Thursday, October 31, 2013

Distinguished Alumni: Justin J. Marcum, W.V. House of Delegates

Distinguished Alumni of the Appalachian School of Law:  

Justin J. Marcum, W.V. House of Delegates

In January 2012, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Justin J. Marcum to the 20th District of the West Virginia House of Delegates, comprising Mingo and Wayne Counties, for the remainder of the term of resigning Delegate K. Steve Kominar.

He ran as a Democrat in the last successful run for the office in 2012.  He ran against ASL law student, Nathan Brown.  

At the time of the appointment, the Governor remarked:

“Justin is a young man who has displayed a passion for public service,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “As an Assistant County Prosecutor as well as an elected member of the West Virginia Democratic State Executive Committee, 6th district, Justin has shown he values the ability and the rewards of working for the benefit of others. Such a trait will serve the people of the 20th Delegate District well.”

He serves on the following committees in the House of Delegates: Judiciary; Judiciary Subcommittee B; Roads and Transportation; and Political Subdivisions. He serves as Vice-Chair of the Rule-making Review Committee.

He has sponsored legislation relating to education (school drop-out rates); health care records; child neglect; drug treatment programs; grand juror misconduct; firearms; license plates (including one about the “Hatfield and McCoy” regional heritage); self-defense; and voting system certification. 

Marcum graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Business Administration, Economics, and Finance. 

He graduated from the Appalachian School of Law in 2011, thus making his elevation from law student to state legislator nothing but meteoric. 

In law school, he was a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity and the Energy and Mineral Law Society

He has been commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel and recognized in Who’s Who in Law

The former underground coal miner’s support of coal miners and the coal industry is widely known. 

Marcum served as a Mingo County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney from August 2011 to the present. He also runs his own law office. 

His public service also extends to the following organizations:
  • American Bar Association
  • West Virginia State Bar 
  • Ancient Free and Accepted Mason
  • Beni Kedem Shriner
  • Friends of Coal
  • High Country Hunting Club
  • National Rifle Association
  • Omicron Delta Epsilon
  • West Virginia State Democratic Executive Committee (2010)
  • Former President of Mingo County Young Democrats
  • Mingo Central High School Counseling Advisory Council (2012)
Marcum resides with his wife, Latisha, and daughter, Tenley Ann, in Williamson, West Virginia.

Distinguished Alumni: Asst. U.S. Attorney M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen

Distinguished Alumni of the Appalachian School of Law: 

Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen

M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee in the Greeneville branch office. Suzanne represents the United States in a variety of criminal cases in the Greeneville Division of district, which covers the ten northeastern-most counties in Tennessee. The photo captures her swearing-in ceremony as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia on November 9, 2011. 

This ceremony occurred on the 100th Anniversary of the dedication of the Federal Courthouse in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Her great-grandfather helped build this courthouse, so she chose that date and location for her swearing-in ceremony.

Suzanne graduated magna cum laude from King University in Bristol, Tennessee, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music. In 2003, she graduated cum laude from Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. She was thereafter admitted to the Virginia State Bar.

During law school, she completed two summer internships in the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia in the Abingdon branch office. Suzanne also volunteered extensively with the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program for the 29th Judicial District of Virginia while in law school.

Kerney-Quillen received numerous awards and honors while in law school, including five book awards, the Virginia State Bar Family Law book award, and a letter of commendation from the Virginia State Bar president for her work with the CASA program. She also received the Community Service Award each year in law school. Suzanne was a member of ASL's National Appellate Advocacy Team during the Spring of 2003, achieving a perfect score in the semi-final argument round of the competition. She also served as an Editor of the Appalachian Journal of Law and had an article published in Volume 3 of the Journal, entitled Fetal Abuse: The Societal Impact of Drug-Exposed Infants and the State’s Interest in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect by Expectant Mothers.

Upon graduation, Kerney-Quillen served a one-year judicial clerkship for the Honorable Keary R. Williams, who was then the Chief Circuit Court Judge for the 29th Judicial District of Virginia. After her clerkship, she then joined the Buchanan County Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for one year. She also taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Appalachian School of Law from 2004-2005, teaching course in Legal Process and Appellate Advocacy.
Kerney-Quillen served as Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney for Wise County and the City of Norton from 2005 until joining the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2012. She also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia while still serving as the Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney for Wise County, from November 2010 - June 2012.

As a Commonwealth's Attorney, Suzanne presented regularly for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Services Council, teaching DUID courses across the Commonwealth of Virginia to prosecutors and law enforcement officers. Suzanne also helped form the 30th Judicial District Drug Treatment Court Program and co-authored the application for its judicial authorization to the Virginia Supreme Court. The Court approved the program  in October 2010.

Suzanne volunteers extensively in her community and currently serves as the Vice-President of the Symphony of the Mountains Board of Directors, an all-professional orchestra headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee. She is also a member of the Voices of the Mountains, which regularly performs with the Symphony. She has performed several solos with the Voices and the Symphony since joining the chorus in 2005.

She now serves on the Board of Trustees of the Appalachian School of Law.

