A Recent Grad Looks Back

by Laura Vlieg, Class of 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women Served as Editors-in-Chief of all Journals in 2014

For the first time in William & Mary Law School history, all five outgoing editors-in-chief of the school’s law journals were female.

Cassandra Roeder served as Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law Review; Beth Petty, of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal; Eileen Setien, of the William & Mary Business Law Review; Yvonne Baker, of theWilliam & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, and Lindsay Paladino, of the Journal of Women and the Law. In addition, four of the five managing editors of the school’s law reviews were also women.

Five female Editors-in-Chief. Front: Yvonne Baker and Cassandra Roeder; back: Eileen Setien, Beth Petty, and Lindsay Paladino.

Five female Editors-in-Chief. Front: Yvonne Baker and Cassandra Roeder; back: Eileen Setien, Beth Petty, and Lindsay Paladino.

Click here to read about the editors’ descriptions of their experiences.

 

 

Graduation Recap

We celebrated the Class of 2014 at graduation and the diploma ceremony one month ago today on May 11, 2014. The Law School ceremony was held at Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre, . Degrees were conferred to approximately 270 students in the J.D. and LL.M. programs.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the commencement address. To read more about Justice Scalia’s address, click here. Student speakers included Student Bar Association President Sean Radomski J.D. ’14 and Qian (Lindsey) Ling LL.M. ’14.

Additional awards were bestowed to:

  • Latoya C. Asia J.D. ’09: Taylor Reveley Award
  • Jeffrey Bellin: Walter L. Williams, Jr., Teaching Award 
  • James Booth J.D. ’14: Thurgood Marshall Award
  • Chris Creech: John Marshall Award
  • Kevin S. Elliker J.D. ’14: I’Anson Award 
  • William E. Hoffmann, Jr. ’67, J.D. ’77: Citizen-Lawyer Award
  • Sean J. Radomski J.D. ’14: George Wythe Award

If you have two minutes and 35 seconds to spare, watch the video below for an overview of the ceremony.

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.

Life in the Gradplex

by Jenn Watson, Class of 2016

gradplex2When I first arrived at the Gradplex as a 1L, it was still pretty empty. I was assigned to a quad, which I requested because I thought two bathrooms sounded way better than one. I hadn’t met my roommates, but I’d been told who they were and was looking forward to getting to know them. Although I know some people with roommates in the business and education schools, all of mine were fellow law students!

The Gradplex has been a good place to live. As someone coming from out of state and intending to return there to work, it’s nice to be able to rent an apartment just for the school year and not have to worry about subletting. The fact that the rooms are reasonably furnished is a big plus, I get to have a nice big desk and bookcase that I definitely wouldn’t have been able to haul down here without a moving truck.

The proximity to the law school itself can’t be beat! It’s a shorter walk from my apartment to the law school than it is from the commuter parking lots to the law school. It’s great to be able to go home between classes when I have a break and grab lunch or switch out my books.

gradplex1There aren’t too many things I would change about living in the Gradplex. Although it was kind of annoying not having a dish washer, I got used to it, and my roommates and I are all fortunately pretty neat so nothing ever piles up in the sink. The air conditioning and heating systems work great, and all the appliances may look old but they’re completely functional. Campus maintenance does a good job of coming to fix anything with issues. Probably one of the most regularly irritating things is that I can’t get packages here, and have to go over to the campus mail center to pick up packages, but at least my PO box here can receive letters from my friends and family.

Most of the people I’ve met here have been great! The study breaks and gatherings can be fun, and the RAs are all really available and outgoing. Everyone is friendly, and a lot of people are returning here next year, including me.

