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current

the magazine of  the Appalachian School of Law Fall/Winter 2011

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’s h t l a e w n Commo Attorney

Also inside

ASL appoints next dean

McClananan to be visiting professor Campus previews ‘Prohibition’ film uu McGlothlin describes cancer fight

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around campus

Next dean named

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“When I came to  ASL’s campus ...  I thought it was the most remarkable  law school I had ever visited. ... I continue  to be moved by ASL’s unique mission  and character.” — incoming Dean Lucy S. McGough

the

current

is published twice a year by the Appalachian School of Law. Send comments, questions, and alumni updates to current@asl.edu.

SL is pleased to announce the appointment of Lucy S. McGough as the institution’s eighth dean. She will also serve as president of the school. McGough, who is currently the Vinson and Elkins Professor of Law at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, succeeds current Dean Wes Shinn. Shinn has served as dean since December 2006 and will be returning to teaching. He will step down on June 30. “We are pleased that Professor McGough has agreed to lead ASL into the next phase of its development,” Shinn said. “I am confident that with someone of her stature at the helm, the institution will continue to mature on both a regional and national level.” McGough, who grew up in Bowling Green, Ky., has been on LSU’s faculty for more than 25 years. Previously, she taught at Emory University in Atlanta for 13 years, where she was Candler Professor of Law, one of 12 university chairs. Her courses have included Family Law, Criminal Justice, and Juvenile Law. She has been a member of the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Standards Review Committee, which writes accreditation standards for U.S. law schools, and previously chaired the site accreditation committee that visited ASL before it was granted full ABA accreditation. “Three years ago, when I came to ASL’s campus to study the school for ABA reaccreditation, I thought it was the

most remarkable law school I had ever officially visited,” McGough said. “I came home and raved to everyone I encountered about all that the school was accomplishing and could accomplish. ... I was and continue to be moved by the school’s unique mission and character.” McGough received her law degree from Emory University Law School. She also holds an LL.M. from Harvard University School of Law and a B.A. from Agnes Scott College. She has written extensively on juvenile justice and family law, and she helps teach a clinic in which third-year law students represent juveniles in court. She is also working through a MacArthur Foundation grant to create a model juvenile defense clinic for use in U.S. law schools and is a member of Louisiana’s State Public Defender Board. James Bowers, McGough’s husband, will be joining the ASL faculty in the fall. Bowers, a Montana native, is the Oliver P. Stockwell Professor of Law at LSU, where he has taught since 1982. He is also chair of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Law and Economics. He holds a B.A. and L.L.B. from Yale University. He has taught Contracts, Uniform Commercial Code-Sales, Secured Transactions, and a Legal Scholarship Seminar. “We are so honored by the offers to join these colleagues,” McGough said. “We are excited by all the opportunities for wider recognition of the superb education that ASL offers its students.” n

Editor, designer: Saundra Latham Photos: Taylor Burgess, Blue Ridge PBS, Virginia State Bar, student and alumni submissions Contributors: Saundra Latham Cover: Carl Mullins, historian with the Breaks Interstate Park, shows students an old moonshine still during a community forum on Prohibition held at ASL in October. The Current is now online! Go to issuu.com/appalachian_school_of_law to read this issue and previous editions. tt

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McClanahan to join ASL  as new visiting professor

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ean Wes Shinn announced in November that Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth McClanahan will become ASL’s first Street Memorial Distinguished Visitor in Real Estate Law. The academic chair has been established by the family’s surviving four children in honor of their parents, Willie Arthur and Frankie Mae McGlothlin Street, who made many contributions during their lifetime to Buchanan County and the surrounding area. “The appointment of Justice McClanahan as a visiting professor allows our law school to not only recognize a Buchanan County native, but to access the expertise of one of the leading real estate legal minds in the country,” Shinn said. McClanahan grew up in Buchanan County, practiced law with the PennStuart law firm in Abingdon and was a recognized expert in real estate law, regularly lecturing, writing, and publishing on

various real estate topics. She was the 1994 El Paso fellow at the University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center. She served as Virginia’s chief deputy attorney general prior to the Virginia General Assembly appointing her to the bench and served eight years on the Virginia Court of Appeals. She was elevated to the Virginia Supreme Court this year, making her the fourth female justice. “Buchanan County is home to me and has been home to my family for generations,” McClanahan said. “I am honored to be asked to work with students, faculty, and the community in such an important area of the law for our region. It is an unparalleled opportunity to mentor and teach lawyers of the next generation right here at home.” A member of the Street family stated, “When establishing the Distinguished Visitor professorship, they envisioned its use in just this manner. Recognizing a well-known Southwest Virginia jurist with expertise in real estate law furthers the

Buchanan County native Elizabeth McClanahan recently became the fourth female justice to be elevated to the Virginia Supreme Court.

law school’s academic goals.” “We look forward to beginning this great journey with Justice McClanahan,” Shinn added. “The positive impact upon the law school will be felt for years to come.” n

tt Photo op  ASL CARES hosted its second annual Halloween pet costume contest Oct. 30 at the Grundy Community Center. Activities included bobbing for toys, owner-pet pictures, and an obstacle course.

