Thankful for W&M Law: Thanksgiving Baskets

Students from section 16 of the 1L class pose in front of their train display made entirely of canned and pantry stable foods!

1L Section 13 won the 2019 Thanksgiving Baskets competition with their display of the “OCS Express”!

by 2L Yasmine Palmer

Dinosaurs, trains, and zoos, oh my! As the Thanksgiving Basket Competition and Food Drive draws to a close, the first floor of the law school is transformed into a quirky statue garden.

From the entrance of the Wolf Law Library to the middle of the Hixon Center, members of the Class of 2022 stacked and arranged cans of peas and corn, boxes of mac and cheese, packets of stuffing, and more into unique structures. The 1Ls, who work in teams composed of their Legal Practice Program section-members, are encouraged to be as creative and over-the-top as possible when designing their displays, and they certainly rise to the challenge. Among this year’s creations were a “Tortasaurus” made of green beans, a can-shaped structure cheekily titled “Learned Can’d” (a play on the name of Billings Learned Hand, the infamous former Southern District of New York judge), and a train complete with pie-tin wheels.

Last week during the lunch hour, a group of professors, staff members, and students took a tour of the displays and mark their choices for “Best Content,” “Most Creative,” and “Judges’ Choice.”

Though the 1L section that wins Judges’ Choice will be rewarded with a pizza party, the Thanksgiving food drive is a rewarding experience for all who are involved. For nearly a decade, the Thanksgiving Basket Competition and Food Drive has been sponsored and organized by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), with the specific goal of ensuring that as many local families as possible have great meals to share on Thanksgiving. All of the food products collected during the competition are donated to William & Mary’s chapter of the national volunteer organization, The Campus Kitchens Project. The Campus Kitchen at W&M serves 10,000 meals a year to nearly 200 families in the local community. Last year, the Law School contributed over 4,000 food items to that effort. BLSA’s service committee, led by Mechelle King (2L), thinks that we surpassed that number this year!

Last week, seeking to spread the spirit of thankfulness through the law school in anticipation of the food drive, BLSA also held a Thank-You Card sale, during which students, professors and staff were encouraged to purchase and write cards to people within the school. The cards were then hand-delivered to their intended recipients by the members of BLSA. The proceeds of the sale will go towards purchasing turkeys to accompany the other donated food products.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue my legal dream and for the friends and family members that supported me long before I first walked through the law school’s doors. Take some time this Thanksgiving season to think about what you’re thankful for and to thank those who have helped you get to where you are today.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

Externship- Supreme Court of Virginia in Richmond

meltonby Kameron Melton, Class of 2018

I am Kameron Melton, a 3L from Charlotte, North Carolina. I am starting my seventh year in Williamsburg in the fall, as I attended William & Mary for undergrad. During my 2L year, I externed twice a week at the Chief Staff Attorney’s Office of the Supreme Court of Virginia in Richmond.

Being able to extern for two full days throughout the semester is an invaluable experience I encourage everyone to take advantage of. Every day, I was writing briefs, reviewing trial records and appellate briefs from some of the Commonwealth’s best lawyers, and listening to oral arguments and questioning. I cannot express the value of having the privilege of working alongside amazing staff attorneys and justices of the Court. I gained so many new mentors in addition to improving my legal writing and analytical skills through my externship.

Despite being in Richmond twice a week, I was able to be an active member in the Black Law Students Association, serve as Community Service Chair of the Student Bar Association, as a member of the William and Mary Journal of Women & the Law, and to continue to participate in activities at my church.

Externships basically allow four additional opportunities to gain practical legal experience during law school. Employers are constantly stressing the importance of law students entering the field with more legal experience, and externships are a great way to gain the skills they request. I have been asked about my externship during every interview, and employers are always impressed that I was able to participate in such meaningful practical work during the school year. I am so thankful that the Law School encourages us to structure our schedules in a way that allows for externships.