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W&L's Lind Discusses Holiday Television Specials on “Virginia Insight”

Stephen Lind, visiting assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight”show on Monday, Dec. 1, to discuss television’s top holiday specials and why they’re so enduring.

Listen to the archived broadcast >

Lind is a specialist in oral communication and a former corporate communication consultant. His current book project explores the religious life and work of Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, a project made possible by the support of Schulz’s family and friends.

“Shenandoah” Announces Three Awards

“Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review” has announced the winner of its three major genre prizes for Volume 63 (Volume 63.1 was fall 2013 and Volume 63.2 was spring 2014). The prizes in fiction, poetry and non-fiction are given for the best work in each of those genres for a volume year. Each prize is for $1000 dollars.

The co-winners of the Shenandoah Fiction Prize are Heather Goodman, author of “Humdinger” and Joseph Bathanti, author of “Rita’s Dream.”

Goodman was motivated to pursue fiction after attending the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and working in fiction at the Loft Literary Center.

She has been published in “Grey’s Sporting Journal,” “Printers Row,” “Hunger Mountain,” “Crab Orchard Review” and The Chicago Tribune, where her story “His Dog” won the Nelson Algren Award.

Bathanti is the author of six books of poetry, including “The Feast of All Saints” and “Restoring Sacred Art” (winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize). His novel, “East Liberty,” won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award and his latest novel, “Coventry,” won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, “The High Heart,” won the 2006 Spokane Prize.

He is the recipient of literature fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994 (poetry) and 2009 (fiction); the Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period; the Linda Flowers Prize; and many others.

The James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry winner is “The Odds” by Steven Kronen.
Kronen’s “Splendor” appeared from BOA Press in 2006. His poetry has appeared in “The New Republic,” “The American Scholar,” “Poetry” and “The Georgia Review,” among others.

He has been a fellow at Bread Loaf and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, received a literary grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Florida Arts Council grants and the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His first book, “Empirical Evidence,” published by the University of Georgia Press in 1992, won the Contemporary Poetry Series prize.

The winner of the Carter Prize for the Essay is “How to Skin a Bird” by Chelsea Biondolillo. Her prose has appeared recently or is forthcoming in “Hayden’s Ferry Review,” “Wilder Quarterly,” “Brevity,” “Flyway,” “The Fiddleback” and NPR, among others. She is currently an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Wyoming in both nonfiction and environmental studies.

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Inside the 3L Year: Jonathan Caulder on Turning Scholarship into Practice

In this post, 3L Jonathan Caulder discusses how the innovative third-year curriculum at W&L gave him the unique chance to see scholarship and practice come together.

I chose W&L Law for several reasons, one of which was the unique third-year program. I could not have predicted, however, that the program would offer a comprehensive experience to engage and critique the development of federal law. Indeed, the program afforded me the opportunity to publish a Note in the Law Review and then visit the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to watch the Justices hear oral arguments on my Note topic’s legal issue.

Roughly one year ago, I began researching potential legal topics for my Note submission to the Law Review. After exploring several options, I decided to write about a circuit split—a phenomenon where federal courts of appeals disagree over a legal issue. Circuit splits serve as ideal Note topics because SCOTUS strives to resolve circuit splits to promote uniformity in the law.

I researched several circuit splits and decided to write about the Truth in Lending Act’s (TILA) right of rescission. At that time, five courts of appeals disagreed over how a consumer validly exercises her right of rescission. After months of researching, drafting, and editing, I produced a final piece of scholarship that evaluated the arguments surrounding the TILA rescission circuit split. To my delight, the Law Review’s editorial board accepted my Note for publication.

This summer, I learned that two other courts of appeals also weighed in on TILA’s rescission issue, further deepening the circuit split. I also learned that SCOTUS agreed to hear an appeal to resolve the circuit split. I was thrilled that SCOTUS would hear the issue but also concerned that my Note would not be published in time. In essence, I was fighting against the clock to get my Note published. I beat that clock by one day.

