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Career Paths: Babatunde Cadmus ’15L

Babatunde Cadmus ’15L attended college at the University of Delaware and received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology. At W&L Law, he served as editor in chief of the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice during the 2014-2015 school year.  This past year, he spent a significant portion of his time representing indigent clients in misdemeanor cases through the Criminal Justice Clinic.  Upon graduation, he will join the law firm of Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia as an associate.

tunde Career Paths: Babatunde Cadmus '15LBabatunde Cadmus ’15L

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area, if you know?

I will be working at the Philadelphia office of Pepper Hamilton LLP.  I don’t know which practice area I will be placed in yet.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?

No.  I actually came to law school wanting to go into criminal defense, as I was a Criminal Justice major in college.  But classes like Contracts, Civil Procedure, CBA and Publicly Held exposed me to the civil law side, and I developed an interest in civil litigation and business law.  I knew that big law firms generally do this kind of work, so I pursued that career.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job, and when would you recommend taking them?

First year courses like Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts and APLP are all helpful.  I would also recommend taking CBA, and Publicly Held during the 2L year.  If someone is interested in a specific niche of business law, such as bankruptcy, corporate taxation, or antitrust, I would recommend taking those courses as well.

Can you describe your job search process?

After my 2L year, I interviewed for my summer position with Pepper Hamilton through W&L’s summer regional interview program in Charlottesville.  I generally applied broadly, but restricted my geographical area to the mid-Atlantic region.  In addition to the school’s regional interview program, I applied to firms through OCI and various job fairs and interview programs not affiliated with W&L.  I generally applied to firms that had at least a few W&L alumni as attorneys.  I also targeted firms with large and reputable litigation departments.  I started the process of applying to law firms-which began with perfecting my resume and cover letters-in December of my 1L year.  After that, I kept applying to different firms all through the spring semester and during the summer.

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Career Paths: Sarah Curry ’15L

Sarah Curry ’15L graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University in 2009 with a B.A. in International Relations and French. She then spent three years as a Program Manager and then C.O.O. of an African development charity. Upon graduation, she will join the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York.

sarahcurry Career Paths: Sarah Curry '15LSarah Curry ’15L

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?

I will be working for Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ Capital Markets practice group in their NYC office.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?

I have always wanted to go BigLaw. Even if you don’t want to stick with it long term (most people don’t), getting a few years’ experience in a big, national or multi-national firm opens up all kinds of doors down the road.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this choice?

Anyone who has worked as a summer associate in a big city will tell you that it is one of the best experiences of your life. Though the summer programs may not be all that representative of what life is really like as an associate at a big firm, it still affords you the opportunity to try out different practice areas while also getting to meet all of your future colleagues. My summer at Weil was amazing to say the least and I have no doubts that I made the right choice.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job?

This is a tough question. It is one that I asked a number of associates and partners during my internship–and everyone had a different answer. I think the consensus is that if you want to go into transactional work, you need to take some basic business law classes (CBA, Publicly Held, Tax, etc.) and if you’re going into litigation, it helps to take anything to do with evidence, civil procedure, etc. Of course, if you’re going into a specialized area of the law such as bankruptcy, tax, or the like, take as many targeted classes as possible. Going into capital markets, I was told that as long as I had Securities and CBA under my belt, I was set.

Can you describe your job search process?

I got my summer associate position through the regional OCI interview program. I focused my search on DC and NYC, but realized fairly early on in the process that I was better suited for New York. Before applying for the OCI interviews, I made sure to speak with at least one alum from each firm that I was applying to. The problem with applying for big-law jobs is that pretty much all of the big firms do the exact same kind of work and have the exact same kinds of clients. It’s not enough to write a cover letter or walk into an interview and say that you want to work at X firm because they have interesting, top-tier clients and do amazing work, because that could be true of any of the top firms in the country. What is most important is to figure out what the firm thinks sets itself apart from the rest. Being able to show that you’ve done your homework and really tried to learn about a firm’s inner-workings will help a lot when it comes to your interviews.

When deciding between firms, it all came down to personality for me. If you’re going to spend 80-90% of your waking life in an office, you’d better be in an office with people that you genuinely like. I was far too focused on things like Vault rankings at first, but I really don’t think that that’s the way to go. Find a firm with practice groups that you’re interested in and people that you like spending time with. If the work is fascinating and the people are awesome, life is going to be much easier down the road.

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Career Paths: Austin Lomax ’15L

Austin Lomax ’15L is a 3L from Tryon, North Carolina. He served as a Lead Articles Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review and as a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic. For his 1L summer, Austin was a summer associate at Talcott Franklin P.C. and at Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLP. He spent his 2L Summer at Alston & Bird LLP and Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLP. Upon graduation, he will join Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

austinlomax Career Paths: Austin Lomax '15LAustin Lomax ’15L

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area, if you know?

I will be at Alston & Bird, LLP in Atlanta, GA starting this fall. I accepted an offer in their Litigation and Trial Practice group.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?

Yes, I did. I worked at a large law firm for a summer before coming to W&L and was drawn to the atmosphere.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed that choice?

Working as a summer associate at A&B made me confident in my decision to accept their offer. I decided that it was the right place for me because of all the different people I met that summer, rather than just the legal work. If I hadn’t meshed well with the partners and associates who worked there, I would have explored different options.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job, and when would you recommend taking them?

Law school is geared toward litigation. Most of the classes 1L and 2L year are centered around case law, research, and writing, yet a majority of BigLaw jobs have nothing to do with litigation. While I ended up pursuing litigation, many of my summer classmates took offers in corporate/transactional fields, and they will probably never access Westlaw again after graduation. So, in your 2L year, I would recommend trying to take transactionally-based classes like Publicly Held Businesses, Securities, and Federal Income Tax. For 3L year, I would recommend tailoring your schedule based on what you are trying to do after graduation. For example, if you know you want to do Corporate transactions, take the M&A practicum instead of Complex Litigation. We are lucky that W&L lets you specialize a little more in your 3L compared to other law schools.

Can you describe your job search process?

I narrowed it down by geography. I knew I wanted to be in the South, so I had three callback interviews in Charlotte and one in Atlanta through OCIs. Through these interviews, I realized that A&B was the best match for me, mainly based on the personalities of the different people I met. If you know you want to be in a big law firm, I would recommend trying to find a firm based on where you want to live geographically and firm culture. Most large law firms have practice groups that cover virtually everything, and the practice group you end up in usually depends more on who you get along with the best than your preconceived notions about that area of law. No matter how much you may like a particular type of law a particular firm practices, you won’t be happy unless you also like the people. I can’t emphasize this enough.

As far as the search process, I consider myself exceedingly lucky to get a job solely through OCIs. There are just way too many law students across the country competing for such a small number of jobs to count on making it through the OCI process. If I were to do the process over again, I would have made sure to spend my 1L summer in Atlanta (or wherever I decided I wanted to be geographically) so that I could network with alumni. Your chances at getting a BigLaw job greatly improve if you can somehow manage to get an interview in July before your 2L year, because the law firms have not yet started their countrywide tour for on campus interviews. The best way to do this is to have an alum give their recruiting team your resume and vouch for you.

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Career Paths: Mac Mackie ’15L

Mac Mackie ’15L is from Charlotte, N.C. originally and received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Between undergrad and law school, he worked in the publishing industry as an editor and then a literary agent. He is married to Parker Mackie, his obsessions include Tar Heel basketball and Sherlock Holmes, and he looks forward to moving to Washington, D.C. next year.

macmackie Career Paths: Mac Mackie '15LMac Mackie ’15L

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area, if you know?

I will be working at Covington & Burling LLP in their Washington, D.C. office. While Covington does not require a commitment to particular practice groups, I hope to practice within the areas of commercial litigation and international arbitration.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?

I harbored no aspirations to work for a big law firm coming into law school; to the contrary, I could never have even imagined it. I had been working in the publishing industry and assumed that that is where I would stay after law school, only with a more legal role within the industry.

What happened during law school that changed your mind?

I realized almost immediately after entering law school that the core skills that are inherent to a good lawyer (specifically a litigator) are similar to those that attracted me to publishing in the first place: an analytical eye applied to the written word, rhetoric and persuasiveness, the ability to gauge what will please a particular audience, and simple communication skills in general. Honing those skills during my 1L year only reinforced that realization, at which point I began to actually like how those skills applied to lawyering better than they applied to publishing. In other words, much to my surprise, I found being a lawyer to be more enjoyable and intellectually challenging than anything I had done previously. For me it was simply a matter of personal fulfillment and enjoyment – for whatever reason, I thoroughly enjoy the law, its application to everyday and real problems, and, when compared to publishing, can imagine myself thriving in the professional legal atmosphere more readily than the publishing environment.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job, and when would you recommend taking them?

Personally, the classes most helpful for me have been those that have focused on researching and writing. I believe I observed the biggest separation between W&L students and students from other law schools to be in the ability to quickly and thoroughly research a topic and narrow down those issues that matter. In that respect, my legal writing classes prepared me in a similar manner; thanks to those classes, I was able to communicate (or at least I like to think that I was able to communicate) that research effectively and succinctly. At the end of the day, those are the skills that, I believe, carried me the farthest.

As to what classes I think are most helpful for general “BigLaw” jobs, I think the answer to that question depends entirely on the practice area in which the student is interested. For example, Federal Courts and Jurisdiction or Conflicts of Law would be beneficial to those interested in litigation, whereas Close Business Arrangements and Securities Regulation would be more beneficial to one interested in transactional work. I took a healthy balance of those two types of classes as early as possible so that I could figure out for myself what I thought I enjoyed more and what area seemed more amenable to my particular strengths and weaknesses.

Can you describe your job search process?

I applied very broadly because of the relative volatility of the legal market in recent years.  That said, I generally applied only to firms with strong litigation departments because I had narrowed my focus at least that much by the time I had begun applying. If a firm had a strong international practice, it certainly piqued my interest even more, but I did not allow that factor to restrict my approach. In talking with a number of successful attorneys during the application and feeling-out process, one theme continued to reinforce itself: many of the most successful people I spoke with never intended to enter and never considered the practice of the type of law they ended up specializing in. So, I approached the process with a very open mind, trying not to rule too much out for fear of making a wrong decision based on insufficient information.

As for timing, I affirmed my aspirations for “BigLaw” only by the end of my 1L year. While that may sound early, many come into law school knowing that’s what they want to do and start tailoring their experiences towards that end from the outset. I was not one of those people. Luckily, however, I did come to that conclusion by the end of my 1L year – I say “luckily” because that is when applications start rolling out for the bigger firms. By the time I had barely started my 1L summer internship with a judge, I think I had most of my applications in for interviews with 2L summer firms that had signed up for W&L’s on-campus or on-location interview programs. I continued to apply to other firms throughout the summer after my 1L year that had not elected to be a part of those programs, but the interview programs arranged through W&L ended up yielding a number of results for me before I heard back from those ad hoc applications. I was fortunate enough to have a 2L summer associateship lined up with Covington right about when our 2L classes started.

The decision to work at Covington was based largely on my gut. At the time, I told myself I focused on three primary factors: (1) geographic location, (2) practice strengths, and (3) the people/culture. But looking back, I think the decision may have boiled down to instincts more than anything else. Of course, those instincts incorporated those three categories, but I really just asked myself where, after meeting all of the people, seeing the offices, and doing as much research as possible, I thought that I, personally, would be the happiest. After spending a summer there, I have no doubt that I made the right choice for me. So, my final advice for anyone going through the same decision process would be to ignore the outside voices, commentators, and critics, and to just do what you think will make you the happiest and most successful, always keeping in mind that each person has a different definition of what it means to be “successful.”

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Career Paths: Meg Sawyer ’15L

Meg Sawyer ’15L is a third year law student from Columbia, Maryland. She serves as one of the Executive Editors of the Washington and Lee Law Review and she is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. Meg spent her 1L summer as a judicial intern for a Senior United States District Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia and she spent her 2L summer in Charleston, South Carolina working as a summer associate for K&L Gates. 

megsawyer Career Paths: Meg Sawyer '15LMeg Sawyer ’15L

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area, if you know?

After graduation, I’ll be working at K&L Gates in Charleston, South Carolina. I’ll be a member of the firm’s litigation team, working primarily in the area of labor and employment law.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?

I did not know that I wanted to work for a big law firm coming into law school. At the time, I thought I would ultimately choose to work for a small-to-medium sized firm.

What experiences in law school changed your mind?

Part of what led me to a big firm was the recruitment process. The school’s OCI opportunities make it really easy to access big law jobs, whereas smaller firms are often more difficult to find. Big law firms also open the door to more locations and more practice areas. Going into my 2L year, I was still unsure as to what kind of law I wanted to practice, but I knew that by working at a big law firm over the summer, I would have the opportunity to try a myriad of different practice areas.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job, and when would you recommend taking them?

I would recommend taking some of the more business-oriented classes available at W&L. Even if you don’t plan on doing corporate work, it helps to have a general understanding of this type of law because it tends to pop up in a lot of other practice areas. Even if you plan to do litigation, it helps to have a background in business so that you can follow discussions and understand the terminology. I particularly recommend taking Close Business Arrangements (CBA) and Publicly Held Businesses. I would also consider Accounting and Finance for Lawyers.

Can you describe your search process?

I started the application process for big law jobs in June of my 1L summer. When I applied for these jobs, I specifically targeted the Southeast, so I focused on cities like Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston. I targeted this region mainly because I wanted to live in the Southeast, but also because the name “W&L” carries a lot of weight in this region. Most partners at firms in the South are familiar with Washington and Lee and appreciate the school’s strong academic reputation. I ultimately decided to work for K&L Gates in Charleston because of the great location and the size of the office. K&L Gates is an international firm, so it’s one of the larger law firms in the world. But the Charleston, SC office is on the smaller side (40 or so attorneys) so you get the best of both worlds: big law resources and projects with a more intimate office environment.

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Career Paths: Nigel Wheeler ’15L

Nigel Wheeler ’15L is a third year student at Washington and Lee Law. He has worked as a broadcast journalist, played with an internationally-touring rock band, and has volunteered for several years at the Family Place, a domestic violence shelter. He is headed to Dallas to do real estate law at Bracewell and Giuliani.

nigelwheeler Career Paths: Nigel Wheeler '15LNigel Wheeler ’15L

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area, if you know?

I will be working at the Dallas, TX office of Bracewell and Giuliani. My main practice area will be real estate, but I will also spend time in the public finance and corporate securities groups.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?

Not really. I came into law school with an open mind about what I ultimately wanted to do. In the summer prior to my 1L year, I met with some incredible Washington and Lee alums who told me a lot about firm life. It sounded like a solid career path. Their advice coupled with a great opportunity during my 1L summer was ultimately what propelled me into the law firm track.

What experiences during law school helped you make up your mind about a career path?

My experience as a summer associate at Bracewell is what ultimately solidified my desire to work at a large law firm. Even as a summer associate, I received tremendous advice on how to be an effective and successful lawyer. I also really liked the people I was working under and realized it was the type of environment that would help me grow and learn as an attorney.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a Big Law job, and when would you recommend taking them?

CBA, Secured Transactions, Real Estate, Securities, Advanced Secured Transactions and Federal Income Tax are all very useful if you are going into the transactional side. I took some of those classes during my second and third year.

Can you describe your job search process?

My search process began before law school even started. I started meeting with W&L alumni during the spring before I entered law school.

I decided on Bracewell after spending two great summers there. The work was incredibly difficult at times, but because of the spirit of mentorship that is fostered at Bracewell, I never felt overwhelmed. The firm’s social events really hammered home my desire to work there because the events were a lot of fun and allowed me to interact with the firm’s lawyers in a social context.

I knew I wanted to go to Dallas even before I entered law school. I have a strong friend base there and have invested a lot of time with civic organizations in the area. Additionally, Dallas is one of a handful of cities where salaries are high and the cost of living is reasonable. There is also a growing alumni base in Dallas and I have a feeling it will expand significantly over the next decade.

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Career Paths: Stephen Halpin ’15L

Stephen Halpin ’15L, from Rockville, MD, is a graduate of the University of Virginia. For the past year Steve has served as a judicial extern and Editor in Chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review. After graduation, he will clerk for the Honorable Robert B. King on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

stevehalpin Career Paths: Stephen Halpin '15LStephen Halpin ’15L

Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?

In August I will begin as a term clerk for Judge King on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In general, my responsibilities will encompass whatever I can do to serve the Judge, my fellow clerks, and others in chambers. I expect to perform significant amounts of legal writing and research.

Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?

