chair Amy Meiburg (2L)

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Bone Marrow Drive Pie-Eating Contest

lennonby Kate Lennon, Class of 2017

On October 28th, the Law School yet again proved that it could come together for a good cause. The annual Bone Marrow Drive Pie-Eating Contest went into full effect during the lunch hour. The goal of the contest is to raise awareness and funding for bone marrow related illnesses. For this event, students could purchase entry for $5.00. Upon entry into the actual event you are given a piece of pie (I had strawberry!) and a seat to watch an entertaining show. The entertaining show is a pie-eating contest. Who are the contestants? Well none other than our very own students, professors, and faculty! There was a student contestant representing each class year along with the various professors and faculty.

Throughout the week prior to the event students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to donate money toward the cause of bone marrow related illnesses. For every two dollars a person donated they could bring a contestant’s time for pie eating up or down 5 seconds. The idea was to try and bring up the time for a person you wanted to win or bring down the time for a contestant you wanted to lose. The rules for the contest were simple. Whoever ate the most pie in their allotted time, without using their hands, won! It ended up being quite entertaining to watch as the professors’ and students’ faces became covered in the pie of their choice.

In the end, the 3L student won the contest overall. He was also the student who planned the entire event! Professor Griffin won the faculty portion of the contest, maintaining his dynasty as the reigning champion of the faculty pie-eating contest (bringing his trophy from last year to the competition with him). Here you see professor Griffin after finding out he had won:

griffin 1

Professor Griffin did not just win a trophy, however. He was also given the opportunity to pie all the students in the face with whip cream pies. Here you can see Professor Griffin pushing a pie into the face of the 1L contestant (who ironically received a trophy for eating the least amount of pie):

griffin 2

The whole event was great. It was a great way to take a break from studying, eat some delicious pie, as well as raise awareness and funding for bone marrow related illnesses. The entire event raised $2,565!! It was definitely a success and I can see why they do it every year!

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BLSA Fruitvale Station Movie Night

phillip lby Phillip Lecky, Class of 2015

Goals of the Black Law Student Associations (BLSA) include furthering the academic, social, and professional needs and goals of black law students, and working together to foster a successful learning environment. BLSA recently held a movie night in light of numerous recent events that have sparked much discussion on race relations and showed the film, Fruitvale Station.

The film depicts the last day of Oscar Grant, played by Michael B. Jordan, before he was fatally shot by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer in the wee morning hours of New Year’s Day of 2009 in Oakland, California. The film was produced by Forrest Whittaker and raises sociopolitical awareness about the BART shooting event.

panelPrior to the movie, Professor Blakely of the undergraduate campus offered some thoughts on current race relations.  After the movie, panelists composed of law professors, an undergraduate professor, and current post-bachelor students discussed the implications of the movie as well as matters pertinent to race and to perspectives on race.  Topics that were discussed included current thoughts on the predisposition of black males to violence; the institutional factors that cause stress to black males; the coverage of black males in the media; the climate of Ferguson, Missouri from an eyewitness; the role of hip-hop in black culture and whether it has been good or bad; the effects on black women when incidents of violence happen to black women; and stop-and-frisk laws.  The evening was at times emotional, but nonetheless thought-provoking. It was a great event sponsored by BLSA, and attendees walked away with needed food for thought.

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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

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Excursions to Waller Mill Park

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

For success in law school, I have learned that scheduling free time for myself is important. Without time to relax and have fun, I would absolutely drive myself crazy!

Personally, I find a lot of enjoyment in physical activity. Back home in western Pennsylvania, I regularly visited local parks to run, hike, and bike their trials. Since coming to Williamsburg, I became determined to keep that pastime in my life. Thankfully, I found a wonderful park located only about a ten-minute drive away from the law school: Waller Mill Park.

My first trip to Waller Mill Park was purely to explore. After paying for my parking pass ($2), I spotted the park’s 286-acre lake, the Waller Mill Reservoir. The docks had a variety of canoe and kayaks for visitors to rent, and there was even a fishing pier. Although I was intrigued, I was not dressed for a day on the water, so I passed on the opportunity to head onto the lake and headed toward the trails for hiking.

waller mill 1My first trail was the Bayberry Nature Trail. A little under a mile in length, I enjoyed the simplicity of the Bayberry Nature Trail, but I definitely had the time and energy to check out another trail. I then made the trek to the Lookout Tower Trail, which was much more challenging. The trail was almost three miles long with varying elevation. The trail gets its name because it contains a tower overlooking the Waller Mill Reservoir and that tower offers a spectacular view. The rest of the trail is also beautiful with plenty of scenery to enjoy. Upon completing the Lookout Tower Trail, I headed home, very happy with my first Waller Mill Park experience.