Because of W&L Law’s unique third-year program, I had the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of practical experiences, such as clinics, practicums, and externships. Because I aim to practice litigation, I chose to take Virginia Supreme Court (soon to be Chief) Justice Donald Lemon’s Appellate Advocacy Practicum. This practicum provides students with simulated experiences to appeal cases. For example, we were assigned pending cases from the Supreme Court of Virginia and argued those cases in an adversarial setting to a panel of professors, who served as justices. Furthermore, we were given trial court records and had to draft appellate briefs as if we were appellate counsel.

In addition to oral advocacy and brief writing, the Appellate Advocacy Practicum also focuses on experiencing an appellate court’s atmosphere. To achieve this purpose, Justice Lemons arranged for us to visit several appellate courts. We started by visiting the Supreme Court of Virginia, where we watched a morning of oral arguments and observed Justice Lemons serve in his judicial capacity. Justice Lemons also informed the practicum’s students that we would visit SCOTUS.

This month, a perfect storm of events unfolded: (1) the Law Review published my Note on November 3rd, (2) SCOTUS heard oral arguments for the TILA rescission circuit split on November 4th, and (3) the Appellate Advocacy Practicum students visited SCOTUS on November 4th. The result was uncanny: I would be at SCOTUS to hear oral arguments concerning my published Note topic!

The SCOTUS visit was an exciting and unforgettable experience. Hearing the Justices question the oral advocates provided insight into how they would resolve the issue. Further, Seth Waxman, the former Solicitor General, argued skillfully on behalf of the lender in the case. To make the trip truly exceptional, Justice Lemons arranged for Justice Samuel Alito to speak with us briefly after the oral arguments. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Justices entertain and evaluate the TILA rescission circuit split.

This amazing experience would not have been possible without W&L Law’s commitment to an experiential third-year curriculum. I was able to identify an inconsistency in the law, write a piece of scholarship about it, publish that scholarship, and then visit SCOTUS to hear that inconsistency debated. I cannot think of a better way to practically engage in the development of law. I look forward to reading the SCOTUS opinion to see how the circuit split is resolved.

My experiences in W&L’s third-year curriculum are not limited to publishing a Note and observing SCOTUS debate the issue. I also serve as a judicial extern for the Honorable Michael Urbanski of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. This externship provides real world insight into how a federal trial court functions on a weekly basis. Together, the externship and the Appellate Advocacy Practicum have allowed me to observe three different courts in operation within a three-month period. The insight I have gained from these opportunities is invaluable and is not something I can learn from a textbook. I am grateful for my third year experiences thus far, and I look forward to additional opportunities to engage in the practice of law before commencement in May.

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W&L’s Black Lung Clinic Named one of Nation’s Most Innovative

In its 2014 Winter issue, PreLaw Magazine has recognized Washington and Lee’s Black Lung Clinic as one of the top 15 most innovative law school clinics in the country. The magazine sought nominations from law schools nationwide for clinics that were innovative in subject matter, structure or community served.

W&L’s Black Lung Clinic represents coal miners diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease, in pursuit of benefits from coal companies that once employed them. In attempting to collect benefits, miners and survivors face formidable teams of lawyers, paralegals, and doctors that the coal companies assemble to challenge these claims. The Clinic has represented hundreds of disabled coal miners and their surviving spouses since its creation in 1996, and has a success rate of approximately 80%.

Professor Tim MacDonnell, director of the clinic, explains what makes the Black Lung Clinic stand out among law schools.

“The Black Lung Clinic represents a unique opportunity for our students and our clients. The students experience the challenges and excitement of complex civil litigation. They are called upon to fight and win our clients’ claims, which invariably involve intricate questions of law and medicine.

“Under supervision, the students develop evidence, conduct discovery, depose experts, represent our clients at hearings, write appellate briefs and conduct oral argument on appeal, frequently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. It is an immersive litigation experience.

