The Bar Foundation Board of Directors has approved the awarding of approximately $26,000 to more than three dozen WVU College of Law students who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

The vast majority of the funding for the special program was provided through a generous grant from the AccessLex Institute Law Student Emergency Relief Program, with additional financial support from the Bar Foundation. The spirit of the Program is to provide direct payments to law students “who are experiencing unforeseen and immediate financial distress due to the COVID-19 dislocations.”

The payments were made for immediate hardship due to extraordinary circumstances in limited amounts, such as housing or food due to delay of bar exam, loss of employment and other unforeseen reasons. Second and third year students, as well as 2020 graduates, received grants in amounts of several hundreds of dollars each, based upon their completed applications.

The Bar Foundation’s Grants Committee reviewed the applications and made recommendations to the Board of Directors, which approved them without dissent. Several WVU College of Law officials were extremely helpful in notifying and confirming the law students with the entire process from receipt of the AccessLex Institute’s grant to the mailing of the grant checks to the students occurring in little more than six weeks.

For many years, the Bar Foundation has provided grants for student scholarships, student legal clinics and student educational travel abroad programs at WVU Law. This Pandemic Emergency Fund is just the latest opportunity for the Bar Foundation to support the future leaders of our state’s legal profession and judiciary.

The Bar Foundation was pleased to be involved in this special worthwhile endeavor and highly commends AccessLex Institute for committing a total of $5 million for grants to every law school in the nation during these extraordinary times.

The COVID-19 virus pandemic has caused a multitude of changes in the practice of law and the operation of the justice system, as well as the Bar Foundation’s sponsored events.

The 22nd Annual Bar Foundation Fellows Dinner, set for April 23, 2020, at the Charleston Marriott Hotel, has been postponed. A decision will be made in the late summer as to whether the Dinner can be held in the fall or whether it will just be re-set for April 22, 2021, when the 2020 Fellows class will be honored with the Fellows selected for the 2021 class.

The 9th Lawyer Leadership Institute on May 15-17, 2020, was cancelled. The excellent training/mentoring weekend retreat for younger lawyers, sponsored by Antero Resources Corporation, has been re-scheduled for May 20-22, 2021, at Stonewall Resort near Weston.

The 10th Lunch and Laughs With a Legal Legend is set to be held on Friday, September 11, 2020, at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown. It will be a very special 10th anniversary celebration—depending upon if the COVID-19 virus pandemic and the health care safety guidelines in effect at that time will permit it to be held. A final decision on whether the event will be held or postponed will be made in August.