Public Service Fund: A Fun Way to Get Involved

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

Law school can be a stressful time, especially in the first few weeks. You get a lot of information thrown at you, on top of trying to read for classes and get involved. Not everything about it has to be stressful, however. The Public Service Fund (PSF) is a great way to get involved at the law school and have fun at the same time.

PSF is a student-run organization which gives funds to students who are working in public interest and public service internships during the summers. While these internships are all great experiences for students to learn and provide valuable experience in a variety of different subject areas, including state and local governments, and legal services to the underprivileged, which are often unpaid. Students working in these areas are encouraged to apply to PSF for aid in order to help them to participate in their summer programs.

PSF holds events throughout the year to raise money which it then donates at the end of each year to students working in these areas over the summers. These events are a great way to have fun during law school and meet other students, and faculty. Some of the events that PSF holds include: a trivia night, chili cook-off and cornhole tournament, softball tournament, Halloween party, singer/songwriter competition, and auction. The events are run by student (and faculty) volunteers, and span throughout the year.

There are a number of different ways to get involved with PSF, all of which are important. Like every organization, it is run by a board of students; however, the majority of the organization is comprised of general members and volunteers who participate in the panning and running of the events.

To date, the biggest two events have been the trivia night and cornhole tournament, but the biggest event every year is the Auction, which takes place in the spring. Both events were very well attended and everyone at W&M is looking forward to the next events: the softball tournament and the Halloween party.

To lean more about our student bloggers, click here.

ADR Tryouts

newtonby Dakota Newton, Class of 2018

Shortly after arriving at William & Mary, I learned about the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) team. For those of you who do not know, William & Mary is the home of several competitive teams that focus on honing students’ practical legal skills. These teams take part in competitions around the country, seeking to negotiate, arbitrate and persuasively argue for their fictional clients against students from other schools. Each team focuses on a specific legal skill set, with the ADR team focusing on three particular areas: arbitration, mediation, and negotiation.

Although I am no great negotiator and prefer writing to public speaking, I was interested by the ADR team and decided to go out on a limb and try out for the team. It turned out to be quite the experience. The tryouts are spread out over several rounds during which students must demonstrate their skills in arbitration and negotiation. In the first round, students are put into pairs and asked to collaborate with their partners to devise a creative solution to for difficult, yet humorous, fact patterns.

For the arbitration section of tryouts, my partner and I were assigned the job of representing MTV in a contract dispute with the cast members of Jersey Shore. We were given a general overview of the dispute and a few confidential facts from which we needed to plan out a 15 minute presentation to a panel of arbiters. We also needed to prepare a rebuttal after opposing counsel’s presentation and be ready field any questions that the judges might ask during our presentation. While planning, we had to be very honest about the strength of our position and make plans for how to excuse our weak points. Putting together a solid defense of our position required several hours of planning and multiple rehearsals to be sure that our thoughts sounded as good out loud as they looked on paper.

On the night of the tryout, my partner and I were nervous, but felt prepared. The opposing side presented first and did a fantastic job, doing nothing to calm my nerves. When it was our turn to speak, I gripped my podium, took a deep breath and began my arguments, “May it please the panel…”. It was a difficult beginning, but as we settled into our argument the planning and rehearsal kicked in and our presentation went smoothly. Questions from the panel and rebuttal were exciting as they required me and my partner to think on our feet and produce a polished argument without having time to consider all of our options. In the end, the judges congratulated both sides on a well-argued evening and we left happy, contented that our planning and practice had paid off. I had left my comfort zone and enjoyed the experience thoroughly.

So what is the moral of the story here? Get out and try out for a competition team! The Moot Court, Transaction, and Trial Teams all have tryouts in the near future and would love to see you there. The experience is worth your time regardless of whether or not you end up making the team. Especially if speaking in front of people makes you nervous.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Honor Council

by Michael Collett and Kendall Kemelek, members of the

Class of 2016

collettkemelekMichael is from Randolph, NJ and is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He is the Chief Justice of the Honor Council.

Kendall is a graduate of Hampton University and is from Williamsburg, VA. She is the Deputy Chief Justice of the Honor Council.

