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the

current

the magazine of the Appalachian School of Law Summer 2011

in it for the

long run Alums who helped start ASL Memorial 5K still racing after nine years

Also inside Shinn to step down in 2012 ASL unveils improved website Professor’s radio show hits airwaves Honoring the Class of 2011 uu


dean’s perspective

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“I will be stepping down as dean on June 30, 2012 ... After 25 years of practice and 14 years of teaching, I am excited about returning to the classroom.”

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have recently informed ASL’s Board of Trustees executive committee that I will be stepping down from the office of dean on June 30, 2012. After taking a year of leave, I plan on resuming my teaching career full time. Guiding young people through the discovery of the rule of law in the classroom is the most satisfying job in the legal profession. After 25 years of practice and 14 years of teaching, I am excited about returning to the classroom. The advanced notice will provide the Board of Trustees a full academic year in which to conduct a nationwide search for a new dean, who will then have a year to become familiar with ASL before preparing for the next American Bar Association accreditation visit, which will occur under revised standards. The longer lead time will also allow ASL to avoid appointing an interim dean for just one year. A dean’s search committee will soon begin the process of locating a new dean. If the committee is successful, the candidate will likely be selected in the spring of 2012. The new dean should be familiar with regulations of legal education and also be a recognized academic scholar, with experience or reputation in natural resources. Since becoming the seventh dean of ASL in December 2006, I’ve been honored to help ASL progress in several areas. Some notable milestones: Accreditation. The American Bar Association awarded ASL full accreditation in 2006 and reaccreditation in 2008. Faculty growth and stability. Since December 2006, nine tenure-earning, full-time faculty members have been recruited and hired, with seven remaining with the current faculty, constituting a growth of more than 40 percent. Of the nine new faculty, three

current

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

added to gender diversity, and four added to racial diversity of the faculty. During the same time period, seven faculty members have earned tenure, meaning that they have taught at ASL—and resided in Buchanan County— for at least six years. More than half of the current faculty is now tenured, a significant milestone for a relatively new law school. Innovative 1L grading system. ASL developed a grading system for first-year students that deemphasizes artificial competition by eliminating the traditional grade-based ranking among peers. Administration advancements. Recognizing the need for a strong role model and mentor for female students, I appointed Sandra McGlothlin as the first woman to serve as associate dean for academic affairs. I also created the position of associate dean for information services, filled by Charlie Condon, and named Tommy Sangchompuphen assistant dean for student learning and outcomes. Natural Resources Law. ASL has partnered with the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources for a certificate of graduate studies program and acquired the building at 1432 Walnut St. to renovate into a Natural Resources Center. We are considering adding a Certificate in Natural Resources Law within the juris doctorate program and a separate but integrated master of laws degree in Natural Resources. Fiscal stability. In each of the fiscal years since 2006, ASL has operated without public support funds and has had net positive results. In a challenging economic and regulatory environment, ASL continues to do good work, producing community leaders who are lawyers. I have been privileged to serve ASL as dean during these interesting and challenging years of growth and maturation as an institution. n

Editor, designer: Saundra Latham Photos: Saundra Latham, Jason McGlothlin, Kelsey Kradel, student and alumni submissions Contributors: Saundra Latham, Wes Shinn, Tom Scott, Judie Barger, Katie Murray, ASL alumni Cover: Runners take to the streets in last year’s Memorial 5K. Tripp Hunt ‘11 and Lindsey Dennerlein ‘11 celebrate after commencement April 30. 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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around campus

ASL launches long-awaited new website

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SL launched its new website in March, concluding more than a year of work by both outside professionals and a school committee to revamp the school’s online home. The website features a sleeker, more modern appearance, and places greater emphasis on communicating with prospective students. It is easier to navigate than the old site, and all content is edited with greater readability in mind. The school’s Board of Trustees “recognized that the virtual structure and presence of the website has become a capital asset as important to ASL as the physical bricks and mortar in Grundy, perhaps more important since our location makes a physical visit a more intentional trip,” said Dean Wes Shinn. “If we can get prospective students to the campus, our program sells itself. Getting them to the campus is the challenge, and the new website is designed by professionals in higher education webpage design” to attract them. “Recruiting is the primary reason we invested in the new website,” said Nancy Pruitt, director of Student Services and chair of ASL’s website committee. “Our target population ‘lives’ in an interactive and virtual world. They don’t respond to the old paperbased or static marketing methods. We have a split

The new website, launched in March, above, emphasizes recruiting more than the old website, left, with more fluid, recently updated content.