Having worked as a paralegal for two years prior to enrolling at W&L, I thought it might be beneficial to gain experience outside the law-firm setting during my first summer. I was fortunate enough to land a summer internship with a federal district judge in Washington, D.C., and had a fantastic time in chambers working with the clerks and other interns, observing the Judge on the bench, and hearing his take on effective forms of advocacy.  I ultimately hope to focus on litigation, and that first summer opened my eyes to how valuable it is for an advocate to appreciate the perspective of an impartial decision maker when appearing in court. Relatedly, researching and discussing complex questions of law in order to help a judge make difficult decisions with practical consequences strikes me as one of the most challenging and fascinating undertakings a lawyer can experience.

How did you secure this clerkship?

The Clerkship Committee at the law school informed me that Judge King had hired W&L graduates in the past and my mother’s family is from Charleston, WV, where the Judge maintains his chambers. I called chambers to ask if the Judge was accepting applications and subsequently submitted my materials.

Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?

In addition to required courses such as Constitutional Law, I believe electives I took during my second year will prove particularly helpful during my clerkship. Specifically, I completed courses in Federal Jurisdiction & Procedure (frequently known as Federal Courts), Criminal Procedure, and Conflict of Laws. I had incredibly knowledgeable, engaging professors for each, and believe completing these classes will stand me in good stead next year.  In terms of experiences, my time on Law Review has been invaluable for developing my writing, editing, and collaborative skills. Additionally, W&L’s third-year program has provided a number of enriching opportunities. Since September I have externed for a federal district judge two days a week and in the fall I completed a practicum course on appellate advocacy taught by the current Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court. I think these experiences will help me transition to my clerkship.

How is clerking linked to your career objectives?

Judge King brings tremendous breadth of legal experience to the bench. I am excited to assist him however I can and hopefully forge the kind of special bond that I have heard so many clerks–whether at the trial level, the appellate level, in state or federal court–speak fondly of when discussing their experiences. Wherever my legal career takes me, I am confident the skills I develop and the feedback I receive from Judge King over the course of my clerkship will make me a better lawyer.

What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?

I am most looking forward to helping and learning from Judge King and my fellow clerks while grappling with some of the most intricate and nuanced legal questions that arise in our country. For the vast majority of litigants in federal court who cannot resolve their disputes, a circuit court of appeals is their final stop for relief. I look forward to assisting the Judge in ensuring those parties are carefully and thoughtfully heard.

Career Paths: Risa Katz ’15L

Risa Katz grew up in Denver, Colorado. She attended Colorado College for her undergraduate degree, where she majored in anthropology and minored in art history.

katz Career Paths: Risa Katz '15LRisa Katz ’15L

Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?

I’ll be clerking for the 5 judges of the 23rd Judicial Circuit of Virginia, which includes the City of Roanoke, the County of Roanoke, and the City of Salem. I’ll be reviewing cases, drafting bench memos, drafting preliminary opinions, assisting with research on both issues of fact and matters of law, and so on.

Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?

It’s a great opportunity to keep learning in a more practical environment. You get to watch different people handle things with different styles and see what works well and what doesn’t work as you start to develop your own style. It also gives you the opportunity to look at legal matters from a unique perspective. As a lawyer you’re usually in an advocate’s role. As a clerk (or a judge) your role is neutral. The goal isn’t to advance anyone’s interests but to find the right answer–to serve justice. It’s a different way to look at things and I hope it helps me to see the opposing side more clearly later in my career when I am in an advocacy role.

How did you secure this clerkship?

Good timing I suspect. I happened to be externing in the City Courthouse and one of the clerks mentioned that they were doing their interviews the next week. I applied, was interviewed, and am very lucky to get to spend a full year learning from them. I’ve already learned so much just going one day a week.

Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?

The externship and associated class about how to be a more useful law clerk has been very helpful in a lot of ways. We’ve discussed ethical issues fairly unique to judges and clerks, drafted opinions and memos (which are somewhat different than advocacy style memos done as lawyers), shared interesting experiences, etc. And because the clerkship class is taught by a retired judge, it’s helpful to get to hear his perspective of some of the things that clerks have done right and wrong over the years.

How is clerking linked to your career objectives?

Well, it certainly lines you up to network and get to know a legal market if you’re looking to stay there. It also gives you exposure to a lot of substantive law and writing experience that you might not otherwise have. And it can give you the chance to try a few different types of law at once for a year before you have to really narrow down what you want to do.

What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?

Probably getting to contribute meaningfully to the judicial system I plan to dedicate my life to serving within. I’m very aware that as a lawyer, I can only represent my client and can only try to effectuate their interests and the interests of justice as long as there is a judicial system in place filled with judges, clerks, support staff, sheriffs, and so on ready. Because I plan to be a part of that system for years, there’s a lot of appeal in the idea of serving in it now–giving back a fraction of what I hope to get for my clients in the future: the dedicated focus and time of decision-makers and their support staff to ensure that the judgments made are proper and in the interests of justice. That type of public service is very personally fulfilling for me.

Career Paths: Garrett Rice ’15L

Garrett Rice is a 2012 graduate of Lafayette College and is originally from Mercersburg, PA. He is involved in the law school as a Law Review editor and as a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. He spent his 1L and 2L summers working for Steptoe & Johnson PLLC and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, respectively.

rice Career Paths: Garrett Rice '15LGarrett Rice ’15L

Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?

I will be clerking on the Delaware Supreme Court for Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr. I will primarily assist Chief Justice Strine in preparing for oral arguments and drafting opinions. I’m also looking forward to helping with any law review articles or other academic projects that are available.

Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?  

Not only does a clerkship look fantastic on a resume, but it will give me tremendous exposure to substantive law that I might not otherwise get right out of law school. Additionally, I will have the unique opportunity to have a front row seat in seeing how some of the nation’s most important corporate law cases are ultimately decided.

How did you secure this clerkship?  

I began applying for clerkships in February of my 2L year and had my first interview by March. The Office of Career Strategy gave me amazing advice throughout the application process, from helping me choose what clerkships to apply for to ensuring that my recommendation letters were on time and properly addressed. The clerkship committee was another invaluable resource, helping me to evaluate my chances of landing particular clerkships and preparing me via a mock clerkship interview. I also met with a few of my professors regularly to keep them updated on the status of my search and to get their opinions on what judges I might be a good fit with. Finally, I spoke with multiple W&L alumni and 3L students who had worked for courts and judges that I was interested in clerking for. Each of them was really excited to talk with me and gave me tips that I otherwise wouldn’t have considered.

Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?  

Two experiences have been absolutely crucial in preparing me to clerk at the appellate level. First, I currently extern for Judge Robert B. King on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. By working with Judge King and his clerks, I am getting a true sneak peak at how an appellate chambers operates, as well as what role a law clerk serves. Second, I am taking W&L’s appellate advocacy practicum, which is taught by the Virginia Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Lemons.

How is clerking linked to your career objectives?  

Generally speaking, clerking is closely tied with my goal to be a litigator. But clerking on the Delaware Supreme Court is more specifically linked with my career goal of litigating corporate law cases. The opportunity to clerk for Chief Justice Strine, especially given his former position as Chancellor on the Delaware Court of Chancery, fits perfectly with my ambitions as a practicing attorney.

What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?

I’m excited to be a sponge and really soak in both the substantive law and lawyering skills that I’m exposed to. Beyond that, I am looking forward to learning from both Chief Justice Strine and the other justices. I anticipate improving my legal writing skills and my ability to think critically about difficult legal issues.

Career Paths: Hernandez Stroud ’15L

An alumnus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University Pennsylvania, and Teach for America, Hernandez Stroud is currently an extern for the Honorable Robert S. Ballou of the Western District of Virginia. After graduation, Stroud will clerk for U.S. District Judge Madeline H. Haikala of the Northern District of Alabama.

hstroud Career Paths: Hernandez Stroud '15LHernandez Stroud ’15L

Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?

I will be clerking for U.S. District Judge Madeline H. Haikala of the Northern DIstrict of Alabama. She presides primarily in Birmingham, though she also handles cases in Huntsville. My responsibilities will include researching, writing, making recommendations, and helping to manage chambers.

Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?

I am interested in clerking because of its profound benefits. There is no comparable opportunity, as I understand, where an attorney, new or experienced, is able to spend an entire year or more perfecting writing, observing good lawyering (as well as poor advocacy), and being under the wing of a judge.

How did you secure this clerkship?

I developed an early interest in clerking while at W&L. Thus, I was strategically thoughtful about classes and experiences in which I engaged. After carefully preparing my application over several months during my second year of law school, I submitted it, interviewed, and was offered the clerkship over the telephone.

Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?

Although I credit several experiences, I primarily attribute two for my successfully securing a federal clerkship: first, in taking three classes with Professor Massie, she helped me significantly strengthen my legal writing. She met frequently with me, where she engaged in line-by-line critiques of my writings, and she did not shy away from being critical. Developing a relationship with Professor Massie was essential to being competitive for the clerkship process. Second, my participation in various school-wide, regional, and national moot court competitions–where a student bears the task of taking an appellate case from start to finish–improved my written and oral advocacy. Arguing before U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in W&L’s moot court competition this past year certainly makes for a wonderful clerkship interview story.

How is clerking linked to your career objectives?

First, if I choose to apply for federal circuit clerkships, I believe my district clerkship will no doubt prepare me. As for private practice, I suspect clerking will enable me to enter the profession a better attorney than I otherwise would have, as I will have spent an entire year getting an insider’s view of the judicial process. Likewise, the prestige with which a federal clerkship typically carries for one’s entire legal career is quite extraordinary.

What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?

Principally, I am looking forward to spending a year improving my writing, which I imagine will nonetheless be a lifelong endeavor. In addition, my judge is a terrific person, not to mention an incredible legal thinker; as a result, I welcome engaging in a strong, supportive mentoring relationship with my judge.

Career Paths: Krystal Swendsboe ’15L

Krystal Swendsboe grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is a 2010 graduate of Patrick Henry College. Krystal served as one of the first Managing Online Editors to the Washington and Lee Law Review, a Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition Administrator, and is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa.   

swendsboe Career Paths: Krystal Swendsboe '15LKrystal Swendsboe ’15L

Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?

I will be clerking for Judge Mark S. Davis from the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk, Virginia. I am the only term clerk for the 2015-2016 term, and I will join Judge Davis’ career clerk in reviewing cases, drafting bench memos and opinions, and assisting Judge Davis on the bench. The Eastern District Court for Virginia is one of the fastest moving trial courts in the U.S., and I will be assisting with anything from civil contract and tort claims, to intellectual property matters, to criminal and admiralty cases.

Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?

Like any law student, I enjoy researching legal problems and writing. Prior to law school I worked as a litigation paralegal, and I enjoyed writing trial briefs and researching case law. Once I entered law school, I received additional opportunities to research trial issues, draft bench memos, and engage in oral advocacy. Between my class work and two internships at the District Court for the District of Columbia, I knew that my interest in research and writing on a number of different subjects naturally pointed me towards clerking.

How did you secure this clerkship? 

I initially met Judge Davis during the 2013 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition. Judge Davis judged the final round of the competition, and we were able to meet several months before I applied to work for him. He was incredibly kind during the competition and asked challenging questions during the final round. I submitted my application to his chambers as soon as he posted an opening. I interviewed with Judge Davis in January 2014, and he offered me the clerkship a few days later.

Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?

I had a number of experiences that helped to prepare me for my clerkship. I was very lucky to have two internships in the D.C. District Court during my time at W&L. These internships were very helpful in preparing me for a clerkship because both allowed me to research trial issues, draft opinions for District Court judges, and receive feedback on those opinions. I also had the good fortune to write a Note for my journal and, with Professor Shaughnessy’s help, I had to explore the nuances of federal trial practice. This extensive research project allowed me to dig into federal trial procedure and familiarize myself with a common procedural problem in federal court. Finally, as a Davis Competition Administrator, I got to help write an appellate advocacy problem for competition. It was very challenging to draft and edit a District Court opinion and an Appellate Court opinion that competitors would use to argue the competition problem. This project made me acutely aware of the difficulty in writing trial and appellate opinions, and I hope I am a better and more careful writer because of that experience.

How is clerking linked to your career objectives?

Long term, I hope to be a litigation attorney practicing in the Eastern District of Virginia. I think clerking in the EDVA will give me a great boost in that direction because I will have a unique opportunity to see how attorneys practice and what good and bad litigation attorneys do. I think clerking will also make me a better attorney because I will have learned to think, at least a little bit, like a judge.

What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?

As ridiculous as it sounds, I am really looking forward to chatting with Judge Davis about civil procedure and the challenging legal cases he hears. I truly enjoy learning new things about the law, talking about legal cases, and working through legal problems. Some of my favorite memories of law school involve deep conversations about complicated legal arguments (i.e. when does a post-accident move influence what law is applied in a case? Or is there a “silver platter” concern in the 6th Amendment context?). I hope that my clerkship gives me new legal issues to be excited about and a group of people with whom I can share my excitement about the law.

Career Paths: Ember Eyster ’15L

Ember Eyster ’15L, from Bonita Springs, FL, is a graduate of the University of Florida. She is a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic. After graduation, she will join the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office in Nashville.

embereyster Career Paths: Ember Eyster '15LEmber Eyster ’15L

Why are you interested in a career in criminal law?

One of my many wise professors, Judy Clarke, said, “None of us, including those accused of a crime, wants to be defined by the worst moment, or worst day of our lives.”   I believe she is absolutely right.  Everyone has a story to tell.  I want to tell the stories of those who are made small and voiceless by an intimidating and defective criminal justice system.

What/who were you most influential classes/professors related to that interest?  

I found Professor Jon Shapiro to be the most influential professor during my law school experience.  I remember one of the first times I heard Professor Shapiro speak at any length.  It was during my 1L summer; he was recounting his first death penalty case. Professor Shapiro’s client had been executed almost 22 years earlier.  While telling the story of his efforts to save the life of Mr. Wilbert Evans, it was strikingly apparent that after 40-some years practicing criminal defense, Professor Shapiro maintained his fervor.  When Professor Shapiro reached the point in the story where Mr. Evans was executed, he hesitated, visibly choked up.  I have heard the story of Mr. Evans two more times since that day.  Each time I am struck by the passion and raw emotion of Professor Shapiro.  For anyone considering a career in criminal defense, burnout is a concern.  Professor Shapiro seems, amazingly, to pour his heart into his work even after decades.  His passion and dedication are contagious.  Professor Shapiro has supported my development as an aspiring criminal defense attorney by educating me on the ins and outs of criminal law and procedure, and sharing stories and words of wisdom.

Where will you be working following graduation?

After graduation, I’m moving to Nashville and joining the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office.  I could not be more excited!  As an assistant public defender, I’ll be appointed to represent clients who are indigent and facing criminal charges.

In what ways did the school help with your job search and success?  

W&L has undoubtedly helped me in both big and small ways in my job search.   The school began helping me before I even committed to attend.  While in the midst of the grueling decision-making process, I was put in contact with a W&L Law alumnus in my field of interest, criminal law.  As someone who didn’t know any attorneys, let alone any criminal defense attorneys, that was the beginning of what would ultimately become a very helpful network.  And when that alumnus came to town, he tracked me down via post-it notes and postponed his return trip home to take me to lunch.

Once enrolled, I relied on the Office of Career Strategy (OCS).  When I needed a cover letter or thank you note proofread, one of the fabulous people in OCS managed to provide me feedback within days, sometimes hours.  When the scheduled time for my phone interview passed with no call, OCS helped ease my mind and advised me of proper protocol.  I popped in and out of OCS for quick advice more times than I can count.

All of the components of the job search are vital and complementary, but perhaps most importantly, the school has prepared me for my career.  Through the third-year program, I have spent my 3L year representing individuals charged with misdemeanor offenses.  I have interviewed witnesses, met with clients, drafted agreements, and tried cases from beginning to end.  I was able to do this with feedback and support from both my peers and professor.  This practical experience was a major selling point during the interview process for my post-grad job.  In fact, I interviewed just days after representing a client charged with assault and battery.  The interviewers were eager to talk about the experience and what I learned from it.  They were also impressed with the freedom I had to develop the strategy in my case and conduct all portions of the trial.

Career Paths: Anjelica Hendricks ’15L

Anjelica Hendricks ’15L, from Richmond, VA,is a graduate of James Madison University. She is a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic. Following graduation, she will work for the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

anjelicahendricks Career Paths: Anjelica Hendricks '15LAnjelica Hendricks ’15L

Why are you interested in a career in criminal law?

It’s not hard to realize that the criminal justice system is the most oppressive hand of society. Many of the obstacles impoverished individuals face are due to the effects of consistent over-policing and inherent flaws in the systems that surround them. Many say that the system is broken, but it’s not. The system was designed this way; it was designed to dehumanize poor people. I don’t expect to save anyone by doing public defense. It’s not some weird superman complex. I want to be a public defender because the system destroys communities. I cannot think of another career to have other than to try to prevent this injustice.

