The Columns

Career Paths: Chi Ewusi ’17L

— by on March 24th, 2017

Chi Ewusi '17LChi Ewusi ’17L

Chi Ewusi ’17L hails from all over but most recently lived in the Philadelphia suburbs before coming to law school. Before pursuing a legal education, she worked as a writer and a dancer for several years, and she graduated from the University of Phoenix with a B.A. in English. At W&L Law, she served as the Executive Editor of the German Law Journal and the Law News.

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

After graduation, I will be working for Kirkland and Ellis, in their Houston, TX office. I’ll be doing primarily private equity and capital markets work.

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

I knew that I wanted to spend at least a few years at a firm and get that experience.

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

Size and location were prerequisites for sure. I wanted a firm large enough in both numbers and office locations to handle large deals.

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

Going into law school, I knew that I would aim to pursue employment at a large law firm. My biggest fears were whether I could handle it and whether taking that path would prevent me from pursuing my other legal interests. Talking with my professors helped confirmed my career choice, as well as taking on interesting assignments that combined my love of corporate and international law.

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

I think it depends on what kind of work you’ll be doing, but generally, some corporate and business classes would be useful. Classes like Close Business Arrangements (CBA) and Federal Income Tax provide a good foundation. Because I’m specifically doing securities and private equity work, I’ve found Securities Regulation, Secured Transactions, and Cross Borders Transactions to be particularly helpful as well.

Can you describe your job search process?

I was fortunate to receive an offer from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (where I spent my 2L summer), but I knew I did not want to start my career in D.C. Through talking to alums in Texas and following business journals/blogs, I found out that Kirkland & Ellis was expanding in that region. I forwarded my resume, visited the Houston office in August, and received an offer a couple of days later to join my preferred practice area in my preferred market.

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Career Paths: Mikail Clark ’17L

— by on March 24th, 2017

Mikail ClarkMikail Clark ’17L

Mikail Clark ’17L, a native of Washington, D.C., holds an MBA and two bachelor’s degrees from Liberty University. At W&L, Mikail is a Burks Fellow and the Advancement Editor of the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. After graduation, Mikail plans to take the West Virginia bar and practice there. In addition to practicing law, Mikail would like to start his own tax and accounting business, and one day, he hopes to delve into real estate investing. 

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

After graduation, I will join the Charleston, WV office of Spilman, Thomas, and Battle, PLLC. My practice will be evenly split between corporate transactional and litigation defense work.

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

Although I was not certain that I wanted to work in a law firm, I had a strong inclination that I would do so, particularly at the beginning of my career.

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

During my search, I knew that if possible, I wanted to land at a mid-size firm because I believed that they generally strike the appropriate balance between giving attorneys a diverse workload and permitting them to have sufficient time for family life and civic activities. As I was open to living anywhere, I really did not care about the location of the firms to which I applied.

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

Recently, I was excited to learn that one of the memoranda I wrote while working as a summer associate at the firm was heavily used in a successful summary judgment motion. When notifying the client, the partner gave credit to me for the favorable decision. That confirmed my choices of career and law firm.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a your law firm job?

Of course, I recommend that students determine the bar exam(s) for which they will likely sit and to take classes that cover the subjects that will be tested on the bar exam(s). Further, I recommend that students take Close Business Arrangments (CBA), so that they can obtain at least a cursory understanding of how business organizations operate, and Sales, so that they can have at least a foundational understanding of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), negotiable instruments, and commercial paper. Otherwise, the classes that students should take totally depends on their preferred practice area.

Can you describe your job search process?

During my initial summer job search, I cast an wide net and applied to various law firms, public sector organizations, corporations, and NPOs using our jobs database Symplicity (which has since been replaced by SCORE) and other common job search websites such as Indeed, Monster, and USA Jobs. Ultimately, I landed several interviews, mostly through the Office of Career Strategy (OCS), and obtained a few offers, from which I chose Spilman. I spent my entire 1L summer at Spilman and had a great time. After spending part of my 2L summer at Spilman, I happily accepted an position with the firm in October.

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W&L Law Symposium Explores the Power of Big Data Algorithms March 30 event will explore how big data tools can be used to isolate, analyze, and discriminate against individuals based on race, gender, religion, health status, and other data characteristics.

— by on March 20th, 2017



In the digital age, most people have become used to the idea that their personal data is more widely available on the internet—part of the economic exchange that enables more personalized shopping experiences and efficient communication with friends and family.