second to make a good first impression.” ASL has a story to tell, Pruitt noted, “and our former website wasn’t telling our unique story.” The new site focuses on ASL’s intimate atmosphere, community service, and practical focus. The site, designed by higher-education marketing firm STAMATS Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, uses a state-of-the-art content management system that streamlines the website publication process. Now, several users can create and control content instead of one. Other staff members who have worked on the project include site administrators Brian Ratliff, Brian Presley, and Crystal Dye, content editor Saundra Latham, Chris King, Adrienne Hurley, Tammy Bentley, Denise McGeorge, Assistant Dean Tommy Sangchompuphen and Associate Dean Charlie Condon. n

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Students mingle with prospective employers at the Spring Career Fair, held April 9. Several employers sent complimentary notes about students, turnout, and event organization afterward, and attendees included at least a half-dozen alumni representing law firms and alumni networking. Summer 2011

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ASL was represented at the ABA Law Student Division Fourth Circuit meeting by Chelsea Minton ’13, Mary McNeil ’11, Melissa Louthen ’13, Katherine Kennedy ’13, Maggie Ransone ’11, Katie Murray ’11, Meghan Scott ’11, Jason Gallagher ’11, Nate Ogle ’13, Jonathan Moody ’13, and Candice DuVernois ’13.

ABA student division honors ASL’s efforts

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SL was presented with the Bronze Key award at the American Bar Association Law Student Division’s Fourth Circuit meeting in Williamsburg, Va., in February. The award honored ASL for its highest percentage increase in membership in the circuit. Membership has increased by more than 75 percent at ASL, which now boasts a membership of more than 175 students. “This is definitely something for which ASL should be very proud,” said Katie Murray ’11, ASL’s ABA representative. “We are in a circuit with some of the nation’s top law schools.” ASL also achieved prominence this

school year when Garylene Javier ’12 was tapped to serve as governor of the circuit. ASL brought an 11-member student group to the meeting, the largest constituency there. Students gained insight into several topics, including non-traditional legal career options and law practice innovations. Panels focused on how students can stand out in a tight job market. The ABA Law Student Division’s Mental Health Initiative was also a focus at the meeting. The initiative aims to help students recognize warning signs of mental health issues and deal with school-related stress. ASL’s own efforts, such as its Mental Health Day and Pilates wellness

program, were highlighted. “These are great outlets we have at our school to help students ‘de-stress’ during one of the most stressful times of their education,” said ASL Student Bar Association President Meghan Scott ’11. The Law Student Division Fourth Circuit is made up of 17 law schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Other member institutions include Duke University School of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, Washington and Lee School of Law, and William and Mary Law School. n – Katie Murray

Belenitsky takes second place in national writing contest Eugene Belenitsky ’11 was awarded second place in the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers national writing contest this spring. Belenitsky’s paper focused on how Virginia courts do not extend the death presumption, a presumption that an employee who was found dead died in the course of his employment, to employees who were discovered dying and later died without communicating what happened. Ultimately, Belenitsky argues that 4

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the death presumption has actually covered such employees from its establishment. He examines Virginia precedent and discusses emergency services that blur the line between life and death. “I became inspired to write this paper while working on a case in my externship at the Virginia Court of Appeals,” Belenitsky said. “I entered the contest because I had passion for the issue and wanted it published.” The College of Workers’ Compensa-

tion Lawyers honors attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the area of workers’ compensation law. Writers were encouraged to comment on or critique a public policy issue, case or doctrine, or statute regarding workers’ compensation. Belenitsky won $1,000 for his efforts. Professors Stewart Harris and Doug McKechnie and Writing Center Coordinator Saundra Latham helped along the way, he noted. n


around campus

Moot Court brings back another win Mock Trial team narrowly misses berth in semifinals

