Fall 2022 Semester at the Clinics

The end of each semester looks a little different in the Clinics than it does in the rest of the law school. By the nature of Clinic work, there are no outlines to prepare or exams to study for. Instead, the end of the semester is when students get another real-life lesson: the practice of law does not operate according to the academic calendar! As I watch the students wrap up their case work, write their transition memos, send their final communications to their clients, and submit their final reflections, I am once again struck not only by the tireless dedication that the students bring to their Clinic work, but also by how much growth the students have experienced since August. After a semester of hands-on experience, our students leave the Clinics better prepared on every level for the challenges of practice that await them. We are proud of what we accomplish every semester, both for our students and the communities we serve. We hope you enjoy this brief glance into what we have been up to in the Clinical Program this Fall. We look forward to continuing our work with both new and returning Clinic students come January. Until then, we wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and Happy New Year!

Kind regards,

Stacy Kern-Scheerer

Director of Clinical Programs

Clinical Associate Professor of Law

Appellate & Supreme Court Clinic students partner with the Virginia Office of the Attorney General

In March 2022, the Clinic began a partnership with the Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General defending criminal convictions on appeal. Last spring, in just six weeks, Clinic students produced six briefs which were filed with the Virginia Court of Appeals. So far, students have secured two victories. During the Fall Semester, a new group of students has already filed six briefs, with more cases to come. This partnership has been a great learning opportunity for the students.

Elder & Disability Law Clinic Students Provide Estate Planning Services & Assistance for Disabled Individuals

The legal services of the Elder and Disability Law Clinic are in high demand as Clinic Students step up to the challenge of increased caseloads and fulfill an ever-growing need for representation among indigent clientele throughout the Commonwealth.

Read more about the Clinic's recent efforts here.

Family Law Student Advocates Prepare for Court Appearances

Family Law Clinic Student Advocates represented a number of clients in their divorce, custody, support, and equitable distribution matters. They drafted pleadings, prepared and responded to discovery, prepared Judicial Settlement Conference Memoranda, corresponded with clients, courts, and opposing counsel, performed research, and managed their respective files. The Family Law Clinic assisted a client in finalizing a divorce and handled a custody appeal that resolved favorably for the client, pending a final hearing in another court.

Immigration Clinic Students & Attorneys Volunteer at Virginia Beach Citizenship Fair

Immigration Clinic students and supervising attorneys volunteered at a Citizenship Fair in Virginia Beach. At the fair, Clinic students helped green card holders from across Hampton Roads fill out applications for citizenship and gather the evidence necessary to support their case. Some applicants only had their green card for three years, while others had been lawful permanent residents for more than thirty years.

"A lot of the law we study focuses on punishment, deterrence, or profits and losses, and other not always joyful topics. There are few golden opportunities like today that are just joyful," said Melissa Box, J.D. student, Class of 2023.

Read more at the Immigration Clinic Blog.

Domestic Violence Clinic Hears From Avalon Center Speaker

Juanita Graham from the Avalon Center spoke to students about the organization's purpose, the legal and personal difficulties to survivors of abuse as they try to escape to safety, and a variety of ways students can help as legal professionals. During the semester, student advocates represented clients in protective order hearings. Four students completed hearings, each winning protective orders for their respective clients. Clinic members obtained two additional permanent protective orders. In addition to in court representation, the clinic members completed exercises in trauma-informed interviewing, safety planning, and other advocacy skills.

Virginia Exoneree Beverly Monroe Speaks With Innocence Project Clinic Students

At the start of the Fall semester, a class of eight new Innocence Project Clinic Student Advocates began their yearlong journey in service of inmates' claims of actual innocence. Students began the year by screening new cases, reaching out to potential clients, and determining whether there is a basis to file an innocence petition. In October, students heard from guest speaker Beverly Monroe. Beverly was wrongly convicted of murder in 1992 and released 10 years later after a judge granted her writ of habeas corpus. Clinic Professor Fred Gerson served as one of her habeas attorneys. Beverly's story served as the inspiration for the founding of the Law School's Innocence Project Clinic in 2007 and continues to provide a hard-hitting example of the issues at stake for the individuals represented by Clinic Student Advocates.

Puller Clinic Wins Two Cases at Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims


The Puller Clinic won two cases for clients at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) during the Fall 2022 Semester. Unusually, both victories are newsworthy because they came via single-judge memorandum decisions. Most cases that the Puller Clinic litigates at the CAVC are won via joint settlement before a judge becomes involved. The Puller Clinic has now won 35 cases at the CAVC.

Read more about the Puller Clinic's recent work here.

W&M Law Clinic Blogs

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