She is married to Jeff Quillen.  They appear together in this photo at the Symphony of the Mountains Gala.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

MAPLA Conference in St. Louis Missouri

Conference of the 
Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors

This week, I've been attending the conference of the Midwest Association of Pre-law Advisors (MAPLA) held this year in my home town of St. Louis, Missouri.  I have continued to blog on this conference so check my postings in November.

Three things have really impressed me.

First, the pre-law advisors clearly express a strong desire to help their students make the best career choices possible.  I appreciate their professionalism, knowledge, and commitment to serve students.

Employment Trends Update

Second, the conference planners have offered top-notch conference programming. One speaker, the Executive Director of NALP, spoke about the legal employment market here and here. I've tracked the trends myself herehereherehereherehere, and here. I'll provide an update on that topic, based on this presentation, when I get back to Grundy.

One speaker predicted that the graduating class of 2016 will see a much-improved employment market. Available jobs should exceed new graduates that year, if current trends hold.

Conditional Scholarship Data

A second speaker discussed "conditional" (aka competitive) scholarships, identified which schools are
offering them to students, and disclosed how well students can retain them given the conditions of the scholarship.  This speaker provided a summary of his research.   Admissions experts and prospective law students have needed this data to assess accurately the cost of attending a law school.  The data is revealing.

As the speaker said, paraphrasing loosely:  "Some law schools make a decision that a prospective student will make a significant contribution to the learning environment.  Once the student joins that community, the student should not be over-stressed with worry about whether he or she can keep a conditional scholarship. This school will make sure the criteria for keeping the scholarship are liberal and favor the student."

Other schools may use conditional scholarships to attract students, but the retention criteria are so rigorous -- say staying in the top 1/3 of the class --that many students loose the scholarships.  Some people might argue that this policy unfairly favors the school. These law schools arguably use a bait and switch tactic in their admissions strategies.

I'll explore this rich topic in later postings.

I am happy to report that Appalachian School of Law has very liberal scholarship retention conditions.  A recent article in the online ABA Journal reported:  
These schools had retention rates at or above 90 percent and below 100 percent: University of Texas, George Washington, Washington and Lee, Georgia, William & Mary, University of Maryland, Ohio State, Baylor, Cardozo, Syracuse, CUNY, William Mitchell, Appalachian and Elon.  (Emphasis added.) 
We are one of two 4th-tier access schools included in this group.

Historical Trends in LSAT Test Administrations, ABA Applicants, and First-Year Law Students:

As promised, I am continuing to blog about the information provided at the conference.  For a discussion of the LSAC admissions data for 1968 to 2012-13, see here.  For LSAC information about the geographic distribution of applicants and applications for the 2012-13 admissions cycle, see here.

Compelling Presentation by Washington University School of Law Dean Kent Syverud

Dean Syverud gave a very compelling speech about the challenges the legal academy faces now that the "Golden Period" of legal education has passed.  I've covered it in other postings herehere, and here.

Location, Location, Location

Finally, St. Louis served as a wonderful host city.  The Cardinals played game three of the World Series last night.  People are exuberant and opinionated (especially about game one). The downtown fountains bubble with red water; vendors selling Cardinal baseball shirts and commemorative baseballs occupy corner stalls in the parks; and the new stadium stands about a block from the conference hotel.

Two nights ago, Mizzou (my LL.M. alma mater) hosted a wonderful event at the Anheuser-Busch brewery. We got free beer, a delicious dinner, door prizes, and a brief tour of the brewery, including the barn holding the Clydesdale draft horses.

Washington University (my J.D. alma mater) -- so very proud of its Collegiate Gothic law school building (funded and named after Anheuser-Busch) -- provided a location for conference programming and a tour of its campus.  I had forgotten just how beautiful the building is. I earned my degree when the law school occupied a badly designed, poured concrete building students called a "fall out shelter."

St. Louis University School of Law hosted conference programming, a tour, and then dinner and drinks on its 12th floor terrace. This terrace provided impressive views of downtown St. Louis, which were especially pretty last night as the sun set behind the urban landscape.

The school moved to its new high-rise urban location at the beginning of this school year.  It spent about $30 million rehabbing an old downtown office building into a sleek, modern, well-lit environment for students.  Students in clinical programs now have easy access to nearby courthouses.

Once I get off these open plains and back to the mountains, I will also pick up on my series profiling Appalachian's distinguished alumni who are working in public service jobs.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Appalachian School of Law Distinguished Alumni: Captain Artie Vaughn

Distinguished Alumni 
of the Appalachian School of Law

I am launching a series of profiles of our graduates who have distinguished careers as public servants. Accordingly, I will profile alumni serving as legislators, judges, judicial clerks, magistrates, administrative law judges, Commonwealth Attorneys, Deputy and Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys, public defenders, members of the Judge Advocates General Corps, and graduates holding other positions in state and federal government.  

Hold on!  We have so many grads holding these distinguished positions, it will take me a while to complete this series.  I hope they help current and prospective students map legal careers that best serve the students and the people they are eager to serve. 

And, on the horizon?  I've planned profiles of distinguished alumni in private practice.

So, here is my first profile.  Enjoy!


