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?

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

1L’s Experience During Law Week

greenby Kelly Green, Class of 2017

The first week of law school is like trying to go from sitting still to a full sprint. During Law Week, the law school faculty, staff, and current students did an excellent job facilitating this transition via poignant lectures and, of course, multiple free lunches.

douglasSitting in the Kimball Theatre in Colonial Williamsburg, listening to Dean Douglas deliver his opening speech, which focused on the rich history of the law school as well as the diversity of the class, was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. However, I believe the less formal events may end up having the most impact on my future here. Whether it was casual conversations that I had during the ice-cream social with professors or connections that I made throughout the week with my fellow classmates, I now feel a sense of comfort that I know will be needed during my next two years here in Williamsburg.

IMG_0096All in all, Law Week is difficult to describe. It’s tough to put in words the feeling that I got when Dean Douglas handed me my Class of 2017 hat (a tradition here). I can’t begin to describe how nervous and excited I was to participate in my first Torts class with Professor Rajec. What I can say is that I now understand the necessity for Law Week because it helped me feel prepared to take the steps needed to become both a graduate from William and Mary Law School and a successful lawyer.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Colonial Williamsburg Collegiate Pass

brownby Cathy Brown, Class of 2017

I like being a tourist.  This past summer, I had the chance to drive through sixteen states and a Canadian province on two separate road trips, taking lots of pictures and visiting numerous sites – and gift shops! – along the way.  I was excited to learn, during Law Week, about a special deal that Colonial Williamsburg offers to William & Mary students.  This gem is called a Collegiate Pass and lets me tour the entire historic area for free.  Yes, you read that right.  I can tour and explore dozens of colonial buildings and local art museums as many times as I want, and I don’t have to pay a cent.  With my Collegiate Pass, I can also get bargain admission on special Colonial Williamsburg events, like ghost tours and concerts.  In addition, I can get reduced-price tickets for my parents and friends when they come for a visit.  All I needed to do to get this offer was walk to the Lumber House Ticket Office and present my W&M ID card.

British flags line the street in Colonial Williamsburg.  As the woman who gave me my pass explained, “You’re not in the U.S. anymore.  It hasn’t been created yet!”

British flags line the street in Colonial Williamsburg. As the woman who gave me my pass explained, “You’re not in the U.S. anymore. It hasn’t been created yet!”

In addition to all the historic sites, downtown Williamsburg is also known for its numerous shops and restaurants.  The Collegiate Pass has me covered there too.  As part of my pass, I received a coupon book containing a bunch of good deals for businesses in Merchants Square – including a coupon to the William & Mary bookstore and a BOGO offer on coffee from Blackbird Bakery.  (I may or may not be planning to drink both coffees myself.  Don’t judge.)

Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg

Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg

Everyone knows that law school is a rigorous academic environment.  To maintain a healthy and happy life, it’s imperative to take some breaks and pamper yourself from time to time.  Going on “vacation” to a popular tourist destination that’s within walking distance sounds to me like the perfect way to forget about school for a couple of hours.  Especially if it’s free.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

2014-15 Student Bloggers

The Admission Office is lucky to have a number of student bloggers lending their writing talents to us by posting about their law school experiences throughout the year. 

Learn more about them below!

liz berryLiz Berry, Class of 2016

My name is Liz Berry, and I am a 2L from Westfield Center, Ohio. I came to William and Mary directly after graduating from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. With a double major in History and Political Science and a Pre-law minor, I was certain I wanted to attend law school. I spent my 1L summer at the Ohio Attorney General, Education Division. At the law school, I’m a member of the William and Mary Law Review, part of the Honor Council, a Student Admissions Ambassador, and a Graduate Fellow. I’m interested in civil litigation and regulatory work. [Read more...]

Summer Experiences: Judicial Intern for the Eastern District of Virginia

BuyrnSue Buyrn is originally from Chesapeake, Virginia. She earned her B.S. from Virginia Tech, double majoring in Philosophy and Psychology. In her second year at the Law school, Sue will be joining the staff of the Journal of Women and the Law, as well as serving as the Community Service Chair for the Student Bar Association.