What/who were you most influential classes/professors related to that interest?

Professor King’s Evidence and Criminal Procedure courses were excellent. Additionally, being a Student Attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic has exposed me to exactly what I will be doing after graduation. I take on my own cases and investigate the alleged crime, talk to witnesses, negotiate with prosecutors, and prepare for trials. Professor Shapiro was my supervising attorney in the clinic, and we had weekly meetings discussing my progress in all of my cases.

Where will you be working following graduation?

I will be joining the Defender Association of Philadelphia (DAP) after graduation. I will use the skills I learned in the clinic and apply them to a higher caseload. The Association leads the country in training public defenders and is nationally known for having the best litigators. Philadelphia is one of the poorest cities in America, and its police force is known for corruption. Just recently, six Philadelphia officers were charged with fabricating evidence, stealing from people, and threatening people to ensure silence. Even with this evidence, most of the people these officers helped get convicted remain incarcerated. The Association works to protect the people of Philadelphia and bring down corrupt police.

In what ways did the school help with your job search and success?

I first interviewed for DAP at the Southeastern Minority Job Fair. At this fair, only students of participating law schools could attend, and W&L was a member. I received a call back for a second interview, and the Career Office introduced me to an alumna in Philadelphia who went above and beyond to help me, including offering her home when I came to interview and calling friends that she knew in the office on my behalf. My third and final interview focused on my participation in the Criminal Justice Clinic, and they loved hearing of a program that gave me an opportunity to get my feet wet.

Career Paths: Brandon Hicks ’15L

Brandon Hicks ’15L, from Charlotte, NC, is a graduate of North Carolina Central University. He is a student attorney in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Following graduation, he will join the Miami Public Defender’s office.

brandonhicks Career Paths: Brandon Hicks '15LBrandon Hicks ’15L

Why are you interested in a career in criminal law?

I am interested in a career in criminal law because the United States has a prison population that is disproportionately Black and poor. Forty-percent of the US prison population is African-American but African-Americans only represent 13% of the total U.S. population. I want to pursue a career in criminal law in order to fight for the rights of people who I believe are systematically targeted and unjustly sentenced.

What/who were your most influential classes/professors related to that interest?       

I enjoyed my criminal procedure course with J.D. King.  His course allowed for candid conversations about how race and class drive outcomes in the criminal justice system. I also enjoyed the advanced criminal law seminar taught by Dean Demleitner. Each week an AUSA, professor, or criminal law scholar would speak with the class about their career or research.

Where will you be working following graduation?

I will be working in Miami as public defender. I am excited to be able to represent a population I care deeply about.

In what ways did the school help with your job search and success?       

The Office of Career Strategy helped me by doing mock interviews with me. The office also helped by covering the cost of  transportation for my interview in Miami. I really appreciate the office’s  support.

Career Paths: Imani Hutty ’15L

Imani Hutty ’15L, from Philadelphia, PA, is a graduate of Temple University. He was a member of the Black Law Students Association Mock Trial team that won a national championship at the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial competition. Following graduation, he will work for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

imanihutty Career Paths: Imani Hutty '15LImani Hutty ’15L

Why are you interested in a career in criminal law?

I came to law school because I wanted to use my legal education to benefit my community. There is no doubt that criminal law impacts our communities and society on many different levels. I am attracted to prosecution because I believe that a prosecutor’s role is to ascertain the truth and seek justice. I hope to bring a fair and balanced perspective to the criminal justice system.

What/who were you most influential classes/professors related to that interest?  

My mock trial coach Professor Belmont helped me to cultivate a deeper understanding of the Federal Rules of Evidence. She also helped me to improve my advocacy skills as well as my courtroom presence. Additionally, it was my experience in Professor King’s Criminal Procedure and Evidence classes that were influential in helping me to decide to pursue a career in criminal law.

Where will you be working following graduation?

In September, I will join the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. I plan to focus on white-collar crimes and cyber crimes. I am excited to begin my legal career.

In what ways did the school help with your job search and success?

The Office of Career Strategy (OCS) assisted with my travel to attend the National Black Prosecutor’s Association Job Fair in Phoenix, Arizona last July. I interviewed with about eleven district attorney’s offices from all over the country. This gave me invaluable interviewing experience. I had my initial interview with the Manhattan DA’s Office there and developed a rapport with my interviewer. I believe this helped me standout from the thousands of applications that the office receives. I ended up interviewing with the Manhattan DA’s Office on four different occasions. I also interviewed with the Philadelphia, Bronx, and Long Island DA’s Offices on numerous occasions as well. OCS also provided invaluable financial assistance to aid my travels from Lexington to New York on the many trips that I took in the fall. The process was arduous, but with perseverance and OCS’s support, I was fortunate to receive an offer from District Attorney Vance shortly before Christmas.

Career Paths: Laura Iheanachor ’15L

Laura Iheanachor ’15L, from Wake Forest, NC, is a graduate of East Carolina University. She is a member of the Black Law Student’s Association Mock Trial team. Following graduation, she will work for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York.

iheanachor Career Paths: Laura Iheanachor '15LLaura Iheanachor ’15L

Why are you interested in a career in criminal law?

I have always had an interest in criminal law, but my interest did not grow into a career aspiration until after my 1L summer at the North Carolina Department of Justice.  While working there, I discovered that I did not want to be the type of lawyer who was confined to an office day in and day out.  At that point, I decided that I wanted a career that was litigation-based.  At the suggestion of a mentor who began her career as a prosecutor, I decided that for my 2L summer, I would apply to the Wake County District Attorney’s Office in Raleigh, North Carolina.  During my time as an intern, I completely fell in love with prosecution.  It was exciting, entertaining, frustrating, and challenging all at the same time.  I enjoyed being in a position to represent the state, seek justice for victims, and to reap the rewards of providing an essential public service.  It became my goal at that point to become a prosecutor and to change the way that non-lawyers view the function of the prosecutor, especially in the minority community.

What/who were you most influential classes/professors related to that interest?

What solidified my interest in criminal law did not come from any specific class, but more so from the countless hours spent with Professor Beth Belmont as part of W&L’s Black Law Student Association Mock Trial Team.  Professor Belmont did not just teach me the rules of evidence.  From her, I also learned how to be an effective, persuasive, and strategic litigator.  A lot of what goes into litigation is confidence, and with Professor Belmont’s help, I have become much more confident in my ability to be a great prosecutor.

Where will you be working following graduation?

In September of this year, I will be joining the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York as an Assistant District Attorney.  I am very excited to join this office under District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, who is changing the way in which the public views prosecutors nationwide.

In what ways did the school help with your job search and success?

The Office of Career Strategy played an important role in my job search and ultimate success.  In the spring of last year, three classmates and myself approached Dean Cliff Jarrett with the hope of securing funds to attend the Black Prosecutor Association Job Fair in Phoenix, Arizona.  Dean Jarrett was able to provide our air fare to the job fair, where I had my first interview with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.  Being able to attend that job fair, in my opinion, put me in a favorable position during the interview process.

Career Paths: Justin Bass ’15L

Justin Bass ’15L grew up in the New York City area and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the Sprint Football team, and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He is a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic at W&L Law. He was recently professionally recommended for a commission in the Navy JAG Corps.

justinbassprofile Career Paths: Justin Bass '15LJustin Bass ’15L

Why did you decide to pursue a career in JAG?  

I have always been drawn toward public service work, and a career in the military always appealed to me. After my first internship with the Navy, it became clear that the  military was an excellent professional fit for me. JAG Corps officers, generally, are not motivated by extrinsic gain, but by dedication to their job and their clients.

Have you had any externships or experiences at law school that pointed you in that direction?

While I always thought that I would do well in that sort of environment, it was not until I had experienced it as an intern after my 1L that I became certain of it. That summer I worked for the Navy JAG Corps in Washington, D.C. doing prosecution work. The next summer, I returned to work for the Navy in D.C., doing defense work.

Can you describe the application and interview process for JAG?  

Each branch has a different approach. The Army and Air Force have more conventional interviews, while the Navy uses a structured interview. Despite the disparate approaches, all branches want the applicant to demonstrate dedication to service, and ability to be flexible and adapt to different jobs and geographic areas.

Do you know where you will be placed and what sort of work you will be doing?

I am not yet sure where I will be, but all first-tour Navy judge-advocates go through a rotation of prosecution, defense, command services, and legal assistance work.

In what ways has your experience at W&L Law prepared you for JAG?  

JAG Corps attorneys have opportunities to work in all areas of law that the military might implicate. W&L requires a basic exposure in many of these areas, with Transnational Law and APLP. W&L further offers courses on the law of terrorism and the law of armed conflict, all of which give W&L alums a leg up over others without that background. Also, the opportunities we have to work with some of the most talented and respected criminal attorneys in the country prepares us exceedingly well to handle the duties of a first-tour judge advocate.

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Career Paths: Jenna Callahan ’15L

As a third year law student, Jenna Callahan is splitting time her last semester between Lexington, VA, and Washington D.C.  Jenna works for the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse Clinic on campus, defending inmates on death row.  She also serves as President of the Sports, Entertainment, & IP Law Society on campus.  On Thursdays and Fridays, Jenna interns with the United States Air Force in the Legal Aid Office.  She has recently received an offer to work as a Judge Advocate General upon graduation. She has been accepted into the JAG Corps for both the Army Active Duty and Reserves and Air Force Active Duty.

jennacallahanprofile Career Paths: Jenna Callahan '15LJenna Callahan ’15L

Why did you decide to pursue a career in JAG? Have you had any externships or experiences at law school that pointed you in that direction?

During my first year of law school, I was evaluating what field of law I might want to practice.  I was an athlete most of my life, playing baseball, softball, running, and doing gymnastics.  I really enjoyed the sports industry and thought Sports Law was fascinating, so I got involved with the Sports Society on campus.  As a result, I interned my first summer at ASA/USA Softball in Oklahoma City.  This was a phenomenal experience and I could certainly see myself continuing in that line of work.

Last year, however, my mother passed away and I began reevaluating my career goals.  I still really enjoyed the arena of athletics, but I wanted to make more of an immediate difference in my community.  Growing up, my mother spent her weekends volunteering as a nurse in New York City, and she taught me the importance of community service.  I have always devoted time in my life to public service because of her, and two particular experiences still really resonate with me today.  First, when I was in middle school, the Twin Towers fell a mere 30 miles from my house after the September 11th terrorist attacks.  I spent much of that year supporting families in my community.  My second experience was when I travelled to Guatemala to do human rights service in 2010.  My peers and I travelled to destitute areas to learn, teach citizens their rights, and help them obtain basic necessities.  Throughout these two experiences, I was able to see, both on a domestic and international scale, just how important it is that we fight to preserve the basic rights of citizens and ensure their safety.  I reminisced about these experiences after my mom’s passing and used this reflection period to refocus my goals after graduation.  It has been really important to me that I honor my mother and carry on her philanthropic spirit.

I first saw the JAG application process appear on Washington and Lee Law’s Symplicity website.  Once I began researching this opportunity, I could not believe I had not thought about JAG before.  Becoming a Judge Advocate General would allow me to serve my country, protect those I love, and practice law.  I would be able to travel and help many different people throughout the world.  It is also a field where an athletic background is appreciated, which is what initially attracted me to Sports Law.  Most importantly, joining the military would allow me to build a community for myself that I could call my family.  I poured most of fall semester into the JAG application process and received an offer of employment over Winter Break.

Describe the application and interview process for JAG. What was most interesting or surprising about that experience?  

The application process is much more extensive than the typical legal job application.  The application itself is somewhere near 20 pages, and it is absolutely not an application you can just throw together.  The first part asks you some basic personal information. You are then required to submit official undergraduate and law school transcripts, and describe in detail all extracurricular activities as well as past employment history you have had throughout your educational experience.  You are also asked about Bar exam plans, required to submit a resume, write a personal statement, reply to several short answer questions, and it is recommended you provide several letters of recommendation as well as a 10-page writing sample.

In addition to the paper application, each applicant must interview with a Field Screening Officer or Staff Judge Advocate depending on the branch.  This is where the Board receives a window into your personality and evaluates whether or not you are a good fit for the military.  This was my favorite part of the application process.  The individuals that interview you are very down-to-earth and informal, which I was not expecting.  They are kind and eager to answer any questions you may have.  If selected, these individuals also continue to support your throughout your commissioning process.

Do you know where you will be placed and what sort of work you will be doing? If not, what do you hope for?

I don’t have a clue at this point where I will be a year from now.  I am hoping to go somewhere warm in the United States or else live in Japan.  The wonderful thing about the military is there are plenty of opportunities to travel.

In what ways has your experience at W&L Law prepared you for JAG?  

Like with any field of law, the best preparation you can do for a legal career is to attend a great school.  Washington and Lee Law has provided me with a wonderful education.  My teachers have worked with me on an individualized basis and truly want to see me succeed.  I also believe that Lexington cultivates a very warm environment where it is easy to grow on a personal level.  I am very appreciative for my time here and plan to get the most out of my last semester.

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Career Paths: Ryan Redd ’15L

Ryan Redd is a third-year law student from Charlotte, NC. He is the President of the Student Bar Association and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. This semester, Ryan is working in the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, the school’s capital defense clinic. He was selected for active duty commission by both the Army and Air Force JAG Corps.

ryanreddprofile Career Paths: Ryan Redd '15LRyan Redd ’15L

Why did you decide to pursue a career in JAG?

I’ve always wanted to serve in the military at some point in my life. I grew up in a military town and my family has a history of service. When I first learned about the JAG Corps, it seemed like the perfect intersection between service and the practice of law. I am excited about having an active and engaging legal career that will require me to train, travel, and adapt to new challenges.

Have you had any externships or experiences at law school that pointed you in that direction? 

I did not intern or extern with any JAG offices. I did, however, work for the Federal Public Defender’s office in Alexandria, VA and some cases involved crimes committed on military bases or involving military personnel.

Describe the application and interview process for JAG. What was most interesting or surprising about that experience?  

The application process for JAG was very intensive and involved. For Army, I first applied for an on-campus interview with a screening officer named Major Berry. From there, I started the longer application that required basic background information, four letters of recommendation, a “motivational statement,” resume, photograph, official undergraduate, and law transcript. For Air Force, I interviewed with a Colonel at Andrews Air Force base after submitting my application. After the applications and interviews were complete, a selection board met to review the applications and results were announced in late December and January. I was surprised by the level of one-on-one support I received from my field screening officer. He took the time to review my final application materials and also wrote a statement on my behalf for the selection board.

Do you know where you will be placed and what sort of work you will be doing? If not, what do you hope for?

I don’t know where I’ll be placed or exactly what type of work I’ll do, but I hope to remain involved in criminal defense. I would also be interested in operational law. As far as location, I am open to going anywhere the military requires.

In what ways has your experience at W&L Law prepared you for JAG?​  

W&L Law has given me the opportunity to develop my leadership and lawyering skills simultaneously. A career as a JAG officer requires a commitment to service and honor, both of which are core aspects of the W&L Law community. Finally, the support of the W&L Law faculty  throughout my time here has prepared me for a career as a Judge Advocate.

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Robin Wood Receives Tradition of Excellence Award

Robert “Robin” C. Wood III, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1962, will receive the 2015 Tradition of Excellence Award from the Virginia State Bar’s General Practice Section.

The award recognizes a lawyer who embodies the highest tradition of personal and professional excellence and who has benefitted the community and enhanced the esteem of general practice attorneys in Virginia. Robin, who has been practicing law for more than 50 years, will receive his award on June 20 during the VSB annual meeting at Virginia Beach.

Robin has been an adjunct professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, teaching Virginia Law and Procedure. A former W&L Law student, John C. Johnson ’91L, of Roanoke, wrote in his nomination letter for this award: “He was one of the toughest professors I ever had in law school. So tough that after two weeks I elected to take it Pass/Fail. The joke was on me because he made us work so hard that I thought I would actually fail. … I refer to his course book several times a year. He is a scholar and a solid lawyer.”

Ronald A. Page Jr. ’05L, of Richmond, added, ” class was the most difficult, most interesting, and most useful class I took as part of my legal education…. class was a crucible where raw iron was transformed into steel. Mr. Wood’s students were enlightened and given such a practical understanding of Virginia procedure that passing the bar became a near certainty. To this day, I still have all of my written materials from that class and look back at them at least a couple times each year.”