Captain M. Arthur “Artie” Vaughn II is an Area Defense Counsel (ADC) at Travis AFB, California. He provides defense representation to Title 10 service members facing military justice and administrative actions.

In 2002, he graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 

In 2007, Captain Vaughn graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. During law school, Captain Vaughn clerked for the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Tennessee. Additionally, he participated in the Army JAG Corps Summer Internship Program at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

After law school, Captain Vaughn worked for the firm of Hall, Conerly & Bolvig, P.C. in Birmingham, Alabama practicing insurance defense.  He worked primarily in the areas of Automobile Torts, Toxic Torts, Products Liability, Transportation Law, Landlord Tenant Law, and Construction Law.

Captain Vaughn is married to the former Leeatra Ann Lepley of Birmingham, Alabama. He and Leeatra have a 4 year old son, Tripp, and a 2 year old daughter, Kimberly Grace.

Additional Education:

  • Commissioned Officer Training, Maxwell, AFB, Alabama (2008).
  • Air Force Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course, Maxwell, AFB, Alabama (2008).
  • Squadron Officer School (correspondence) (2010).
  • Squadron Officer School (In Residence) (2010).
  • August 2008 – February 2011, Assistant Staff Judge Advocate (Chief of Operations Law/ Magistrate Court/Military Justice/General Law/Deputy Chief of Legal Assistance), Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins AFB, GA. 
  • February 2011 – July 2013, Assistant Staff Judge Advocate (Chief of Civil Law/Operations Law), 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, CA.
  • July 2013 – present, Area Defense Counsel, AFLOA/ADC, Travis AFB, CA. 
Major Awards and Decorations:

  • Air Force Commendation Medal w/ device.
  • AF Oustanding Unit Award.
  • Longevity of Service Medal.
  • National Defense Service Medal.
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
  • AF Training Ribbon.
Bar Admissions:
  • Alabama (2007).
  • Federal District Courts – Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama (2007).
  • Air Force Court of Appeals (2008).
  • Court of Appeals for the Armed Force (2008).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The List of ASL Student Organizations

Student Organizations at the 
Appalachian School of Law

So here it is -- after more than a month of research -- the list of student organizations operating at the Appalachian School of Law.  I am proud of the programming and service our students provide our law school and the regional community.  These organizations enhance our well-being in so many ways.  

Pro Bono Legal Service Providers:
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) 
  • VITA Tax Services (VITA) 
  • Great Eastern Trail Project (GET) 
Law Journals:
  • Appalachian Journal of Law (AJoL)
  • Appalachian Natural Resources Law Journal (ANRLJ)
Student Government:
  • Student Bar Association (SBA)
  • Honor Court
Legal Fraternities:
  • Blackwell Inn Phi Delta Phi (PDP) 
  • Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International (PAD) 
Focus on Substantive Law:
  • ADR Society 
  • Criminal Law Society (CLS) 
  • Education Law Society (ELS) 
  • Energy and Mineral Law Society (EMLS) 
  • Environmental Law Society (ELS) 
  • Innocence Project 
  • International Law Society (ILS) 
  • Patent Law Association (PLA) 
  • Sports & Entertainment Law Society (SELS) 
  • Sutin Public-Interest Association (SPIA) 
Affinity Groups:
  • Appalachian Women in the Law (AWIL) 
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA) 
  • Christian Legal Society (CLS) 
  • Gay/Straight Legal Association (GSLA or Outlaw) 
  • Hamilton Society (veterans)
Political Viewpoints:
  • Democratic Law Society (DLS) 
  • Republican Law Society (RLS) 
  • Federalist Society (conservatives/libertarians) 
  • American Constitution Society (ACS) 
Geographic Groups:
  • Beltway Bar Association
  • North Carolina/South Carolina Bar Association
Sports Groups:
  • ASL Softball Team
  • ASL Pistol, Gun & Hunt Club
  • Running Club
Other Groups: 
  • American Association for Justice (AAJ) (trial lawyers) 
  • ASL Cares (for pet adoption and rescue) 
  • ASL Happiness Project (student well-being) 
  • Community Thread Society (for CASA kids) 
  • Lions Club 
  • Jug Band aka Grun-D-MC (musicians) 
  • The Rhetoricals, Toastmasters International (public speaking) 
For more information about these student organizations, take a look at the late August, September, and early October 2013 postings at The Red Velvet Lawyer,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Student Bar Association: Funding Student Organization Activities