After three years at William & Mary Law School, students will depart not only as graduates, but more importantly, as Citizen Lawyers.  This citizen-lawyer philosophy serves as the foundation of William & Mary Law School, where the curriculum emphasizes service with distinction amongst the local community, nation, and world.  In order to fully embrace and embody the citizen-lawyer philosophy, incoming law students take the Honor Code pledge.  The Honor Code is among William & Mary’s oldest and most important traditions.  It seeks to promote a community of trust and an atmosphere of freedom amongst the students, faculty, and staff.  Through the Honor Code, students hold themselves accountable to professional levels of honor and integrity, a lifelong commitment that transcends generations of proud alumni.

Students at William & Mary Law School are more than a group angling for a juris doctorate degree within the same four walls. Here, a legal education is much more than a GPA.  At William & Mary Law, peers become friends, and friends become family. Likewise, W&M faculty and staff are not just teachers of the law; rather, they mentor students in a lasting, meaningful way.

The William & Mary Law School Honor Council supports this synergistic relationship among the law school community’s members: past, present, and future.  Incoming students pledge to adhere to the Law School’s Honor Code, and the Council works to ensure professional standards are maintained and inter-generational pride in the quality of legal studies and friendships at Marshall-Wythe lasts the decades. The Honor Council serves as the guardians of the Honor Code.  The Council is comprised of student representative from each class, who, when necessary, serve as fair and equitable judges of Honor Code violations.  The Honor Council and Student Bar Association will accept applications for six members of the Class of 2018 this fall.

For more information, click here.

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Law Review

cramerby Mark Cramer, Class of 2016

Mark is a 2010 graduate of Johns Hopkins University and is from Alleghenyville, PA.

The William & Mary Law Review, one of the leading law journals in the country, publishes six issues each academic year. We feature the articles of distinguished scholars as well as notes written by current members of the Law Review. Our journal, published entirely by current William & Mary Law students, provides a forum for academic treatment of a variety of legal issues, offers a unique educational opportunity for its members, aids practitioners in understanding recent developments in the law, and enhances the life of the Law School.

Over the summer, our staff and board have directed our efforts to preparing the first issues of Volume 57. Our latest volume will feature a variety of topics, including works focusing on municipal debt restructuring, fiduciary governance models for corporate directors, the collateral consequences of misdemeanor convictions, and the Supreme Court’s recent campaign finance jurisprudence. Volume 57 will also feature articles from participants in our latest Symposium, which was dedicated to the regulation of plea bargaining in the criminal justice system.

In addition, this summer we welcomed our latest class of editors. Our forty new 2L members will soon begin their work writing notes and editing articles, and we are excited to have such a strong class join our staff. We are looking forward to returning to Williamsburg soon for another successful year!

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Students for Innocence Project

evanowskiby Angela Evanowski, Class of 2017

Angela is from Utica, MI and is a 2014 graduate of Michigan State University.

Students for Innocence Project (SFIP) is a student organization at William & Mary Law School that aims to help spread awareness about wrongful convictions and their causes within the United States criminal justice system. SFIP strives to educate the law school community on this issue by hosting different expert presenters, movie nights, and prison and jail tours. SFIP is also very fortunate to have a personal relationship with local exonerees in the community who are eager to discuss their personal experiences with being wrongly convicted, their struggle to get their convictions overturned, and their commitment to continuing the fight to prevent future wrongful convictions and help those who are still in prison throughout the United States for crimes they have not committed.

In the past couple of years, SFIP has had the opportunity to bring in speakers such as Brandon Garrett and Beverly Monroe. Garrett is a law professor from University of Virginia law school who has authored several books on exoneration and specializes in research that examines how DNA and other scientific evidence is being used to prevent and overturn wrongful convictions. When Garrett came to William & Mary, he discussed how eyewitness misidentification has been a leading cause of wrongful conviction and some of things we now know about false memory and misremembered facts. Beverly Monroe, a dear friend of SFIP and an exoneree, spoke to the incoming class of 2014 about being wrongfully convicted. She explained how tunnel vision on the part of investigators and deceptive interrogation techniques by the police lead to her indictment for a murder she never committed.

This coming year, SFIP is looking forward to meeting the class of 2018 and sharing our events with them. We plan to return to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail where Director John Kuplinski is always happy to have students tour his facility and explain the ways in which he tries to make his jail as humane as possible. SFIP is also eager to present a lunch with speaker Deidre Enright, the director of University of Virginia’s Innocence Project Clinic. Ms. Enright was recently featured on the popular first season of the podcast Serial and is currently working on the Adnan Syed case. It should be a great year at William & Mary and SFIP is excited to share the news of new exonerations with the Law School community!