Robin is a fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation; author of “Civil Procedure in Virginia, Virginia Law and Practice: a Handbook for Attorneys”; and a member of Order of the Coif at W&L School of Law. He is a former chair of the Boyd-Graves Conference, president of the Lynchburg Bar Association, chair of the Litigation Section of the Virginia State Bar and editor of its newsletter, and a member of the board of governors of the Virginia Bar Association. He was also an ACC football head referee from 1975 to 2001 and has served on many boards in the Lynchburg community, including the Chamber of Commerce, Lynchburg Fine Arts Center, Virginia Legal Aid Society, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lynchburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority and United Way.

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James Madison University Professor to Lecture at W&L on May 4

Tracy Lupher, professor of philosophy and religion at James Madison University, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on May 4 at 4:30 p.m. in Huntley 327.

The title of Lupher’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “Is Time Travel Possible?” His talk will consider philosophical views on time travel and its connections with relativity theory.

Lupher’s work focuses on the philosophy of physics along with related issues in the philosophy of science and metaphysics. He is also interested in logic, the philosophy of language and analytical philosophy.

He is the co-founder and co-director of the Logic and Reasoning Institute at J.M.U. which promotes the study of logic and reasoning. Lupher was the winner of the Clifton Memorial Prize for 2008 in the philosophy of physics.

Lupher has authored and coauthored articles on the philosophy and history of quantum field theory, causation and the implications of different logical frameworks. Selected publications include “Quantum Theory: Von Neumann vs. Dirac,” (2011), in “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy;” “A Logical Choice: The Role of Modal Logics in the Modal Ontological Argument,” (2011), in “Southwest Philosophy Review;” and “A Physical Critique of Physical Causation,” (2009), in “Humana Mente.”

Lupher received his B.A. in philosophy, his B.S. in physics, his B.S. in mathematics and his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. He also received his M.A. in history and philosophy of science from the University of Pittsburgh.
The Philosophy Department is sponsoring the lecture with the support of the Spring Term Course Enhancement Fund.

Sir Crispin Tickell to Lecture on Climate Change

Sir Crispin Tickell, a former British diplomat with particular interest in the relationship between the environment, politics and business, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on May 5, at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium in Leyburn Library.

The title of Tickell’s talk is “Climate Change: Should We Worry?” It is free and open to the public.

“Over the last 250 years human activities have accelerated change, with wide regional variations and multiple effects,” said Tickell. “It is already the subject of widespread debate, especially on future energy policy and management of changes in atmospheric chemistry, whether caused by humans or natural, sometimes catastrophic, events.”

In answer to the title of his talk, he said, “Yes, we should worry, and we should do something about it.”

Tickell served as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry responsible for Overseas Aid, and British Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, among other things. He was also warden (or president) of Green College, Oxford, and chancellor of the University of Kent. He is now on the Advisory Board of the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University.

He has connections with a number of universities in the United States, including Harvard, Columbia and Arizona State, where he is adviser at large to the president of the university. He has advised a wide range of governments and international agencies, and published extensively on environmental and related issues, especially climate change.

Tickell is the author of a classic on this topic, “Climate Change and World Affairs” (1977).

The lecture is sponsored by W&L’s Johnson Endowment and the Class of ’63, in cooperation with the Center for International Education.

A. Stevens Miles Jr., Rector Emeritus of Washington and Lee University, Dies at 85

A. Stevens Miles Jr., a rector emeritus and trustee emeritus of Washington and Lee University, died on April 29 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was 85. Miles served on the W&L Board of Trustees from 1988 to 1997, and as the rector of the board from 1990 to 1997. A banking executive, he was the retired president of National City Corp.

Miles graduated from W&L in 1951 with a B.A. in economics. He served as the president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and belonged to the Sigma Society. As an alumnus, he served on the area and national steering committees for the On the Shoulders of Giants capital campaign, and on his 50th reunion committee. The Louisville Alumni Chapter gave him the 250th Chapter Honoree Award in 1989, and the University inducted him as an honorary member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership fraternity, in 1994.

A generous benefactor of his alma mater, Miles supported the Class of 1951 Thomas K. Wolfe Jr. Distinguished Lectures Endowment and enhancements to the theater program and aquatics program. In 1991, he established the A. Stevens Miles Library Endowment at W&L. He also made a provision for the A. Stevens Miles Professorship in Banking and Finance.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, from 1951 to 1953. In 1964, he received a business degree from the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.

In 1954, Miles began his banking career with the First National Bank of Louisville. He was named president of the bank in 1972, and in 1974 was elected chief executive officer of the bank and its holding company, First Kentucky National Corp. In 1987, the holding company merged with National City Corp., in Cleveland, and Miles was elected president. He retired in 1990.

Chief among Miles’ many civic interests was the Boy Scouts. He served as president of the Kentucky Council for two terms and received the Silver Beaver award for his longtime service. He served as president of the Louisville Central Area downtown development organization, the Museum of History and Science and the Greater Louisville Fund for the Arts, to name just a few organizations that benefited from his involvement. He had been a trustee of the University of Kentucky and the president of the University of Kentucky Business School Foundation, and was an honorary member of Beta Gamma Sigma business fraternity. He was a former member of the board of overseers of the University of Louisville and a former trustee of the Diocese of Kentucky.

He also bred and raced Thoroughbreds. His horse Neck ‘N Neck was entered in a May 1 race at Churchill Downs.

Miles is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Miles Mitzlaff, a member of W&L’s Class of 1989, and her husband, Ted K. Mitzlaff; his wife, Dorothy L. Deane Miles; three grandchildren; and three stepchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Ann Berry Houston Miles; his son, Frank Houston Miles; and his second wife, Noel Parker McKissick.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, May 4, at 2:30 p.m., at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church, Harrods Creek, Kentucky. Visitation will follow at the church. The burial in Cave Hill Cemetery will be private.

You may read his obituary in the Louisville Courier-Journal.


Katherine Moss ‘15L Wins Oliver White Hill Pro Bono Award

The Virginia State Bar has named Washington and Lee University law student Katherine Moss, a member of the Law Class of 2015, as the recipient of the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award.

The Virginia State Bar created the award in 2002 to honor extraordinary law student achievement and commitment to uncompensated or minimally compensated pro bono work and public service. Ms. Moss is the fourth W&L Law student to win the award.

W&L nominated Ms. Moss to receive the award based on her extensive pro bono work in indigent criminal defense, and specifically indigent death penalty defense. During her three years in law school, Ms. Moss devoted over 1200 hours of pro bono service beyond her academic responsibilities and extracurricular activities.

Ms. Moss, originally from Normal, Illinois, graduated from the University of Southern California in 2009 with a B.A. in Philosophy. Ms. Moss began at W&L Law in the fall of 2012, and sought out opportunities to help under served populations from the very beginning of her law school career.

As a 1L, she assisted court-appointed attorneys in their representation of an indigent client facing the death penalty. After that case ended, she continued to help the attorneys with their representation of that client. Ms. Moss spent her first summer in an unpaid internship with the Office of the Public Defender in Alexandria, Virginia. There, she helped represent indigent clients facing felony charges.

During her second year of law school, Ms. Moss worked as a law clerk for court-appointed counsel on a murder trial. She also volunteered with the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, an organization that represents indigent clients in their death penalty appeals.

The following summer, Ms. Moss worked for ten weeks at the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR), assisting court-appointed attorneys with post-conviction proceedings for an indigent client who has been on Alabama’s death row since 1998. In the same summer, she worked for five weeks at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and two weeks with Gideon’s Promise, an organization dedicated to supporting public defenders and ensuring that indigent clients receive high quality legal representation.

In order to fund her second summer, the W&L Shepherd Poverty Program chose Ms. Moss as a Shepherd Scholar and awarded her a modest stipend. After exhausting the stipend, Ms. Moss continued her summer work uncompensated. She continued to work pro bono for the SCHR in her third year of law school, dedicating hundreds of hours to the organization during the academic year.

Also during her third year, Ms. Moss enrolled in two law school clinics at W&L, the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse Clinic (VC3) and the Criminal Justice Clinic (CJC). For VC3, Ms. Moss helps represent indigent defendants facing the death penalty at the trial level for both state and federal cases. For CJC, Ms. Moss provides direct representation as a student attorney to indigent clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges in both state and federal court. In addition, she enrolled in a third-year practicum course that involves teaching “street law” to local high school students through the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Program.

Ms. Moss also serves as Lead Articles Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, which recently published her Note. She participated in the W&L Mock Trial Competition, and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Group and the Women Law Students Organization.

After graduation, Ms. Moss will begin a two-year post-graduate E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center. Through that fellowship she will represent indigent clients in the local courts of the District of Columbia while pursuing an LL.M. degree in Advocacy at the Law Center’s graduate school. Georgetown awards this prestigious fellowship to only three recent law graduates each year.

The Virginia State Bar’s pro bono award is named in honor of Oliver White Hill, a life-long civil rights activist and attorney. He was one of five lawyers who argued the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Mr. Hill spent his childhood years in Roanoke, Virginia and started his law practice there in 1934. Among his many honors, in 2000 Mr. Hill received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Washington and Lee. He died at the age of 100 in August 2007.

In what may be a first ever school sweep of the Virginia State Bar’s Summer Access to Justice Awards, Jeremy P. White was named the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Legal Aid Award. Mr. White graduated from W&L Law in 2002 and is the managing attorney of the Lynchburg office of the Virginia Legal Aid Society.

The New Yorker Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff, to Speak at W&L

Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker, will give a public talk at Washington and Lee University on May 18, at 4:30 p.m. at Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

The title of Mankoff’s talk is “How About Never—Is Never Good For You?: My Life in Cartoons.” The talk is free and open to the public. Before the talk, there will be a book signing of Mankoff’s memoir, published in 2014.

During his lecture, Mankoff will talk about his memoir, The New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest (along with the W&L contest) and about freedom of expression in cartooning.

Mankoff has created a special cartoon caption contest for the May 18 lecture and is seeking caption submissions from the W&L community for the cartoon below:

Caption entries may be submitted via email to captionwlu@gmail.com and should include the submitter’s full name and affiliation with Washington and Lee (i.e. student, faculty, staff, alumnus, parent).

The deadline for entries is May 7, 2015, at noon. The winner will be announced during Mankoff’s talk and will receive a signed copy of his new memoir.

An accomplished cartoonist, Mankoff has been the cartoon editor of The New Yorker since 1997. In 1994, he began submitting his own cartoons and after 2,000 rejections, his first “idea drawing” was finally accepted and published. In 1980, he accepted a contract to contribute cartoons on a regular basis.

These days, Mankoff is mainly responsible for helping to select the 16 or 17 cartoons that will actually make it into print from the 1,000 cartoons the magazine receives each week..

Mankoff, also the founder of The Cartoon Bank, is the editor of “The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker,” (2006) which contains all 68,647 cartoons published in The New Yorker between 1925 and 2006. More than 900 of his cartoons have been published in The New Yorker over the past 20 years. He has edited dozens of other cartoon books and published four of his own. He appears frequently on network talk shows, cable TV networks and syndicated radio programs.

Mankoff’s presentation is in connection with a W&L Spring Term course, The Psychology of Humor. His visit is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, along with the Psychology and Journalism Departments.

W&L Law Student Wins Richmond Bar Business Law Writing Award

Ashley Waterbury, a third-year law student at Washington and Lee University, took first place in the 2015 Richmond Bar Association Business Law Section writing competition.

Waterbury won for her article exploring new profit sharing partnerships between hospitals and insurance companies designed to lower costs and improve health care. Waterbury argued that when such ventures are created, the lawyers involved should be mindful of potential conflicts of interest.

“Traditionally, hospitals seek to provide as much care as possible because they are paid by procedure,” said Waterbury. “Insurance companies on the other hand, want to limit the amount of procedures done and the costs of those procedures to keep premiums low. In order to ensure these joint ventures are successful, lawyers should create governance structures that mitigate conflicts of interest between the insurance companies and hospitals.”

One such solution, Waterbury wrote, is to include board members who are unaffiliated with the hospital or insurer involved in the joint venture.

Waterbury won a cash award for her practice note. She will also be recognized at the City of Richmond Bar Association’s Business Law Section annual dinner this May.

Waterbury, from McLean, Virginia, served as a student attorney in the Tax Clinic and as the executive editor of the Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment. She will be working as an associate with Wharton, Aldhizer & Weaver in Harrisonburg after law school.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito to Deliver Law Commencement Address

Shelley Moore Capito, U.S. Senator for West Virginia, will deliver this year’s commencement address during the 2015 graduation exercises at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 9 beginning at 11 a.m. The event is open to the public. A complete schedule of events is available at the commencement website.

Capito served as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates for four years and then represented the second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years before her election to the Senate in 2014. She is the first female U.S. senator in West Virginia’s history and was elected with the largest margin of victory for a Republican in state history.

In the Senate, Capito serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Rules and Administration Committee.

A lifelong West Virginian, Shelley was born in Glen Dale in the Northern Panhandle. She holds a B.S. in Zoology from Duke University and a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia.

Capito has strong connections to W&L. Her sons Charles ’07L and Moore ’11L, as well as her daughter-in-law Katherine (Brings) Capito ’11L, are graduates of W&L Law.

Shakespeare 2016! to Celebrate 400 Years of the Bard at W&L

Shakespeare 2016! a year-long celebration of William Shakespeare’s legacy, will be observed at Washington and Lee University with a full academic year of special events, performances, public lectures and courses at Washington and Lee University.

W&L’s array of special offerings kicks off this summer with a one-week alumni college course, Shakespeare’s Kings, July 12-17, and continues through May 2016. All events will be open to the public, many with free admission.

Two of the bard’s plays, as well as contemporary plays on Shakespearean themes, will be staged on campus. W&L’s Department of Theater, Dance and Film will produce “Love’s Labors Lost” in November, and in February, the renowned Actors From The London Stage will perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” during a week-long residency.

Productions of the comedy drama “Desdemona, A Play about a Handkerchief” in October, and the fictional confrontation between Shakespeare and his theater rival “Murdering Marlowe” in February are also in the plans.

Shakespeare-inspired dance, choral, instrumental and vocal performances throughout the year by university and touring professional groups will be complemented by public lectures by Shakespeare scholars, an art exhibition, and special programs at W&L alumni chapter programs around the country.

Chanticleer, the British ensemble described as “an orchestra of voices” who often perform songs of the Elizabethan period, will appear Oct. 27, followed by a themed concert by W&L’s Wind Ensemble in November; a student choreographed dance concert in December; music professors Greg Parker, baritone, and Tim Gaylard, piano, performing together in January; the University Singers presenting a set of Shakespearean songs in their March Winter Choral Concert; and an April University Orchestra concert.

Visiting Shakespeare scholars Jim Shapiro of Columbia University and Quentin Skinner will speak on campus in November and April, respectively. And, a soliloquy slam will be held in April. English and writing professors will offer five fall, three winter and two spring Shakespeare courses. Other professors will participate in a year-long film series presenting their favorite movie versions of Shakespeare’s plays.

Following is list of confirmed and planned Shakespeare 2016! activities at W&L to date:

  • July 12-17 — Shakespeare’s Kings. An alumni college one-week course, open to the public (fee charged)
  • Oct. 11-13 — “Desdemona, A Play about a Handkerchief,” comedy-drama by Paula Vogel
  • Oct. 27 — The Concert Guild presents Chanticleer, British vocal group
  • Nov. 3 — W&L Wind Ensemble concert (program to be announced)
  • Nov. 12-14 — Visiting scholar Jim Shapiro (public lecture to be announced)
  • Nov. 12-15 — “Love’s Labors Lost” by William Shakespeare
  • Dec. 9-11 — Student-choreographed dance concert
  • Jan. 24 — Recital: Greg Parker, baritone, and Tim Gaylard, piano
  • Feb. 4-6 — “Murdering Marlowe,” drama by Charles Marowitz
  • Feb. 15-21 — “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Williams Shakespeare, performed by Actors From The London Stage
  • March – Visiting scholar Katherine Maus (public lecture to be announced)
  • March 22 — Winter Choral Concert featuring Shakespearean music, University Singers
  • April-May — Special exhibition, Staniar Gallery
  • April 1-3 — Spring Dance Concert
  • April 2 — University Orchestra Concert (program to be announced)
  • April 4-8 — Visiting lecturer Quentin Skinner (public lecture to be announced)

United Nations Economic and Social Council Grants W&L Special Consultative Status

The United Nations Economic and Social Council has granted Washington and Lee University “special consultative status,” a prestigious designation granted to qualifying non-governmental organizations and only a select few academic institutions.

The recommendation for special consultative status was officially adopted April 8, 2015. Presently, only three other U.S. educational institutions, and less than 10 percent of non-governmental organizations, possess this special status.

Henok Gabisa, visiting doctoral fellow at W&L’s law school, oversaw the rigorous two-year application process and was on hand when the recommendation was made at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accreditation committee session earlier this year.

