Lights, Camera, Auction!

alsawafby Sami Alsawaf, Class of 2017

The Public Service Fund is one of the most active groups on campus. They hold events and fundraisers all year long to raise money for students who work in unpaid public service internships over the summer. The fellowships are open for all students to apply, and having received a fellowship the last two summers, I can attest to how valuable these fellowships are for students.

auctionSome of the most popular fundraisers are the corn hole competition, the Halloween party, and the t-shirt sale. The biggest fundraiser of the year is Auction, which takes place every spring. The theme varies every year—this year it was Broadway, and in past we’ve had Kentucky Derby and James Bond. It’s always fun to get dressed up and hang out with your friends outside of school. Students, faculty, alumni, and members of the community donate items to the Auction. Students have donated babysitting services, a home-cooked meal, or free sports lessons. The faculty packages are always hot items, such as brunch, trivia, laser tag, or a spa day. Students will get together to bid on a faculty package to spend time with their friends and get to know their professors a little better.

Over the years, I’ve won an Oktoberfest dinner with two of my professors, lunch at a local restaurant with a professor, and two years in a row, I won monthly (delicious) baked goods from one of our librarians. This year, I won a dinner for four at the same librarian’s house that I’ll split with my best friends. Another one of my friends won a “mystery” package, which contained gift cards to Amazon, Chipotle, another restaurant, plus movie tickets, and a fancy car wash. I really love the Auction because it’s so much fun to keep bidding and outbidding on a package you really want, plus all the money goes back to the students.

I think the Auction represents one of the best things about William & Mary Law School—the community. The professors love to auction off packages to get to know their students, and alumni are always trying to stay involved to help the students that come after them. And of course, the students like to auction off creative and fun events for their friends. No one is under any obligation to donate to Auction; everyone does it because it’s fun and it’s a great cause. Auction shows year after year that William & Mary takes care of its own, and I’m proud to be a part of this community.

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Exploring Richmond

reidby Eric Reid, Class of 2018

Let’s face it, during the course of the semester, everyone needs a break from studying. Fortunately, one of the great things about living in Williamsburg is being in the middle of a very exciting and growing region. There are a number of attractions, not only in Williamsburg, but also in the neighboring cities of Richmond, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. This blog post will take a look at some of the fun things to see and explore in Richmond.

Virginia’s capital city has a lot to do, and fortunately for us, it’s only about an hour away. The area is steeped in Civil War attractions, as well as other art galleries and museums. My externship at LeClairRyan (which is located in the heart of downtown Richmond) allowed me to experience some of what Richmond had to offer. Richmond’s downtown is fairly compact and easy to navigate. I found I could easily walk to most of the attractions I wanted to see.

To start off the Richmond tour, I recommend first seeing the Virginia State Capitol, which is located in an area of Richmond called Capitol Square. Fun fact: the Virginia State Capitol houses the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.

capital

The State Capitol was relocated from the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg to Richmond at the beginning of the American Revolution. Completed in 1788, the building was designed by Thomas Jefferson and French architect Charles-Louis Clerisseau and is based off of a Roman temple in southern France. Since that time, the building has been renovated and extended.

The Capitol offers both guided tours and self-guided tours starting from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1:00p.m. to 5:00p.m. on Sundays.

Next, I recommend going to the Tredegar Iron Works, which serves as the main visitor center for the Richmond National Battlefield Park and is only a few blocks south of the Capitol. Entrance to it, including the National Park Service Civil War Visitor Center is free, but there is an $8 fee to tour the exhibits of the American Civil War Center. I highly recommend touring the exhibits.

While you’re down by the James River, you should check out Richmond’s Canal Walk and its many attractions. For example, you could stop in the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, or walk across to Brown’s Island (which is often the site for outdoor concerts and festivals).

These are just some of the great attractions you can visit in Richmond. Have fun exploring!

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Paper by Mary Catherine Amerine J.D. ’17 Earns Her Trip to Grammys

This story was originally published on “The Gale,” a blog of the William & Mary Alumni Association.

During a luncheon held in conjunction with the Grammys in February, entertainment attorney Ken Abdo recognizes Amerine as one of four finalists in a writing competition sponsored by the Grammy Foundation’s Entertainment Law Initiative.

William & Mary Law School has given Mary Catherine Amerine, a third-year law student, a strong commitment to her chosen field of intellectual property law. Amerine came to the Law School with a goal to protect the rights of writers, artists and other creators.