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Business Law Review

batesby Devin Bates, Class of 2016

Devin is originally from Henniker, New Hampshire, by way of Lake Village, Arkansas, and is a 2009 graduate of the University of New Hampshire. He is the Managing Editor of the William & Mary Business Law Review.

The William & Mary Business Law Review is a scholarly law journal dedicated to publishing articles on the cutting edge of business law, and in the process, developing the research, writing, and editing skills of our student members. We believe in learning by doing, and we ensure that all of our student members have extensive opportunities to develop these important skills, which are critical to practicing law.

Professors and practitioners from all over the world submit their articles to our journal for publication, and the Articles Selection Committee meets weekly to review these submissions. Each student member also completes cite checks, a synchronized sequence of meticulous edits, so as to ensure that our publications are of professional quality.

During their second year of law school, each student member writes a “note:” an in-depth legal research paper approximately fifty pages in length. Each year, the top student notes are selected for publication by the executive board of the journal. Potential note topics related to business law can vary widely; last year, publications included works addressing the fiduciary duties for investment fund managers in securities class action opt-outs, the need for raising the credit union member business lending cap to better meet the needs of underserved populations, and extending NASA’s duty-free import exemption to commercial space companies in the private space industry.

The William & Mary Business Law Review is run by students, and our student members’ life experiences are equally as diverse as the work that we publish. The pre-law school experiences that our staff bring to the journal include sourcing at Facebook, working abroad at a law firm specializing in financial services, working on political campaigns and in political fundraising, and managing schools with Teach for America. Due to the foresight of our previous student leaders, we are proud to be adding an additional issue this year, bringing our total annual output to three issues. We are William & Mary’s newest law journal, and we are entering our seventh year of publication. With support from the business community, our dedicated alumni, and our authors, we are excited to continually expand our journal.

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Election Law Society

cookeby Will Cooke, Class of 2017

Will is a 2009 graduate of UNC- Chapel Hill and is from Greensboro, NC.

The Election Law Society is forward to another great year with plenty of opportunities to get involved in anything and everything related to the American electoral process. From excellent guest speakers to meaningful community outreach, ELS covers the gambit of election law.

Working with the nationally-known Election Law Program, we bring in a broad spectrum of prominent figures in the world of election and political law. Throughout the year our members are given the unique opportunity to interact directly with devoted practitioners in order to get the inside scoop on the industry and learn more about this quickly growing area of law. Last year, we hosted the former counsel to multiple presidential campaigns, several partners at some of the most prominent law firms in the country, and distinguished advocates leading non-profit organizations dedicated to reforming our electoral system.

We also go hands-on with projects such as VOTEline, Revive My Vote, and the State of Elections Blog. VOTEline is a student-run phone bank designed to answer voters’ questions and help them work through any problems they encounter on Election Day. In addition, Revive My Vote is a great way to be a true William & Mary citizen lawyer. Promoting civic involvement is an important way to avoid recidivism for people with past felony convictions, but, in Virginia, these people can lose the right to vote indefinitely. Revive My Vote works closely with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office to restore this fundamental right to those who need it most. Lastly, ELS members can also get involved with the ELS State of Elections Blog. The Blog provides a unique forum for ELS members to publish their thoughts and engage in meaningful dialogue with the community about important election law issues.

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Law Cappella

proutby Allison Prout, Class of 2016

Allison is from Annapolis, MD and is a 2011 graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park.

In Law Cappella, we like to take breaks from studying to fill the law school hallways with the sounds of sweet, sweet music.

Founded by law school students in 2011, Law Cappella is really just about having fun making music! We arrange our own songs, from Carry on My Wayward Son to Royals, and make our own beats. We smile in lieu of choreography because we are uncoordinated. We meet each week to practice and usually finish up with a late night dinner at Applebee’s. And, most importantly, we perform! This past year we performed at multiple alumni events, plus Singer-Songwriter, the annual Student-Faculty Basketball Game, the highly-anticipated PSF Auction, and our very own spring concert. We also serenade students and faculty with singing valentines for Valentine’s Day and hope to do some law school caroling this coming holiday season!

law cappella

We’re always looking for students who like to sing or who think Pitch Perfect would be cool to do in real life! And you don’t need a musical background either-just a love for singing! If you want to learn more about Law Cappella, please send an email to or check us out on Facebook.