Have a great summer, Gradplex! I’ll see you next year.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Working with Mandela: The Constitutional Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa

by Phillip Lecky, Class of 2015

The William and Mary Law School, through the International Law Society (ILS) in partnership with the Black Law Student Association (BLSA), was honored to welcome Justice Albert “Albie” Sachs of South Africa on March 31, 2014 for a talk and book-signing. Born in South Africa in 1935 of Lithuanian parents, Justice Sachs was instrumental in fighting against the oppressive white-dominated rule in South Africa. Due to the large numbers of people interested in hearing Justice Sachs speak, his talk had to be relocated to a larger room, and still there was standing room only! His talk was entitled Working with Mandela: The Constitutional Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

albie sachs

As Justice Sachs began to speak, it was clear that all in the audience were intently focused on what he had to say for he had an uncanny ability of keeping people hanging on his every word. Whether he was speaking about how he first became involved in the fight against oppression as a juvenile; his memories of the trial which caused Nelson Mandela to be imprisoned for almost three decades; how he lost part of one arm and sight in one eye as a result of a bomb; his activity in regards to crafting a new Constitution in which all South Africans would be treated equally; or his role on the Constitutional Court, his energy and passion for the causes he stood for was more than evident.  What a man! What a legend! I, and, I think it is safe to say, the rest of the William & Mary community collectively thanks Justice Sachs for gracing us with his presence and all that he did to make this world a better place!

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

The Cold Never Bothered Us Anyway

W&M Law’s 2014 Habitat for Humanity Spring Break Trip

by David Weilnau, Class of 2014

davidMy name is Dave Weilnau, and I’m a member of the class of 2014. I grew up in Green Lane, PA, and did my undergrad at Ursinus College in the Philadelphia area. I came to law school because I was interested in public service and saw the law as a vehicle for social justice. Three years later, I know I made the right decision. I lead Volunteer Service Corps, a public service organization at the law school. My dream job is to work in a legal aid office and provide free legal services to Virginia’s poor.

One of the best things about William & Mary law students is their commitment to public service. Each spring break, a student group called Volunteer Service Corps leads a squad of citizen lawyers to a (hopefully warm) Habitat for Humanity site to build some new houses, explore some new places, and make some new friends. This year, four of us made the journey: your humble author (2014), Summer Chu (2015), Rebecca Skrzypek (2015), and Elizabeth Buner (2016).

habitat 1

Our chosen site for 2014 was Sumter, South Carolina. Located near the center of the state, Sumter struggles with poverty, crime, and racial tensions. Fortunately, it is also blessed with a caring community that dreams of making Sumter a better place.

We arrived in Sumter on Sunday evening, March 2, and were quickly introduced to our hosts, the generous congregation and staff of the Church of the Holy Comforter, and were whisked away for a baked spaghetti dinner at the Salt & Light Church. Back at Holy Comforter, we made shameless use of the facility’s air hockey table and copy of Dance Dance Revolution before retiring for the evening.

We had a busy first day at the worksite. With the help of a group from Boston College, we framed the porch. But dark, forbidding clouds loomed on the horizon, and our supervisors spoke in hushed voices of the frigid weather to come. That afternoon, we watched in horror as the temperature dropped from seventy degrees to thirty in about two hours. Hard times were upon us.

The following morning, the work site was twenty-five degrees and windy. We had not packed for the temperatures that now confronted us. It was the kind of exposure that recalibrates your body’s sense of what cold is. But we had come to Sumter to build a house, and that was what we were going to do. Without any feeling in our extremities, we straightened the walls and began to install trusses. On Wednesday, a steady cold drizzle soaked us through. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop Summer, Rebecca, and Liz from building some of “the best T’s and corners” our supervisor had ever seen.

On Thursday, alas, the weather finally beat us. Driving rain made work at the site impossible. We spent the day cleaning a local homeless shelter and sorting cans at a local food bank. On Friday, amidst persistent precipitation, we did moving work at the Habitat ReStore. We returned to Williamsburg that evening cold, wet, tired, but triumphant.

I am extremely proud of the group we had this year. We were small in number, but adversity tested us and found us strong. To give up your spring break is one thing; to give it up to hit your numb fingers with a hammer twenty times is something else entirely. I am honored to have worked and spent the week with Summer, Rebecca, and Liz; despite the difficult conditions, they all remained positive and enthusiastic. This was my final trip with Volunteer Service Corps, and I leave with the comfort of knowing that the future of the organization is in good hands.

