Katie Chounet and Kaylee Gum, who will graduate from the Law School in May, are featured on Tipping the Scale's inaugural list of 29 "Top Law Students in the Class of 2016" from around the nation. The story announcing their selection noted that the list "spotlights those 3Ls who set themselves apart by a combination of their academic performance, extracurricular leadership, personal character, and innate potential."
Chounet came to the Law School from Wittenberg University, where she majored in English and Psychology. At William & Mary, she was Lead Articles Editor of the Law Review, a Legal Writing and Practice Fellow, and an officer in the Equity Alliance (serving as Secretary during her 3L year and as Deputy Treasurer and Outreach Coordinator as a 2L). She also served as a Vice Development Counsel and later Lead Development Counsel for the National Trial Team.
In her profile in Tipping the Scales, she noted that Trial Advocacy was her favorite law school class: "It made the biggest impact on me by raising my confidence, forcing me out of my comfort zone, and affirming my passion for litigation both in and out of the courtroom." Chounet worked for the Cuyahoga County Department of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, during the summers following her 1L and 2L years.
Gum, a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserves, majored in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic at the University of Oklahoma. Having opportunities to gain practical experience was what she enjoyed most about her legal education. She interned in Iraq with the USAID's Iraq Access to Justice Program in the summer of 2014 and later honed her advocacy skills by working with clients in the Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic.
"The clinic provides a unique opportunity to develop students’ practical skills while simultaneously assisting veterans who have sacrificed so much in service to our country," she said in her profile in Tipping the Scales. Gum was a member of the Executive Board of the Moot Court Team, served as a Graduate Research Fellow in International Law, and was a member of the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law staff and the Phi Delta Phi Academic Honor Society. She has been previously honored as one of the 2016 "Law Students of the Year" by the National Law Journal. The Virginia State Bar will recognize her in June with the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.