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Trey Martin ’11 and Brian SL Moot Court racked up Scheid ’11. Martin was named another successful showing at the Wechsler National Criminal Best Advocate this year; Scheid Law Competition in Buffalo on April 2. was Best Advocate last year. Trey Martin ’11 was named Best Advocate, placing first out of 52 competitors. Martin and Brian Scheid ’11, who was last year’s Best Advocate, also advanced all the way to the team competition’s final round, where they argued before a panel of federal and New York Court of Appeals Judges. They were narrowly edged out by Mercer in a split decision. “I am always pleased to argue against some of the top-ranked law schools in the country,” Scheid said. “The level of competition is high and any ASL student should know we are right there with them.” This year marks the fourth time in the last eight years that an ASL team has argued in the final round at Wechsler, and the fourth time in as many years that ASL has won the Best Advocate award. Not only has ASL won more firstplace awards than any other school in the history of the competition, but ASL has also argued in the final round and won the Best Advocate award more times than any other school. The team is coached by Professor Judie Barger. The final-round bid and Best Advocate awards won by Martin and Scheid make them the most decorated Moot Court team in ASL history. “Professor Barger does an excellent job preparing our team for the legal aspects of the Moot Court problems, but she also has a very good feel for how this particular competition operates,” Scheid said. “We are never surprised by anything presented to us on the day of the competition.” “It is an honor to be an ASL student, and it is an honor to be involved with the Moot Court program,” Martin said. “It is an experience that has developed me as a future lawyer and will define the remainder of my days.” ASL’s Mock Trial team missed advancing to the semifinal round by three points, placing fifth in the American Association of Justice Mock Trial Regional Competition in Washington, D.C., March 4-6. Team members were James Downey ’11, Katie Murray ’11, Ed Nicholson ’12, and Nate Ogle ’13. Professor Tom Scott coached the team. ASL bested Fordham and Georgetown, losing only to American, one of the finalists, in a highly competitive match. “I would be most pleased to sit with any of them at counsel table,” Scott said. “Team members selflessly gave up their spring break to practice daily. This bodes well for great things to come.” Mock-trial tryouts for next year’s team will be held early next fall. The team hopes to participate in at least two competitions next year. n – Judie Barger and Tom Scott

Finding balance between the law, state legislature Ward Armstrong, Virginia House of Delegates minority leader, spoke to the ASL student body in March on his life as both a lawyer and state politician. Armstrong, who has practiced law for roughly 30 years, called himself a “dying breed” as a solo practitioner. “When I first opened my law office, a judge told me I’d need to have an assistant, but that assistant would make more than me the first year—and it was true.” Despite that, Armstrong said he has always enjoyed working for himself. Being a solo practitioner exposed him to a range of law, he said, and enabled him to get involved in state politics, too. “I can see clients all weekend, and use Skype for face-to-face conversations when I’m in Richmond. Most courts and judges recognize that I’m not on vacation ... that it’s public service.” Dividing his energy between politics and law has been expensive, he said. He estimates that serving as a Armstrong state legislator cost him $150,000 in lost legal revenue last year. Politically inclined law students should get involved in the local party, and head back to their hometowns to bolster old connections, he said. To create buzz for a first campaign, Armstrong advised students to seize on an issue that resonates with everyone, citing rising electric bills as an example. “Politics is always an issue of ‘What can I do for you?’” he said. Similarly, fledgling lawyers cannot forget to advertise, he said. “If people don’t know you’re there, you can’t get clients.” Social networking can be an effective tool, he said, “but be careful what you post. Remember that you have all the privacy of a glass box on Times Square.” Armstrong’s daughter, Courtney Armstrong, is a member of ASL’s Class of 2012. Summer 2011

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around campus

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A blue ribbon on ASL’s front gate honors two slain Buchanan County deputies (1) ... Revelers take to the dance floor at the Valentine’s Fete in February (2) ... Runners take off from the starting line during the Memorial 5K in March (3) ... Jesse Markley ‘12 plants tree seedlings at Poplar Gap to mark Arbor Day (4) ... Jerry Ward from the Backpack Blessings program accepts donations from ASL and the Appalachian College of Pharmacy during April’s Clash in the Coalfields. More than 350 backpacks full of food were donated (5).

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around campus

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Participants in the Black Law Student Association’s Apollo Night rub the Tree of Hope for good luck during their performances (6) ... Jordan Kozik ‘13 and Bradley Yates ‘11 clean trash from the banks of a local stream as part of the Environmental Law Society’s annual river clean-ups (7) ... Members of ASL CARES, a group that works with the Buchanan County Animal Shelter, accept their award after being named Student Organization of the Year at the annual awards dinner in March (8).

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faculty spotlight

Harris hits radio waves with new show

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rofessor Stewart Harris has created a radio program on the U.S. Constitution that airs each week on East Tennessee State University’s National Public Radio station, WETS-FM. Harris also hosts the program, “Your Weekly Constitutional,” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. The program is meant to boost public knowledge of the Constitution, Harris said, and “discuss current events that involve the Constitution in an entertaining and informative fashion.” The first program, which aired March 1, tackled states’ rights to secede from the U.S. Other topics have included the mosque debate in New York City, eminent domain, evolution

versus intelligent design, and judicial activism. Harris was inspired to pitch the program after seeing an article about programming

changes at WETS. Station manager Wayne Winkler liked the idea so much, Harris said, that he’s become the show’s producer. While the Constitution is a complex topic, making it more digestible for the

public isn’t hard, Harris said. “It’s what I do every day in class. Remember, law students are members of the public, too. I find that the most effective way to teach them is to use relevant, entertaining anecdotes … The same principle applies on the radio. First and foremost, engage your audience.” One way he tries to do that is by discussing current events that have constitutional implications, such as the debate over the constitutionality of health care legislation. “Lots of people have strong opinions on the subject, but I wonder how many of those people have actually read the Constitution, let alone studied the more than 200 years of interpretation that have followed,” he said. “Opinions are fine—the First Amendment protects them. But I prefer informed opinions.” Though he’s used to a more tangible

