For the Record

‘Love what you do,’ judge advises graduates

Chief Judge James R. Spencer
Jaime Wisegarver and Corinna Barrett Lain
Chief Judge James R. Spencer (top), Jaime Wisegarver, L’10 (left), and Corinna Barrett Lain speak to new graduates.

Law school graduates need to remember only three simple things to succeed in life, Chief Judge James R. Spencer of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia told 159 graduates.

First, “Love what you do, and do what you love, and success will naturally follow,” Spencer said. Then, “Do the right thing, regardless of the consequences,” he added, having a set of principles to guide you through the tough times. And, he concluded, even when a person has achieved the apex of his or her profession, “What really matters is the love of your family, the admiration and companionship of your friends, and the respect of your peers and colleagues.” A job is about how you make a living, not about how you make a life, he said.

Student speaker Jaime Wisegarver told her classmates that the song “With a Little Help from My Friends” reminded her of her Law School experience. “We have this incredible support network, not just with each other, but with the faculty, staff, family, and friends. It’s not every day that you meet the kind of folks that we have here at the University of Richmond.”

Corinna Barrett Lain, faculty speaker, advised graduates to not let people boss them around when it is not the right thing to do. “Your name, your honor, it’s all you’ve got…Your integrity is the integrity of this revered institution.”

Mary Hallerman of Richmond and Matt Farley of Hanover, Penn., received the T.C. Williams Law School Scholarship Award, presented for significant contributions to legal scholarship.

Britt Berlauk of Martinsville, Va., won the Nina R. Kestin Service Award, presented to the graduate who has contributed most significantly to the school, the community, and the legal profession.

The faculty selected Jaime Wisegarver of Chester, Va., as the winner of the Charles T. Norman Award as the best all-around graduating student, and Liz Stokes of Richmond as the winner of the Public Interest Law Association Pro Bono Award for her extraordinary commitment to public interest work.

Kaine returns
to Law School
Governor Timothy M. Kaine

Timothy M. Kaine

Former Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will be back at the Law School this fall to teach “The Future of Equality in American Constitutional Law.”

John G. Douglass, dean of the Law School, said Kaine offers experience in government and politics “that will bring to life our students’ exploration of executive decision-making, legislative process, and public policy issues that shape the formation and interpretation of law.” Richmond Law, Douglass said, has a long tradition of educating lawyers for service in national, state and local government, in legislatures, in executive agencies, and in the judiciary.

A Harvard law graduate who also has served as Virginia’s lieutenant governor and Richmond’s mayor, Kaine is currently chair of the Democratic National Committee. Before seeking public office, he practiced law in Richmond for 17 years as a corporate litigator and specialized in representing people who had been denied housing opportunities because of their race or disability. He also taught legal ethics for six years in the Law School. Kaine’s appointment is part-time, without tenure. He taught a course in the spring at the University’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies.

Bill signing honors professor emeritus
Robert E. Shepherd Jr.

Robert E. Shepherd Jr.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell held a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 259 on May 17 in memory of Robert E. Shepherd Jr., professor emeritus at the University of Richmond School of Law. Shepherd devoted his career to championing the rights of juveniles. The bill creates a presumption that youth being tried as adults should remain in juvenile detention pending trial rather than in adult jails unless a court makes a finding that the youth is a threat to other youth or staff in the detention facility.

The Law School’s Juvenile Law and Policy Clinic, directed by Professor Melissa Goemann, worked closely with Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center’s Just Children Program on passage of the bill. The bill also was actively supported by the Virginia Bar Association and its Commission on the Needs of Children, chaired by Professor Margaret Ivey Bacigal.

Shepherd, who died Dec. 11, 2008, was a founder of the Law School’s highly regarded National Center for Family Law.

New Law School website launched
Web site home page

This spring, the Law School launched a new website that features vibrant photography, stories on law students, faculty and alumni, social media functionality, an updated events calendar and news feed, and improved search capabilities. Our new admissions video is featured prominently on the front page at Please share this link with your friends and colleagues.

These improvements will help the Law School tell its story with a creative approach, through articles about our community that will interest potential applicants, the media, policy makers, and supporters. Research tools allow us to monitor site usage so we know how many viewers are visiting and where they are clicking. The site also helps to integrate the Law School with the other schools on campus to share content and publicize events and interdisciplinary programs.

Admissions, career services, the library, the dean’s office, and faculty members, worked with the communications Web team for months to help design the navigation and functionality of the pages. For suggestions regarding news and features, please e-mail Roberta Oster Sachs, associate dean for external relations, at

The Constitution
and war crimes
Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky

Can Spain prosecute a former American attorney general for war crimes, even if America and many other countries believe the alleged actions were entirely lawful?

