Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Distinguished Alumni: Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Bethany Long

Distinguished Alumni 
of the Appalachian School of Law: 
Bethany Long

Local Resident Makes Good

Bethany Long, a 2012 graduate of the Appalachian School of Law, currently serves as the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney (ACA) in Tazewell County. In this job, she handles the Juvenile and Domestic Relations (JDR) docket, assists with prosecutions in General District Court, and carries a caseload of felony cases in the Circuit Court.  She recently sat third chair in her first jury trial, which resulted in a conviction for malicious wounding.

She also represents the Commonwealth Attorney in the weekly meeting of the Tazewell County Drug Court team.  

In Fall 2013, Bethany was one of 15 invited ACAs from across the state to attend a week long CLE offered by the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Services Council entitled: Trauma to Trial: Investigating and Prosecuting Adult Non-Stranger Sexual Assaults.  

Consistent with the Appalachian School of Law's emphasis on community service, Bethany travels to local schools to speak about a variety of topics, including sexual assault awareness and prevention, bullying, cyberbulling, and internet safety.  She loves working with children in the JDR court and visiting them at school to address topics relevant to their daily lives. 

Bethany passed the extremely challenging Virginia Bar exam on the first-sitting. She attributes ASL's required bar passage course, in part, for that success. 

Following graduation, she served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Circuit Court in Tazewell County. While there, she researched statutory and case law, wrote opinion letters detailing various judges’ rulings, was a member of the Drug Court Team, and drafted orders and memos for the sitting judge.

Law School Career

During law school, she worked at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in Tazewell County for two summers.  During the last summer, she used her 3rd Year Practice Certificate to handle several misdemeanor cases and one felony. 

Also during law school, she played important roles in a number of student organizations.  She served as President of the Republican Law Society and as an officer in the Federalist Society. She played a very active role in the Community Thread (formerly the Knitting Circle), making many blankets for local disadvantaged children. Twice, she took the lead in organizing the All-American Ball.

Despite this commitment to the student body, she also served as an Associate Editor of the Appalachian Journal of Law, as a member of the ASL Mock Trial team, was elected to the Honor Court and later became its Chief Justice.  In 2012, Bethany won second place in the ASL Opening Statement Competition. 

She also showed commitment to her law studies.  She won the ASL Book Award in Trial Advocacy for having earned the highest grade in the course.  Later, the Virginia Trial Lawyers' Association awarded her its Trial Advocacy Award.  She made the Dean’s List in three of the four graded semesters.

She adopted her dog, Daisy, shortly after getting to ASL's campus through an event sponsored by ASL C.A.R.E.S.


Bethany was born and raised in Tazewell, Virginia.  She was a valedictorian of Tazewell High School in 2006. She became interested in a law career when, in high school, she shadowed a local attorney.

As with many ASL grads, she is the first person in her immediate family to attend college.  She is the first attorney in the family and the first graduate of a professional school program.  

She is pictured here with her family at the ASL graduation ceremony.

Bethany graduated, summa cum laude with a B.A., from Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, earning her degree in three years.  Salem is the oldest women’s college in the US, founded in 1772.  She pursued a double major in history and religion, with a minor in political science. She also served as a delegate to the Model United Nations conference. 

While at Salem, she already showed an interest in community service.  She helped coordinate -- as a member of the group called “Creating Hope in Cancer Survival”( aka CHICS) -- the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

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