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ASL gets sneak peek of ‘Prohibition’ Panelists debate effectiveness of today’s war on drugs

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lue Ridge PBS and ASL teamed up in October in a com- that comparison. The modern war on drugs isn’t working, just munity forum to provide a preview of Ken Burns’ “Pro- as Prohibition didn’t work, he said. hibition,” a three-part documentary that premiered later The war on drugs creates an incentive for kids to become that month. dealers, promotes violence, distracts police officers from “It’s a great privilege to be here,” said Katherine Foreman of protecting the public, and costs an astronomical amount to Blue Ridge PBS. “Anytime a Ken Burns documentary comes to perpetuate, he said. TV, it’s a big deal for us.” ASL’s was the only event that was actu“We’re not in a war on drugs,” he said. “We’re at war with ally screening parts of the film, ourselves.” she said. Drugs continue to be widely ASL was chosen partially available because dealers accept because of its location in a rethe possibility of death or prison, gion that became a center for and “saving people from putting moonshining during the Prohisomething in their body that bition era. harms only themselves” wastes After an excerpt from the resources, he said. documentary, Professor Stewart Former Buchanan County Harris introduced a panel disCommonwealth’s Attorney cussion on prohibition, then and Tamara Neo disagreed. “We are now, by noting some of the paying the bill when people abuse issue’s constitutional aspects. drugs,” she said, noting that drugs Though Prohibition is considoften go hand in hand with vioered a dead issue, it has plenty of lence. She noted that Buchanan historical interest. Alcohol beCounty struggles most with precame “the only drug with its scription drug abuse. own amendments,” so it’s still While honest families may worth studying, he said. have sold moonshine in the past, Harris said that interest the same doesn’t hold today with groups were able to harness the drugs, she said. “The big fish use power of the Reformist Era to addicts to sell drugs they don’t do make Prohibition possible. Ultithemselves” to make money withmately, though, the amendment out putting themselves in harm’s was repealed because outlawing way, she said. alcohol was expensive, led to “Seeing as many overdoses as crime and corruption, and enI see,” it’s safe to say drug abuse is couraged a more intrusive federal far more destructive than moongovernment. shining ever was, she said. Carl Mullins, a historian While the idea of legalizing with Breaks Interstate Park, drugs so that only drug abusers “knew a lot of families that surare harmed seems like the libertarvived on account of moonian ideal, it assumes a “utopia that shine,” especially during the probably can never exist,” she Neo Wooldridge Mullins Great Depression, he said. “They said. “There needs to be a cultural were hard-working, honest people who never touched a drop in change.” their lives.” Wooldridge said alcohol and tobacco, which are both legal Prohibition was responsible for the “complete devastation” but regulated, cause far more deaths than drugs would if legalof many families in the region, he said, because organized crime ized. The idea that legalization of drugs would cause an explotook over production of moonshine, and quality of the alcohol sion of users is a myth, he said. “The thin blue line is thin and getting thinner,” he said. plummeted. “It caused more problems than it ever cured.” “Officers aren’t chasing pedophiles – they’re in helicopters Howard Wooldridge, a former police officer and colooking for a green plant.” n founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, agreed with 4

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Forgiveness key in law, expert says

Rupen Shah, Latoya Asia, and Clarence Dunnaville Jr. of the Virginia State Bar’s Diversity Conference speak to first-year students.

Virginia Bar speakers tout diversity, professionalism

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epresentatives of the Virginia State Bar Association journeyed to Grundy to speak to 1Ls about the importance of diversity and professionalism fall semester. Latoya C. Asia, Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr., and Rupen R. Shah represented the VBA’s Diversity Conference, emphasizing the importance of a broad range of backgrounds and experience. Asia, an associate with McGuireWoods in Richmond, noted that law firms must be particularly aware of diversity in all of its forms. “You’re going to limit yourself as a firm if you’re only recruiting at schools like Harvard.” Diversity isn’t limited to color, Dunnaville agreed. Geographic diversity is important, too, especially in regions like Southwest Virginia, he said, and overcoming geographic biases is also a goal of the Diversity Conference. Dunnaville is a solo practitioner in Richmond. He previously worked as an attorney in the office of the Chief Counsel of the IRS. As lawyers, “we protect the lives of everyone around us .... The system has to be just, fair, and responsive to the needs of the people,” no matter their background, Dunnaville said. Diversity is crucial at all levels, he said, but students can help make the most difference.