“Many of my friends in the arts world were constantly having issues when they would create something, and then see it online the next day or on a postcard that was sold by a major company. It happened so often that I wanted to do something about it,” says Amerine, who graduated from Catholic University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and with a B.A. in English.

Her passion for writing, coupled with her goal and success as a student has translated into benefits outside of the classroom. Earlier this year, she won the Virginia State Bar Intellectual Property Writing Competition and the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s Robert. C. Watson Award. Amerine also attended the 2017 Grammy Awards in February as one of four finalists in a writing competition sponsored by the Grammy Foundation’s Entertainment Law Initiative.

This past summer when Amerine was working for the Harry Fox Agency, a music licensing agency on Wall Street in the heart of New York City, one of her supervisors encouraged her to apply to the Grammy Foundation’s Entertainment Law Initiative. Her paper on the de minimis exception in music sampling placed her among the finalists in the competition, resulting in a scholarship, publication in the ELI Tribute Journal, a trip to Los Angeles to receive the award at the ELI luncheon and a trip to the Grammys.

Throughout the weekend, Amerine and the other finalists enjoyed a whirlwind of luncheons, cocktail receptions and presentations. Amerine most enjoyed meeting attorneys whom she had cited in her papers, including Don Passman who wrote the book on music law, and gaining a behind-the-scenes perspective on the prestige and complexity of the Grammys.

“It was so much fun—a very surreal experience,” Amerine says of the weekend she spent in Los Angeles.

Amerine’s experiences haven’t been inevitable. Although she applied to law schools with a goal, the obstacle of tuition loomed overhead.

“When I was applying to law schools, I wanted to go, but I had made a bargain with myself and said ‘I’m not going to go if it’s going to get me into insane amounts of debt,’” Amerine says.

Amerine was awarded a scholarship from the Law School, made possible by the Ann C. and R. Harvey Chappell Fellows Program.

Amerine has appreciated interacting with professors who initially drew her to the law school—particularly those who have influenced her intellectual property thinking, like Vice Dean Laura Heymann and Professor Sarah Wasserman Rajec. The size of the Law School creates a community atmosphere that she values, and the proximity of the Law School to the main campus enables her to stroll along the Sunken Garden when she needs a study break.

“I’m really grateful that all of my experiences at W&M have been so wonderful,” Amerine says of the adventures on which her scholarship has taken her. “I’ve had a great time here. I’ve been able to focus on something that I love.”

Read the original article here.

Pie-Eating Contest

alsawafby Sami Alsawaf, Class of 2017

One of the most popular groups at the Law School is the Bone Marrow Drive. The Bone Marrow Drive is a student group that holds fundraisers throughout the year to raise awareness of the National Bone Marrow Registry and encourages students to join the registry to help patients suffering from bone marrow diseases. If someone is matched on the registry, they have the opportunity to possibly save someone’s life. The Bone Marrow Drive is such a great cause, and I’ve tried to participate in all the events I possibly can over the last three years.

The most fun event, without a doubt, is the pie-eating contest that happens once a year around Pi Day. A pie eating contest with students and professors sounds easy enough, right? There’s a catch—you can’t use your hands to eat, which basically means your face is the utensil. I went to the event my 1L year, where I got a piece of pie (and a fork) and the opportunity to watch some of my favorite professors and classmates stuff their faces into pies. It was hilarious and the money went to a great cause.

pieNow that I’m in my final year, I wanted to actually participate in the pie eating contest. For a 5’2″ girl, I like to think I can eat a lot of pie. Plus, I figured if I was competing, my friends would attend the contest which would bring in more money. To determine how much time each contestant has to eat, people can either pay money to give someone more time, or take away from someone’s time. By the time the competition started, I had a whole six minutes to eat the blueberry pie I had specifically chosen based on how fast I thought I could eat the filling.

I didn’t win the pie eating contest, but I’m giving myself third place overall, and I ate more than every other woman who also competed. Plus, I got to eat pie, which was a win. I can’t even imagine how much money people donated to add or take away my time, and with the other people eating plus the amount of people who went to the event, we raised money for the Bone Marrow Drive. It was a great event for an event greater cause, and I’m happy I could do my part to help save a life.

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Being a Journal Staff Member

grecoby Marc Greco, Class of 2018

Before arriving here, I had heard of law journals—or law reviews, as they are also known—but understood very little of how they really worked. I like to think I understand a thing or two now that I’ve served on the William & Mary Law Review for over six months.