Recent faculty scholarship Patrick Baker presented at the 7th annual 30th Judicial District Bench Bar Conference in Big Stone Gap, Va., in March. His talk was titled Baker “The Mine Safety Health Administrative Case Backlog and Ramifications.” Stewart Harris presented his article, “The Jew Who Beat Henry Ford,” at the Second International Conference on Hate Studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., in April. Winner of Faculty Scholarship Award uu Derrick Howard’s article “21st Century Slavery: Reconciling Diplomatic Immunity & the Rule of 8

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Law in the Obama Era,” will be published in the University of Alabama’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review in DecemHoward ber. Howard was awarded the 2010-11 Faculty Scholarship Award for the article. Another article, “A Modest Proposal: An Emerging Dialogue for Implementing the Human Right to Water” is to be published by the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law in April or May. Michael Loudenslager spoke in April at the Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference in Macon, Ga., on “What Lincoln Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion.” Last May, he

presented at the Empire State Legal Writing Conference in Hempstead, N.Y., on “Rule Proof, Rule Explanation, Rule Illustration Section – Whatever Loudenslager You Want to Call It, Students Need Help Doing It Well, and Here are Some Ways to Help Them.” He was also recently published in the University of Florida College of Law’s Journal of Technology Law and Policy. His article was “Why Shouldn’t Attorneys be Allowed to View Metadata?: A Proposal for Allowing Attorneys to View Metadata as Long as Extraordinary Measures Are Not Taken to Do So and Opposing Counsel is Contacted Upon Discovery of Sensitive Information.”


faculty spotlight audience during classes at ASL, Harris said he imagines that he’s “just talking to someone sitting across the table.” It takes a village to produce a radio show, though, and ASL students have been eager to help. Harris has teamed up on air with several of his third-year Constitutional Law students: Joannie Burroughs ’11, Chris Menerick ’11, LaTri-c-ea McClendon ’11, Michelle Caggiano ’11, Andrew Meyer ’11, Jason Grace ’11, Ashley Rudolph ’11 and Eugene Belenitsky ’11. He hopes to keep adding to that list. Carol Hutchinson, assistant to the associate dean, helps schedule guests for the show, Harris said, “and she is utterly fearless. She will cold call anyone.” The show also features the Constitutional Quiz, during which “quiz lady” Kelly Carmichael tests the knowledge of braver listeners. Carmichael is coordinator of We the People Virginia and education outreach manager at the Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier. Harris met Carmichael at the

Doug McKechnie’s “Don’t Daze, Phase, or Lase Me Bro!: Fourth Amendment Excessive Force Claims, Future McKechnie Non-lethal Weapons and Why Requiring an Injury Cannot Withstand a Constitutional or Practical Challenge” will be published in the University of Kansas Law Review in October. The second edition of Steve Parsons’ textbook, The ABCs of Debt: A Case Study Approach to Debtor/Creditor Relations and Bankruptcy Law, was released by Aspen Publishers this spring. It covers how debt is created, the debt collection process, and

Professor Stewart Harris’ show, “Your Weekly Constitutional,” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on East Tennessee State University's 89.5 (WETS-FM).

We the People state finals, where he grills students on the Constitution. Harris said he has started to receive positive feedback through email, the show’s fan page on Facebook, and oldfashioned verbal compliments. “I should also mention that several potential under-

the discharge or reorganization of debt in bankruptcy. Paula Young was a presenter and trainer at the Virginia Mediation Parsons Network’s spring conference in March in Richmond. In April, she served as a judge in the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition and a panelist at the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution 13th Annual Conference in Denver. She will present at the Summer Conference of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning as well as the 10th Annual Conference of the Association for Conflict Resolution in New York in June. She authored the chapter “Supervision, Rehabilitation and Liquidation of Troubled Insurance