Funding Student Organization Activities 
at the
Appalachian School of Law 
Rather than paraphrase the rules governing SBA appropriations for student organizations, I am simply reproducing the relevant provisions of the Bylaws of the ASL SBA.
§ 3. Allocation of Student Activity Fees 
I. Preliminary Organization Budget
A. Any student organization or student group seeking funding from the Senate shall submit a proposed itemized budget to the SBA Fiscal Policy Committee (Committee). The proposed budget request shall be submitted to the Committee no later than April 1st of the academic year preceding the academic year in which the funds are to be requested. Full funding is not guaranteed nor should be expected. These proposals do not bind the SBA, nor the organization. 
1. The Committee shall only accept proposals signed by the Organization President, Treasurer, and Advisor, or their equivalents. 
2. All budgets shall remain proposals until the SBA Budget is approved by the Board of Trustees.
3. Final appropriations to organizations shall be considered on an event-by-event basis.
B. Upon SBA Senate approval by a simple majority vote, the SBA Treasurer shall submit the final aggregate SBA budget proposal to the Dean and President of the Law School with the SBA President’s and Faculty Advisor’s signature, in accordance with Law School procedures.
C. After the Board of Trustees has made its decision as to SBA funding, the Committee shall meet again to finalize each organization’s proposed budget. 
D. At the first meeting of the fall semester, the SBA Treasurer shall report to the SBA Senate the final budget the Board of Trustees approved for the academic year. 
E. As soon as the SBA Senate approves the budget provided by the Board of Trustees, the SBA President and Treasurer shall notify each organization as to their approved budget figures.
II. Final Appropriation 
A. Any organization or student group requesting funding must complete an official SBA
Organization Funding Request Form which shall be available on the SBA website. 
B. This form must be submitted to the SBA Treasurer by 5:00 p.m. the Friday before the SBA meeting. 
C. The organization’s request shall be entered into New Business on the agenda and sit “on the table.” No organization member need be present at this meeting. 
D. At the next SBA meeting, the organization’s request is entered as “Old Business.” 
1. A representative from the organization must be present at this meeting to answer questions from the Senate. 
2. If no representative is present at the meeting, the request shall be tabled. 
3. The request shall pass upon a simple majority of the Senate’s votes cast. 
E. The SBA Treasurer shall notify the ASL Business Office of authorized disbursements.
III. Funding Priority 
A. Priority shall be given to those organizations or student groups which have submitted a budget requesting SBA funding in a timely fashion and are otherwise in compliance with the requirements of SBA recognized organizations. Funding shall not be limited to officially recognized organizations. 
B. The Senate may, at its sole discretion, provide funding to newly formed and recognized student organizations, however, no organization or student group which has not submitted a proposed budget as per subpart I of this section shall be guaranteed any funding from the Senate. 
IV. Accounting Procedures 
A. All organizations and student groups receiving funds from the SBA must account for their
spending. Each organization or student group must provide an itemized listing of all vendors and expenses within Fourteen (14) days of the event to the Business Office. A form shall be provided by the SBA Treasurer that organizations or student groups may use to meet this requirement. 
Also, the organization shall return its receipts and invoices to the Business Office within Thirty (30) days after the event. For projects that take place over an extended period of time, the organization shall make arrangements with the Business Office to return the receipts and invoices in a manner that is agreed to by both the SBC and the organization or student group. 
B. At the end of each semester, all organizations shall be required to conduct an audit of the organization’s finances in cooperation with the SBA Treasurer and Head of the ASL Business Office. The Fall audit shall be submitted no later than November 15th. The Spring audit shall be submitted no later than March 1st. 
C. Organizations and student groups that do not comply with this section shall not be placed on any subsequent SBA Senate agenda for any matter until the organization or student group is in compliance. Furthermore, the Senate maintains the authority to reduce an organizations or student groups budget should that Organization fail to comply. Multiple infractions shall constitute grounds for an organization or student group to be properly brought before the Honor Court. 
V. Donation of SBA Funds 
No SBA recognized organization or student group may donate any monies derived in any way from student activity fees previously allocated to the organization or student group without prior approval of the Senate. Any organization or group donating SBA funds shall submit sufficient proof to the SBA Treasurer that the funds were in fact received by the donee. Any such donation shall be made on behalf of the organization and the SBA of the Appalachian School of Law. 
VI. Funding Criteria and Senate Decorum
A. All events funded by the SBA must be open to the entire student body. 
B. Any funding for travel cannot exceed the per diem rate for the destination area set by the ASL. If ASL has not set such a rate, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) per diem rate shall apply. 
C. Voting members of the SBA can not base their decisions about on funding based on race, religion, creed, national origin, gender, sexual preference, political preference, or ideological preference. 
D. A voting member of the SBC may not vote on a request before the Senate if he/she is an executive officer of that organization or student group requesting funding.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Student Bar Association: Standing Committees of the SBA

Standing Committees of the Student Bar Association (SBA) of the Appalachian School of Law 

The Student Bar Association -- which I have described in a series of postings hereherehere, and here -- has established a number of standing committees.  They are:
  • American Bar Association Representative
  • Student Activity Council
  • New Organization Review Committee
  • Fiscal Policy Committee
  • Charitable Endeavors Committee
  • President's Council
  • Career Services Advisory Committee
  • Legacy Committee
  • Mental Health Committee, and
  • Property Management Committee
Section 5 of the Bylaws of the Appalachian School of Law Student Bar Association describes each of these committees:

American Bar Association Representative
In the Spring semester, the newly elected SBA President shall appoint an American Bar Association (ABA) Representative. The ABA Representative shall be a rising 3L whose primary responsibility will be to represent the school in all activities of the Law Student Division (LSD) of the ABA. 
The primary criteria for appointment that the President shall consider shall include, but is not limited to; the member’s past commitment to representing the Law School at past functions sponsored by the LSD and that SBA member’s past service the SBA and the Appalachian School of Law. 
The ABA Representative shall be responsible for recruiting new members. The ABA Representative shall also coordinate the activities of the SBA within the LSD. The President may assign additional duties to the ABA Representative to assist Officers in performing their constitutional duties. However, any duties that the President may assign the ABA Representative shall not conflict with those responsibilities specifically enumerated in this paragraph or as may be assigned by the ABA/LSD. It shall be within the sole discretion of the ABA Representative whether to accept additional duties.
Student Activity Council
The Student Activity Council shall develop and promote activities beneficial to the Appalachian School of Law community. The committee shall be lead by a Chairperson who shall be appointed in the Spring semester by the new SBA President. The Chairperson may select students to serve as committee members. Additionally, a faculty representative designated by the Chairperson may participate in any meetings of the Student Activity Council. The Student Activity Council shall coordinate the scheduling of planned events with the proper representative of the Law School. 
The Student Activities Council shall be primarily responsible for the following events: Student
lunches and the ASL Pig Roast. The Student Activity Council may organize any additional activities which will contribute to the social or educational atmosphere of the Law School. The Student Activity Council shall submit a written budget request for each event to the Senate for approval.

New Organization Review Committee (NORC)

Described in the posting about creating a student organization found here.

Fiscal Policy Committee
The Fiscal Policy Committee shall be established to prepare an annual SBA budget for submission to the Law School Administration. The Fiscal Policy Committee shall also be responsible for periodically reviewing SBA funding policies and procedures should such a need arise. The Committee shall be chaired by the SBA Treasurer. In addition to the SBA Treasurer, the Committee shall consist of two Senators, a rising 2L and rising 3L, who are appointed in the spring semester by the newly elected President. The Committee shall, after each meeting, prepare a report of its activities to be delivered at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the
Charitable Endeavors Committee
The Charitable Endeavors Committee shall be established to develop and promote an annual event to benefit the Blackwell, Dales and Sutin Memorial Funds. The Charitable Endeavors Committee shall be responsible for the following annual events: the Halloween Candy Give Away, the Christmas Angels Program (or some similarly styled program), the SBA Easter Egg Hunt, the Memorial 5K, and any other activities of service to the Law School and local communities. 
The Committee shall be lead by a Chairman appointed in the
spring semester by the newly elected President. Said Chairman may then select students to serve on the Charitable Endeavors Committee.
President’s Council
Periodically the SBA President shall convene a meeting of the Presidents of all SBA recognized organizations. The purpose of these meetings shall be to enhance communication between the organizations individually and the SBA Senators and Officers. Specifically SBA recognized organizations shall be informed of all applicable procedures adopted by the Senate and Law School Administration. The President’s Council shall meet at least twice during each spring and fall semester while the Law School is in session.
Career Services Advisory Committee
The Career Services Advisory Committee shall be established to assist in development and
promotion of student employment opportunities. The Committee shall meet once a month during the academic year with the Career Services Director, who shall serve as the faculty advisor of the Committee, to discuss topics of concern to the students regarding the employment process. The Committee will serve to facilitate communication between the Career Services Office and the students of ASL regarding the employment process. Committee members will assist in scheduling programs for the career services office regarding recruiting, interviewing, internships, judicial clerkships, and professionalism. 
The SBA President shall appoint three (3) 3L students, one of which the President shall appoint Chairperson of the Committee, three (3) 2L students, and two (2) 1L students shall be appointed after November 1 of the current academic year.
Legacy Committee
The Committee shall be responsible for memorializing the events of the year. This includes, but is not limited to; taking pictures at school functions on and off campus, writing articles detailing the events of those functions, and compiling a photo album or yearbook at the end of each academic year. The Committee shall be lead by a Chairperson appointed by the President. Said Chairperson may select students to help serve on the Committee.
Mental Health Committee
The purpose of the Mental Health Committee (MHC) shall be to promote the physical and emotional well being of the students of the SBA and to provide programming to aid students in achieving these goals. Furthermore, pursuant to the American Bar Association Mental Health Initiative this program shall be designed to increase awareness of law student mental health issues and substance abuse problems. 
The MHC shall be lead by a Chairperson appointed during the Spring semester by the newly elected President. The Chairperson shall have the authority to select students to aid the Chairperson in carrying out these goals.
This committee has coordinated activities with the ASL Happiness Project profiled here.

Property Management Committee
The purpose of the Property Management Committee (PMC) shall be to organize, inventory, and store all of the property of the SBA. The PMC shall be responsible for informing students and organizations of the existence of any materials they may need. The PMC shall strive to reduce waste and unnecessary spending of SBA funds. 
The Committee shall be lead by a Chairperson, referred to as the Property Manager, appointed by the President. Said Chairperson may select students to help serve on the Committee.

Student Bar Association: The Legislative Branch (Senate)

The Legislative Branch (Senate) of the Student Bar Association of the Appalachian School of Law

The Student Bar Council (SBC) of the Student Bar Association (SBA) consists of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

I discussed the Honor Court - the Judicial branch -- here.  I discussed the Executive branch here.