Getting to Know Faculty

by Liz Berry, Class of 2016

IMG_7257After two semesters at W&M, I’ve had eight different professors (six doctrinal, one Writing Practice, and one Adjunct). With larger classes than at my undergraduate institution (not that it was hard to do…I had classes of four people sometimes), I was expecting that I wouldn’t really get to know my professors. Luckily, I was wrong. All of my professors have been so open and willing to meet with each and every one of their students. Some professors schedule brown bag lunches (and supply Extraordinary Cupcakes) to get to know their students, while others are willing to walk over to the Blue Talon/Trellis/Cheese Shop in small groups for a more intimate lunch. Coffee meetings are also eagerly welcomed (and really, how can you turn down coffee in law school?). In any case, the professors at W&M want to get to know the students just as much as the students want to get to know them.

The Public Service Fund auction (where students and faculty auction off activities) really proves my point. Professors auctioned off dinners, cocktail hours, Mad Men season premier parties, and even game nights. The proceeds went to PSF, but students get to spend the time they purchased with their professors. And the professors were happy to do it. You can tell that students love their professors when they buy time with them for $400 (although I think the professors would do the same type of things for free!).

So. Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professor and ask to get lunch, coffee, or even a cupcake together. They’d be more than willing to do so.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

BLSA Oliver Hill Banquet

by Phillip Lecky, Class of 2015

OliverHillDinner2014 (32) (2)On Saturday, February 23, 2014, the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) organized another phenomenal celebration of the life of Oliver White Hill, civil rights lawyer and activist, instrumental in the Brown v. Board of Education decision which provided for the desegregation of schools.  BLSA has been hosting the Oliver Hill Banquet in honor of Hill for almost 20 years.  This year, the Banquet was held in conjunction with the William & Mary African-American Alumni Reunion. The weekend was also notable as it celebrated the 60th Anniversary of William & Mary’s first African-American graduate, Edward Travis.

OliverHillDinner2014 (170) (2)Present at the Banquet were alumni of course, faculty members, families of students, and current students.  After a riveting speaker, the BLSA board recognized numerous current students for their achievements and activities throughout the year. Dean Douglas also reiterated the fact that BLSA was recently voted as the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Year for this school year.  BLSA’s mission at the beginning of the school year was to win this award, and despite the difficulties, and moments when the goal seemed impossible to achieve, that is exactly what they did.  Congrats to BLSA for a memorable Oliver Hill Banquet and wonderful year!

OliverHillDinner2014 (166) (2)

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A Day in the Life of a 1L

by Liz Rademacher, Class of 2016

Now that I’ve finished the first half of my first year of law school at William & Mary, I feel like I’ve started to settle into a routine. My schedule’s a bit different each day, but here’s a glimpse into a random Thursday in the life of a 1L:

7:00 a.m. My alarm clock goes off. Time to wake up!

7:09 a.m. Okay, so I hit the snooze button just once. Waking up for real now! Time for me to shower, eat breakfast, and pack up my things for the day before I make the ten-minute commute to the law school for my first class this morning.

8:30 a.m. Time for Legal Practice! My Legal Practice class meets three times a week, twice with a legal writing professor and once with an adjunct professor who teaches my class other legal skills. Some weeks, we’ll have lectures with the law school librarians instead of meeting for class. Today my class is reviewing the basics of persuasive legal writing. I have class with my Legal Practice firm, which has only 13 other people in it.

10:00 a.m. Now I need to go to Contracts, my largest class. We’re learning about which kinds of promises are legally enforceable in a contract today (it’s more exciting than it sounds).

11:30 a.m. Time for Property, where we’re learning about adverse possession. Just a little over an hour until I’m done with all my classes for the day!