“The status allows W&L to participate and comment on the UN’s ECOSOC law and policy making process through research, position papers, reports, and issue briefs,” said Gabisa. “In special cases, the University can even use its status for interventions made on the floor during ECOSOC proceedings.”

The University was recommended by the ECOSOC accreditation committee based primarily on the law school’s work on rule of law and access to justice issues in developing countries. The school’s international law curriculum features a number of classes focused on legal aid and human rights, including on the ground work in Tanzania, Liberia, Palestine and with the UNODC’s Anti-corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD).

The recommendation was also influenced by the impact of W&L’s Transnational Law Institute for its role in fostering academic discussion and collaboration of key issues in international law through lectures by renowned scholars, academic exchanges and other events.

Speedy Rice, visiting professor of law who teaches many of the school’s practice-based international law classes, explained what the special status means for the University.

“Our past international human rights work and academics have been reviewed by the ECOSOC Committee and found to be supportive and in harmony with the UN’s Human Rights and Civil Society goals,” said Rice. “This Special Consultative Status accreditation will permit greater faculty and student involvement in the works of the many ECOSOC programs and in the ability to use important human rights works as valuable teaching tools with international recognition.”

Examples of projects the status allows include the presentation of “shadow reports” during the UN’s Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of countries where victims and local NGO’s often lack any voice to advocate for UN intervention. The status also allows the faculty to participate in expert working groups and to supervise students of W&L at UN ECOSOC conferences and other UN ECOSOC international events.

“Receiving this recognition is a significant accomplishment for our Law School and a reflection of the high caliber of faculty, students and programs at W&L,” said W&L Provost Daniel Wubah. “It also provides an opportunity for our institution to participate actively in transformative developmental programs that would contribute towards eradication of poverty and improved social justice.”

Spring Issue of Shenandoah Now Available

The spring issue of Shenandoah: the Washington and Lee University Review, Vol. 64, No. 2, is now available at shenandoahliterary.org.

Each issue of the journal contains short stories, flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, reviews and interviews and invites reader participation. It requires no subscription and is accessible to the public. All the artwork in this issue is by prize-winning Virginia painter Suzanne Stryk.

Highlights from this issue include an interview with Virginia poet Tim Seibles, short stories about camels and the military in the American West and a corrupt small-town sheriff’s personal crisis, as well as poems by Thomas Reiter, Daye Philipo (“Wild Turkeys”), Bobby Rogers (on Hank Williams), Jane Fuller’s experimental piece on a fastball pitcher turned fiddler, Philip Belcher’s lyric on blackbirds falling from the sky and a pair of blues villanelles by Tim Seibles.

The issue also offers essays on physical and moral courage and on contemporary poetry, as well as W&L Associate Provost Marc Conner’s review of Charles Johnson’s new book “Naming the Ox.” This issue’s Editor’s Note is a narrative following one Southerner’s road from the Rebel zealotry of a Georgia childhood to historical understanding and the symbolic meaning of Appomattox as a shrine of reconciliation.

Shenandoah also features brief interviews with current contributors, a Poem of the Week, Virginia Poet Laureate Ron Smith’s column “Updraft” and a mischievous and interactive blog addressing artistic and cultural topics of current interest, including commentary on film remakes, discussion of literary hoaxes and writers’ habits and pets.

For 60 years Shenandoah, founded by Washington and Lee University students, including Tom Wolfe, Cy Twombley and William Hoffman, was a print publication published either quarterly or three times a year. Now it appears on the Internet semiannually, featuring both nationally acclaimed writers and those still early in their careers.

The next submission period begins in October for the spring 2016 issue. The fall 2015 issue, a 20-year commemorative issue, goes online in November and will be made of a selection of poetry and prose from the past twenty years of the journal’s contents. It will include work by prize-winning authors Reynolds Price, Lee Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Brendan Galvin, Henry Taylor, Mary Oliver, Eavan Boland, Claudia Emerson, Maxine Kumin, Rita Dove, Jams Dickey and James Merrill,

Valdez Art Exhibit at W&L Draws Support from Across Campus

A new art exhibition in Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery, “The Strangest Fruit,” will feature the work of Vincent Valdez, a widely recognized Texas-based artist. The exhibition will feature his 2013 series of large-scale oil on canvas paintings inspired by the little-known history of the many Mexicans and Mexican Americans lynched in the U.S. Southwest between 1848 and 1928.

In addition to the April 27–May 29 exhibition, an opening reception and artist’s talk will be held April 29 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall. Valdez also will perform with his eight-piece band, Ollin, in a multi-media event, “The Strangest Fruit Radio Hour,” in Keller Theater at W&L’s Lenfest Center for the Arts on May 20 at 6 p.m. The performance will be streamed live online. Ollin’s many influences include Texas two-step, swing, cumbia, klezmer, Mexican and Irish fused folk rock and roll. All events are free and open to the public.

The title of the exhibition refers to the anti-lynching poem “Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol that was set to music and recorded by Billie Holliday in 1939. A complimentary bilingual Spanish/English catalogue is available at Staniar Gallery while supplies last.

The exhibition has received support from various university departments and organizations, as well as outside organizations, and is expected to attract students from across campus interested in art, history, culture, law and music. The project was organized by Clover Archer Lyle, director of the Staniar Gallery and Andrea Lepage, associate professor of art history at W&L.

Valdez presents Texas lynchings in a contemporary context by posing young modern Latino men against a stark white background as if they had been lynched, but with the noose erased. According to Valdez’s artist’s statement, “presenting this historical subject in a contemporary context enables me to present the noose both as a metaphor and to suggest that the threat of it still looms.” Valdez notes that the noose has been repackaged in more official ways such as stop and frisk policies, racial profiling and mass deportation.

“The series contains a powerful message and questions our ability to evolve as a nation without recognizing past discrimination and injustices,” observed Lepage. “You can stand in front of the paintings and appreciate them aesthetically, but there are also complex ideas to be drawn from the work.”

“I find the paintings both beautiful and disturbing at the same time,” added Archer Lyle. “This show combines art and history in a really impactful way and will give viewers a more textured sense of the story of the United States.” She also noted that bringing Valdez’ work to campus enables Staniar Gallery to continue its expansion as an important exhibition venue in the region.

Lepage’s spring term class ties in with the exhibition and is titled “Chicano and U.S. Latino Art and Muralism: From the Street to Staniar Gallery.” Her students will study closely a particular painting in the series and will have the opportunity to interview the artist. At the end of the term, the students will produce a gallery guide featuring their research, which will be available in time for graduation. “Staniar is a teaching gallery and this will be an incredible experience for the students,” noted Archer Lyle.

The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition was translated by students from W&L’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and includes two scholarly essays in addition to Lepage’s article. William D. Carrigan and Clive Webb, prominent scholars in the field, contributed “Mob Violence against Mexicans in the United States: ‘The Strangest Fruit’ in Historical Context.”

Civil rights attorney Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a New York-based civil rights organization, also contributed an article and was a recent speaker for the Mudd Center’s “Race and Justice in America” series. W&L’s Immigrant Rights Clinic and School of Law provided financial support for the exhibition catalogue and law students hosted a lunch and discussion session with Cartagena. “The various programming around this exhibition provides an array of entrances into the artwork for law students and undergraduates,” commented Archer Lyle. “It’s essential that an academic gallery promote diverse perspectives and conversations around any body of artwork on exhibit.”

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861 or visit the Staniar Gallery website and the artist’s website, vincentvaldezart.com/.

On-campus support for “The Strangest Fruit” came from Washington and Lee’s Pauline B. and Paul D. Pickens Endowment for the Performing Arts; The Roger Mudd Center for Ethics; Immigrant Rights Clinic; Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program; School of Law; Department of Music; Office of the Provost; Student Arts League; and Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies.

“The Strangest Fruit” was made possible by funding from The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2015 Reunion Celebration

On April 18 during Law Alumni Weekend 2015, Washington and Lee School of Law announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus/a Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Angelica Didier Light ’75L, a member of first class of women graduates at W&L Law, received the 2015 Outstanding Alumna Award for exceptional achievements in her career and unselfish service to her community and her alma mater.

Now retired, Light was the president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, a position she held with the foundation’s predecessor, The Norfolk Foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation assets and annual grants and scholarship distribution more than doubled to $244 million. In 2010, the foundation awarded more than $12.3 million in grants and scholarships.

During Light’s tenure, the community foundation has incubated Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads; established the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence in 2004; created ArtsMatch in 2003 and Charters Basic Needs Relief Program in 2008 in response to economic downturns; and merged The Norfolk Foundation and the Virginia Beach Foundation in 2010 to form the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

Before joining the foundation, Light was vice president, general counsel and secretary of Shenandoah Life Insurance Company in Roanoke, Va., and a general attorney for Norfolk Southern Corp. She received her undergraduate degree from Smith College.

William Toles ’92, ’95L received the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes those individuals who go above and beyond assisting the Law School. He has served W&L as President of the Law Council, Chair of the Law Annual Fund, Law Class Agent, member of the W&L Alumni Board, member of the W&L Dallas Alumni Chapter, and on numerous reunion committees, including his 20th reunion committee this weekend. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of W&L and the law school helping to recruit students and advise them in their career search and for that we are grateful.

Toles is a trial lawyer with extensive experience handling high exposure litigation. After trying more than 75 jury trials as an assistant Dallas city attorney, he joined a Dallas-area law firm in 1998 as a senior litigator and partner prior to coming to Fee Smith Sharp & Vitullo in 2012. He has handled more than 40 civil trials to a successful conclusion and jury verdict. Toles has trial experience throughout the state of Texas in tort litigation ranging from simple negligence cases to more complex premises liability, DTPA, commercial and contractual dispute matters.

During the awards ceremony on Saturday, the reunion classes presented a collective gift of $3.5 million to law dean Nora Demleitner. This included gifts to establish the Class of 80L Law Scholarship and the Brian W. Robinson 90L Law Scholarship, as well as gifts to the Law Annual Fund and the renovation of Lewis Hall.

Also honored during Law Alumni Weekend was long-time law school employee Darlene Moore, who retired last year after 39 years at W&L Law. The Law Council, the governing board of the Law Alumni Association (LAA), passed a unanimous resolution making Moore an honorary member the LAA.

W&L to Host Screening of Film “1913: Seeds of Conflict” on April 28

Director Ben Loeterman will visit Washington and Lee University to screen his new documentary film, “1913: Seeds of Conflict,” on Tuesday, April 28, at 5 p.m. in the Hillel House multipurpose room. The event is free and open to the public.

Loeterman uses previously unavailable documents to shed light on pre-World War I Palestine and the region’s divergent social forces that contributed to the simultaneous rise in Jewish and Arab nationalism.

“1913: Seeds of Conflict” explores the little-known history of Palestine during the latter part of the Ottoman Empire, a time of relative harmony between Arabs and Jews. By weaving together Arab and Jewish narratives, Loeterman shows viewers how a series of dramatic events shaped the region and contributed to a century of unrest.

The screening is sponsored by Hillel and the departments of politics, history and religion. Visit: http://1913seedsofconflict.com for more information on the film.

Hallowed Hills of Augusta

Father’s Day is still a long ways off, but Jon Carras, a producer at CBS’ “Sunday Morning” and a frequent participant in Washington and Lee University’s Media Ethics programs, has written a touching piece for The Huffington Post about his father, George, who was W&L’s director of corporate and foundation relations.

Jon’s story focuses on a cherished tradition—watching the Masters golf tournament on T.V. with his dad. He writes, “For many years, we watched together, taking in the tranquil beauty of Augusta National Golf Course and listening to the birds chirp and announcers speak in hushed tones as the world’s best golfers walked the lush fairways and greens that are nestled among the Georgia Pine trees. We imagined sitting together at Amen Corner—the famed three-hole intersection that’s left golfers weeping tears of both jubilation and pain. I always vowed that one day, I’d take my father to the Masters and sit at Amen Corner. But to do that, I needed more than a few prayers answered along the way.”

George, who retired from W&L in 2011, suffers from a rare degenerative nerve and brain disease that is slowly crippling his body. “I’ve struggled immensely with how to cope with the fact that no doctor can help him,” Jon said. “It’s so painful to watch your hero—someone so invincible to you—struggle so mightily.”

In 2014, Jon made hotel reservations and managed to secure tickets to the famed tournament. “As a television producer, I wanted to ‘produce’ a Masters experience that would take him back to why he fell in love with the golf tournament 50 years earlier.”

It was a highly successful trip. George, using his electric scooter, rode around on the course, saw Tiger Woods and watched Masters legends Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player start the proceedings with ceremonial tee shots. “We talked about life, family, sports and on and on.” Jon added, “The man who taught me about the hallowed hills of Augusta when I was a boy was home. And I was with him. Just as we’d always hoped.”

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W&L's Franck Named to Leadership Positions with International Organizations

Prof. Susan Franck, professor of law at Washington and Lee University, has been named to the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law (ASIL).

ASIL’s mission is to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice. The organization’s officers and council members are elected by members and include a who’s who of international law.

“It is an honor to serve on the Executive Council,” said Franck, who began working with ASIL when she was a young practitioner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, DC after being encouraged, both by practitioners and scholars, to participate in the organization. She has served on several ASIL committees and notably served as the co-chair of the International Economic Law Interest Group.

“Over time, I have been privileged to serve ASIL and its members in different capacities, and I have always been impressed with how ASIL seamlessly integrates theory and practice to make international law an integral part of the modern practice of law.

The Executive Council is made up of 24 members, nine officers, and four honorary officers. The Council has charge over the general interests of the Society, whose 4,000 members from nearly 100 nations include attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and nongovernmental organizations, and international civil servants. The Council oversees adoption of regulations, appropriation of money, issuance of publications, formation of committees, and more.

Franck is also chair-elect of the Academic Council for the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA). She currently serves as vice-chair and will assume her new leadership role this June. The Academic Council is made up of the top academics in the field of international. Key projects of the ITA Academic Council include the preparation of programs, publications and education videos, along with organizing the joint ITA-ASIL annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Franck joined the W&L faculty in 2008. Her teaching and scholarship relates to international economic law and dispute resolution. She has presented her research to major government and international organizations including the U.S. Dept. of State, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the International American Development Bank (IADB), the International Centre for Settlement if Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the United Nations Commission on Trade and Investment (UNCTAD).

Franck’s current empirical research into factors that impact outcomes in investment treaty arbitration and dispute resolution has garnered significant attention and was featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article detailing controversy over President Obama’s international trade agenda. In 2014, Franck was elected the American Law Institute, the most prestigious law reform body in the U.S.

Before entering the legal academy, Franck practiced in the area of international economic dispute resolution on both sides of the Atlantic. From 1999-2001, Professor Franck was an associate in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering’s International Group in Washington, D.C. where she was involved with various proceedings, including international trade disputes, commercial litigation regarding defaulted sovereign debt and one of the first investment treaty arbitrations against the Czech Republic. From 2002-2004, Professor Franck was a senior associate in the International Arbitration Group at Allen & Overy in London, England, where she represented investors and sovereign states in arbitrations involving breaches of investment treaties and underlying commercial agreements.

Franck received her B.A., summa cum laude, in Psychology and Political Science from Macalester College in 1993 and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 1998. Professor Franck received a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Grant to study international dispute resolution at the University of London where she received an LL.M. with merit.

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Student-Managed Investment Fund Gets $4.5 Million Infusion, Recognizing Strong Returns

Washington and Lee University’s Investment Committee recently voted to turn over the management of an additional $4.5 million of endowment funds to the Williams Investment Society, a student-managed investment fund.

The Williams Investment Society now manages some $10.25 million of the university’s endowment, making it one of the largest student-managed investment funds in the United States and the largest of any liberal arts college.

“WIS and the Board of Trustees have provided a wonderful educational opportunity for students through this form of experiential learning,” said Larry Peppers, Crawford Family Dean of W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics.

The society was founded in 1998 with the allocation of $1 million of the university’s endowment to the student-run group. In a decade and a half, by investing in equities securities, it doubled W&L’s money. In 2014, the Investment Committee allocated an additional $3 million to management by the students.

Since April 2014, the group’s investments had earned an additional $750,000, bringing its total managed assets to $5.6 million. As a response to the consistently high rate of return, the board allocated an additional $4.5 million of endowment funding.

The student fund’s portfolio covers nine sectors: basic materials, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, healthcare, industrials, technology, and utilities and telecommunications. Members are assigned to a sector and do extensive research on both the sector and individual companies within it.

At meetings, which take place during lunch hours, the student members give presentations on stocks they believe the society should buy or sell, and the group votes. The society has a policy that it will not hold more than five percent of its portfolio in a single stock.