But what happens when companies, or the government, start analyzing that data to develop rules and procedures that might impact our daily lives in less desirable ways? An upcoming symposium at Washington and Lee University School of Law will examine this thorny issue, exploring the legal and ethical implications of big data analysis and algorithmic-derived discrimination.

The symposium, titled “Big Data Discrimination: Understanding Algorithmic Power,” is scheduled for Thursday, March 30 beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee. The event, hosted by the W&L Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, is free and open to the public.

Symposium organizers point to recent reports showing how big data tools and algorithmic-driven decision making protocols can be used to isolate, analyze, and discriminate against individuals based on race, gender, religion, likely voting habits, residency, consumer behaviors, health status, and other data characteristics. W&L Law Prof. Margaret Hu, who is helping organize the symposium, has studied the government use of database screening and digital watch listing systems to create “blacklists” of individuals based on suspicious data.

“Big data tools can now be used to prevent individuals from working and voting—for example, through the ‘No Work List’ and the ‘No Vote List’—and can also be used to nominate individuals for the No Fly List and even the Kill List,” says Hu.

Featured speakers at the symposium include a number of top scholars in the data privacy field in addition to analysts from the Data & Society Research Institute, an organization in New York City focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development, and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a DC-based think tank that promotes responsible data privacy policies. W&L Law and FPF launched a unique strategic partnership in 2015 to enhance privacy scholarship and incubate tomorrow’s privacy lawyers.

The symposium will feature three panel discussions covering big data ethics in research methods, an explanation of big data discrimination, and the impact of big data-centered and algorithmic-centered power. The event will also feature a keynote address by Prof. Charlton McIlwain of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University. McIlwain will speak on the intersection of race and digital media, particularly as it impacts the “Information Society” and politics.

McIlwain’s scholarship includes “Racial Formation Online: Representation, Inequality & the Political Economy of the Web,” and he is currently working on a book project, titled “Digital Movement: Black Politics, Organizing & Activism on the Web,” which traces the roots and charts the development of racial justice networks online since the 1990s. He co-authored the book “Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Political Campaigns,” which was selected by the American Political Science Association for the prestigious Ralph Bunche Award.

Participants will gather the evening before the symposium for a discussion with Christopher Wolf ‘80L, Of Counsel at Hogan Lovells and founder of FPF, and Jules Polonetsky, CEO of FPF. MSNBC has called Wolf “a pioneer in Internet law” based on his early involvement in legal cases involving technology agreements, copyright, domain names, jurisdiction and, perhaps most of all, privacy. In 1998, a high-profile victory in a pro bono case against the government for its violation of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act brought Wolf to national attention as a privacy lawyer after his almost-two decades as a litigator in complex commercial and technology cases. Wolf was the editor and lead author of the first Practicing Law Institute (PLI) treatise on privacy law and is a frequent author and speaker on privacy and data security issues.

Polonetsky served as Chief Privacy Officer at AOL and at DoubleClick, and as Consumer Affairs Commissioner for New York City. He is a regular speaker at privacy and technology events and has testified or presented before Congressional committees and the Federal Trade Commission. His scholarship on data and privacy has appeared in the Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, the Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Journal of Law & Technology, among other journals.

Christopher Wolf and Jules PolonetskyChristopher Wolf and Jules Polonetsky

More information about the symposium, including a comprehensive schedule, can be found online at

The symposium is cosponsored by the Provost’s Office, Washington and Lee University; Class of 1960 Institute for Honor; Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law; Mudd Center for Ethics, Washington and Lee University; Washington and Lee Black Law Students Association; Future of Privacy Forum; and the Data & Society Research Institute.

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ABA President Linda Klein ‘83L to Open Exhibit at W&L Law

— by on March 16th, 2017

ABA President Linda Klein '83LABA President Linda Klein ’83L

UPDATE: Note change in time for exhibit opening to 4:00 pm.

American Bar Association president Linda Klein will speak at Washington and Lee University School of Law this month to open the Lawyers without Rights exhibit visiting the school through mid-April.

The Lawyers without Rights exhibit provides a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich and during the Holocaust. The exhibit is jointly sponsored by the ABA and the German Federal Bar.

Klein will speak at the opening reception on March 20 at 4:00 p.m. in the Moot Court Lobby, Sydney Lewis Hall. W&L history professor Sarah Horowitz will also offer remarks. This event kicks off a month-long discussion series focused on the exhibit. A complete schedule is available online.