writers have expressed interest, including one lawyer who wants to be the show’s exclusive sponsor—that is, he wants to exclude other lawyers from underwriting the show,” Harris said. “Nothing says, ‘I love you’ quite like money.” The drive down to Johnson City is long, Harris said, but “it’s all about planning and routine.” He has condensed his trips to two or three a month, and uses the time to discuss upcoming shows with student assistants or identify things to improve. Ultimately, though, the work is worth it, he said: “I’m having a blast.” And while he hopes the show fulfills its primary purpose, boosting public knowledge, “I certainly won’t mind if the show raises ASL’s profile.” ASL “was founded to serve this region. This is simply one more way to serve.” n To learn more, earch for “Your Weekly Constitutional” on Facebook to become a fan. Find out about becoming a Constitutional Quiz contestant and listen to full episodes on the ASL website, www.asl.edu.

Companies” in Missouri Insurance Practice and “The ADR Toys and Tools Show: Using Props in the Law School Classroom,” in Gerald Hess’ forthYoung coming Techniques for Teaching Law II. “Teaching the Ethical Values Governing Mediator Impartiality Using Short Lectures, Buzz Group Discussions, Video Clips, a Defining Features Matrix, Games, and an Exercise Based on Grievances Filed Against Florida Mediators,” is forthcoming in Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Journal. “Teaching Professional Ethics to Lawyers and Mediators Using Active Learning Techniques” was published in Southwestern Law Review last year. Summer 2011

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The Class of 2011

SL held its 12th annual commencement April 30 at Riverview, recognizing the 93 members of the Class of 2011. “Commencement marks an end, but also a beginning” for the graduates, noted Dean Wes Shinn. “You have become students of the law for life” and members of a privileged profession, he said. “We are proud of your achievements and will follow your careers with pride.” The commencement speaker was Paul E. Patton, former governor of Kentucky and current president of Pikeville College. He was introduced by The Honorable Birg Sergent, a retired judge from the 30th Judicial Circuit of Virginia and member of the ASL Board of Trustees. Patton excelled in business as a mining industry leader, government as a state politician, and education as a college president, Sergent said. “Maybe some of that success can rub off on us.” Patton compared the gravity of careers in law and government, saying, “The reason you chose the law is to earn a paycheck, but the law is more than a paycheck—it is the foundation of our society.” He urged ASL graduates to take the responsibility seriously and commit themselves to making the right choices every time, even when those choices are unpopular. In both careers, “the reward of making a difference in others’ lives outweighs the barbs you will receive,” he added. 10

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The student speaker, an honor that goes to the student who graduates first in his or her class, was Thomas Luke Fleming ’11, a 2003 graduate of Grundy High School. Fleming grew up in nearby Mouthcard, Ky., and has lived in Grundy for the past seven years, interning twice with the Buchanan County Commonwealth Attorney. His local roots highlight the fact that “central to ASL’s mission is opportunity for the region’s residents,” Shinn said. Fleming said that after supporting and befriending one another over the past few years, the Class of 2011 leaves ASL “not as classmates, but colleagues. “Regardless of where we came from, hard work — former Kentucky Gov. has brought us here. We Paul E. Patton now have the power to change people’s lives.” Class of 2007 graduate and ASL Assistant Professor Patrick Baker issued the alumni challenge to the graduates, urging them to reach out to fellow alums for support. He reminded them that all new alumni will “become a beacon for the institution.” Baker also presented Fleming with the SutinBlackwell Award for Excellence. Associate Dean Sandra McGlothlin presented the graduates with their hoods, and Shinn awarded the degrees. Professor Steve Parsons gave the invocation and benediction. Faculty members instituted a new tradition by formally welcoming all new graduates to the profession with a handshake after the ceremony concluded. n

“ ... The law is more than a paycheck—it is the foundation of our society.”


12th annual commencement • Sheldon Todd Adams • David Samuel Barnette Jr. • Tara Ann Bartosiewicz • Robert Dwight Bates II • Michael Brandon Baum • Eugene Belenitsky • Brett Jared Bell • Micah Shawn Blankenship • Matthew Randall Bradley • Anna Elizabeth Bright

• Joan Jacqueline Burroughs • Steven Glenn Byers • Michele Lee Caggiano • Daniel Reid Casey • Daniel Watkins Chamberlain • Tenisha Dawn Cline • Jennifer Kay May Crawford • Ryan Spencer Curtis • Lindsey Ann Dennerlein • James Gerad Downey III • Lawrence Eddie Duran • William Hall Estes • Brian O’Shea Finnerty • Thomas Luke Fleming • Jason Daniel Gallagher • Raymond Dale Godfrey • Whitney Morgan Gooch • Jason Lee Grace • Sarah Elizabeth Gray • Timothy Paul Griffin • Joseph Baron Hammons • Michael Keith Hieneman • Amanda Jean Horton • George Pinney Hunt III • Joshua Ross Hurley • Emily Nicole Jernigan • Charles Edwin Johnson • Kelly Nicole Johnson • Vanner Lynn Johnson Jr. • Anthony Lewis Jones