W&M Law boasts five journals. Membership in any one begins with a write-on competition at the end of the first year. The competition has two parts: an editing portion and a writing portion. Students are selected for a given journal based on their performance in the competition and the order in which they rank their preferred journals.

Introductory matters aside, I’ve found my time on the Law Review equal parts rewarding and enriching. Staff members like myself have two duties: cite checking and writing an original note. Cite checking is essentially the process of editing the articles selected for publication. It requires the staff member to confirm the factual accuracy of the author’s statements, add authority to support the author’s assertions, and edit for proper grammar and citations. Though challenging, this process confers several benefits to the cite checker. I’ve worked on excellent legal scholarship, improved my research and writing skills, and learned of topics I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.

library (69)Writing a note has been just as challenging and rewarding. A note is the law student’s version of an article that would appear in a journal (“note” is one of the many misnomers in the legal lexicon because the papers are typically over forty pages long). Staff members complete their notes over the course of the year, working closely with the journal’s Notes Editors to produce a work of publishable quality. I’m writing about the law of outer space as it pertains to asteroid mining. I’ve learned just how much research goes into journal pieces (spoiler alert: a whole mess) and the patience necessary to make it work.

Membership on a journal is a valuable component of the law school experience. The skills I have honed on the Law Review have translated usefully to other parts of my legal life. And no one in the profession can deny the purchase journal participation carries on a resume.

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Ski Trip Fun for Law Students

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

Every year in mid-January, students from William & Mary Law School caravan their way out into the mountains,to take a break from studying and to enjoy some time in the outdoors.

The trip takes place in Snowshoe, West Virginia, about 4 hours from Williamsburg, and each year, between 150 and 200 students from the law school attend; this year was no exception.

While away, students can enjoy time on the mountain – skiing, snowboarding, tubing, horseback riding, shopping, or just relaxing with friends.

ski tripOrganized by the Student Bar Association (SBA), the student government of the Law School, students can take advantage of group pricing for cabin rentals, lift passes, ski/snowboard rentals, and tubing throughout the weekend. Tickets go on sale toward the end of the first semester, giving students something fun to look forward to at the beginning of the spring semester (other than class, of course).

Don’t ski or snowboard? Don’t worry, there are plenty of activities around the mountain for those who wish to avoid the wet, winter weather. Or, for the braver soul, lessons are also available.

This unique opportunity gives students at William & Mary Law School an amazing opportunity to get outside of the classroom or library, and to enjoy time with friends and classmates, as well as to make new friends at the law school.

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Intramural Sports

kaiserby Alyssa Kaiser, Class of 2019

My first semester at William & Mary Law School flew by!  Although the school work can be daunting, it is important that students also find a way to relieve stress and have some fun!  One of my favorite ways to let loose is by participating in intramural sports with friends.  There are a wide range of sports to choose from, with some of the games set up tournament-style that last just a day, while others have a weekly schedule.  The teams are not only from within the law school; there are teams made up of undergraduate students and other graduate programs, so it is fun to get the chance to meet new people during the games!

intramurals 1This semester, I played intramural softball, football, and basketball.  Some of the teams were more successful than others, but it was good to be active for an hour or two and forget about the stress of law school whether or not my team came out on top.  Of course it is more fun to win…which made basketball one of my favorite experiences.  My team won the tournament, which not only gave us bragging rights, but also landed us the coveted intramural champion t-shirts!  Quite a success in my book!  Before coming to law school, I often wondered whether or not I would still have time to have fun and relax.  I am happy that William & Mary provides us with an opportunity to do just that!  I cannot wait to play (and hopefully win) more games next semester!

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Women and Political Campaigns

alsawafby Sami Alsawaf, Class of 2017

As current President of the Women’s Law Society, I helped organize an event called “Women and Political Campaigns,” a panel discussion focused on helping women run for office. The panel featured Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Smith (a WM Law alum) and Julie Copeland of Emerge VA, an organization that helps train women to run for office. Professor Rebecca Green, Director of the Election Law Program, moderated the event.

The panel focused on issues that women face while running for office—lies about their personal life, the media drawing attention to issues that have no bearing on a woman’s ability to run for office, and subtle sexism about them as a person. It was great to hear both sides of the coin—a woman who has actually ran for public office, and another woman that helps train women to run for office. They were able to speak about real life experiences and talk about the science behind why certain techniques are more successful for women.