Klein is in the midst of her one-year term as ABA president. Her chief initiative as president has been to improve access to justice and provide legal assistance for the nation’s veterans. She has also launched two civic initiatives: one that mobilizes ABA resources to promote voting and another that supports the rights of all children to a quality education.

Klein is the seventh W&L Law alumnus to lead the ABA. Most recently, Robert J. Grey ‘76L served as ABA president in 2004-05. A partner at Hunton & Williams and executive director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Grey received the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence award in 2014.

Klein is managing shareholder of the Georgia offices of Baker Donelson. Her practice concentrates on litigation, alternative dispute resolution and counseling business owners. Among her numerous awards and recognitions, Klein was the recipient of the ABA’s 2010 Fellows Outstanding State Chair Award and was honored with the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 from the State Bar of Georgia, which recognizes Georgia attorneys for their achievements in promoting diversity in the legal profession. In 2015, she received the State Bar of Georgia’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Daily Reports first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

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W&L Law’s James Moliterno Receives the Virginia State Bar Leadership in Education Award

— by on March 14th, 2017

James E. MoliternoJames E. Moliterno

James E. Moliterno, the Vincent Bradford Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and an international expert on legal ethics, has been named the recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award from the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia.

Moliterno has spent his career as a legal educator seeking ways to infuse experiential learning into legal education. He played a leadership role in developing W&L’s innovative practice-based curriculum, and prior to joining W&L, he was the architect of William and Mary law school’s award winning ethics, skills, and professionalism program.

Moliterno is an acknowledged international expert in legal ethics and professionalism, and has traveled throughout the world to help countries develop ethics policies and training programs. He participated in the USAID Rule of Law project in Serbia to establish legal skills training programs, and has worked with lawyers and judges in Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Czech Republic, Japan, Indonesia, and China on ethics training.

“Professor Moliterno’s passion for improving the legal profession broadly and the ethical administration of law by lawyers and judges know no geographical bounds,” said Brant Hellwig, dean and professor of law at W&L. “I have admired and indeed have often been amazed at his unbridled passion not only for teaching students substantive law, but for doing so in a manner that will allow them to effectively and efficiently serve their clients in a professional and ethical manner.”

The awards Moliterno has received span his career. He was awarded the inaugural American Bar Association Gambrell Professionalism Award in 1991 for the best law school program for the teaching of ethics and professionalism. In 2012 he received the Rebuilding Justice Award from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.

The Rakes award was established in 2012 to honor former Virginia State Bar president and founder of the Section on the Education of Lawyers, William R. Rakes, a senior partner with the Roanoke firm of Gentry Locke.

The award, which is underwritten by Gentry Locke, is to be presented in June at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

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Top Media Lawyer Lee Levine to Speak at W&L Law

— by on March 8th, 2017

Lee LevineLee Levine

Lee Levine, renowned media lawyer and Supreme Court advocate, will visit W&L Law this month to speak on media law issues. He will give a talk titled “Reporter’s Privilege and the First Amendment.”

Levine will deliver his talk as the guest speaker in Prof. Brian Murchison’s Mass Media Law class on March 20 at noon in classroom A, Sydney Lewis Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Graduating from Yale Law School in 1979, Levine made partner at Ross, Dixon & Masback in 1987, where he stayed until founding his own firm, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, in 1997. His new firm has grown to be the premier media law firm in the past 20 years.

Levine has argued before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He argued Bartnicki v. Vopper, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the press is not liable for a source’s illegal acquisition of information. In the landmark antitrust case United States v. Microsoft Corp., Levine won The New York Times the right to access pretrial depositions. He represented the estate of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in Ventura v. Kyle, defending the estate from Jesse Ventura’s defamation claim.

Levine is also the author of “The Progeny: Justice William J. Brennan’s Fight to Preserve the Legacy of New York Times v. Sullivan,” a 2014 book examining the landmark case establishing the malice standard for defamation claims from public officials, as well as cases that followed that decision.

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Lawyers without Rights Exhibit and Event Series Coming to W&L The exhibit provides a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich and during the Holocaust.

— by on March 8th, 2017

Attorney Dr. Michael SiegelAttorney Dr. Michael Siegel complained to police on behalf of a client whose property was destroyed by Nazi Stormtroopers. He was beaten and then paraded through Munich with the sign around his neck: “I shall never again complain to the police.”