• Ashley Elizabeth Stewart Kuly • Mark Arthur Lanier • Thad Russell Bryant Lawrence II • Travis Brandon Lee • Daniel Locklear • Angela Dyan Lowe • Justin Jerome Marcum • Ashton Martin McKenzie • Fred Thomas Martin III • Waylon Damon Martin • Richard Holland Matthews • Richard Davis Mattox III • LaTri-c-ea Princess McClendon • Olen McLean • Mary Margaret McNeil • Kristian Richard Lee McPeek • Christopher Robin Menerick • Andrew Dennis Meyer • Garrett Michael Moore Jr. • Stanley Thomas Mortensen • William Joseph Mossor • Katheryn Kristina Murray • Jessica Marie Nelson • Zachary Robert Newman

• Jason Daniel Nicholas • Robert Olavi Nylander • Timothy Joseph O’Brien • Samantha Jordan Owens • Dino Joseph Pergola • Justin Nicholas Plummer • Margaret Marston Ransone • Rachel Elizabeth Ratliff • Donna Michelle Ridgel • Christopher Ryan Ring • Juliana Katrine Ripperger • David Lee Robinson • Ashley Lauren Rudolph • Brian Scott Scheid • Meghan Elizabeth Scott • Travis Daniel Shields • Nathan David Shultz • Katie Ann Sibley • Stephanie Rosser Skeen • Joshua Paul Sokolowski • Raven Alexis Stanley • Nicole Lee Stiltner • Andrew Preston Taylor • Billy Joseph Taylor • Wesley Keith Taylor • Darya Danielle Thompson • Jeremy Forrest West • Althea Weston • Roland Bradley Yates Jr.

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START to FINISH

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Alums journey back to Grundy every year for Memorial 5K race

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SL’s Memorial 5K is an event that students and community members alike look forward to each March. For two 2004 alums, Jeremy Burnside and Justin Marlowe, it has even become an annual pilgrimage. Burnside, a Cleveland native who has his own law practice in Portsmouth, Ohio, and Marlowe, an assistant prosecutor in Madison, W.Va., have come back to Grundy and ASL every year to run in the 5K. The two helped organize the first race in the wake of the January 2002 shootings. “I keep coming back to the race because it’s something to which I devoted myself after the shootings took place,” Burnside said. “The race was my way of giving back to what Tony (Sutin) offered me, Tom (Blackwell) taught me and what Angela (Dales) shared with me.” Burnside even made the trip despite his father and grandfather passing away this year and last year, respectively, just before the race. “I was running in honor of my dad,” he said. The two also make the journey as a way to keep tabs on their alma mater. “We both are interested in ASL’s success and enjoy coming back each year to see it grow,” Burnside said. “We also keep coming back because it’s fun reliving our 2L and 3L years, when we made the most out of living in Grundy.” “I personally like to come back to visit with familiar faces,” Marlowe said. “Faculty, staff, and the local community. It’s nice to catch up with everyone. It’s also nice to see all the changes happening in Grundy. Coming back once a year really gives you a perspective on how the community is changing.” 12

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They try to keep the trip interesting, too, with a mix of new adventures and old traditions, whether that’s rock climbing on what turns out to be poison ivy-infested ledges, playing basketball at the YMCA, or draining a pitcher of beer at Italian Village. Marlowe said the race seemed like a “natural fit” after the 2002 tragedy, at which time they were 1Ls in their second semester. Burnside had helped organize 5K runs as an undergraduate for his fraternity at the University of Charleston, and Sutin and Blackwell had been avid runners. “We had to do a community service project anyway,” Marlowe said. “Originally, the proceeds were going to go to Neighbors United, because Tom Blackwell was involved in that.” Instead, the money went to the victims’ families. The first race was a touching event, both said. A cool, rainy day gave way to sunshine as more than 300 participants took to the starting line. Mountain Mission students attended en masse, cheering on the runners and releasing hundreds of balloons into the sky, Marlowe said. “I still remember the balloon release at the first race. It was a very emotional time for everyone and to have the family members of the victims there. It really meant a lot.” Festivities continued throughout the weekend, with the Barrister’s Ball, a silent auction, and a storytelling festival. Despite both Burnside and Marlowe having medaled last year—“when we moved up in age categories,” Burnside