The event was inspiring, to say the least. I left the event feeling empowered with a desire to run for public office, and I wanted to do everything I could to help other women run as well.

The questions from the audience showed how much each person cares about this issue. Questions ranged from how we can help prevent the sexism in campaigns, to issues faced by younger women that may prevent them from running for office. The panelists were very open in their answers and willing to share their own personal experiences. They encouraged all of us to run, if that was our goal, and not to let anyone tell us that we could not win.

After the discussion, we all headed out to the law school patio for a small reception. It was a great way for me, as a 3L, to get to know some of the 1Ls and 2Ls that I have not met before, and all of the participants loved getting one on one time with our panelists. The event was a great way to wrap up this election cycle, as it was able to focus on a lot of the issues I am sure many people have been feeling. Everyone left the event feeling unstoppable and capable of running one day. I’m glad my organization was able to provide such an experience for our students.

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Sunday Softball Tourney in DC

grecoby Marc Greco, Class of 2018

Softball enjoys a great deal of popularity in the legal profession. Nearly every law school in the nation boasts a team, whether intramural or club, as do a large number of law firms. William & Mary Law, fortunately, is no exception. I’ve had the pleasure of playing a ton of games alongside classmates in two capacities: against undergraduate and graduate students through the College’s intramural program,and against other law schools through invitational tournaments. One such tournament was the recent Washington, DC Law School Ball on the Mall Tournament. Though our softball squad didn’t make a championship run, we had an absolute blast.

For starters, the venue was as picturesque as it gets. We played in Washington’s West Potomac Park, between the beautiful Tidal Basin and Potomac River, with the Washington Monument plainly in sight. Our coed team comprised of students from every class, as well as one alumnus who works at a firm in Washington—the alumnus, I might add, conducted the on-campus interviews at the Law School for that very firm this year. The other teams represented most of the law schools in Washington, and a few from Virginia. Our competition was George Washington, George Mason, Catholic, and UVA, each of which proved a worthy foe. We played four good games, and I loved the chance to spend time in our great nation’s capital competing in one of my favorite sports (and bet my teammates would agree).

Opportunities to pursue your interests abound at the Law School. Softball has proven, to me, to be not only a fantastic pastime, but also a useful talking point to share with attorneys during interviews or networking scenarios. I look forward to playing in the annual spring tournament at UVA next semester!

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Military Mondays

austin military mondays2015-16 student blogger, Austin Swink, was featured on the cover of Williamsburg’s Next Door Neighbors, a local magazine. The November 2016 edition focused on campus connections, and Austin shared his experiences with the Law School’s Military Mondays program.

Click here to view the magazine and the article.

 

2016 Thanksgiving Baskets

zaleskiby James Zaleski, Class of 2019

Every year William & Mary’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) hosts a Thanksgiving Basket Competition at the Law School in order to collect food items for local families. First-year law students compete as sections of the legal practice program against other sections to create displays from canned and boxed foods in the lobby of the law school. Displays are graded on creativity, the diversity of products, and the quantity of goods.

Assault and BatteryThe competition officially began on Monday night, and sections soon began to bring in their canned goods and assemble their displays. It was exciting to walk into the lobby and see displays become more elaborate by the hour. The displays were evaluated during the lunch hour on Wednesday by two professors, a law student, and a representative from the Dean’s office. This year Section 8’s entry, “Assault and Battery”, reigned supreme by winning 1st place in all three categories: Best Content, Most Creative Display, and Judge’s Choice for overall winner. Other notable entries were Section 15’s “Supreme Court” and Section 7’s “Photo Booth.” Congratulations to Section 8 for winning this year!

TurkeyThe Thanksgiving Basket Competition was a great opportunity for the Law School community to come together before the holidays, and it provided students with a much-needed break from studying. Over 2,000 canned goods and boxed foods were collected during the competition which were donated to Campus Kitchen which organizes the donations and assembles Thanksgiving baskets for local Williamsburg families. Campus Kitchen seeks to address the hunger and nutritional needs of the community and works to foster connections between college and community.  I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s competition, and as we approach Thanksgiving, I would just like to say that I am thankful for having such a great section, fellow, and community here at William & Mary Law School. Happy Thanksgiving!

To read the William & Mary Law news story, click here.

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