Shah, chief deputy commonwealth’s attorney for Augusta County, said the bench and law schools still suffer from a lack of diversity, “but you can be foot soldiers of the Diversity Conference.” William E. Glover of Glover and Dahnk in Fredericksburg introduced the topic of professionalism. “As a lawyer, you’ll have to follow the rules. But we’re here to talk about, ‘What kind of lawyer will you be? What kind of person will you be as a lawyer, and what kind of relationships will you cultivate?’ ” Teresa M. Chafin, presiding judge on Tazewell Circuit Court and a member of the ASL Board of Trustees, noted that “our profession is only as good as we make it.” “Law is a small pond,” and the courts will know if lawyers are not in good standing, Chafin added. “You can’t get your reputation back when you lose it,” she said. Professor Tom Scott detailed the lawyer’s perspective on professionalism, encouraging students to maintain high standards since attorneys have been selfregulating their profession for so long. Above all else, avoid any client who wants to engage in unethical or illegal conduct, he said. “We need to avoid those who think all it takes to lose criminal charges is a certain dollar amount.” n

Lawyers and mediators often have to grapple with clients who feel so victimized that forgiveness seems an unlikely concept for them to embrace. According to Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University, who spoke to dispute resolution students during a September teleconference, it can pave the way for desirable outcomes in mediation and litigation. “Law has failed our culture if it doesn’t aim for resolution” rather than simply winning, he said. “You can forgive an offender and still make your case against them.” Forgiveness, which he defines as “learning to make peace with the word ‘no,’ … and being OK that things didn’t turn out the way you wanted,” allows a client to assert their needs without exaggerating the harm done to them, he said. Help clients reframe the situation without a victim and perpetrator, understanding that there are many points of view, he said, and acknowledge that a situation is undesirable. Participants have to be particularly mindful of what they feel, and mediators can model forgiveness to help, he added. Ultimately, it also helps to tell clients how anger and bitterness can become an obstacle to a desirable outcome, while forgiveness can clear that obstacle. “If you’re going to work with attorneys, you must practice forgiveness yourself,” he said. “Don’t suggest it to others if you can’t do it yourself.” Summer Winter 2011 Fall/Winter

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ASL volunteers snap a quick picture at the Remote Area Medical clinic, held at Riverview Elementary (1) ... Jessica Miller ‘14 wrangles a pup during the ASL CARES adoption fair at Food City in October (2) ... Students show their glam side during the All-American Ball in September (3) ... Alexis Thore ‘12 from Priscilla Harris’ Environmental Law class tours the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine in West Virginia (4) ... Brent Bohannon ‘13, Lance McFadden ‘12, and Irina Dan ‘14 model the new logo for Professor Stewart Harris’ radio show, “Your Weekly Constitutional” (5).

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First-year students get to know one another at a reception held during Intro to Law week in August (6) ... Katie Parsley ‘13 sweeps Brent Heist ‘13 off his feet during the annual Green Bowl competition, sponsored by the Environmental Law Society and Sports Entertainment Law Society in October at Enoch’s Branch (7) ... the ASL jug band performs during October’s community forum on Prohibition, sponsored by ASL and Blue Ridge PBS (8), see story on page 4.

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faculty spotlight

McGlothlin details battle with cancer

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or Associate Dean Sandra McGlothlin, October 2011 marked more than fall colors, busy students, and Halloween. It was a far weightier milestone: One year cancer-free. McGlothlin told students her story in a November talk sponsored by Relay for Life and Appalachian Women in Law. During an October 2009 trip to Charlottesville to visit a friend diagnosed with breast cancer, McGlothlin recalled, her friend mentioned that some women can have breast cancer without even having a lump. The conversation stuck in her mind, she said, so she was suspicious enough to head to the doctor when she noted some changes in her body a few months later. In March 2010, an ultrasound revealed what was either a breast infection or a rare case of inflammatory breast cancer. There are no lumps in inflammatory breast cancer, as with most other breast-cancer cases, and it develops and spreads rapidly. A biopsy soon confirmed that the cells were malignant, she said. When she went in to see her doctor, “the nurses and doctor had lined up to hug me,” she said. “I thought, ‘This isn’t good.’ ” After some research, McGlothlin found the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which had a clinic specializing in inflammatory breast cancer. Only 4 percent of breast cancer cases are inflammatory, she said. After 10 days in Texas, a battery of tests confirmed her diagnosis. “I felt this hot surge go through my body,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is it. I’m going to die.’ ” She started chemotherapy the same day. The next day, she recalled sitting in bed, feeling sorry for herself. Soon, though, McGlothlin knew she had to adopt a positive outlook. “I thought, I can stay in bed and have this pity party, or I can get up and enjoy every day of my life,” she said. “Thank God I chose the second option.” Six months of treatment had its downsides. She recalled sit8