My subsequent trips to Waller Mill Park have been for runs on the bike trail. Nicely tucked into the wooded forest, the bike trail is a two-mile, asphalt trail that is perfect for running wallermill 2and biking. Two miles is on the shorter side for a bike trail, but the scenery is beautiful, so I did not mind doubling back on the trail to up my mileage. On warmer days, the shade from the trees above the bike trail can make any run more enjoyable.

Before the weather gets too cold, my next trips to Waller Mill Park will involve some of the other activities available. First on the list is kayaking. Visitors can rent a kayak or canoe for $5 per hour, and I cannot wait to explore that giant lake. Also, if my family ever visits with our dog, I will definitely be going to the dog park that is available!

There are plenty of other aspects of the park that I have not yet been able to explore (including a disc golf course). Want to learn more about Waller Mill Park? You can check out its website here.

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1L Tour of Colonial Williamsburg

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

I have always considered myself a history buff. I loved going to museums as a child, I enjoyed history classes in high school, and I majored in history in college. In a decision that surprised absolutely no one, I accepted an offer to join one of the most historical law schools in the country: the Marshall-Wythe School of Law. However, during the first few weeks of classes, I was so busy adjusting to life as a law student that I did not have the opportunity to explore and learn about historic Colonial Williamsburg on my own.

Thankfully, William & Mary offered a guided tour for law students to experience the vast history of the Williamsburg community. The event, sponsored specifically for 1L students by the George Wythe Society of Citizen Lawyers, involved an informational stroll around Colonial Williamsburg followed by a reception in the Sir Christopher Wren Building on the William & Mary campus. As if my love of history was not enough to encourage me to attend, Dean Davison Douglas himself was joining the 1L students, so I knew that it would be a worthwhile excursion.

04The event’s attendees were divided into different groups, and we were each led through Colonial Williamsburg by a very energetic and knowledge tour guide. Our tour guide was not alone in guiding the tour, as we met a few colonial reenactors who shared information as well! Some of my favorite informational tidbits include:

  • In colonial times, twice-convicted criminals would not only spend time in the stocks, where their neck and hands would be locked between two planks of wood, but their earlobes would also be nailed to the planks. Ouch!
  • During the Civil War, a Williamsburg citizen with no military rank regularly ordered soldiers to protect the town at all costs. But she was not concerned with her own safety; instead, she believed that Williamsburg was essential in founding the United States and that it must be protected at all costs.
  • Grave robbers that were caught digging in a Colonial Williamsburg cemetery in search of a Masonic treasure map were a partial inspiration for the Nicholas Cage movie National Treasure.

06The tour ended with a presentation by the George Wythe Society featuring Dean Douglas in the Wren Building, and nice reception followed. There was plenty of food and drink for all attendees. During this time, I was able to meet some more of classmates, and I also talked with 2L and 3L students from the George Wythe Society, who really piqued my interest in getting involved with the group.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening on the George Wythe Society Tour. I was finally exposed to the great history of Williamsburg, I got to interact with my fellow 1L classmates, and had a great dinner. What more could you ask for?

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BLSA Talent Show

by Philip Lecky, Class of 2015, and Christie Wentworth, Class of 2017

On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the Black Law Students Association hosted a talent show at the Williamsburg Regional Library. It was an opportunity for BLSA to start off the year by showing our visibility and prominence as an organization, and to bring people of diverse backgrounds together. The description of the event promised that the judges would not be “anywhere near as cruel and terrible as Simon,” but even if Simon Cowell had attended this talent show I don’t think he would have found much to criticize.

IMG_1860The Law School community, the undergraduate community, and the greater Williamsburg community were all intricately involved in making the talent show a grand success. Talents such as drummers, musicians, dancers, and spoken word artists graced the stage to exhibit their respective abilities. After each performance, the “not-so-cruel” judges—2L Brett Tensfeldt, 2L Shaina Salman, and Professor Griffin—provided their insightful and humorous commentary for the audience’s enjoyment.

With the diversity and quality of talent, the judges had their work cut off for them in eventually picking a spoken word artist to take the grand prize. After some deliberation, thIMG_1823e judges dubbed Greg Marinelli the winner. Greg, who had brought the audience to tears with his powerful spoken word performance, was both a well-deserving and humble victor.

In all, the night was a success for BLSA, the performers, and the students that had the opportunity to attend. President Matt Kemelek says BLSA intended for this event to serve several main purposes: to promote unity within the Law School, to establish a bond with the undergraduate community, to raise funds for BLSA’s community service objectives, and to help support travel expenses for group members to represent W&M BLSA at Regional and National Conventions.

IMG_1836Job well done to BLSA, the performers, the judges, and the audience for an event that is sure to be remembered for a long time!

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