Representatives of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches must be in good standing as defined by the law school, including the ASL Academic Standards and the Honor Code. Failure to meet this standard results in immediate removal from office and replacement according to the SBA Constitution.

Voting and non-voting members of the SBC must attend all meetings, except for good cause. Absences in excess of four meetings per semester or two consecutive regularly scheduled meetings, without good cause, allows a majority vote of the Senate to remove the member.

The Senate

The Legislative branch of the SBC is known as the “Senate.”  The Senate consists of ten members, including three members elected from, and by, each class of the law school, plus the Vice-President.

All meetings of the Senate are open to any members of the SBA, faculty, administration and public, and the Secretary gives 3 days notice of each meeting.  To maintain transparency, the By-laws prohibit four or more Executive Officers and Senators from discussing pending old business outside scheduled meetings.

The Senate meets no less than once every two weeks when classes are in session.

Duties of the Senate

The Senate has all powers necessary and proper to carry on the functions of the SBA; serves as a sounding board of student opinion, and provides for an effective forum for grievances, complaints, suggestions, and problems which are not otherwise addressed; has the power to call for special elections to fill newly created or vacated positions on the Student Bar Council; and when making decisions about recognized ASL organizations, requires a member of the Senate to abstain from any decision if that member is an officer in the organization that is subject to the vote.


The Senate will have a majority of the members present before conducting any business; approves or denies all requests brought before the Senate with a simple majority vote, except as expressly provided in the Constitution and ancillary documents; and approves any proposed amendment by a two-thirds vote before holding an SBA Amendment Hearing and presenting the amendment to the full SBA for ratification.

An essential role for the Senate is approving appropriations for student organizational activities.  I discuss the By-law rules governing that process in another posting.

Associate Dean Sandy McGlothlin serves as the faculty advisor to the SBA and its officers.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Student Bar Association: The Executive Branch

The Executive Branch of the 
Student Bar Association 
of the 
Appalachian School of Law

The Student Bar Council (SBC) of the Student Bar Association (SBA) consists of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

I discuss the Honor Court - the Judicial branch -- here.  I discuss the Legislative branch here.

Representatives of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches must be in good standing as defined by the law school, including the ASL Academic Standards and the Honor Code. Failure to meet this standard results in immediate removal from office and replacement according to the SBA Constitution.

Voting and non-voting members of the SBC must attend all meetings, except for good cause. Absences in excess of four meetings per semester or two consecutive regularly scheduled meetings, without good cause, allows a majority vote of the Senate to remove the member.

Executive Branch of the SBA

The Executive branch of the SBA consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.

The President is typically a rising 3L student; cannot serve as an elected officer of any SBA-recognized student organization while in office; acts as the official representative of the SBA within the school, local community, region, and nation; plans the agenda and presides over each meeting of the Senate; votes to break a tied Senate vote; appoints and removes (with Senate ratification) the Chairperson of all committees created by the Executive or Legislative branch; plans and directs the activities of the SBA; meets with the Dean, in the name of the SBA, on all matters of the students interests; and upon the vacancy of any position in the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial branch, appoints a new member, which is then subject to approval by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

The Vice-President is a rising 2L or 3L; cannot serve as an elected officer of any SBA-recognized student organization while in office; serves as a voting member of the Senate; plans the agenda and presides over each meeting of the Senate in the absence of the President; has duties and responsibilities as assigned by the President; succeeds to the Presidency and assumes that office upon the President’s inability to continue.

The Treasurer also cannot serve as an elected officer of any SBA recognized student organization while in office; keeps current and accurate records of all SBA transactions and appropriations approved by the Senate; performs other duties delegated by the President, Senate, or Head of the Business Office; notifies the Business Office of all allocations properly authorized by the Senate; signs, along with the President, all Budget Requests; and conducts three separate audits of the SBA Budget throughout the year.

The Secretary records and preserves the minutes of all SBA and Senate meetings; maintains records and issue correspondences on behalf of the SBA and Senate; plans the agenda and presides over each meeting of the Senate in the absence of the President and Vice-President; posts notice -- including date, time and place -- prior to any SBA or Senate meeting at least three days in advance; and performs all other duties assigned by the President.

Associate Dean Sandy McGlothlin serves as the faculty advisor to the SBA and its officers. 

Student Organizations: Creating a New Organization

Creating a New Student Organization at the Appalachian School of Law

Section 4.I. of the Bylaws of the Appalachian School of Law nicely state the reason to create and support student organizations.