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ting on a bench at the airport once feeling completely drained – “like a noodle” – without the energy to move a muscle. She powered through the fatigue, though, and decided to continue teaching at ASL that fall, accelerating her Family Law class in order to accommodate a return trip to Texas. One unexpected benefit of treatment? “I’ll miss doing my Christmas shopping in Houston,” she laughed, remembering that her hotel got so used to sending out packages for her that they began asking on a daily basis whether she needed to ship anything. She also came to enjoy another “perk” of chemotherapy: wigs. “They’re actually kind of fun,” she said, noting that they cut way down on morning grooming and let her try different styles. She remembers taking a wig off to avoid a massive rainstorm, putting it back on once inside, and going about her business looking polished as ever. Even though treatment took her far from home, she grew closer to her sons, Asher, Alex, and Aaron, who all visited her in Houston. Her positive attitude made a deep enough impression on Asher, then a senior in high school, that he wrote about her as an inspiring figure

in college admissions essays. “My sons have been there for me physically and emotionally every step of the way,” she said. Yet another silver – or pink – lining of cancer: McGlothlin has learned just how much others care. “The last year and a half has been one of the best times of my life” because of the support of family, friends, and colleagues. Suddenly, “I got all these hugs from people. They were longer and they were tighter. Some were from people I didn’t even think liked me.” In October 2010, she underwent surgery to remove the remaining cancer. Upon returning to ASL, she found a sea of pink: Students, faculty, and staff members were dressed in pink,


faculty spotlight

Associate Dean Sandra McGlothlin, left, walked in the Relay for Life Survivors’ Walk at Poplar Gap Park in August. Several pink-clad students, right, were on hand to welcome her back to campus after treatment in October 2010.

and there were pink ribbons hanging everywhere. “It was the most wonderful feeling in the world. I can’t tell you what that support meant to me,” she said. ASL put together a Relay for Life team in her honor, Team Sandy, as well. McGlothlin urged everyone to pay that thoughtfulness forward if they know someone who is battling cancer. “Take a minute to write a card or send an e-mail. It does make a difference.” She also told students to keep close tabs on their health, even if they have no warning signs – she had no family history of cancer and maintained healthful

“God gave me the opportunity teach a most  important lesson. When things get rough, you don’t lie down. You get up and fight.” — Associate Dean Sandra McGlothlin

habits, she said. “Pay attention to your bodies … Had I not gone to the doctor when I did, there is a chance I wouldn’t be standing here.” Ultimately, cancer has driven home the importance of living day-to-day life

to its fullest, she said, and showing others how to persevere when it would be easier to fold. “God gave me the opportunity to teach a most important lesson,” she said. “When things get rough, you don’t lie down. You get up and fight.” n

Kendall Isaac becomes newest addition to ASL faculty Kendall D. Isaac joined ASL’s faculty in the fall. Previously, he was an adjunct at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. Isaac owned The Isaac Firm LLC, a practice that concentrated on employment law and mediation matters and also served as a new-lawyer incubation center. Isaac has also worked for Reminger LPA, a large regional firm with offices in Ohio and Kentucky, where his practice focused on employ-

ment law and workers' compensation defense. Before starting his legal career, he held employee relations and human resource Isaac management roles for Fortune 500 companies Abbott Laboratories and Bisys/Citigroup. He graduated from Ohio State University

with a bachelor's in rhetorical communications and graduated Order of the Curia from Capital University Law School with his law degree and a concentration in labor and employment law. Isaac’s research interests involve the advancement of mediation theory and practice, especially in the realm of workplace disputes, and trends relative to the growth and development of "lawyerpreneurs." Fall/Winter 2011

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Gerald Arrington ’04 puts up campaign signs while stumping for votes in Buchanan County. Arrington, who has a law office in Grundy, beat incumbent Republican Tamara Neo in the November commonwealth’s attorney election.