From March 20 through mid-April, the American Bar Association’s Lawyers without Rights exhibit will be on display at Washington and Lee School of Law. In conjunction with the visit, W&L will hold a series of discussions and film screenings exploring the issues surrounding the exhibit.

The Lawyers without Rights exhibit provides a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich and during the Holocaust. The exhibit is jointly sponsored by the ABA and the German Federal Bar.

An event series consisting of lectures, panel discussions and movie screenings, titled “Lawyering in Dark Times: Courage and Cowardice at the Bar” will run concurrently with the exhibition.

W&L law professor Russell Miller is coordinating the visit of the exhibit as well as the discussion series. “Lawyers are a fundamental part of civic life and the integrity of the rule of law,” said Miller.  “Unfortunately, the bar’s power means they can contribute to the erosion of those values, too.  The horrors of the National Socialist regime in Germany offer poignant examples — and warnings — of both.  Those seem like useful lessons for all lawyers for all times, but especially in these tumultuous times in our civic life.”

Below is a listing of the events in the series. All events are free and open to the public.

UPDATE: Note change in time for exhibit opening to 4:00 pm.

Monday, March 20

Opening Reception and Remarks
Moot Court Lobby – 4:00 PM

Sarah Horowitz
Associate Professor of History
W&L University

Linda Klein ’83L
President, American Bar Association
Managing Shareholder, Baker Donelson Beraman Caldwell & Berkowitz
W&L Law Alumnus

Thursday, March 23

Film Screening and Discussion
Lewis Hall Classroom C – 7:30 PM

“The People vs. Fritz Bauer”

Monday, March 27

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Peggy Fiebig (W&L Law LLM)
Press Secretary – Berlin Justice Minister Dirk Behrendt
“Lawyers without Rights” Team of Curators

“The Origin of Lawyers without Rights”

Friday, March 31

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Prof. Mark Drumbl
Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law & Director, Transnational Law Institute
W&L Law

“The Kapo on Film: Tragic Perpetrators and Imperfect Victims”

Monday, April 3

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:30 PM

Panel Discussion: The Lawyer as Hero

Prof. Jon Shapiro
Prof. J.D. King
Prof. Margaret Hu

Friday, April 7

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Prof. Christoph Safferling
University Erlangen-Nürenberg
Co-Author of the Rosenburg Report

“A Comprehensive Assessment of the National Socialist Legacy of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Justice”

Friday, April 14

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Ginna Anderson
Senior Counsel – ABA Center for Human Rights

“American Bar Association’ Justice Defenders Program”

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Student Scholarship: Law Review Notes Colloquium

— by on February 28th, 2017

On Friday, February 24, the Washington and Lee Law Review held its annual celebration of student scholarship, the Student Notes Colloquium.

Each year, the Law Review staff writers, as second-year law students, write a legal article on an issue of current interest in the law. The editorial board of the Law Review evaluates the submission, choosing the two most outstanding notes to receive awards the following year. This year’s winners were Daniel Martin ’17L and Leanna Minix ’17L.

Martin was awarded the Roy L. Steinheimer Law Review Award for his note “Dispersing the Cloud: Reaffirming the Right to Destroy in a New Era of Digital Property.” Martin’s article also won second place in the student writing competition held by the Berkeley Journal of Law and Technology. Prof. Aaron Perzanowski of Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Prof. Josh Fairfield of W&L Law provided commentary on Martin’s work.

Minix received the W&L Law Council Law Review Award for her note “Examining Rule 11(b)(1)(N) Error: Guilty Pleas, Appellate Waiver, and Dominguez Benitez.” She then engaged W&L law professors and criminal law experts J.D. King and Jon Shapiro in a discussion of the topic.

More information about the Student Notes Colloquium is available online.

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W&L Institute for Honor Looks at Lawyers and Infamous Clients

— by on February 27th, 2017


On March 13-14, the Washington and Lee University Institute for Honor is hosting an event examining legal professionalism in the context of representing unpopular clients. The event is free and open to the public.

From Redcoats to Red Spies and Beyond: Lawyers and Infamous Clients

The main speaker is Prof. Jeff Kahn of Southern Methodist University.  Kahn is a graduate of Yale College, Oxford University, and the University of Michigan Law School.  His areas of expertise include Constitutional Law, Russian Law, Human Rights Law, and National Security Law.  He has a particular interest in New York attorney James Donovan’s 1957-59 representation of the Russian spy, Rudolf Abel, a story told in the 2015 Steven Spielberg movie, “Bridge of Spies.”