After hitting the books hard and finally finishing my first year of law school, I was ready to see what the real world had to offer an aspiring lawyer. Knowing that I wanted to practice law in Virginia, I focused on job opportunities in the Commonwealth’s capital city…and I hit the jackpot.

At the conclusion of this summer, I will have spent fourteen weeks interning for Judge David J. Novak, a magistrate judge at the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. While in the courtroom, I have observed all of the district court judges preside over a variety of civil and criminal matters: child prostitution, drug distribution, wire fraud, and identity document forgery, just to name a few. I have seen good lawyering and bad lawyering, and as time passes I have been able to identify the habits and skill sets that make an effective attorney.

Outside of the courtroom, I draft bench memoranda that are used to assist in pretrial settlement conferences. I then sit through the conferences with Judge Novak, and he teaches me how to gauge the value of a case. To date, I have been involved in settlement conferences focused on patent infringement and trademark infringement.

Last month, I turned in my first draft of a thirty-one page social security opinion. The issue is whether a man has been rightfully denied social security disability benefits. The case has been appealed four times before it gets to the federal court level. I spent weeks sifting through the plaintiff’s medical records, reading and re-reading the Administrative Law Judge’s opinion, and ultimately considered whether a substantial amount of evidence was provided to rightfully deny benefits to this man. Judge Novak will review the decision I made and offer me guidance on how I analyzed the issues and can better my legal writing skills.

I have never been so appreciative of a job. However, it is not the substantive law or the courtroom spectacle that make this job great. It is the people. Judge Novak and his team, Maria, Frank, Al, and Cheryl, have welcomed me and my fellow interns into chambers like we are a part of their family. They have created a program that has made this summer both educational and entertaining for us, organizing interesting field trips and bringing in outside speakers. In all ways imaginable, they work to help us succeed. Judge Novak and his law clerks have set great examples of what it means to be a citizen lawyer in today’s job market, and I have nothing more to say than thank you.

Summer Experiences: Federal Government in Washington, D.C.

by Liz Rademacher, Class of 2016

lizradLiz Rademacher (Class of 2016) is originally from Newtown, Pennsylvania. She graduated from American University in 2013 with degrees in Law and Society and Psychology. While attending AU, Liz worked as an intern with several different non-profit organizations and government agencies, including the Human Rights Campaign, the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Her interests include constitutional law, civil rights law, and the intersection of gender and the law. Liz’s passion for public service has motivated her to pursue a career in law, and attending W&M has only strengthened her commitment to helping others.

When I started my summer job search last fall, I wasn’t sure what kind of work I would be doing or where I would be by the time the summer came. I went to college in Washington, DC, and one of my summer job search goals was to find a way to return to the city. I also knew that I was interested in public service and civil rights. Fortunately, William & Mary’s Office of Career Services made it incredibly easy for me to track down these kinds of jobs in the DC metro area and choose between job offers to decide which would be the best opportunity for me.

This summer I’m a legal intern with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where I work in the Special Litigation Section (SPL). SPL is an office that investigates and litigates on behalf of the federal government in cases involving the rights of prisoners, juveniles, people with disabilities, people who interact with state and local police departments, and people accessing reproductive health care services. One of the things that I absolutely love about my internship is that it allows to do work with passionate attorneys on a variety of civil rights issues that are really important to me. In just the few weeks that I’ve been at SPL, I’ve already researched and written legal memoranda on civil rights issues, reviewed federal investigations findings, and helped attorneys to draft motions and pleadings at the trial and appellate level. And I still have five weeks left to go!

But it’s not all work. My office matched me up with two mentor attorneys who are always willing to grab coffee and chat, and I work with 12 other interns who love eating lunch by the White House or going to one of DC’s many happy hours after a day at the office. Different attorneys I work with frequently hold career development panels on judicial clerkships, resumes, and networking. DOJ also regularly organizes events for all of its interns, not just my section. A few weeks ago, I got to hear Attorney General Eric Holder speak, and just this week DOJ arranged for interns to take a Supreme Court tour. And when I’m not at the office, I’m exploring DC and taking advantage of all the things the city has to offer.