12:45 p.m. All finished with classes and now my favorite part of the day, lunch hour, is finally here. The law school purposefully doesn’t schedule classes during this time of the day to give students a chance to go to events or meetings and to eat lunch. Today, I’m going to a panel of guest speakers the Office of Career Services has organized to hear about legal careers within local, state, and federal government offices. Like most events that OCS plans during this time of day, there’s free pizza!

2:00 p.m. Time to hit the books. After the OCS event ends, I grab a snack from Greenberry’s, the law school café, and head to the law library with some of my friends. We grab a table in the sunny reading room on the first floor with a view out the window of some trees. I unpack my books, queue up my favorite study music playlist, and cozy into a reading for my Constitutional Law class.

4:30 p.m. After finishing up my reading and taking some notes, I head to a Public Service Fund meeting. I’m on the general board of PSF, so I help to plan events and fundraisers throughout the year. This meeting is about PSF’s annual fundraiser auction, which helps to raise money for students who work in unpaid public service internships over the summer. We meet for about an hour to talk about food, entertainment, and decorations for the big night.

5:30 p.m. I head home where my roommate and I like to unwind after a long day by eating dinner together. I warm up a bowl of soup as we chat about our days, and then we watch an episode of Scrubs before hitting the books again.

7:00 p.m. More reading.

9:00 p.m. I take a quick break and call my mom to say hi before I start to write a cover letter for a summer internship. Tomorrow I’ll bring it into OCS to ask one of the career services deans to review it for me—they give awesome feedback!

9:30 p.m. Done with work for the day. I surf the web for a bit and send a few emails before shutting down my laptop and curling up in bed with a good book.

11:00 p.m. Bedtime!

And there you have it—a day in the life of a 1L.

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Aromas Café Offers More than a Sweet Scent to Students

by Graham Bryant, Class of 2016

One of the most important things to look for when deciding on a law school is the availability of quality caffeinated beverages close to the campus. Conveniently, Aromas Coffeehouse, Bakery, and Fresh Café has the denizens of William & Mary covered.

Aromas stock image (2)Conveniently located on Prince George Street—an easy ten-minute walk from the law school and one street away from Colonial Williamsburg’s Duke of Gloucester Street—Aromas is an institution among William & Mary students. I also was a William & Mary undergrad, and I can honestly say that Aromas was in my top ten reasons for choosing William & Mary Law School.

Aromas offers something for everyone. If you’re into live music and local artists, they have music nights each week and occasionally even host open-mic nights. If you simply want to get your tea—or coffee—and a pastry and run, that’s fine too. You’ll just have trouble choosing among their plethora of tea and coffee blends, or settling on only one made-on-site-that-day pastry. Finally, if you want to relax with a group of friends and share a meal, Aromas has an extensive breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu that’s surprisingly affordable—even on a law student’s budget.

aromas-interior (2)In fact, one of my favorite things to do is get Saturday morning breakfast at Aromas before beginning the day’s work. And I’m not alone—every morning I’ve been there this year, I’ve run into other law students.

Despite being incredibly popular with tourists, Aromas remains a remarkably student-friendly location. Sure, my Saturday morning breakfast outings are typically swarmed with vacationers, but there are always students working on their laptops or doing readings. In fact, I drafted a sizable portion of my Civil Procedure outline while sipping tea on Aromas’ front patio. This student-friendly atmosphere is a cornerstone of the Aromas mystique, making it a great place to meet with other law students or even undergrads.

If you really want to become a regular, though, stop by Aromas at night. Usually, only locals and students are around in the evenings, and the friendly wait staff will soon know you by name. In addition to avoiding the tourist crowds, all the live music events happen at night.

As a prospective member of the William & Mary Law community, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Aromas is the best place in Williamsburg to purchase bulk coffee beans and loose-leaf tea. It’s not well advertised, but if you ask them, they’ll be happy to sell you a bag of that bean blend you love so much. You might just need to have a healthy supply when finals crunch time approaches.

So if you’re in town to visit the school, I would encourage you to stop by Aromas and get a feel for downtown Williamsburg. If nothing else, grab a slice of their chocolate overload cake. You can thank me when you start in the fall.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

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