MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University College of Law
recently joined the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a national
organization dedicated to creating opportunities for minority law students.
LCLD is a group of more than 250 corporate chief legal
officers and law firm managing partners. The program was launched in 2009.
Through the LCLD program, West Virginia’s first-year
minority law students can participate in a mentoring program, and qualifying
WVU law students will have access to exclusive internships at law firms and in
corporate legal departments.
“This fall, 10 WVU law students will be paired with mentors
who are practicing attorneys,” James Jolly, director of marketing and
communications at WVU College of Law, told The West
Jolly said the lawyers in the mentoring program have been
LCLD to help students maximize their potential in law school, and
the lawyer becomes an adviser to the law student. The mentors are all
practicing attorneys in the WVU region, including in Pittsburgh.
Rising second-year students can apply for the exclusive
LCLD internships in the legal profession. Jolly said these internships provide
hands-on educational experiences in law firms and corporate legal departments.
“These internships will help our students be better prepared
for their careers,” Jolly said. “Lawyers are leaders, and the more
opportunities for success we can provide our law students, the better off our
communities will be in the future."
For the purpose of the
LCLD program, Jolly said diversity
also carries a socioeconomic definition, not simply an ethnic one. He said WVU
found that aspect of the program beneficial because, in a state where there are
relatively small traditional minority populations, the
LCLD program is broad
enough to also include law students from Appalachia. He said the WVU law school’s mission
includes a commitment to serving the residents of Appalachia.
“This initiative is about educating tomorrow’s lawyers while
ensuring that diversity in the legal profession mirrors the diversity of our
society,” Jolly said.
Rising second-year law student Tia McClenney is the only WVU law student currently participating in the
LCLD program. Jolly said the mentoring
program will begin in the fall, and 10 students will be paired with their
mentors when that component of the program begins.
LCLD program, McClenney was awarded an internship
this summer to work at the firm of McGuireWoods LLP and in the legal department
of PNC Financial in Pittsburgh.
“I absolutely love it,” McClenney told The West Virginia Record. “I am working on
pro bono, litigation and transactional matters."
McClenney said the professors at the WVU law school have
left her well-prepared for the work she has been assigned during her
internship, and the partners she has worked with in the internship have given
her opportunities to talk with them about the fields in which she is most
“I have already learned tremendously while being here … I am
also under great leadership,” McClenney said. “It is obvious that my
supervisors want me to succeed, and they take time to make sure I accomplish just