alumni spotlight laughed—neither claims to be more than a casual runner. Burnside also won third place in his category this year with a time of 23:31. He competed in the 2008 Akron and Philadelphia marathons, and recently began rowing on the Ohio River in hopes of starting a rowing club. Marlowe ran cross country and track in high school and college, “but I am nowhere near as fast as I used to be.” Burnside said he isn’t surprised the race is still going strong. “It was intended to never stop. Every few years, I’ll get a message from the new race director for some input, which I have been happy to give.” His fondest memory is of battling Blackwell’s eldest son, Zeb, in 2003 or 2004, until Zeb “beat me in a sprint to the finish line. After the race, his mom, Lisa, embraced him as he had this glowing smile on his face,” he recalled. Burnside focuses on personal injury, wrongful death, and highlevel felonies at his practice in Portsmouth, Ohio. “I wanted to be in criminal defense in law school,” he said, calling the work “stressful but satisfying.” He has become a champion of anti-gun legislation and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

Jeremy Burnside and Justin Marlowe at this year’s Memorial 5K, above, and at their graduation from ASL in 2004.

Marlowe, who currently volunteers with Generation Charleston on community service projects, 4-H, and a community watch program, said the shootings helped push him to pursue his current work as a prosecutor. “I always wanted to help people, and going to law school was a way to do that and have a salary, too.” n

Sullivan finds self in limelight as MTV star’s lawyer The bright lights and flashes of television crews and cameras seem like they would be a long way from small-town North Carolina, but for Dustin R.T. Sullivan ‘06, they’ve become the norm. Sullivan, who practices with fellow ASL alum Andrew M. Snow ‘06 at Sullivan Snow Law in Bolivia, N.C., has had his share of media run-ins as attorney for Jenelle Evans, who has shot to fame on MTV’s “Teen Mom 2.” Evans faces numerous charges, including breaking and entering and simple assault. A video of her brawling with another girl aired on “Good Morning America,” and she has landed on the cover of several tabloids. As Evans’ attorney, Sullivan has been contacted by Fox News, CNN, Nancy Grace, “The CBS Morning Show,” “Good Morning America,” TMZ, “E! News,” “OK Magazine,” “Us Weekly,” and other media outlets. Sullivan had no idea who Evans was when she became his courtappointed client. To date, he has had three criminal charges dismissed for her with no convictions. If she successfully completes probation for a possession of drug paraphernalia charge, it will be dismissed in April 2012, he said. The media hoopla has made Sullivan “much more careful as to what I say and to whom since the media will spin any statement any way they want.” After the video of the fight surfaced, he received calls from every major continued on page 15

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class notes

2004 Kimothy M. Sparks ’04 has been named interim administrative director for quality and performance improvement at Auburn Regional Medical Center in Auburn, Wash. His duties include risk management, quality and performance improvement, and patient satisfaction.

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2005 Yves Archey ’05 started working with Steptoe and Johnson PLLC in their Bridgeport, W.Va., office in January. He is focusing his practice in energy law. R. Jill Webb Bruner ’05 recently married in July 2010, and is expecting her first child later this year. She has been in-house counsel for Booth Energy for the last four years and lives in Georgetown, Ky. Norma Jean Landis ’05 married Reggie Cupp of Atlanta in September 2010. Eve Mitchell ’05 was her maid of honor. Damie Carter ’04 was a reader. Norma Jean is a magistrate in Hampton, Va., where she moved in October. The wedding was held at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, Va. Photo 5. Joshua Hershon ’05 is a founding partner at Hershon, Dryden & Associates in Carlsbad, Calif., which has grown to a staff of eight, including three lawyers and four paralegals. The firm serves the community through indigent legal services, food drives, beach clean-ups, and charity development. Its main practice areas are family law, criminal law, civil litigation, business entities design, and bankruptcy. Stephanie Livesay Winkler ’05 welcomed Lauren Prentice Winkler on Dec. 15. She weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces. Stephanie’s firm is in Anderson, S.C., where her family also lives. Photo 1.