“Our clients are disabled coal miners or the surviving spouses of coal miners. The miners we represent have usually worked in our nation’s coal mines for twenty to forty years. They are totally disabled from a progressive, debilitating, and ultimately fatal lung disease. The spouses we represent have usually spent years as the caretaker of their disabled coal miner, having to watch as their spouse ultimately succumbs to black lung. Our clients, who often have difficulty finding an attorney willing to take on a black lung claim, receive zealous representation from student advocates that spend significantly more time perfecting their claim than the average attorney.”

The Black Lung Clinic is one of six legal clinics at W&L and part of the School’s innovative third-year curriculum, which combines the demanding study of legal doctrine and analysis with simulated and actual practice experience. Unique in legal education, the third-year curriculum has been hailed by many in both the legal profession and in legal education as the most significant change in law-school curriculum in more than a century.

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Talking about Lincoln

Washington and Lee University’s preeminent Abraham Lincoln scholar, Lucas Morel, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Politics, is in demand these days during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

On Nov. 13, he appeared at the Supreme Court Historical Society (he’s a trustee there) to give a talk, “Justice and Justices in Lincoln’s Civil War Presidency,” at its Leon Silverman Lecture Series, which explored themes of the court, the origins of the war and its immediate and long-term impact. The event took place in the Supreme Court chamber, where oral arguments are presented to the justices. Associate Justice Elena Kagan introduced Lucas to the audience, and the event was covered by C-SPAN. You can read a summary of his talk here.

On Nov. 20, he will speak on Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address at John Handley High School, in Winchester, Virginia, which is hosting an exhibit on loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute, “Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times.” Lucas said, “The Gilder Lehrman Institute sponsors the prestigious Lincoln Book Prize each year, as well as supports many programs and workshops to encourage the study of American history. I have worked with this Institute for many years, and will be conducting a professional development workshop for high school teachers, in Wichita, Kansas, on Dec. 12, focusing on African Americans in the Civil War era.

Lucas is the past president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute and a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association. During the 2008-09 academic year, he was the Garwood Visiting Research Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He also teaches in the summer master’s program in American history and government at Ashland University, in Ashland, Ohio, where he also serves on the board of advisors. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and Richmond Times-Dispatch, and is writing a book entitled “Lincoln and the American Founding.”

W&L's Repertory Dance Company to Perform on Dec. 3, 4 and 5

Washington and Lee University’s award-winning Repertory Dance Company will be performing “W&L Dancers Create…” on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 3, 4 and 5, at 6:30 p.m. on the Keller Stage at the Lenfest Center for the Arts in Lexington.

This concert, under the artistic direction of Jenefer Davies, associate professor of dance/theater, is dedicated to work performed and composed by students and showcases the diversity and talent within the dance program. “The beauty of this concert is its eclectic nature,” said Davies.

Both contemporary and classical ballet works composed by Blair Davis ’15, Lisa Stoiser ’15 and Jillian Katterhagen ’15 will be performed alongside contemporary modern and innovative post-modern pieces by Sue Sue Drennan ’15, Inga Wells ’16 and Emily Danzig ’16.

Other works include a fun, dance-in-your-seat piece composed by seniors Kaitlin Coughlin and Stoiser and Nacho Portella’s ’14 comic work featuring the war of the puppets. Not to be missed is Elliot Emadian’s ’16 deeply personal and touching contemporary dance journey.

After Thursday’s performance, the choreographers will hold a discussion about how they develop their work and the meanings behind them.

This is a fun, family adventure with something for everyone. This is University dance at its best and brightest. The proceeds from the $5 suggested donation will benefit W&L dance’s educational programs.

“W&L Dancers Create…” is presented by the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies.

Keith Sanford '80: Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year

Congratulations to Keith Sanford, a 1980 graduate of Washington and Lee University, who was named Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year by the Southeast Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

He was feted for his contributions to the Chattanooga community on Oct. 29 as part of National Philanthropy Day, which recognizes the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to lives, communities and the world.