Alums step up as top prosecutors Grads relish chance to serve as commonwealth’s attorneys The November 2011 commonwealth’s attorney elections swept a new wave of ASL alumni into office in southwestern Virginia. At least four ASL grads – Gerald Arrington ’04, Erin DeHart ’06, Nathan Lyons ’01 and Joshua Newberry ’08 – join recently re-elected Marcus McClung ’00 as the top prosecutors in their respective counties. The five alums agreed to participate in the following question-and-answer session. What made you decide to run for the office of commonwealth’s attorney? GA: When I look at the Buchanan County of today, I realize that it is far different from the community that I grew up in. I remember a time when we didn’t lock our doors at night, and when we didn’t worry about coming home from church or from work to find our homes broken into and our property stolen. ... I 10

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realized that if I work to make our community a safer place for us all to live in, I have made a better community for my two sons to grow up in. JN: Raising a family in Dickenson County, I was concerned about the rise in violent crime and home invasions. I decided to do something about it.

MM: It was the winter of 2003 and the local law-enforcement approached me. At the time, four other candidates had announced their candidacy for the Republican nomination. After a hard-fought nomination, I ran against a very difficult and well-liked opponent for the election, where I was able to win in a tight race. Have you always sought public office?

ED: I’d been working as an assistant (commonwealth’s attorney) for five years, and when I was told the current commonwealth’s attorney would not seek re-election, I thought it was the perfect time to begin serving my community. NL: I decided to run for commonwealth’s attorney out of a sense of service to my community. I believe that by running ... I could make a difference in my community and in the lives of others.

GA: My parents instilled in me the importance of community service ... They taught me that I should always stand up and fight for my beliefs, and that I should also stand up and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. JN: I never had a desire to run for public office before this year. I felt like the best way to make meaningful change was direct action.


alumni spotlight MM: I have wanted to be a prosecutor from the start. It is a dream come true. Why did you decide to go to ASL and pursue a career in law? GA: I love the legal field and its challenges. I have a strong desire to serve my community and to help others. ASL was my first choice because of their mission of service.

NL: I worked one year as a clerk to the Hon. Thomas H. Keadle, circuit court judge. After that, I worked for four years as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Carroll County, Va. Then I began working with my wife, and we started Lyons and Lyons PC in Hillsville, Va., where I have been working for the past six years.

NL: I made the decision to go to ASL because the school was located in southwest Virginia and provided me with the opportunity to go to law school while still being close to home.

MM: In 2000, Ward, Bishop, and Rasnic, an insurance defense firm in Bristol, Va., gave me my first job. I still feel very lucky to have been given that opportunity. I was fortunate to learn from attorneys with such an outstanding knowledge, work ethic and ethics in the law. I met my future employer during my internship in the summer between my first and second year at ASL. I worked for them for three years, when I ran for commonwealth’s attorney.

Describe your career path since ASL.

Were you interested in criminal law at ASL, or has that evolved in time?

GA: I began working for a law office in Lebanon, Va., practicing personal injury litigation and criminal defense. I was later hired as the deputy commonwealth’s attorney for Buchanan County, where I served for more than two years as a prosecutor. I also worked part-time for ASL as an adjunct professor for several semesters. In 2008, I opened my own law office in Grundy and primarily focused on criminal defense.

GA: Even as a student, I found criminal law to be interesting, but to be honest, I was most interested in becoming a trial attorney and wasn’t as concerned with the area of law that I would be practicing in. My first job as an attorney was with a small firm that primarily handled personal injury cases. I soon realized that most of this work was done in an office setting with only a few court hearings scheduled here and there. Luckily for me, a few months later, the senior partner suggested that I start accepting criminal defense cases. After handling just a couple cases, I was hooked.

JN: ASL provides a unique opportunity for people in the mountains to pursue one of the most rewarding careers I know of without leaving the region.

JN: I worked for an established solo practitioner and was exposed to criminal defense, civil litigation, estate planning, and real-estate practice. I then took a position as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Wise County. ED: After receiving my bar results and being officially sworn in to practice law in Virginia, I began serving Wythe County as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney. I left Wythe County and began working for Pulaski County commonwealth’s attorney’s office in 2008.

JN: Criminal law revolves around the closest and most frequent interaction citizens have with government, which has always interested me. NL: Some of my favorite courses at ASL were Criminal Law and Procedure and Virginia Procedure. I have always had an interest in criminal law, even prior to entering law school.