Criminal Law Society

bogertby Dee Bogert, Class of 2016

Dee is a 2014 graduate of Lebanon Valley College and is from West Chester, PA.

The Criminal Law Society (CLS) focuses on educating students about our criminal justice system in the United States. The organization does not focus on either prosecution or defense, but rather on how the system works as a whole. Each year, we host different events including guest speakers who discuss different aspects of criminal law and answer questions. The society also occasionally collaborates with other student organizations to host larger events for the school that discuss current events or other interesting issues. Students who join the organization include those who want to be prosecutors, defense attorneys, or are simply interested in the topic and wish to take full advantages of the opportunities offered in law school.

This upcoming year, the society is excited to host its first-ever mock trial event. The event will take place in the Fall and allow the incoming 1Ls to learn the facets of a criminal trial and practice forming oral arguments. Students who participate will be given a practice criminal scenario and asked to prepare and present an argument to the judges. After the students have presented their arguments, the judges will give them feedback about their performance. The experience will give students the chance to hone their skills while getting a feel for what a criminal case looks like. CLS is also looking forward to hosting a few special guest speakers.

You can learn more about topics of discussion and our upcoming events by liking us on Facebook or visiting our website.

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Immigration Law & Service Society

k_janiby Krishna Jani, Class of 2016

Krishna is from Philadelphia, PA and a 2012 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Immigration Law & Service Society (ILSS) began when two passionate law students created the student group De Vecino a Vecino, or From Neighbor to Neighbor. The two students have since gone on to create their own immigration law firm called L&L Immigration PLLC. ILSS has taken their inspiration and guidance in shaping a larger, more comprehensive student group. ILSS continues to evolve as each class brings its own talents and goals.

In recent years, ILSS has partnered with Hogar’s Naturalization Clinic. The clinics are held about once a month in a church in Northern Virginia. Dedicated law students wake up in the early hours of Saturday mornings to drive to Northern Virginia to attend these clinics. This offers students training from immigration attorneys and practical legal experience during one of the most significant points of the immigration process–naturalization. Last year, our faculty advisor, Angela Banks, won a grant that started a Speaker Series. Professor Banks and ILSS hosted working professionals in the field of immigration to speak to current William & Mary Law students about their work. The speakers ranged from current attorneys to anthropologists and community activists.

During the 2015-16 scholastic year, ILSS hopes to continue its work with the Naturalization Clinic while adding local community outreach opportunities to the mix, including “Know Your Rights” presentations in the Hampton Roads area. For example, ILSS hopes to lead a group of volunteers to the Farmville detention center to see first-hand the conditions in which undocumented immigrants are detained, and potentially work on issues related to the detention of such immigrants.  In addition, ILSS wishes to expand Professor Banks’ Speaker Series by inviting more attorneys, immigration judges and other professionals to speak with current students. Lastly, ILSS will broaden its scope to include issues related to business immigration.

ILSS is ever grateful to the wonderful William & Mary Community for its support, zeal, and creativity!

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here

Latino Law Students Association

diazby Angela Diaz, Class of 2016

Angela is from Satellite Beach, FL and a graduate of the University of Florida.

The Latino Law Students Association (LLSA) provides a community through which we celebrate the cultures of Latin American countries while promoting and increasing the presence of Latinos in the study and practice of law.  We also advocate for the appointment of Latino professors to the faculty and establish an alumni network for students to connect with practicing Latino lawyers.

llsa 2LLSA collaborates with other W&M Law student organizations to sponsor a variety of events and programs aimed at academic support, community building, professional development, and cultural awareness. Within the organization, LLSA aims to provide a fun and social community for students to build friendships while enjoying Latin American cultures, cuisines, music, and traditions. We host social events, arrange for speakers, meet weekly to talk in Spanish, and do community service. One especially fun event is our beginning of the year fajita lunch. LLSA members get to enjoy socializing on the law school patio with food and drinks.

Furthermore, members benefit from our affiliation with the national chapter: they have access to nation-wide diversity scholarships and internships, and the opportunity to participate in the National Latino Law Student Association (NLLSA) Moot Court Tournament and NLLSA job fair. New members are also assigned a student mentor, and are encouraged to apply for leadership positions even as first years. Membership is open to everyone, and our members come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.

llsa 1

This post is a part of a series featuring William & Mary Law School’s student organizations. All post are written by student leaders. To read more student organization blog posts, click here