Ultimately, this internship has introduced me to some amazing people, given me plenty of practical experience working on issues that I care about, and helped me to sharpen my legal skills. Having an internship at an office with such a wonderful internship program has also proven to be a great advantage for me based on the kinds of events I’ve been to and opportunities that I’ve been given this summer. I’ve learned a lot about what it’s like to work with the federal government, and I’m looking forward to coming back to Williamsburg in the fall to continue building on what I’ve learned at DOJ!

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Summer Experiences: Law Firm in Silicon Valley

focarinoBrian Focarino is originally from Fairfax Station, Virginia. He earned his B.A. from William & Mary with majors in government and linguistics, and his M.Sc. in linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. As a 3L, Brian will be a member of the W&M Appellate & Supreme Court Clinic and serve as Executive Editor of the Law School’s Business Law Review.

I’m spending my 2L summer in Silicon Valley as a summer associate at Cooley, a firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. At Cooley, my work focuses on trademark, copyright and advertising litigation, intellectual property litigation and general business litigation, in addition to pro bono matters. I’ve worked on a host of litigation projects for the world’s most exciting established and emerging companies. In six weeks, I’ve written memos on the copyright implications of viral memes, trademark issues with new mobile “apps,” unique questions relating to shareholder derivative suits, and private and public company securities litigation. I’ve attended court and client meetings, and completed training in topics such as the lifecycle of companies and the anatomy of an initial public offering.

Cooler still, I’ve had meaningful exposure to pro bono work, participating in a legal aid clinic in rural Marin County, California, a housing clinic in San Francisco, and contributing to an affirmative application for political asylum on behalf of one of Cooley’s pro bono clients. Outside the office, I’ve spent time on Monterey Bay with all of the firm’s summer associates from across the country, attended countless events and mixers hosted by the firm, met brilliant lawyers, and made some incredible friends.

I’ve been thinking all summer about how cool it is that America’s oldest law school prepares its students to practice all kinds of law, for all kinds of clients, in all kinds of environments, all over the world. Because of that, jumping between Colonial Williamsburg and Silicon Valley couldn’t be easier. I’m having an eye-opening summer, and I owe it to William & Mary for helping prepare me to make the most of it.

Here are Brian’s other posts: Halfway Through BBQ, Thanks, and Meet a Member of the Class of 2015!

Summer Experiences: Law Firms in WV & NH

sheaBrian Shea is originally from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in Government with a minor in Spanish. At William & Mary, Brian is the Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Business Law Review and a member of the Law School Honor Council. 

After working at a law firm in New York City for two years before law school, I knew that the law firm environment was where I wanted to end up. I took advantage of the law school’s on-campus interview program during the winter of my 1L year, and landed a summer associateship at Steptoe & Johnson in Bridgeport, West Virginia. At Steptoe I gained exposure to a variety of corporate and business litigation matters, the majority of which stemmed from West Virginia’s booming coal and natural gas industries. I have always been interested in the legal and compliance concerns of the energy sector, given the robust regulatory regime that governs it and the often contentious political climate that surrounds it. Steptoe afforded me exposure to a range of issues relevant to its energy clients, everything from eminent domain and lease disputes to bankruptcy and antitrust.

This summer I am working at McLane Law Firm, a mid-sized firm in Manchester, New Hampshire, close to my family and geographically where I hope to settle. Unlike larger firms, McLane hires associates into just two practice tracks–corporate and litigation. My focus has been primarily corporate, and after six weeks, I have already been staffed on several M&A transactions, as well as securities, tax, and corporate governance matters. By working at McLane, I hope to emerge with a more robust corporate skill set than I might at a larger firm with specialized, discrete practice areas. The most personally impactful aspect of my summer, however, has been the opportunity to work with several of McLane’s pro bono clients, helping them to navigate complex issues of personal bankruptcy and post-divorce asset distribution. It is particularly rewarding to know that my legal training can have a meaningful and positive impact on individuals living in the state where I grew up. My summer has certainly helped to fortify my sense of what it means to be a Citizen Lawyer.