The society currently owns more than 40 stocks. Top holdings include The Walt Disney Co., Gilead Sciences, Visa Inc., Zimmer Holdings and Pfizer Inc. The average size of a single stock position is more than $160,000.

Because membership in the Williams Investment Society is limited to 40 members, admission is extremely competitive. First-year students are rarely accepted, and each year only a quarter of applicants are accepted. Experience shows the benefits of membership are significant — student members get real-world investing experience and the opportunity to network with alumni in the finance industry. Most students who participate are recruited for Wall Street jobs before graduation.

Close to 300 universities in the United States have student-run investment funds. In 2009, the median value of student-managed funds was $460,000, according to a study in the academic journal Business Education & Accreditation. In a 2007 survey of 289 schools with student-managed investment funds, only six managed more than $10 million, and all were at large research universities, such as Ohio State and Minnesota. Washington and Lee, by contrast, has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,800 students and no graduate business program.

The Williams Investment Society is advised by business administration professor Adam Schwartz. This year, the group is led by three seniors, executive director James Emanuelson of Dallas, Texas, and director Kiril Krendov of Sofia, Bulgaria, and Brian Krouskos of Alpharetta, Georgia. The three will work as interns this summer at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, respectively.

The Call of the Wild

When an article in the Vineyard Gazette announced that the Hon. H. Gregory Williams, a 1977 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, was retiring from the Edgartown (Massachusetts) district court, the online responses poured in. One reader wrote, “Herpetologist to English major to judge to wildlife sanctuary volunteer — an excellent career path! Churchill, Auden, Berryman and the World War I poets — great taste! And apparently, a true child of the 60s, still ‘On the Road.’ If Judge Williams finds the time and inclination to pen an autobiography, I’ll buy one. Congratulations, and very best wishes.”

A legal career didn’t seem a very likely choice for an English major, who also did graduate work in 20th-century British literature, but when he couldn’t find a job, he decided to attend law school. Greg spent close to 20 years in private practice in western Massachusetts and three years working in the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. He was appointed to the bench in 1999, serving first in Springfield and later Martha’s Vineyard, in 2005. Off the Vineyard, Greg has presided in Falmouth, Barnstable, Orleans, Plymouth, New Bedford, Wareham, Fall River and that other island court, Nantucket.

While he didn’t have to deal with gang-related activity in Martha’s Vineyard, Greg noted that he had his fair share of DUIs, probation issues and domestic violence. “Throughout other parts of the commonwealth, I run into my colleagues or other people and they think ‘Oh, Martha’s Vineyard, there’s nothing going on there. What is it, a couple of OUI (operating a vehicle under the influence) cases in the summer from tourists,’ that sort of thing.

“I try to educate people that no, the Vineyard’s not immune to all of the problems that everyone faces everywhere,” he said.

Now, however, it will be someone else’s problem. You can find him at the wildlife sanctuary.


Mark Eastham ’84 Stuart Hall School, Staunton, VA

Eastham-Mark-800x533 Mark Eastham '84

As a student assistant for the Washington and Lee Office of University Development, Mark Eastham ’84 spent a lot of time delivering correspondence between offices around campus — most memorably to the office of President Robert E. R.  Huntley ’50, ’57L.

“President Huntley exuded leadership, and he was always the consummate gentleman,” said Eastham, “something I began to aspire to.” Eastham, now head of school at Stuart Hall School in Staunton, Virginia, said that because he visited practically every office on campus, he had a bird’s-eye view into the inner workings of the University, which has helped him in his current role. “I really believe that no opportunity in life is wasted.”

Eastham, who also holds a master of education degree from the University of Virginia, graduated from W&L with a degree in journalism and a teaching certificate, but he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do. One day following graduation, his parents received a call from John Jennings, professor of journalism at W&L, who wanted to pass along a job tip. They put him in touch with Eastham, and Jennings encouraged him to apply for a position as director of publications at Episcopal High School, in Alexandria, Virginia.

He got the job, and his life’s career in independent school leadership began. “I am forever grateful to Dr. Jennings for going above and beyond like that for me,” said Eastham. “That one small act of kindness changed the course of my life and serves as a model for how I interact with my students today.”

That position led to his next career opportunity, as annual fund director at Episcopal. He then was promoted to associate director of development. He credits the W&L alumni and development staff — especially Farris Hotchkiss, Jim Farrar Sr. and Carter McNeese — with helping him understand the importance of development and becoming “a life-long donor.” From interacting with those mentors, he learned that all employees of a university or school, not just those who teach, have an impact on students.

Eastham’s next opportunity came at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, Virginia, where he worked as assistant headmaster and director of development. During his five years there, he ran a successful capital campaign to fund a new dining hall and science building.

His daughter was a student at nearby Aylett Country Day School, and officials there sought him out as their headmaster, a job he held for the next four years.

Now head of school at Stuart Hall, Eastham is putting together all the pieces of his education and experience to move the school forward in some dramatic ways. Founded more than 170 years ago, the one-time girls’ boarding school faced the need to change in order to survive. One of the most significant changes occurred under Eastham’s leadership in 2007, when the school merged with Hunter McGuire School in Verona, just north of Staunton, making Stuart Hall a PreK–12, coed institution. Last year, boys were added to the boarding program, and the school now serves more than 70 boarders from around the world and 240 students from throughout the Shenandoah Valley.

A newly funded endowment, a balanced budget, facilities upgrades and new programming, including a math-science emphasis program, are other advances he has overseen. “We’re a much stronger and more sustainable school now,” said Eastham. “We’re proud of our growth.”

The school also partners with nearby Mary Baldwin College and James Madison University and has an ongoing relationship with Washington and Lee. W&L Vice President for Advancement Dennis Cross and Provost Daniel Wubah both serve on the school’s board and have had children attend the school. “It is as if things have come full circle for me and my relationship with Washington and Lee,” Eastham said.

Seeing the students every day motivates Eastham to keep the school moving. “Even on a hard day, I can walk out of my office and see why I do what I do,” he said. “There is never a day that I don’t want to come to school. Interacting with the students is phenomenal.”

Eastham’s wife, Kathy, attended all four Fancy Dress Balls at W&L with him. They now have two daughters: Katherine, who graduated from Stuart Hall and Virginia Tech and works in Richmond, and Caroline, a sophomore at Stuart Hall. The family is active in their church and community, and Eastham spends a lot of time traveling to visit Stuart Hall alumni. He is a former member of the board of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.

All those years after interacting with President Huntley (who has two grandsons attending Stuart Hall and two daughters who work there), Eastham is now living his dream and passing along the values he learned at W&L. “Everyone at W&L had such high standards. They asked so much of me, especially to think critically, to express myself clearly and to care deeply.” That’s exactly what he wants for his students at Stuart Hall.

– by Linda Evans

W&L Law Releases New Employment Report

Washington and Lee University’s School of Law is reporting a significant increase in employment rates for its class of 2014.

Data from the Office of Career Strategy show a one-year increase of 11 percent and an increase of 18 percent over two years ago.

According to the report, almost 75 percent of the class of 2014 has secured a full-time, long-term job that either requires a J.D. degree or for which a J.D. degree is preferred. The report measures employment 10 months after graduation.

For comparison, the employment rates in these categories for the classes of 2013 and 2012 were 63.6 percent and 56.9 percent, respectively.

The overall employment rate for the class, including all employment types, is almost 83 percent. When students getting LL.M. degrees and one student with a deferred start date are included, more than 88 percent of the class are working or in graduate school.

Cliff Jarrett ’91L, assistant dean for career strategy, believes a number of factors explain the significant improvement in employment outcomes in recent years.

“First, I credit our students with hard work and commitment to their job searches,” says Jarrett. “Students entering law school in recent years are well aware of the challenges in the legal market, and our students have risen to that challenge by following through on the things, big and small, that lead to great employment opportunities.”

Nora Demleitner, the dean of the law school, also gives credit to a shift in strategy within the career office.

“Cliff Jarrett, who joined us from the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa after a distinguished career as a partner in a law firm, has moved toward an executive search model to help law students find jobs,” says Demleitner. “The change has been exceptionally well received by both our students and the legal employment market.”

Jarret adds “The investment that our office, our faculty and our alumni have made in counseling and matching students with employment opportunities is making a real difference. This individualized approach for both employers and students is consistent with the history and mission of W&L Law and is one of the many advantages of our size.”

The employment report, available online, was prepared in accordance with requirements of the American Bar Association and includes summary data about the employment status of the 127 graduates in the class of 2014.

The report shows graduates working in a diverse and balanced range of jobs. Approximately 12 percent are in large law firms of over 500 lawyers, 11 percent are in firms with 26 to 500 lawyers, and roughly 13 percent are in small firms of 2-25 lawyers. About 12 percent are working in government, 8 percent in business or industry, and 5 percent in public interest jobs such as legal aid offices.

(Related: Where W&L Law Students Are Working (PDF Document)

One particular area of strength for W&L Law has always been placement in federal and state clerkships, and this remains the case for the class of 2014. More than 13% of the class is in a clerkship, including placements in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, seven federal district courts and the Michigan Supreme Court.

The top four geographic areas for employment are Virginia, New York, the District of Columbia and California. The law school funded only one long-term, full-time position for the class. This funding went to a student who is the law clerk for the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.

Jarrett says the employment outlook for the Class of 2015, the current third-year class, is equally strong. Over 57 percent of the class has already secured long-term, full-time J.D. required or J.D. advantage jobs, a month before graduation. These are the job types that the ABA has identified as the most desirable employment outcomes for students, though many students seek jobs beyond these criteria based on their career objectives.

“Our students continue to excel in finding the work they want, where they want to be,” says Jarrett. “With the continued involvement of our faculty, alumni and administration, we are optimistic that this upward trend in employment will continue.”

(Related: Students report on employment success in criminal law, judicial clerkships, and the JAG Corps)

Mary Childs '08 to Receive a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award

Mary Childs, a 2008 journalism graduate of Washington and Lee University, will be honored with a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award (TDIA) on April 24 as part of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

The TDIA celebrates those whose ideas have broken the mold to create significant impact. TDIA showcases applications of disruptive innovation, which has spread far beyond the original technological and industrial realms into the fields of health care, education, international development, politics and advocacy, media, the arts and entertainment. Other 2015 honorees include Airbnb, Shane Smith, Jake Burton, Rent The Runway, and Girls Who Code.

Childs joined Bloomberg News in 2009 and reports on the world’s biggest asset managers in print, on television and on radio. She previously covered corporate bonds and derivatives, and in April 2012, she and a team were the first to break the story of the JPMorgan London Whale, a trader who lost the bank more than $6 billion on bad derivative positions. For that work, she and her team were finalists for a Gerald Loeb Award in 2013.

Before joining Bloomberg, Childs spent a year traveling the world painting portraits on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a grant for independent study outside the U.S. While at W&L, she spent a year at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi and wrote an honors thesis on the use and significance of sting operations in media in India and the U.S.

Childs, a native of Richmond, Virginia, volunteers for the News Literacy Project, and continues to paint and draw.

Washington and Lee senior to publish article in “Business Horizons”

Al Organ ’15, an accounting and business administration major and philosophy minor, will publish an article in the journal “Business Horizons” this summer. Organ worked with Raquel Alexander, associate professor of accounting and newly appointed associate dean of the Williams School, on an independent study that looked at tax incentives for businesses. The pair used Tesla Motors’ recent deal in Nevada as a case study.

To lure new companies, states put together generous incentive packages that include substantial tax breaks. The assumption is that the jobs the company creates and the money the company invests in infrastructure will outweigh what the state forfeits in tax revenue. Tesla’s deal with Nevada was an incentive package worth about $1.3 billion. Forecasters predicted that Tesla would create 6,500 new jobs and increase Nevada’s economic output by $100 billion over the next 20 years.

After researching the emergence and growth of tax incentive packages such as Tesla’s, Organ and Alexander found that state governments rarely review their tax incentive programs to confirm that the deals are actually stimulating economic growth for their states. In fact, only a few states have laws that require regular reviews of the deals they make with businesses.

“Working on this independent study was a great experience for me because it opened me up to the other side of academia. I have learned a lot from my coursework at W&L, but it was a great experience to research things outside of the classroom that still applied to my field of study,” Organ said.

In the article, Organ and Alexander give advice to business leaders who want to maximize incentive deals. They urge them to be realistic about the economic stimulus they can confidently promise states.

“One of the great things about teaching at W&L is the ability to mentor undergraduate research,” said Alexander. “Al is an excellent researcher and I was pleased that his efforts led to a publication in a leading business academic journal.”

A varsity soccer player and member of the Contact Committee and Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Organ will work for Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, NC as an analyst after graduation.

Betsy Brown ’96 and Cory Allison ’94 The Jump Fund, Chattanooga, TN

brown-allison-800x533 Betsy Brown '96 and Cory Allison '94Cory Allison ’94 (left) and Betsy Brown ’96 (right)

Betsy Brown ’96 spent the past 18 years in the financial services industry. Cory Allison ’94 progressed through several corporate and university jobs before following her passion as an entrepreneur.

Now as two of six partners in Chattanooga-based The Jump Fund, the Southeast’s only female-focused angel investing fund, they are tapping the resources of female investors and providing capital to female-led start-up companies. The companies must be female-led or co-founded or a female must have a C-level title, but otherwise, the partners are looking for gender-diverse teams with significant growth potential.

“We understand that the playing field for female entrepreneurs is not yet developed. This issue simply cannot be solved through nonprofit support or networks,” said Brown. “We understand we have to bring a valuable resource to the table: capital.”

Begun in 2012, The Jump Fund has invested in seven businesses, for which it receives an equity stake. In making investment decisions, the partners “consistently look at the team, or if it’s a solo venture, her past history,” said Allison. “It’s all about potential. We look for someone who is a great leader and visionary who can execute – that’s where the value is.”

Both Brown and Allison have full-time jobs aside from The Jump Fund. Brown is vice president and trust officer at Cumberland Trust, where she provides families with a range of trust services and legacy plans. Previously, she worked with JPMorgan Private Bank and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, where she gained considerable transaction- and relationship-management experience.

Allison is CEO of Iron Gaming, a start-up company developing a gamified ranking and scoring application for video gamers and providing online and live tournaments for competitive e-sports players. She said it was a consulting job with Iron Gaming that led to her job with the company, where she was recently promoted from chief operating officer to CEO.

Allison said she loved gaming as a girl, especially Ms. PacMan, Donkey Kong and the various Game Boy games. “It was unusual for a girl to love these games,” she said. When the opportunity came to work for a gaming company, however, she researched the industry thoroughly before deciding to join the executive staff.

Allison cites professors Tyler Lorig and Nancy Margand, along with counseling center director James Worth as big influences on her decision to major in psychology. As she progressed through the major, “I saw the value to society of what psychologists do.”

At Georgia State, she switched gears and followed her love of technology, earning an M.B.A. in information systems. She then worked for several companies, but remembers one that really challenged her by requiring her to figure things out for herself. “It was the best lesson, leaving me confident and not scared of anything,” she said.

After marrying Evan Allison ’93, an attorney with Miller & Martin P.L.L.C., the couple moved to Chattanooga. While expecting their first child, Allison often drove back to Atlanta to find the kinds of quality baby items she wanted to decorate the nursery. Her entrepreneurial gene kicked in, and she opened a boutique baby store, Wiggle Worm. She ran the store and helped decorate the nurseries of Chattanooga families, before eventually selling the business and opening Cory Allison Consulting.

Brown double majored in business administration and Asian studies. Professor Linda Hooks, who taught Money and Banking, was an inspiration to her. “She spent time at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. It was so compelling to hear about her experiences. This encouraged me to interview with several banks while a senior at W&L and start in the training program at SunTrust Bank,” Brown said.

Although their time overlapped at W&L, Brown and Allison didn’t know each other very well. They both went to Georgia State for M.B.A.s, but at different times, and they both moved to Chattanooga, which is Brown’s hometown. They reconnected while raising their young children and now as partners of The Jump Fund.

Since Allison is a W&L alum, “I immediately had a certain level of trust and connection with her,” said Brown. That has led to a high level of engagement and collaboration between the two.

Brown and Allison both said that same level of trust is evident whenever they cross paths with a W&L graduate. Brown said she “can pick up the phone and mention W&L, and people immediately respond.” Allison experienced it at Iron Gaming, where one of her most prominent investors and supporters is Lex Tarumianz ’69, L’72.

Allison, who is Korean-American, said she values the diversity she sees at W&L. She says she and other graduates “love that school down to the core.” The University’s Honor System taught her deep down to trust the world. “It is refreshing, and the only way to live — being honest with yourself and others.” Brown said her W&L experience helped her establish three guiding principles: maintain personal integrity above all else, take initiative and embrace the support of mentors.