The event will include two sessions:

Monday, March 13, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (Millhiser Moot Court Room):

Tuesday, March 14, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm (Millhiser Moot Court Room):


Student Research: The Life and Times of Chauncey Belknap Chauncey Belknap, a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, is the subject of a two-year research project by law students Lizzy Williams ’17L and Jess Winn ’17L.

— by on February 24th, 2017

“During those six months, he read something like 50 books, learned French, and wrote about things Holmes assigned him to read and their discussions of those readings. Every entry is about this amazing intellectual journey he is on.”

— Lizzy Williams ’17L

Jess Winn, right, and Lizzy Williams with Belknap's diary and othe research materials.Jess Winn, right, and Lizzy Williams with Belknap’s diary and other research materials.

A U.S. Supreme Court with only eight justices. A country mired in controversy over its role in international affairs. Disputes over voting rights and the minimum wage.

This could be today, but instead, this is the backdrop for the one hundred year old diary of Chauncey Belknap, a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Belknap and his diary are the focus of a research project by third-year law students Lizzy Williams and Jess Winn, who will soon publish an article on their work in the Journal of Supreme Court History.

Williams and Winn, who will graduate in May, began working on Belknap’s diary with visiting professor Todd Peppers at end of their 1L year. Belknap served as a law clerk to Justice Holmes beginning in 1915, and according to Peppers, is one of the first law clerks to be used by a Justice in the way that is common today.

“Justice Holmes was the first Justice to use clerks for more than just shuffling paper,” said Peppers. “Law clerks like Chauncey Belknap did research and wrote memos on cert petitions for cases under consideration by the Court, aiding the Justices just as law clerks do today.”

Belknap grew up in New York and attended Princeton and then Harvard Law School. He arrived in the nation’s capital in the midst of the Progressive Era. Belknap’s diary covers a six month period of his life in Washington, where he lived with other young thinkers and professionals in the famous DuPont Circle residence, the House of Truth.

The first task for Williams and Winn was to decipher the century-old document, working from a photocopy of the original. Belknap’s handwriting is difficult to read, and beyond that, much of the journal is written in shorthand.

“Luckily, we were able to search online and find someone, in Canada as it turns out, who was proficient in Pitman shorthand,” said Winn.

Once transcribed and analyzed, the diary opened a window into a unique place and time for Williams and Winn. Belknap wrote about many of the key issues of the day in his writings, including the debate on voting rights for women and labor disputes over the length of the work day. He also covered the controversial appointment of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Brandeis was named to fill an empty slot following the death of Justice Joseph Rucker Lamar, a graduate of W&L Law. Lamar’s long illness had left the Court operating with only eight justices for the better part of a year.

The diary of Chauncey BelknapThe diary of Chauncey Belknap

Beyond the legal and political intrigue of the day, Belknap’s daily routine revealed a life unencumbered by the distractions of modern technology.

“During those six months, he read something like 50 books, learned French, and wrote about things Holmes assigned him to read and their discussions of those readings,” said Williams. “Every entry is about this amazing intellectual journey he is on.”

The cultural and social norms of the time are also revealed in many of Belknap’s entries. For example, the diary begins with the news that President Woodrow Wilson is getting remarried, and, in the minds of some, doing so too soon after the death of his first wife. Belknap relates that Justice Holmes had checked with the Chief Justice if it was appropriate for Holmes’s wife to send Wilson’s fiancé a note of congratulations and good wishes.

As a young intellectual living in Washington, Belknap lived a privileged life, full of dinner parties and other social events. Winn said it was fun to step back in time and imagine Belknap in 1915 taking a long walk along an undeveloped Potomac River.

“It’s such an interesting historical reflection,” said Winn. “Every time I look at the diary I learn something new or better understand some nuance of the era.”

For Williams and Winn, who are involved with the German Law Journal and have participated in a myriad of other activities at W&L, working on such a long term project has provided both continuity to and sometimes even a respite from the rigors of law school.

“Reading the diary was addicting,” said Winn. “I wish everyone Chauncey mentioned in his journal had a diary I could read.”

But for now they will have to set aside Belknap, who died in 1984 in New York at age 92 after a long and distinguished legal career. Williams is headed to New York where she will be an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. Winn will be heading west, closer to home, for a clerkship with Judge Rosanna Peterson in the Eastern District of Washington.

Perhaps they will keep journals.

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