I look forward to returning to William & Mary in the fall to build upon my practical business acumen as an extern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and by participating in the law school’s Federal Tax Clinic.

Summer Experiences: House Judiciary Committee

lukishTom Lukish is originally from Richmond, Virginia.  Choosing to remain in the Commonwealth for his undergraduate studies, Tom graduated from Virginia Tech in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science.  In his second year at the Law School, Tom will be joining the staff of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, as well as serving on the Board of William & Mary’s chapter of the Virginia Bar Association.

One of the many wonderful things about William & Mary is the incredible Office of Career Services (OCS).  In the first meeting with my counselor, Dean George Podolin, the two of us discussed my hobbies, interests, career goals, and a number of things in between.  Upon learning of my desire to become involved with the federal government, Dean Podolin suggested that I do two things: research a variety of avenues to our nation’s capital, and reach out to individuals in government whom I have met over the years.  Very fortunately, I applied to and was offered a position with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.

The House Judiciary Committee passes a high number of bills each year, and it has been an absolute pleasure to assist counsel, staff, and Members of the Committee in their effort.  Addressing a variety of areas of the law, the Committee regularly holds hearings and drafts legislation relating to the U.S. Constitution, crime, homeland security, immigration, and intellectual property.

Thus far, my experience with the Committee has been nothing short of spectacular.  Placed within the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, I have been able to use the writing, communication, and research training I gained at W&M to help Congress address one of the nation’s most pertinent issues.

One of the more thrilling aspects of this position is that each day presents something new.  No day is identical to the last for many offices on Capitol Hill, and while subcommittees remain consistent in terms of their overarching focus, the same is true for Members and staff of the House Judiciary Committee.  The myriad of current events and challenges facing this country, in combination with the inherent excitement that accompanies the Hill, has made for an unforgettable experience.  I could not be more appreciative of the opportunity to use my legal education to enter the world of American politics and public service.

Very thankful for what OCS and the entire W&M Law community has helped me with thus far, I hope that my experience in Washington will encourage other students interested in government to look into the plethora of opportunities that exist in D.C.  It is a tremendous feeling working in a way that serves the country as a whole, and I look forward to hopefully working in or around government in the future.

Summer Experiences: Law Clerk at Ohio Attorney General

liz berryLiz Berry is originally from Westfield Center, Ohio. She earned her B.A. from Otterbein University, double majoring in History and Political Science. She is spending her 1L summer at the Ohio Attorney General, Education Division.

Since I’m sure everyone reading this blog post has been diligently following me since I began my writing career for the Admissions Office last autumn, you may consider this an addendum to “May the Internships be Ever in Your Favor.” Because I really lucked out and landed a great one.

I’m spending my summer as a law clerk with the Ohio Attorney General. And in case you’re like my friends and asking “how’s it feel to put people in jail?” let me just clarify by stating that I’m working in the Education Division. And really, truly, honestly, I promise. We do not put people in jail. Or at least we haven’t in the seven weeks I’ve been working.

My section represents the 30+ public colleges and universities in the state of Ohio, as well as the Ohio Department of Education. We deal with lawsuits by or against the colleges, can be used by the colleges as general counsel if so desired, and we also litigate teaching licensing and child nutrition hearings. My mentor and I joke that the section is more like a litigation firm than anything else. And luckily for me, that means there’s plenty of substantive legal work to do.

So what have I been up to this summer? Plenty of research and memo assignments on general legal topics…having a working knowledge of Civ Pro and Contracts has definitely come in handy. I’ve had the opportunity to work on two briefs for administrative hearings and also write my own (supervised) motion to dismiss! Needless to say, it was really exciting that they trusted me enough to draft work with the AG’s name on it. The program has also provided plenty of out-of-the-office experiences. I’ve been able to attend several court sessions (our section was actually involved in a three week federal jury trial where I was put on the stand! (only to read a deposition but it still counts)), administrative hearings, and even sit in on a settlement. The law clerks have met the AG, judges, court clerks, and been able to attend resume and writing workshops. It’s been a busy summer, and I’m almost disappointed that there are only four weeks left. Still, I’m excited to get back to W&M to see what opportunities 2L year will bring!

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.

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