As the two move through this phase of their lives, balancing family and demanding careers, they are motivated to pass along what they have learned. Allison, who now has two children, and Brown, with three children, hope that there will be fewer gender issues as their children grow up. They want them each to be able to do what they are passionate about without the fear of a gender stereotype.

In Depth: The Many Faces of Bonner

W&L’s Bonner Scholars complete 1800 hours of service and leadership training based on their career, educational, and service interests during their four years at W&L. Meet some of our graduating scholars and hear their stories.


First Mellon Faculty Seminar to Focus on Human Rights in Africa

The first Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Seminar, titled “Human Rights in Africa: A Transdisciplinary Approach,” will take place during the 2015-16 academic year at Washington and Lee University.

The faculty seminars are funded through a $577,000 grant W&L received in 2013 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support W&L’s strategic initiative in global learning and enhance the quality of programs and projects in international education. The faculty seminars, one of three areas the grant supports, will focus on a particular issue that can be examined from a variety of perspectives.

“Human Rights in Africa” will include contributions from six W&L faculty members representing the College, the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics, and the School of Law–Mohamed Kamara, associate professor of French; Dayo Abah, associate professor of journalism; John Lambeth, associate professor of Romance Languages; T. J. Tallie, assistant professor of African history; Tyler Dickovick, Grigsby Term Associate Professor of Politics; and Henok Gabisa, visiting doctoral fellow at the School of Law. They will work with students and visiting scholars to explore two main topics: women’s, gender and LGBT rights, and migrations, causes and fallout. The faculty will teach three courses in those areas, and student work from these courses and the seminar will be published in special editions of undergraduate and law journals.

Highlights of the seminar will include two symposia, a series of book colloquia and an African film series.

“This interdisciplinary seminar will draw from our faculty’s existing teaching and research interests and expertise, but will equally strengthen them by inspiring new ways of thinking about or approaching them,” said Kamara. “It is our hope that the activities we plan and the conversations that will ensue therefrom will enrich our understanding of the human rights challenges facing Africa today.”

He added, “In keeping with W&L’s mission to graduate students prepared for ‘engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society,’ the faculty seminar seeks to benefit from and build upon a track record of interest in global learning and exchange at Washington and Lee.”

A second Mellon Faculty Seminar will be held during the 2016-17 academic year. Information about guidelines and application can be found online.

Cover photo by hdptcar

W&L Receives Major Collection of Images on Anniversary of Lee's Surrender at Appomattox

Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, Washington and Lee University has received the gift of a rare collection of 29 vintage prints and original graphics depicting the historic event. It is arguably the most comprehensive collection of such images — all of immaculate museum quality and including two original works by artists of the period.

James and Mary Holland, of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, collectors and scholars, gifted the “James Clarence and Mary Griset Holland Collection” to Washington and Lee without restrictions, except that the University make it available as a study collection and occasionally exhibit it.

One of the original works in the collection was described as a national treasure by Thomas Camden, associate professor and head of Special Collections at W&L. It is a watercolor by Benjamin West Clinedinst (1859–1931) of a crucial moment in the discussions, when Grant was writing down the terms of surrender; it captures the deeply pensive state of mind of both Lee and his aide-de-camp Lt. Col. Charles Marshall. The evocative painting was created 32 years after the event to illustrate “Campaigning with Grant,” the 1897 military memoir of Grant’s aide, Lt. Col. Horace Porter. “Lee is depicted in momentary isolation with thoughts that he would take to his grave. It is impossible to recall another passage of American history charged with comparable drama,” said James Holland.

The painting appeared in two other publications, but then disappeared from public view for more than a century. “I discovered this precious masterpiece in a large, crowded bin in a shop in New York 50 years ago,” recalled Holland. The painting is part of a current exhibit, “Lee in the Field,” in W&L’s Lee Chapel Museum, which is free and open to the public.

The prints in the collection were created by Northern printmakers to celebrate the victory of the Union Army. Holland observed that many of the prints nevertheless depict Robert E. Lee as more attentive than Grant in his thoughtful, dignified submission to the inevitable.

The other original work in the collection is a pen-and-ink drawing by Hughson Hawley (1850–1936) of the small village of Appomattox Court House, as it looked in April 1865. “The fact that the original courthouse there perished in flames in 1892 adds to its importance,” said Holland. “We wanted this collection to be in a place associated with Lee’s life, and his work in expanding what is now Washington and Lee University into a fine institution,” he continued.

“These works of art are extraordinary, and this is a very generous gift that the University greatly appreciates,” said Camden. “It is important to note that the surrender at Appomattox was an American event, not a North-South event. While it marked the end of a bitter struggle, it also marked the beginning of a massive reconciliation effort that is still ongoing today.”

Annual Tom Wolfe Lecture/Seminar Features Award-winning Novelist Jesmyn Ward

Award-winning novelist Jesmyn Ward, the Paul and Debra Gibbons Professor of Creative Writing at Tulane University, will present the keynote address at Washington and Lee University’s annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar, “Memory and Imagination: Salvaging the News in ‘Salvage the Bones’ ” on April 10, at 4:00 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

The title of Ward’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Memory and Imagination in ‘Salvage the Bones.’ “

Ward’s novel “Salvage the Bones” won the 2011 National Award for Fiction and was honored with the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Her work has been called “fearless and toughly lyrical” by The Library Journal.

Other works by Ward include her much-admired first novel, “Where the Line Bleed,” and a recent memoir, “Men We Reaped,” for which she won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.

For Ward, her prose is personal. All three of her books, two novels and a memoir, are set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up. Her portrayals of young black men and women struggling to thrive in poverty-ravaged South during the time of natural disasters have been praised for their “graphic clarity” by The Boston Globe and “hugeness of heart” by O: The Oprah Magazine.

Set in the 12 days immediately after the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, “Salvage the Bones” is the story of four motherless children trying to protect their home and one another against unimaginable disruption. Drawing on her own experiences as a survivor of Katrina, Ward offers a troubling but ultimately empowering tale of familial bonds in the face of overwhelming circumstances.

Ward received her Ph.D. at Stanford and her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She won five Hopwood Awards at Michigan for her fiction, essays and drama. She held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University from 2008-2010, and served as the Grisham writer in residence at the University of Mississippi the following year.

Ward received the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award for “Where the Line Bleeds,” which was also a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and an Essence magazine Book Club Selection. It was also honored by the Black Caucus of the National Book Award.

The annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar is sponsored by Washington and Lee’s Class of 1951 in honor of its classmate Tom Wolfe, who will be in attendance and will offer remarks during the weekend.

Additional details are available at http://www.wlu.edu/special-programs/alumni-college/campus-programs/the-tom-wolfe-weekend-seminar.

Washington and Lee Student Consulting Names New Executive Directors

Shelbi Hendricks ’16 and Inga Wells ’16 have been named the new executive directors of Washington and Lee Student Consulting.

Student Consulting provides pro bono consulting services to non-profit and for-profit organizations. Membership in the group is selective and directors go through a competitive interview process to get the job of leading the co-curricular organization.

“We’re extremely pleased to have selected two students whose broad experiences have prepared them for this leadership role,” said Rob Straughan, who is a business administration professor, the dean-elect of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics and an advisor to the group. Accounting professor and department chair Elizabeth Oliver also serves as an advisor.

Hendricks is a business administration and psychology double major from Louisville, Kentucky. She joined Student Consulting as a junior and will intern with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company this summer.

“One of the interesting things about Student Consulting is that you’re put into a real world situation as an undergrad,” said Hendricks. “You have to deliver really great results to your client, and you have to do it in a manner that them to accept results from an undergrad.”

Wells is an accounting and business administration major and dance minor from Upper Arlington, Ohio. She joined Student Consulting as a sophomore, thinking she might pursue a career in the consulting industry. After completing an internship in wealth management last summer, she decided to pursue a career in investment banking instead. This summer she’ll intern with Deutsche Bank.

“In my interview with Deutsche Bank, I wanted to leverage my Student Consulting experience. Consulting isn’t just about soft skills—it demands accounting skills and organizational skills. I’m hoping it’ll be a good transition,” said Wells.

Students who join Student Consulting work on a new consulting project each term. Projects range widely. In the past, teams have worked on everything from marketing plans and social media strategies to human resources audits and community surveys.

The directors are responsible for recruiting new companies and nonprofits with which to work. Often, it’s local business leaders and alumni who are the first to recognize the value in letting Washington and Lee students tackle their real business problems.

“We’re looking for a good array of projects—both in the nonprofit and for-profit sector,” said Hendricks. “We also want to try to reach outside the Lexington community and work with more national companies.”

Hendricks spent the winter term working with a team of other students to help get a not-for-profit foundation called Blue Star Fund off the ground. Blue Star Fund will provide scholarships to the children of police officers killed in the line of duty.

Wells’ favorite project was working with a start-up called Y’allsome. The company sells graphic tees, hats and other merchandise and donates 15 percent of its proceeds to programs that support foster children in the south.

“It was the first time I’d ever worked with a client that I’d never worked with in person,” said Wells. “It was a very different way to establish a business relationship.”

Both Hendricks and Wells hope to make a big impact on the organization during the coming year. They want to not only produce great work for great clients but to inspire a new generation of Generals to consider careers in consulting.

“This is a group that already has a great reputation, and are very well-suited for consulting careers,” said Hendricks. “I want to serve as a resource to those students who might be considering consulting.”

Washington and Lee to Host Business Plan Competition

Washington and Lee University’s Business Plan Competition will take place this Saturday, April 11, in the Hillel House multipurpose room. Breakfast will be served at 7:15 a.m., with presentations beginning at 8 a.m.

The Business Plan Competition was launched in 2010 by Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership Jeffrey Shay and is one of the signature programs of the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. Students who enroll in BUS 399 Entrepreneurship work in teams to write business plans that they present at the competition.

The competition takes place twice a year—in the fall and winter terms. Winners of the fall competition advance to a finals round, which is held at the conclusion of the winter competition.

The competition is judged by a panel of alumni and special guests who evaluate the students’ business plans and presentations. This year’s panel will include Rick Dowd, Geoffrey Veale ’99, Eleanor Cole Boyle ’06, Kevin Bowles ’82, Lang Craighill ’76, Greer Johnson ’05, Wade Meadows ’84 and Georgette George.

The program is expected to run until 12:30 p.m. The winning team will be announced during a luncheon scheduled to immediately follow the presentations.

Raquel Alexander Named Next Associate Dean of the Williams School

Raquel Alexander, associate professor of accounting at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, has been named the next associate dean of the Williams School.

Alexander will succeed Robert Straughan, who will assume his role as dean of the Williams School on July 1. “Raquel brings a great deal to the position including numerous teaching awards, a strong record of scholarship, leadership and service to both W&L and the accounting profession, and national recognition for innovative service learning activities,” Straughan said about her appointment.

Alexander worked for KPMG as a tax consultant in Dallas, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona, before earning her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the faculty at W&L—where she teaches taxation and the business of art—in 2012.

She has consulted or provided executive education to a number of firms and investment professionals around the country and served on the advisory council for three state treasurers. She is currently the treasurer and trustee for the American Taxation Association.

Alexander’s research focuses on tax policy related to personal savings and corporate taxation and has been published in top journals such as the Journal of the American Taxation Association, Behavioral Research in Accounting and the Journal of Law and Politics. She has written for The New York Times and her research has been cited in such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Business Week and CNBC. Her work has led to reform in the college savings industry, and has been used by policy makers and regulators at the SEC, the MSRB, FINRA and the White House.

Fran Peppers Featured Artist at the Williams Gallery, Washington and Lee University

Currently showing in the Williams School Gallery in Huntley Hall at Washington and Lee University is an exhibit of oil paintings by Fran R. Peppers. The show’s title is “Life’s Moments” and runs through July 1, 2015. It is free and open to the public.

Her paintings capture individuals in a fleeting moment of light and emotion and convey the poetic mood of the scene. These recent paintings rotate around moments the artist has captured of people doing ordinary, daily activities: a mother and child sharing a quiet moment as evening draws near; a man enjoying a walk by the ocean in the evening; and a young woman pouring cream into an antique pitcher while standing in luxurious sunlight.

“I explore the visual rhythm of light, space, color and shapes in and around the figure in order to project a certain feeling or emotion,” said Peppers. “The wet-on-wet, scumbling and reworking painting technique which I use is excellent for conveying the dynamics of the mood and emotion of people existing in their own particular time frame and environment.”

Using a limited palette of rich, intense pigments, each of her paintings evolves through numerous stages of paint action and destruction before arriving at the point where a final resolution has been achieved. The artist’s strong reaction to color, light and the human figure is evident in her paintings.

Peppers, a long-time resident of Lexington, has curated the Williams School of Commerce art shows since 1989 and the McCarthy Gallery since the fall of 2007. Both galleries are at W&L.

The Williams School Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

W&L Law’s Sally Wiant Receives Highest Law Library Association Honor

Sarah K. (Sally) Wiant, professor of law at Washington and Lee University and former director of the law library, has been selected to receive the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).

The Gallagher award is the highest honor of the American Association of Law Libraries Hall of Fame. The award was established to recognize extended and sustained service to law librarianship, for exemplary service to the Association, or for contributions to the professional literature.

“I am humbled and honored to be among those selected as recipients of this distinguished award,” said Wiant.

Wiant has led a distinguished and extensive career at W&L Law. She first joined the community as an assistant law librarian in 1972. At the same time, she became a member of the first class of women admitted to W&L Law and completed her degree in 1978. After finishing her J.D., she became the director of the law library and a member of the law faculty. She served as director of the law library and a professor for over thirty years, before stepping down from her position as director in 2010. She continues to teach full time.

Wiant’s scholarship focuses on copyright law, intellectual property, trademarks, unfair competition, and admiralty maritime law. She has published extensive work in copyright law, including two books: “Libraries and Copyright: A Guide to Copyright Law in the 1990’s,” and “Copyright Handbook.” Throughout her career, she has taught courses in copyright, trademarks, and admiralty law, as well as the Intellectual Property Practicum as part of the third-year practice program. More recently, she has taught first-year torts and legal writing, making her one of the first professors new law students meet and get the chance to work with at W&L.

Wiant has also been very active in the American Association of Law Libraries throughout her career. In addition to being elected to the Board of AALL, she has chaired or served on most committees of the AALL, including being the Chair of the Economic Status Committee, the Annual Program Committee, the Special Committee on the Future of AALL, and the Education Committee. Additionally, Wiant has fulfilled roles for the Association of American Law Schools, American Bar Association, Southeastern American Association of Law Libraries, Special Libraries Association, Virginia Association of Law Libraries, Virginia Special Libraries Association, and the Virginia State Library.

AALL president Holly Riccio will present Wiant with the award during the Association’s annual meeting and conference in Philadelphia this July.

From Finance to Philanthropy

In the business section of The Huffington Post, Epaminondas Farmakis noted of his past jobs in finance, “Having worked in such a high demand environment where everything was geared for profit got me thinking what a waste of time it was; instead, we should be working to give resources to people who need them the most.”

A 1993 graduate of Washington and Lee University, Epaminondas started his career in New York City at IFC, Nasdaq and then Merrill Lynch in the asset management division before returning to Greece and serving his mandatory military service. “There’s a social role in the service; it brings you in contact with people from all ages and social groups with different problems. This changes your priorities and puts everything into perspective.”

He then turned to philanthropic work, working first for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation before starting his own consulting group. He’s now working for SolidarityNow as its managing director. Based in Greece, the nonprofit funds teams of NGOs that offer specialized services free of charge, ranging from targeted medical aid to legal counseling, child and family support to job-searching support. Epaminondas says housing NGOs under one roof is a more efficient way to help people. He said, “I believe that collaborative spaces are the key to impacting the future instead of everybody trying to do their own thing.”

He wishes he could change the situations that impact his clients, but said he can only alter the effects of those situations. “I think that if you keep the individual that you’re trying to help in focus, then everything else falls into place.”


John Christopher ’09 The Oda Foundation, Oda, Nepal

Christopher-John-800x533 John Christopher '09John Christopher ’09

John Christopher ’09 was working for an NGO in Surkhet, Nepal, with plans to return to the United States, get an MBA and continue with his career in financial consulting.

Walking a young Nepalese girl home from school one day changed everything.

“It was a turning point for me,” he said. As he and little Sunita neared her residence, he realized that “home” for her was a family of six living in a structure smaller than a minivan.

Christopher also realized during his 16-month fellowship that most international aid in Nepal was centered in the larger cities. Rural communities got little to no attention, but the need for medical and educational assistance was great.