Prominent constitutional and international legal scholars examined this and other questions of authority and jurisdiction in February at “A Collision of Authority: The U.S. Constitution and Universal Jurisdiction.” The symposium was sponsored by the Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business.

Participants were Erwin Chemerinsky, dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law; Mary Ellen O’Connell, Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution, University of Notre Dame School of Law; and, Jeremy Rabkin, professor of law, George Mason University School of Law.

Moderator was Richmond Law Professor John Preis. “With the recent war on terror, the definition of a war crime has become harder to pin down,” said Preis.

Symposium participants discussed such issues as treaty law, domestic legislation, and potential international liability of U.S. officials.

Panel debates
high court and
public opinion
Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman, one of the nation’s top constitutional theorists and author of the critically acclaimed 2009 book The Will of the People, presented the keynote address at “The Supreme Court vs. the Will of the People” symposium March 24.

Friedman, vice dean at New York University Law School, contends that for at least the past 60 years, the justices have made sure that their decisions do not stray too far from public opinion. Why does the court follow public opinion? “Because it has to,” said Friedman.

Larry Baum, political science professor at Ohio State University, and Neal Devins, director, Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary Law School, argued that the Supreme Court is more likely influenced by elite opinion than by public opinion. Baum and Devins are co-authors of Why the Supreme Court Cares about Elites, Not the American People (forthcoming 2010).

Professors Woody Holton, history department, University of Richmond, and Corinna Barrett Lain, Richmond Law, also provided commentary. Law Professor Jack Preis was moderator.

Bankruptcy expert
appointed Allen Chair

David Epstein, an expert in bankruptcy law and an award-winning teacher, has joined the faculty as the newly appointed George E. Allen Chair in Law.  He will teach bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, contracts, and commercial law courses. He also will teach an undergraduate first-year seminar in the School of Arts & Sciences.

David Epstein
David Epstein

Epstein comes to Richmond Law from Dallas, where he taught at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of law and was of counsel to the Dallas-based law firm Haynes and Boone. Previously, he was a tenured law professor at the University of North Carolina Law School, the University of Texas Law School, and the University of Alabama Law School. Also, he was dean at the University of Arkansas Law School and at Emory University School of Law, and a visiting professor at 10 other law schools, including Harvard, Georgetown, New York University, and the University of Chicago. Epstein also spent almost 10 years as a partner at the Atlanta-based firm of King & Spalding.

“We’re thrilled that David Epstein has joined our faculty,” said Dean John G. Douglass. “David is one of the nation’s top experts in bankruptcy law with a long list of scholarly achievements.  Equally important, David is an energetic and innovative teacher, a master at everything from the traditional lecture to international distance learning.”

Epstein regularly speaks on bankruptcy topics at continuing education programs for judges and practicing lawyers around the country.  Additionally, most law school graduates prepare for their bar exams by listening to Epstein’s lectures on contracts.  Epstein is a prolific writer, and his most recent publication is the third edition of a bankruptcy casebook, Bankruptcy Materials and Cases, co-authored with bankruptcy judges Bruce Markell and Elizabeth Perris and law professor Steve Nickles.

The George E. Allen Chair in Law was endowed by Allen’s family and friends to honor the 60-year career of service of George E. Allen Sr., a distinguished Virginia trial lawyer and founder of the highly regarded Richmond civil litigation firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen.  

“The Allen family and members of the law firm of Allen & Allen are committed to legal education and are proud to honor my grandfather’s legacy by supporting The Allen Chair in Law.  In particular, at this time we are pleased to welcome David Epstein, a nationally recognized professor and expert in the law of contracts and bankruptcy, as the new George Allen Chair holder,” said partner George E. Allen III.

Green Award honors
Judge Gregory

Judge Roger L. Gregory of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was honored in March with the William Green Award for Professional Excellence. The Green Award is the Law School’s highest honor.

At the annual scholarship luncheon gathering at the Jepson Alumni Center, Gregory spoke movingly of the “luminous” people who have made a difference in his life. “In order to survive, you have to have a luminous spirit,” he said. He told the audience that the struggle is about right and wrong, and that power comes from within.

President Ayers, Judge Gregory and Dean Douglass
President Edward L. Ayers and Dean John G. Douglass presented the Green Award to Judge Roger L. Gregory at the annual scholarship luncheon.