Gerald Arrington ’04 grew up in Buchanan County and now lives in the Breaks community. He attended the University of Virginia-Wise and was elected Buchanan County Commonwealth’s Attorney in November. Erin DeHart ’06 is from Bland, Va. She attended Bluefield College and was elected Bland County Commonwealth’s Attorney in November. Nathan Lyons ’01 is from Hillsville, Va., and attended Alice Lloyd College. He was elected Carroll County Commonwealth’s Attorney in November. His wife, Raquel Alderman Lyons ’01, is an ASL graduate. Marcus McClung ’00 is from Ronceverte, W.Va. He attended Virginia Tech, where he played football for the Hokies. He was first elected Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney in November 2003 and is now beginning his third term in office. Joshua Newberry ’08 is from Clintwood, Va., and attended the University of Virginia-Wise. He was elected Dickenson County Commonwealth’s Attorney in November. His wife, Rosie Newberry ’13, is a student at ASL.

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alumni spotlight plained why I was deserving of their vote. I strived to listen to their problems and concerns, and always tried to be considerate and compassionate. The people of Buchanan County simply want to be treated fairly and want their leaders to genuinely have the community’s best interests in mind when making decisions. ED: My focus was my experience in prosecution and my willingness to serve Bland County as a full-time prosecutor. Our county is one of only a handful of offices left in the state with a part-time commonwealth’s attorney. I committed not to engage in the private practice of law while serving as commonwealth’s attorney, regardless of the office’s part-time status. NL: I always told people about myself, my career, and what abilities I had to perform the job as it is required. I pledged to have an office that was open to the public, to be accessible to the public, and to be accountable both for my actions and actions of the assistant commonwealth’s attorneys who work for me.

Nathan Lyons ’01 stumps for votes in Carroll County, Va. He has been working with his wife at Lyons and Lyons PC in Hillsville for the past six years. continued from page 11

What’s your fondest memory from ASL? GA: I will never forget my graduation ceremony. All of my family and my closest friends were there to support me, and unbeknownst to me, they had arrived early to make sure that they had seats on the front row. ... I looked over and saw my oldest son, who was 3 at the time, and he reached his arms out toward me wanting to be held ... I picked him up and proudly marched out of the auditorium with him in my arms. MM: The experience of law school and being able to look back at it now is the best part for me. We were the first class to come through those doors. A lot of us gave up jobs and put families on hold to take a chance on this new school in Grundy, and the school took chances on us. ... Seeing how we helped start the school gives me great pride. What issues did you make central to your campaign? GA: When I met someone, I tried to be myself: nothing more, nothing less. I shared my beliefs and values with them and ex12

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MM: Issues are important, of course, but in a small area like we have, I think your record is more important. We ran on what we have done and I think people saw our office’s track record and liked our aggressive and fair style. Did you enjoy stumping for votes, or was it just a necessary evil? GA: At first, I was a little apprehensive about going from door to door asking people for their votes, but it quickly became one of my favorite parts of campaigning. I really enjoy going throughout our county meeting with my neighbors, getting to know them better, and listening to their problems and points of view. JN: I dreaded campaigning at first, but after beginning I really enjoyed meeting so many good people. ED: I ran opposed, and it was a lot of hard work. I enjoyed getting out in my community and being able to reconnect with the people here. I’ve always lived here, but I’ve always been employed outside of the county, which made it difficult to keep in touch with many of the citizens here. It was nice to be able to participate in community functions, and I was surprised by how welcoming people were when I knocked on their doors. NL: I enjoyed actively campaigning and meeting a lot of members of my community at various events and festivals. I enjoyed talking with individuals about things and issues that were important to them and their families.


alumni spotlight Describe campaigning – did anything surprise you about it? GA: ... I was surprised that despite how simple campaigning is at its most basic levels, how complex and rigorous it can be at times. The greatest moment was sharing my victory on election night with my family and the people of Buchanan County. The biggest lows were constantly being away from my family and missing out on some of the special moments. JN: I was surprised by how the vast majority of the people I met are genuinely nice and really do appreciate straight talk. ED: I’ve been active in politics for several years, so there were no big surprises. I ran a campaign based on my experience and dedication, and refused to participate in any negativity. I was surprised at the cost of a campaign, but was also overwhelmed by the financial support I received. NL: Obviously, the highs of campaigning were meeting a lot of individuals on the campaign trail and attending so many great events. The lows were the general negativity at times by the other side, overall gossip that comes along with any campaign, and the exposure to public scrutiny. MM: Campaigning is always full of surprises. Going door to door, I found a house with two pet skunks on the front porch. How do you feel ASL and previous law experience prepared you for the job? GA: You can read all the textbooks, ask all the questions, and solicit the advice of others, but in the end, you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. By placing great emphasis on practical experience, ASL did an excellent job of preparing me for the future. I also found my time as an assistant prosecutor to be invaluable. JN: The practical rather than theoretical curriculum I experienced at ASL prepared me well for the general practice of law as well as prosecuting.