“Rural areas are challenging because they are in mountainous areas and were hit hard during the country’s civil war,” said Christopher. Because of poor infrastructure and ongoing political turmoil, government assistance is scarce.

“I felt an immediate, emotional connection” to the people in Nepal. He said his realization of their needs was like “peeling back an onion.” As more layers were exposed, more needs became apparent.

Christopher responded by creating The Oda Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in the village of Oda, in the rural Kalikot district of Nepal. The foundation is dedicated to improving the health and education of people in the district.

The foundation opened a health clinic in December 2013, and two months later began a partnership with the local school system. The clinic’s staff of seven Nepalis, bolstered by a flow of western medical professionals, has treated more than 7,000 people. Christopher views the clinic as a prototype for increased coordination with the Nepali government and an increased network of reliable, well-equipped and professionally managed health facilities in the country’s other rural districts.

“The foundation has also augmented current government school programs and incentivized increased teacher aptitude while working with more than 500 children in the process,” said Christopher.

The clinic’s top priority is “prevention of avoidable death,” he said. Through early intervention and treatment of such things as burns, typhoid, diarrhea and pneumonia, the clinic has seen the rate of avoidable death plummet. It is too soon in the clinic’s history to have reliable, long-term statistics, but Christopher said, “We have been really successful in a short period of time.”

Christopher spends eight months a year in Nepal and four months back in the United States, where he focuses on outreach and fundraising for the foundation. He continues as a contract worker for two financial services companies, including the one he worked for before going to Nepal, in order to support himself, so that all money donated to the foundation can go directly to help the people of Nepal.

There are several W&L connections on the Oda Foundation’s board of directors, including two graduates, a professor, a parent of three students and a Law School graduate. A 30-member advisory board has about 50 percent young W&L graduates.

A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Christopher followed his sister, Mary Christopher ’06, to W&L. He was looking for a college that had excellent academics and an athletic program that would allow him to continue wrestling. He knew immediately that he fit well at the University. “W&L is an amazing place,” he said.

It was a class at W&L—Business, Government and Society—that started Christopher thinking about serving people through social entrepreneurship. Taught by Sandy Reiter, associate professor of business administration and Oda board member, it was where he first discussed “the role and responsibility we have as individuals” toward our fellow human beings, he said.

That contributed to his decision several years later to pursue the fellowship to Nepal. He had no idea that he would not come back to his former life, but he also realized that he applied for the fellowship because he hadn’t really found his passion. “I had been looking at college as a gateway to a higher income,” he said.

When he met the people of Nepal, he realized that because of his education, “I had the toolkit for making meaningful change in their lives.” His business education also has helped him with budgeting and with speaking to sophisticated donors.

Now, Christopher lives in two worlds, with two homes. In the U.S., he handles foundation business while earning a living by consulting. In Nepal, he manages the Oda Foundation’s health and education services. He hopes the foundation will one day have the resources to hire more staff, but for the time being, he is both visionary and administrator.

In both countries, “I am working on building relationships and raising awareness” to continue the foundation’s work, he said.

And he hasn’t forgotten the little girl who turned his life around. He continues to support Sunita with a monthly check to the NGO that first brought him to Nepal.

– by Linda Evans


Marry Me?

How’s this for a proposal? Robert Uhlman, a 2012 graduate of Washington and Lee University, asked his girlfriend, Samantha, to marry him in a production worthy of a Broadway show.

He uploaded his flash mob proposal (in Times Square) to YouTube and wrote, “An amazing amount of legwork and the help of many people combined to make this proposal a reality, and she said yes!”

Robert, who is an account executive at Practising Law Institute in New York City, also had the support of classmate John Grigsby ’12, who “jumps in near the final chorus to dance a bit with me before stepping back.”


Kiki Spiezio Receives Gilman Scholarship to Study in China

Katrina Spiezio of Taunton, Massachusetts, a sophomore at Washington and Lee University, has been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Spiezio will be studying abroad in China during W&L’s Spring Term.

The scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Spiezio, who was adopted from China as a baby, said, “I have always known that someday I would go back. Although I returned briefly for two weeks as a 6-year-old, when my family adopted my younger sister, I was too young to remember most things. I can remember bits and pieces of being in China, like the rooms of some of the hotels we stayed in, what it smelled like at the local variety store, and some random street happenings that we walked by—but over time my memories have faded, while my curiosities about the country I was born in have intensified.”

She added, “Traveling to China will inform my perceptions of the world in a way that nothing else can; hearing from others what my birth country is like cannot compare to experiencing it firsthand. I want China to be my first stop in a long series of traveling and studying abroad.” She will spend the first five weeks in Shanghai at the East China Normal University and the last week in Xi’an and Beijing, exploring cultural landmarks with Hongchu Fu, professor of Chinese language and literature at W&L.

Spiezio is working toward a bachelor’s degree in politics, with a possible double major in business administration or studio art at W&L. She is minoring in poverty and human capabilities studies. At W&L, she has been inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society, completed a poverty alleviation internship in New York City and has served over 1,250 hours at local non-profit organizations through W&L’s Bonner Program.

Studying in China will be the first step for Spiezio in earning a Certificate in International Immersion at W&L. ” will help me get to know some of my peers on a much more intimate basis, and will provide a chance for personal development as I grow more independent by learning to survive on my own in a completely different country, in an environment very different than the one in which I have grown up,” she said. “The course that I will be taking introduces students to contemporary China with language study in the form of reading and oral classes as well as focusing on literature, art, history and economics, through various cultural trips and activities.”

Soon after her return, Spiezio will travel to Dominican Republic to work with Haitian refugee children at English camps. “I expect that the juxtaposition of these two trips will definitely change my perspective on the world,” she said.

The Gilman Scholarship Program, named for retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, seeks to diversify the kinds of students who study or intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. undergraduates. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies—making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

Beta Alpha Psi Initiates First Members

In a ceremony that took place in February, nearly three dozen accounting students promised to uphold the mission of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor organization for financial information students and professionals.

The occasion was a first for Washington and Lee University. The university applied for a charter to establish a Beta Alpha Psi chapter last summer, and this group of students—all juniors and seniors—was the first to be inducted.

The chapter is advised by accounting professor Afshad Irani with support from accounting professor Megan Hess and department chair Elizabeth Oliver.

“Afshad worked with the students to bring Beta Alpha Psi to campus this year, and Megan joined him in the fall. They, along with the students, have been instrumental in making the organization successful,” said Oliver. “Representatives of the accounting firms believe that the organization facilitates the members’ growth, and we have seen that this year through the amazing programing the group has put together.”

Washington and Lee’s new Beta Alpha Psi chapter will not formally receive its charter until it has been in operation for two academic years. The international organization expects each of its more than 300 chapters to host at least eight professional meetings per year, run a series of professional development seminars for students, use mock interviews to prepare members for the recruitment process and engage in meaningful community service projects. Only when W&L’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter demonstrates that it has fulfilled those requirements will the international organization grant the university a charter.

Paige Hogan ’15 was elected president of the group last fall and helped prepare the chapter’s bylaws. She credits Beta Alpha Psi with fostering a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among accounting students.

“It’s good for accounting students to have this extracurricular outlet,” said Hogan. “Beta Alpha Psi helps students learn about their options. It’s not just about the big four.”

Under Hogan’s leadership, Beta Alpha Psi hosted four events during the fall term, and another two this past winter. Jules Miata ’09 is a recruiter with EY and visited campus to lead a resume prep workshop. Andrea Hidalgo ’09, who’s a consultant with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, gave a talk on anti-money laundering consulting. Tom Hurlbut ’87 is the controller for Norfolk Southern and spoke about his experiences there. Most recently, Tom and Raina Tagle from Baker Tilly spoke about their careers and the advantages of working for a regional firm.

In addition to the individual speakers Beta Alpha Psi has brought to campus, the chapter co-sponsored the accounting department’s annual accounting panel. The program brings together a group of alumni for a candid conversation about what life in the profession is really like.

Beta Alpha Psi also hosted a panel on fifth-year graduate programs for students who want to complete 150 credit hours and sit for their CPA exam. The program featured representatives from the University of Virginia, Notre Dame, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest and William & Mary.

Hogan and her classmates are working hard to establish a philanthropic component to the chapter’s programming. Many members tutor students in Introductory Financial Management Accounting, and two students were recently placed in the Low-Income Tax Clinic, which is funded by a grant from the Internal Revenue Service and run through Washington and Lee’s School of Law.

Beta Alpha Psi members are actively recruiting speakers for the 2015-16 academic year. The full schedule will be online, and alumni who are interested in participating should get in touch with Beta Alpha Psi’s new president, Andrea Owen, at owena16@mail.wlu.edu.

“It’s great to be able to use the national power of Beta Alpha Psi to establish relationships with accounting firms,” said Hogan. “Ultimately, it’s those relationships that will make us a stronger organization.”


W&L Law Dean Nora Demleitner Named ELI Fellow

Nora V. Demleitner, dean and Roy L. Steinheimer Professor of Law of Washington and Lee, has been appointed a fellow of the European Law Institute (ELI).

Similar to the American Law Institute, of which Dean Demleitner is also an elected member, the ELI is an independent, non-profit organization established to conduct and facilitate research, make recommendations, and provide practical guidance in the field of European legal development. According to the Institute’s website, its core tasks include evaluating and stimulating the development of EU law, legal policy, and practice and to enhance the role EU law can play globally in drafting international instruments or model rules.

As a fellow of the ELI, Dean Demleitner will be able to participate in discussions about the development of laws and policy in her areas of expertise. Including sentencing, immigration, and legal education.

“I am incredibly proud of this honor,” said Demleitner. “The ELI will have a substantial impact on the development of European law, and I am humbled to be able to play even a small role in that process.”

Dean Demleitner teaches and has written widely in the areas of criminal, comparative, and immigration law. Her special expertise is in sentencing and collateral sentencing consequences. At conferences around the country she regularly speaks on sentencing matters, often in a comparative context, and on issues pertaining to the state of legal education. Dean Demleitner has also lectured widely in Europe.

Dean Demleitner is an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and an elected member of the International Society of Comparative Law. She is the lead author of “Sentencing Law and Policy,” a major casebook on sentencing law, published by Aspen Law & Business. Her articles have appeared in the Stanford, Michigan, and Minnesota law reviews, among others.

Inside the 3L Year: W&L Law Student Argues Unique Black Lung Case

Paul Wiley, a third-year student in the Black Lung Clinic at Washington and Lee School of Law, recently argued one of the most complex and important legal questions in black lung litigation today.

The case involved a new provision put in place by the Affordable Care Act known as the 15 year rebuttable presumption. Based on this presumption, miners who worked for more than 15 years in underground coal mining and have a totally disabling lung disease are presumed disabled, at least in part, due to coal mine dust.

For his argument, Wiley represented the interests of James Minich, who worked for 30 years as an underground coal miner and is now totally disabled. Minich was awarded black lung benefits by the administrative law judge, but as is common in these cases, his former coal company appealed the award to the Benefits Review Board (BRB). The BRB hears appeals from the decisions of administrative law judges regarding black lung benefits claims and other statutes administered by the Department of Labor.

Wiley says he was interested in the case to gain experience arguing appeals related to regulatory law, which is an area of focus for the law firm in Washington, D.C. he will join after a clerkship with the Supreme Court of Virginia. But he also saw Minich’s case as an opportunity to argue an important point of law that would help many other black lung cases in the future.

“It was an opportunity to get practical experience while also making a positive change in the law,” said Wiley. “There was no way I was going to pass that up.”

After recommending the clinic take the case earlier in the fall, Wiley had only 45 days to prepare the appeal and write the brief before finally making his argument in December. In an unusual move, the BRB posed three questions it wanted the advocates involved in the case to answer. Central to the BRB’s questions was the issue of what must the coal company prove to overcome the rebuttable presumption?

Wiley and the advocates for the other parties in the case faced over an hour of questioning from the judges of the Benefits Review Board. Wiley reminded the BRB that the changes to the Black Lung Benefits Act under consideration were meant to make the complex and technical system of black lung benefits more favorable to disabled miners. Wiley, quoting Senator Robert Byrd, reminded the BRB that the Amendments to the Act “were meant to stop quibbling with dying men.”

Prof. Tim MacDonnell, who directs the Black Lung Clinic, noted that Wiley’s oral argument was outstanding.

While the decision of the BRB in the case is not expected for several months, Wiley said the experience brought his law school experience full circle.

“The Davis moot court competition helped me realize I wanted to do appellate law,” said Wiley. “This argument and my black lung clinic experience overall have helped me realize that I can do it.”

W&L’s Black Lung Clinic, recently named one of the country’s most innovative legal clinics, 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%.

W&L to host screening of film “1913: Seeds of Conflict” on April 28

Director Ben Loeterman will visit Washington and Lee University to screen his new documentary film, “1913: Seeds of Conflict,” on April 28, at 5 p.m. in the Hillel House multipurpose room. The event is free and open to the public.

Loeterman uses previously unavailable documents to shed light on pre-World War I Palestine and the region’s divergent social forces that contributed to the simultaneous rise in Jewish and Arab nationalism.

“1913: Seeds of Conflict” explores the little-known history of Palestine during the latter part of the Ottoman Empire, a time of relative harmony between Arabs and Jews. By weaving together Arab and Jewish narratives, Loeterman shows viewers how a series of dramatic events shaped the region and contributed to a century of unrest.

The screening is sponsored by W&L Hillel and the departments of politics, history and religion. Visit: 1913seedsofconflict.com for more information on the film.

Call for Proposals: W&L's Community Grants Committee Will Evaluate Proposals in May

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Spring 2015 proposal evaluation schedule. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Spring 2015 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2015.

Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the University’s fiscal year. The University will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2014-15 cycle.

During the first round of the 2014-15 evaluations held in November, 2014, 25 organizations submitted proposals for a total of more than $100,000 in requests. The University made $28,160 in grants to 16 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • American Red Cross, Central Virginia Chapter
  • Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center
  • Boxerwood Education Association
  • City of Lexington
  • The Community Table of Rockbridge
  • Enderly Heights Elementary School
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center
  • Lexington Lacrosse
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry
  • Rockbridge Area Occupational Center
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association
  • RCHS Parent, Teacher, Student Association
  • The Rockbridge Ballet
  • Rockbridge Regional Library, Youth Literacy
  • Rockbridge Strings with FAIR
  • Valley Program for Aging Services

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address:
http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Please call 540-458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to 540-458-8745 or mailed to:

Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450


Speak

Kojo Yankson, a broadcast journalist, author and the host of the “Super Morning Show” on Joy 99.7 FM of Ghana, was on the Washington and Lee University campus last week as a presenter at the Media Ethics Institute.

During his visit, he was a guest on Professor Larry Boetsch’s WLUR radio show, “Radio IE,” and spent time with several journalism classes. On his return to Ghana, he wrote about his experiences for his radio station’s website. What struck him in particular was W&L’s speaking tradition, and the related story of a W&L student in 1913 greeting visitors to the campus, which led to the sizable gift that built Doremus gym.

He noted, “For the six days I was there, I must have walked past no less than a thousand people. Not one of them went past without saying hello. Not one. Even those on their phones found the time to give me a nod and a smile. None of them were being paid to do this. It’s just their tradition.”

For Kojo, it was a stark contrast to his encounter with a store clerk in his homeland. “My friends, I know the lessons here do not need to be spelt out to you. Wherever you are, whatever you do, whomever you meet, please place a value on them, and treat them with respect.”

He concludes, “I recommend for Ghana, the Speaking Tradition. What we’ll gain with it, I don’t know, but I do know what we’re losing without it.”


Holocaust Remembrance Activities: April 7 and April 9

Holocaust Remembrance will be observed at Washington and Lee University with a talk by a Holocaust survivor and the screening of a film set during World War II.

On April 7, from 5:30-7 p.m., in the Hillel Multipurpose Room, Holocaust Survivor Dr. Roger Loria will share his story.

Loria came to the U.S. in 1964 and earned his degree in medical sciences in 1972 from Boston University. In 1973, he joined the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) at Virginia Commonwealth University and spent his career instructing students and researching solutions for immunological problems in response to his early experience as a child during the Holocaust.

His laboratory at MCV discovered several hormones which function in upregulation of host resistance against lethal viral and bacterial infections, as well as protection against lethal radiation injury and cancer.

The second event is on April 9, from 7-8:30 p.m., in the Hillel Multipurpose Room and is a screening of the film “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.”

Set during World War II, this is a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the 8-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

This talk and film are part of a series of programming for Holocaust Remembrance (Yom HaShoah) at W&L Hillel. Contact hillel@wlu.edu, 540-458-8443 or visit wlu.edu/hillel/events-programs-and-activities for more information.