Dean John G. Douglass said, “Judge Gregory’s skill and professionalism across decades of service as a lawyer and judge make him an outstanding role model for our students and for all members of our legal community.”

Gregory is a “recess appointed” judge, placed on the bench by former President William J. Clinton in December 2000, then re-nominated by former President George W. Bush, and confirmed for a lifetime appointment by the Senate in 2001. He’s the first African American to hold a seat on the Fourth Circuit and the only judge on the United States Court of Appeals to be appointed by presidents of different political parties. He is currently a member of the UR Board of Trustees.

The Green Award honors Judge William Green, one of the three distinguished members of the original Law School faculty at Richmond College.

At the same event, Russell C. Williams, L’84, received the Distinguished Law Alumnus of the Year Award. Douglass noted that Williams, in 1999, pledged $2 million to the Law School, the largest gift by a living donor. Williams is vice president of Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pa., a North American Standardbred horse breeding facility.

24 are awarded judicial clerkships

Twenty-four members of the Class of 2010 have attained prestigious judicial clerkships for the 2010–11 term. Nationally, Richmond Law graduates have an enviable record of securing among the highest percentage of clerkships in the country. There are eight federal clerks and 16 state clerks.

Federal clerks are: Matt Farley, Judge Thomas Johnston, Southern District of West Virginia; Mary Hallerman, Judge Claude M. Hilton, Eastern District of Virginia; Matt Hull, Judge William Stone, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Virginia; Alissa Hurley, Judge Thomas L. Ludington, Eastern District of Michigan; David Rivard, Judge Jerome Friedman, Eastern District of Virginia; Andi Shultz, Judge Henry E. Hudson, Eastern District of Virginia; Summer Speight, Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck, Eastern District of Virginia; and Jaime Wisegarver, Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Northern District of West Virginia.

State clerks are: Faith Alejandro, Richmond City Circuit Court; Justin Corder, Justice Donald Lemons, Supreme Court of Virginia; Katie Donoghue, Prince William County Circuit Court; Amber Ford, Henrico County Circuit Court; Hank Gates, Judge Michael Allen, Chesterfield Circuit Court; Erica Giovanni, Judge Harold W. Burgess Jr., Chesterfield Circuit Court; David Hartnett, 6th Judicial Circuit Court; Ben Hoover, Chesapeake Circuit Court; Laurel Huerkamp, Henrico County Circuit Court; Chor Lee, Richmond City Circuit Court; Dave McGill, Superior Court of Rhode Island; Kyle McLaughlin, Portsmouth Circuit Court; John McLaurin, Judges Waserstein and Crowell, Delaware State Family Court; Diana Pharao, Judge David S. Schell, Fairfax Circuit Court; Stephanie Regali, Hanover Circuit Court; and, Kitty Smith, Arlington County Circuit Court.  

Michelle Rahman, 25 years
of making a difference

Not many people who meet Michelle Rahman would think she’s a dinosaur. But she recently referred to herself as such, in remarks delivered to the midyear deans’ meeting in Orlando, Fla., hosted by the American Bar Association.

Michelle Rahman
Michelle Rahman

In her comments, she told the crowd that she has been involved in law school admissions for 25 years—all of them at Richmond.

Rahman came to Richmond Law in December 1985, working initially with Jean Tarpley, the legendary admissions director whom Rahman says was “the backbone and heart of this law school.”

Rahman became admissions director in 1990, when Tarpley retired, then was given the title of associate dean under former Dean Rodney Smolla, in recognition of how the job—and her duties—had changed. “When I started, I was registrar [for the Law School], certified bar applications, and supervised three dormitories, in addition to admissions,” she says. Now, Rahman runs the department, conducts orientation, oversees housing, and focuses more on admissions and prospective students.

The bottom line, Rahman says, is always the students. “I am passionate about our students and this school. I am so lucky to be able to open a door to give an opportunity to so many deserving students. Sometimes, you get to make a difference.”

Everett Gardner, L’10, said Rahman was one of the major reasons he came to Richmond. Richmond was his backup school, but after hearing Rahman speak and talking to her personally, Gardner knew he wouldn’t be just a number here. “Dean Rahman has an incredible gift for making people feel genuinely appreciated and loved—just talking to her makes you feel like family.”

Dean John G. Douglass says that while everyone knows Rahman for the personal tone she sets in the admissions office, “fewer folks know how accomplished she is at strategic thinking. Her experience and sound judgment are well recognized,” said Douglass, and recently resulted in her election to the Law School Admission Council Board of Trustees.

While Rahman’s job has changed greatly in the past 25 years, she says the Law School’s mission has not.