ED: My time at ASL prepared me well for this position. The focus on community service, along with the skills I learned through arbitration and mediation, has given me a good foundation for a career in public service. In addition, I’ve been fortunate to serve in two jurisdictions as an assistant, which has given me a broad range of experience. I’m active in the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children task force, and am very proud of the cases I’ve handled combatting the exploitation of children. NL: ASL provided me with a vast array of experiences to prepare me for the demands of being the elected commonwealth’s attorney. The school provided a great trial advocacy program and had multiple courses in criminal law providing me with the skills necessary to perform the job. Through the summer externship program, ASL provided the opportunity to be exposed to several different offices dedicated to public service. What do you hope to accomplish during your term, or what are you most proud of so far?

aid the victims of crime in the successful prosecution of criminals. I hope to provide resources and training opportunities for local law enforcement within my jurisdiction. MM: Our reputation is to be tough but fair. High-profile cases are part of the job. We all have them and the important thing to remember is the same for every case: You represent the Commonwealth and the victims first. The amount of time it takes to get a case concluded is often very frustrating for the victims and us. What advice would you give a student who is interested in public service? GA: Get involved in your community. Get involved in a political party. If possible, help with a political campaign or two. The insight and experience you will gain will be invaluable. JN: One, work hard. Two, don’t compromise your beliefs. Three, treat people with respect.

JN: I want to restore the citizens’ confidence and accountability in the office of commonwealth’s attorney by aggressively prosecuting drug dealers, repeat offenders and criminals who harm real victims.

ED: ... You have to take the good with the bad, and always keep sight of the ultimate goal – helping those in your community, and doing everything you can to make your part of the world a better place. Public service opens you up to criticism, and you have to be prepared for that. ... Criticism often comes from a lack of understanding, and if you can explain your position to your critics with respect, you can often help them understand your reasoning. This is not a job you do to become wealthy or get pats on the back for a job well done. It is service, and it takes a great deal of dedication.

ED: I hope to bring respect to the office of commonwealth’s attorney in my community. I plan to work closely with law enforcement in order to facilitate better investigation and prosecution. I also hope to organize and participate in educational programs and community outreach programs for the citizens of the county.

NL: I would encourage anyone interested in public service to volunteer their time to those organizations while in law school so they can see how rich and fulfilling a career in public service can be. I would also encourage anyone to volunteer at multiple offices so they can be exposed to a number of different service organizations.

NL: I hope to transform the office ... into a professional office that will assist and

MM: Learn to listen first. n

GA: I hope to improve my office’s relationship with law enforcement and better assist those agencies to arrest and prosecute our county’s biggest drug dealers and most violent offenders. I would also like to work with our youth and educate them about the dangers of drug use.

Fall/Winter 2011

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class notes

2004 Suzanne Kerney ’04 was appointed special assistant U.S. attorney last November. She will still work as deputy commonwealth’s attorney for Wise County and the City of Norton, Va. The appointment will allow her to prosecute cases arising out of Wise County in federal court.

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Chrissa N. Douglass Kunrod ’04 has worked at the Social Security Administration as an attorney advisor in Johnstown, Pa., since September 2008. In August 2011, she was promoted to senior attorney advisor. Troy Nichols ’04 recently joined Alpha Coal Sales Co., a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, as corporate counsel. Alpha is now a Fortune 500 company and ranks as the world’s fifth-largest supplier of coal. Troy will be working at Alpha’s new headquarters in Bristol, Va. Troy formerly was a senior associate at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP in Lexington, Ky. He previously clerked for the Hon. Elizabeth McClanahan, who was recently appointed to the Virginia Supreme Court. Troy is married to Amanda Burke Nichols ’04. They have a 4-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and a 1-year-old son, Benjamin, and live in Abingdon, Va. Eric S. Ratliff ’04 has opened Covenant Trust Company LLC, a state-chartered trust company based in Pierre, S.D., with a trust services office in Johnson City, Tenn. Kimothy Sparks ’04, administrative director of quality management and performance improvement at Auburn Regional Medical Center in Auburn, Wash., just led the facility to a successful reaccreditation with the Joint Commission Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Kimothy has been with ARMC since March 2011.