The Appalachian School of Law encourages and supports the creation of student organizations. Student organizations contribute to the educational experience at the Law School by providing social and professional interaction outside the classroom. The SBA Senate will recognize qualifying groups as official organizations. Official recognition allows the SBA to assist the organization in such ways as funding activities through student activity fees and locating office or meeting space on the law school campus. 
A student organization may establish criteria for membership provided that the organization’s policies are consistent with the anti-discrimination policy of the Appalachian School of Law. Specifically, no officially recognized student organization may establish membership policies that discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or national and ethnic origin. 
Furthermore, at the beginning of each academic year, all SBA recognized organizations shall provide a current list of all officers and members to the SBA Secretary prior to requesting any funding from the SBA.
Section 4.II sets out the process for creating a new student organization:
A group of students seeking to be recognized as an officially recognized organization may submit a written request for recognition to the SBC for review by New Organization Review Committee (NORC). Such application shall include: a list of prospective members, a mission statement of the proposed organization’s goals and purposes, a constitution, by-laws and other organizational documents describing the structural workings of the organization. The application shall also include a list of officers of the proposed organization. The members of the NORC shall draft and periodically revise a form to facilitate the application process.  [The form appears on the SBA's TWEN site.]
To become officially recognized as an SBA Organization, the Senate must approve the NORC’s recommendation by a simple majority vote. Prior to granting official recognition to an organization, the Senate shall consider the application, the recommendation of NORC, and how the new organization will contribute to the goals and mission of the Appalachian School of Law. 
Recognition shall not be withheld arbitrarily. If an organization is denied recognition, the Senate shall present its reasons for withholding recognition in writing to the members of the proposed organization. Any student organization denied recognition may appeal the decision of the Senate to the Honor Court. The Senate shall consider any written recommendations the Honor Court may submit relating to SBA recognition of the proposed organization.

Section 5. III of the SBA Bylaws describes the New Organization Review Committee (NORC).  It provides:
The NORC shall be chaired by the Vice President of the SBA. Three senators, one from each class shall also serve on the committee. The committee shall review the application for any organization seeking SBA recognition to ensure that the organization meets all requirements for recognition. The committee shall meet with the representatives of the proposed organization and submit a written report explaining how the organization complies with the requirements necessary for recognition. The committee report will be submitted to the Senate for review. Upon receiving the report, the Senate shall consider the committee’s recommendation and vote whether to confer official SBA recognition.

Other Organizations: The ASL Running Club

The Appalachian School of Law Running Club

In 2013, students and faculty members created an ad hoc running club that meets on Thursday evenings to run or walk.  The group encourages better health, stress management through exercise, and social interaction.  

For more information, contact Assistant Professor Maryann Herman. 

For more information about ASL student well-being, see my posting about the ASL Happiness Project here.

Other Organizations: The Lions Club

The Lions Club

ASL students serve in the local Lions Club in many ways to fulfill the mission of the national organization.

The World's Largest Service Club Organization

The national organization identifies 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members as affiliated with it, thus making it the world's largest service club organization.  It also asserts that it is "one of the most effective."
Our members do whatever is needed to help their local communities. Everywhere we work, we make friends. With children who need eyeglasses, with seniors who don’t have enough to eat, and with people we may never meet.

The Lions Club Vision Statement
To be the global leader in community and humanitarian service.

The Lions Club Mission Statement

To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.

Activities and Events Sponsored by ASL Students and Other Local Members

The local club engages in a number of service projects.  It helps conduct eye and ear exams at Remote Area Medical clinics.  It collects old eye glasses through its system of eye glass drop boxes.  It raises funds through the sale of game programs at every home game held at Grundy High School.  Proceeds fund a college scholarship for a Grundy High School student.  The Lions also buy glasses for impoverished kids.  An annual radio auction raises additional funds for these activities.

For more information, contact Lance Alvah Vest.  

Student Organizations: The Rhetoricals Toastmasters Club

"The Rhetoricals" Toastmasters Club of the Appalachian School of Law

In 2012, ASL students created a local chapter of Toastmasters International, a public speaking and leadership educational group.  The club -- The Rhetoricals -- meets monthly and posts meeting dates and its program on TWEN.

The International Organization

The website for Toastmasters International explains that it is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.  It has more than 292,000 memberships in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries.

Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

It also publishes a monthly magazine supporting the professional growth of members. 

The national organization explains:
The educational program is the heart of every Toastmasters club. It provides members with a proven curriculum that develops communication and leadership skills one step at a time, with many opportunities for awards and recognition along the way. The communication and leadership tracks are not mutually exclusive; you may participate in both at the same time, if you wish.
You progress along each track by working through a series of manuals, each of which offers a set of carefully crafted projects to complete. 
Each project includes an evaluation guide, which gives club members an easy way to provide immediate feedback as the project is completed. 
Once you become a member, you can begin the educational program right away.
Educational manuals include:
  • Competent Communication 
  • Competent Leadership 
  • Your Speaking Voice 
  • Effective Evaluation 
  • Gestures: Your Body Speaks
Mission, Values, and Envisioned Future

The mission statements, the value statement, and envisioned future succinctly express the function of each organizational unit.

Toastmasters International Mission

We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

District Mission

We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.

Club Mission

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Toastmasters International Values
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Excellence

Toastmasters International Envisioned Future

To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.

Member Demographics

A profile of Toastmasters members:

52% of members are female and 48% are male.
The average member annual household income is $50,000-$74,999.
30% of members earn $100,000+ annually.
The average member age is 45.8 years.
25.4% of members are between the ages of 18 and 34.
74% of members have a bachelor's degree or higher.
35% of members have a master's degree or higher.

What industries employ Toastmasters?

17% professional, scientific and technical services
15% finance, insurance and real estate
8% educational services
14% other
Only 3.2% of members are unemployed.