Keith has worked as market president of First Tennessee Bank since May 2012. In his 34-year career there, he has served as branch manager, relationship manager in correspondent banking, manager of correspondent banking, manager of private banking and trust and manager of the retail division.

His community service in Chattanooga is extensive, and he has served on the boards of many organizations (read the full list here). As a leader in fundraising, Keith has served as annual fund chair at Girls Preparatory School and has helped raise money for Caldsted Foundation, Chattanooga Symphony, Chattanooga Chamber, Arts Build, Ballet Tennessee, Fairyland School PTO, Association for Visual Arts, Creative Discovery Museum, Aim Center, Fortwood Center, Chambliss Center, Chattanooga History Center, Helen Ross McNabb and McCallie School. He will chair the United Way campaign next year.

Keith is a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, and is married to the former Julia Grosvenor of Memphis. They have four children, three dogs, three cats and a pet snake.


Making History

Bob Strong, the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and an expert on the American presidency, was in Little Rock, Arkansas, this past weekend during the 10th anniversary celebration of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.

As part of the three-day celebration, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center released the first batch of oral history interviews it conducted, beginning in 2001, with former members of the Clinton administration for the Clinton Presidential History Project. Bob was one of 50-some scholars and historians who participated in that project; he interviewed, among others, Sandy Berger, former national security advisor, and Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of State.

Although the media described festivities as a combination of a pep rally for Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential run in 2016, a schmooze fest and a nostalgic look back at the 1990s, the panel discussions focused on Clinton’s foreign, economic and domestic policies.

At the Symposium on the Clinton Administration, which was covered by C-SPAN, Bob joined Berger, Gen. Wesley Clark, Nancy Soderberg and Mara Rudman, to assess Clinton’s national security policy. The wide-ranging discussion covered Haitian refugees, North Korean nuclear weapons and the Balkans.

“My role was to generally guide the discussion back to the interviews,” explained Bob. While he said the panel discussions revealed no shocking revelations, the transcripts themselves are filled with details on some of the most defining moments of Clinton’s years in office. “The media were a bit upset that these transcripts were released late on a Friday afternoon, and they were searching for the headline-grabbing stories. I kept telling them to read the interviews. In the transcripts, Leon Panetta (chief of staff) talks about being worried about Monika Lewinsky, and we ask Madeline Albright how she felt when she learned that Clinton had lied to her . Gen. Hugh Shelton (chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff) gave a really good interview, and there’s a lot of interesting content about his life as a working general, particularly his role in restoring democracy to Haiti in 1994.”

The biggest interview for the project is yet to come: Clinton. Bob will be interviewing the former president as soon as the Clinton commits to a date. “We’ve been trying to pin him down for about a year,” Bob said. “If Hillary runs, then who knows when we’ll be able to schedule him.”

In the meantime, Bob will continue to work on his book about George H.W. Bush. He has a lot of material to work with, having also interviewed several former members of the Bush administration for the Miller Center’s oral history project on the 41st president.

Q&A with the Moot Court Board

Part of our ongoing series of Q&As with student leaders, Moot Court Board chair Donavan Eason and vice-chairs Jimmy Pickle and Zach Wilkes talk about why moot court competitions are a big part of the W&L experience. Learn more about Moot Court at law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.

Q: For those of us who have not had the opportunity to compete in any of the Moot Court competitions, can you talk a little bit about how they’re structured?

Zach: The Moot Court competitions at Dubyuhnell provide a myriad of opportunities for student involvement. The five internal competitions—Negotiations, Appellate Advocacy, Mock Trial, Client Counseling, and Mediation—vary greatly at face value, but all emphasize the importance of conducting yourself in a professional manner and developing a rapport with your target audience.