“We care deeply about, and work hard for our students. They are a big part of who we are.”

That’s a philosophy that never goes out of style.

‘Vision 2020’ tackles
energy issues

Scholars, energy experts, and policymakers engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of climate change, energy demand and coal, oil, nuclear, and renewable sources at the annual Allen Chair Symposium presented April 1.

Panelists at table
(From left) Tricia Dunlap, L’11, was moderator of the nuclear power session, with panelists Christopher Paine of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Donald Irwin of Hunton & Williams, and Michael H. Montgomery of Lightbridge Corp.

“Vision 2020: A View of Our Energy Future” attracted 200 people for sessions that included emerging issues in policy, nuclear power, and an address by former U.S. Senator and Virginia Gov. George Allen, chairman of the American Energy Freedom Center. Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, Richmond Law Professor Joel B. Eisen said.

Several speakers promoted efficiency measures as one means to lower emissions and reduce the need to build more power plants.

“If every state in the U.S. used electricity asproductively as the top 10 states, 60 percent of U.S. coal-fired electricity plants could be retired,” said Christopher Paine, director of the environmental group National Resources Defense Council.

W. Thomas Hudson, president of the Virginia Coal Association, said that the coal industry provides “real jobs.”

Luncheon speaker Aimée Christensen, chief executive of the consulting firm Christensen Global Strategies, compared the attractiveness of efficiency to collecting “$20 bills lying on the floor.” She says Wal-Mart, the global retailer with the slogan “Save Money. Live Better,” is devoting itself to sustainability measures and conserving resources. The resulting savings can be huge because of the scale of the company and can be shared with consumers through lower product prices.

“Vision 2020” was co-sponsored by the Merhige Center for Environmental Studies, the University of Richmond Law Review, and the Virginia State Bar.

Rick Klau involved in law search tool

When Rick Klau, L’96, first started at Google and heard whispers that a team of engineers was working to create a law search tool through Google Scholar, he wanted to get involved. By taking advantage of Google’s “20 percent time” philosophy, where employees ­­are allowed to devote one day a week working on projects outside their job descriptions, he was able to do just that.

Rick Klau, L’96
Rick Klau, L’96, is a Google executive who helped launch Google’s law search tool.

When Google Scholar launched its law search feature last November it instantly provided average citizens with access to full legal text opinions from U.S. federal and state courts. Google Scholar allows users to search for specific cases or by topic.

“As a lawyer, I knew the importance of this content,” he says. “Case law is available though the public domain, but before this it was not available anywhere on the Web in a comprehensive manner.”

At Google, Klau led the negotiation of the contract to acquire the collection of content for the site. He says the search tool was designed to assist average citizens, and that Google has no plans to compete with professional legal research information systems Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Clinic director Kelley H. Bartges, 1958–2010

Kelley H. Bartges, clinical professor of law and director of the Juvenile Delinquency Clinic at the Law School, who was known as a tireless advocate for protecting the rights of children, died Jan. 21 after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 51.

Kelley H. Bartges
Kelley H. Bartges

As an educator, she touched the lives and professional careers of hundreds of students. “Kelley was a remarkable teacher,” said Adrienne E. Volenik, director of the Disability Law Clinic, whose office was next door to Bartges’. “She helped people stand in other people’s shoes.”

Bartges had a lasting impact on Noelle Shaw-Bell, L’96, a Virginia assistant attorney general for health, education, and social services. “ I was a student of Kelley’s in 1995–1996 in the youth advocacy clinic at UR. She was always delighted to help when I called her after graduation with practical questions. I now represent social services and do child abuse appeals—largely because of my exposure to these issues in Kelley’s clinic.”

As director of the Juvenile Delinquency Clinic, Bartges taught legal principles in her classroom and then took her students into area courtrooms, working side-by-side with them as they represented teenage clients. Dean John G. Douglass said, “Kelley taught the craft of lawyering with skill and wisdom. Even more, she nurtured in her students the capacity to care for young clients as human beings and the will to challenge circumstances that could compromise that humanity.”

Bartges, L’85, joined the Richmond Law faculty in 1994. Before joining the Law School, where she also had directed the Advocacy Clinic, she served as a public defender in the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. She also held positions with Assisting Families of Inmates Inc., and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

She received many awards, including the Community Partnership award in 2009 from Assisting Families of Inmates. On April 30, Bartges was honored posthumously with the “Unsung Hero” Award at Oliver Hill Day, an event recognizing Law Week and civil rights attorney Oliver W. Hill Sr.