2005 Matt England ’05 has been appointed Family Court Judge for the 14th Family Court Circuit serving Fayette County, 14

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W.Va. England has worked as an assistant prosecutor focusing on juvenile and criminal cases in the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office, and was previously a law enforcement officer in Raleigh County and the City of Beckley. Photo 3. Dan Kostrub ’05 was made a partner at Steptoe & Johnson in December. Dan focuses his practice in the areas of real estate and energy law, with a focus on oil, gas, and coalbed methane issues. His experience includes managing several high priority title projects with critical deadlines for a Fortune 500 company. Dave McFadyen ’05 has launched a campaign for District Court Judge in the 3B Judicial District (Craven, Carteret, Pamlico counties) in eastern North Carolina. A primary election is scheduled for May 8.

2006 Dustin R.T. Sullivan ’06 is featured on the current season of MTV’s “Teen Mom 2.” He represents Jenelle Evans, who stars on the program. Sullivan practices at Sullivan & Snow in eastern North Carolina.

D.J. Berry ’06 is the new tax manager at Blackburn, Childers & Steagall in Johnson City, Tenn. He previously was with Johnson Hickey Murchison in Chattanooga, Tenn. Amy Jackson Kell ’06 was married in October 2010 and is expecting a baby girl in April 2012. She is a capital and conflicts attorney with the Arkansas Public Defender Commission in Little Rock, Ark., where she lives with her husband, Casey. Photo 2.

2007 Aaron L. Bell ’07 married Natasha M. Ziembiec on August 13, 2011, at the Village Chapel in Pinehurst, N.C. Arrin Zadeh ’07 was a groomsman and Jason and Jamie Little ’07 attended. Aaron is associate counsel at Thigpen & Jenkins in Southern Pines, N.C. Photo 1. Jessica Owens Gunter ’07 is living in Bluefield, Va., with her husband, John, and children Christina, 10, Elle, 7, and Hayden, 1. She is practicing in the Charles A. Stacy Law Office and Personal Injury Center in Bluefield. Photo 4.


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2009 Catherine Deaver ’09 and T.J. O’Brien ’11 married on Sept. 10, 2011, in an intimate ceremony at Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville, Va. Both are members of the Virginia state bar. T.J. is a prosecutor in Buchanan County, and Catherine is a magistrate in Washington County. Photo 7.

2010 Joshua Cain ’10 helped a nonprofit secure a $68,000 grant for the installation of a new roof for the Wheeling Scottish Rite Cathedral. The Scottish Rite is a masonic nonprofit organization that funds the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center in Charleston, W.Va. Photo 8.

Janie Castle ’10 is now the director of Career Services and Alumni Relations at ASL. She was previously an attorney with Justice Law Office PC in Grundy. Athanasia Lewis ’10 opened her own law office in Pikeville, Ky., in November. McKay Whitney ’10 is an associate in a volume plaintiff ’s personal injury firm in Las Vegas. He recently helped secure a $300,000 wrongful death litigation settlement, $150,000 pre-litigation motor vehicle accident settlement, and $99,000 motor vehicle accident litigation settlement. McKay had his wife welcomed a baby boy, Reese McKay Whitney, in August. Reese joins big sister Sydney and big brothers Jackson and Carter.

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2011 Eugene Belenitsky ’11 is clerking for the Hon. David H. Sanders of the 23rd Judicial District of West Virginia.

Faculty/Staff Assistant Dean Tommy Sangchompuphen and wife Saundra Latham, Writing Center coordinator, welcomed Simon Latham Sangchompuphen on June 20 in Bristol, Tenn. He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Photo 5. Assistant Professor Doug McKechnie and his wife, Kristin, welcomed Carys Louise Mullen McKechnie on Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Photo 6.

Alumni notices Alumni fair uu ASL will be holding its 2012 Spring Career Fair on Saturday, March 31 from noon to 4 p.m. in the Booth Center. Alums interested in reserving a table should e-mail Janie Castle, director of Career Services, at jcastle@asl.edu. Keep ASL up to date uu Alums, please remember to update your contact information through the Alumni Access System so that ASL has current information for networking purposes. E-mail jcastle@asl.edu with questions. Fall/Winter 2011

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the Appalachian School of Law P.O. Box 2825 Grundy, VA 24614 www.asl.edu

Proud salute Members of Grundy’s Childs-Gentry VFW post 7360 conducted a flag ceremony in November to mark Veterans Day on campus. Several members of the ASL community, including many veterans, above, turned out to show their patriotism.

NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE

PAID NORTH TAZEWELL, VA 24630 PERMIT NO. 20


The Current Winter 2011