While each competition is judged slightly differently, the Moot Court Executive Board typically judges the preliminary rounds of each competition, a faculty panel judges the semifinal round, and a group of distinguished judges and/or practitioners presides over the final round.

Q: What competitions/events have you recently had, and what’s coming up? What have some of the highlights of this semester been?

Zach: We just had the final round of Mock Trial on November 14, and we have Client Counseling and Mediation coming up. The Client Counseling final round is on November 19th, and the Mediation Final Round is on February 11th. Those are internal (schoolwide) competitions. We are also in the process of selecting and preparing teams to represent the law school in external competitions.

The highlights of the semester to date have been interacting with, and watching students compete in front of, our extraordinary panels of judges. In addition to Justice Alito, who judged the final round of the Appellate Advocacy tournament, the Moot Court Executive Board has hosted judges from the Fourth and Ninth circuits, and practitioners from some of the most prestigious firms in the country. All of the judges took significant time out of their schedules, and offered invaluable feedback and career advice—as well as high praise for the Washington and Lee community.

Q: How has being on Moot Court shaped your law school experience (e.g. did it help with finding a job, organizing time, learning certain skills)?

Donovan: In my opinion, there’s no better way to build self-confidence and pure grit than having to stand in front of a judge or jury and argue your case with adrenaline pumping through you at full tilt. The amount of information you are expected to retain and leverage effectively is staggering. If you aren’t intimidated, you don’t have a pulse. Moot Court taught me that preparation is life’s great equalizer. If you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll be given opportunities to grow and succeed despite the overwhelming expectations placed upon you. And when you do, you will feel fulfilled beyond measure.

Q: What’s on your bucket list to see or do before you leave Lex Vegas?

Jimmy: Well, when you have been in Lexington for almost 7 years now, you have seen and done pretty much everything. But with that said, I have yet to float down Maury River with my law school friends while sipping on a drink or two, so I will be doing that in the Spring.

Q: We talk a lot about how proud we are of our community here at W&L. What is the W&L Law community all about, and has it affected your time in law school?

Jimmy: In one word, the W&L Law community is about “trust.” Students trust each other, students trust professors, and professors trust students. One example of that trust: professors let students take unproctored exams. Because that trust exists, professors not only care about a student’s legal knowledge, but also about his/her character. I am very thankful for the W&L Law community because it has positively affected me in many ways, the most important of which is that my daily interactions with students and professors have prepared me to enter the professional legal world.

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A Thumbs-up From Oprah

A Washington and Lee University alumnus is thrilled to see his company’s products appear in Oprah Winfrey’s popular and influential 2014 holiday gift guide, published in O Magazine. The guide features five flavors of Blackberry Patch Premium Syrups: Pumpkin Spice, Apple Butter, Blueberry, Raspberry and Blackberry.

Founded in 1988 and based in Thomasville, Georgia, Blackberry Patch is owned and operated by Harry T. Jones III, a 1978 graduate of W&L, and his sister, Randy Harvey. Their company uses time-honored Southern techniques to make jams, jellies and syrups from local fruits and family recipes.

“This recognition is a tribute to our faithful customers, great team of people and our community. Oprah has great taste!” said Harry.

Blackberry Patch was discovered by Oprah’s team at the New York Fancy Food show. The team attributes their visibility to the award-winning booth design by Jackie Ellis Johnson Design and the product-label design by Fontaine Maury.

Recipes on the Blackberry Patch website offer intriguing combinations, such as a turkey, cheddar and apple butter grilled sandwich; strawberry jam cream cheese waffle sandwich; pumpkin marshmallow popcorn; and peach pepper jelly phyllo cups.

Harry, who holds a B.S. in commerce, has enjoyed a long career in the food business, including restaurants and distribution. He and Randy took over Blackberry Patch in 1999. It produces more than 50 items that are carried by such retailers as Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, Le Gourmet Chef, The Fresh Market and Whole Foods.

You can read more about Harry’s company on the Blackberry Patch website.