2006 Brandon Boyles ’06 and his wife, Emily, will be welcoming their first child in September. Brandon is working in Independ14

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ence, Va., at his own firm, the Grayson Law Firm, which he started in 2008. He focuses mainly on criminal defense, domestic relations, and real estate. Brett Buchheit ’06 and his wife, Leslie, are expecting their first child in October. Brett opened his own practice in 2010. Buchheit & Associates specializes in wrongful death, serious bodily injury, insurance litigation, and civil litigation. The three-attorney firm represents more than 200 clients, with 10 percent of cases handled on a pro bono basis. Nichole Laborde Romero ’06 and her husband, Bart, welcomed their first child, Peyton Sophia, on Sept. 15, 2010. Peyton was 8 pounds, 11 ounces. The

new family lives in Lafayette, La. Photo 2. Peter Piersa ’06 and his wife recently welcomed their second child, Johann Libetario Piersa. He was born March 3, weighing 5 pounds, 2 ounces. The family is living near Burlington, Vt., and Peter has been working with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations. Photo 4. Meg Sagi ’06 was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in April. Her sponsors were the Honorable Robert E. Burch and Kimberly Hodde, and her movant for personal admission was Tim Wheat, executive director of Phi Delta


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Phi. Sagi is an assistant district attorney general in the 23rd Judicial District of Tennessee. Photo 9.

2007 Jessica Owens Gunter ’07 joined private practice with the Charles A. Stacy Law Firm in Bluefield, Va., in October. She and her husband, John, also welcomed a baby boy, Hayden Scott Gunter, on Nov. 16. Hayden weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and joins siblings Christina, 10, and Elle, 6. The family lives in Bluefield, Va. Photo 3.

2009 Matthew E. Chandler ’09 accepted a position with the Mingo County Prosecutor’s Office as assistant prosecuting attorney in Williamson, W. Va. He was also elected as the 6th District Representative for the Young Lawyers Division for the West Virginia State Bar. Chris Musgrave ’09 worked as regional coordinator for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky’s successful campaign and will be starting his position as field representative for Paul in the eastern part of Kentucky this summer. Photo 8.

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Nicholas Summe ’09 in March successfully defended an army sergeant accused of second-degree murder in a fatal car crash. The case was Summe’s first felony and jury trial. “I was standing on ASL’s shoulders,” he said. He also credits Professor Tom Scott’s trial advocacy class and Steve Parsons’ evidence class for serving him well at trial. Summe Law is in Covington, Ky. He practices criminal defense, family law, and civil litigation.

2010 Paul Montgomery ’10 has opened a law office in Ripley, W.Va. He congratulates the Class of 2011 and encourages them to “make a reality out of those ‘after law school dreams’ they had during class.”

Faculty Professor Pat Baker and his wife, Karen, welcomed twin boys on Feb. 4 in Abingdon, Va. William R. Baker weighed 5.4 pounds, and John C. Baker weighed 6.8 pounds. Photo 6. Professor Anne Rife and her husband, Brian, welcomed Elaine Grace Rife on Nov. 19 in Bristol, Tenn. Elaine weighed 7.5 pounds. Photo 7.

news agency all night and the following day. “That was an exhausting two days. I would walk out of court with 40-plus messages,” he said. Despite the hassle, the attention has led to some funny circumstances, Sullivan said. “I have had several reporters actually assist me with providing information for my cases they gathered from their sources. … I felt like I was living in a movie about Watergate. The reporter would begin, ‘OK, you did not get this information from me, but it would be very helpful to your case…’ It made me want to look over my shoulder and whisper.” Sullivan has spoken with attorneys in New York who have represented high-profile clients. “They Sullivan were incredibly helpful in giving me tips and answering questions. The most important advice I can give is to think about everything before you say it,” he said. “Even if you think something is off record, it will probably be on some website and it typically can only draw trouble for you and your client.” The spotlight has also reinforced why Sullivan started practicing in the first place. “The media has prosecuted (Evans) after only being charged ... forgetting that our system is founded on the principle of innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “I enjoy reminding myself that this is exactly why I chose the path less traveled in becoming a criminal defense attorney – helping someone who has been accused of a crime when no one else will give them a chance.” Summer 2011

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

NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE

PAID NORTH TAZEWELL, VA 24630 PERMIT NO. 20

Mark your calendars ... Annual GALA uu Grab your sombreros for a Mexican-themed bash July 29 from 7 p.m. until midnight. Semi-formal or traditional Mexican fiesta attire requested. Dinner, dancing, and drinks will be provided. There is no charge for entry, but donations to the ASL Endowed Scholarship Funds are welcome. Annual Golf Tournament uu This year’s captain’s choice, shotgun-start golf tournament will get underway July 30 at Willowbrook Country Club. Contact Wendy O’Neil at woneil@asl.edu for details regarding both events.

Job postings website available Career opportunities are a click away for alums. Please contact the Alumni Department, alumni@asl.edu, for log-in information.


The Current Summer 2011