Club Events and Activities of ASL's "The Rhetoricals" 

The monthly meetings of the local club of the Appalachian School of Law give most members an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills, beginning with short Table Topics presentations (1-2 minutes) and then later by giving more structured speeches (5 minutes or more).  

In addition, members conduct a meeting in a way that enhances their leadership skills and ease at a podium.

2013-14 Officers of the club:
Zachary Smith, President
Amanda Kash, Vice President/Public Relations
Jason Morgan, Vice President/Membership
Moe Bryant, Secretary
Jennifer Pack, Treasurer

Joe Rion, Sergeant at Arms  

Assistant Professor Kendall Isaac serves as faculty advisor. 


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Student Organizations: The ASL Jug Band (aka Grun D MC)

The Appalachian School of Law Jug Band

ASL has its very own house band that plays at Heritage Hall, the local nursing home, at least once a month. This community service opportunity brightens the lives of band members, the nursing home's patients, and its staff.  The performance provides a much anticipated and appreciated social event for the residents, many of whom are wheel-chair bound, frail, or suffering with mental disabilities. 

The band also provides entertainment at law school events, including the annual pig roast, the BLSA Apollo Night, and "Jugs Over Grundy."  It also appears at local venues like the Serendipity Cafe (The Dip).

Help Needed!

The Jug Band experienced almost a 100 percent turnover in personnel after the graduation of the 2013 class.  Accordingly, it needs new members who sing, play an instrument (any kind), would like to learn an instrument (the band has quite a selection of percussion items), or would otherwise help them "put a smile on the faces of people who may very well hardly ever get visitors". 

They are particularly interested in:
  • Lead guitar
  • Rhythm guitar
  • Banjo
  • Mandolin
  • Violin/fiddle
  • Bass
  • Wash-tub base
  • Wash board
  • Jug
  • Kazoo
  • Percussion
  • Drums
  • Piano
  • Claves
  • Slide whistle
  • Lead vocalist, and
  • Choir members.

To join the band or to get more information, contact Lauren Shadrick at or Amanda Coop at

Prior House Bands at the Appalachian School of Law

ASL has had a number of house bands, including a jazz combo and the original service band, The Law Revue.

The Law Review sold copies of their original songs, as a CD, for $10 each. All of the money raised from CD sales went into a fund to help a struggling or deserving ASL student.

I especially like the cut -- reflecting student frustration when I was an inexperienced law professor -- entitled: The ADR Blues.  ;-)

Sam Weddington -- for whom one of our service awards is named -- appears front and center in this photo.  He died from cancer only a few years after graduating from law school.  We all miss his generous energy, loving heart, and playful mind.  He also knew a reliable source of high-quality moonshine. We miss that connection almost as much as we miss him.  

Student Organizations: The Innocence Project

The Appalachian School of Law's Innocence Project

The Appalachian School of Law established a local chapter of the Innocence Project in 2012.  

Mission Statement

The website of the national organization explains its mission:
The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, more than 300 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 18 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release. 
The Innocence Project’s full-time staff attorneys and Cardozo clinic students provide direct representation or critical assistance in most of these cases. The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. Now an independent nonprofit organization closely affiliated with Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the Innocence Project’s mission is nothing less than to free the staggering numbers of innocent people who remain incarcerated and to bring substantive reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.
Case Load

The donation-funded national organization has eight full-time lawyers handling nearly 300 active cases. From the time it accepts a case to its disposition, the Innocence Project lawyers may need a year to a decade to complete litigation. The length of time spent on each case depends on how quickly they can assemble evidence; how long it takes to test the evidence; and whether the prosecutor raises any objections before or after testing takes place.

The Project offers internships and accepts help from selected volunteers. 

Exoneree Speakers' Bureau

It publicizes its activities through its Speakers' Bureau.  The website explains:
The Innocence Project believes that the personal stories of the exonerated provide the most compelling introduction to the problems of wrongful conviction. Our Exoneree Speakers’ Bureau is made up of former Innocence Project clients who have become accomplished public speakers motivated by their desire to prevent future injustice. Their unique expertise and insight into the criminal justice system has affected audiences nationwide. 
The Innocence Project connects exoneree speakers to venues, working with high schools, colleges, civic and religious groups, corporations, criminal justice associations and more to arrange a presentation that fits each individual audience. If you, or a group you are affiliated with, would like to invite an exoneree to speak, please download a speaker request form and send the completed form to Hannah Riley at
Exoneree speakers receive an honorarium for appearances, in addition to per diem and any necessary travel expenses. We work with event organizers to find a price that fairly compensates the speaker and yet works within your budget. In some cases, an Innocence Project representative may also be available to speak at an event.
Appalachian School of Law Hosted an Exoneree Speaker 

The ASL Innocence Project co-sponsored, with BLSA, the presentation to students by Daryl Hunt, an African-American man convicted twice in North Carolina of a murder he did not commit.  In 2005, the state freed Hunt when DNA evidence matched an incarcerated murderer to the crime scene.  That man later plead guilty to the crime.

For more information about this group, contact Blair Creed.