ASL Students Completing Externships, Internships in 15 States

GRUNDY, VA (AUGUST 6, 2019) – Appalachian School of Law students who will be returning to campus later this month for the start of fall semester classes have spent the summer in 15 states completing externships and internships and getting hands-on experience working with legal professionals in a variety of court, law office and administrative settings.

Three ASL students, all of whom are rising third year law students – Janella Loaiza, Richard E. Gibson Jr. and Joshua Wysor — have spent the summer at the Supreme Court of Virginia where they have had the opportunity to work with Supreme Court justices and to observe the workings of the court firsthand.

“It was a great learning experience,” Loaiza said. “I really enjoyed appellate advocacy the semester prior to my internship so doing actual appellate work was a dream come true this summer.”

Loaiza worked in Justice Powell’s Chambers.

“Justice Powell and her entire staff were helpful in answering my questions about the legal profession, trial work, appellate work and legal research,” Loaiza said. “Some of the projects I got to work on included drafting a bench brief on one of the pending cases before the Virginia Supreme Court, observing writ panels and oral arguments.”

Loaiza, who grew up in San Vicente, Santa Ignacia, Tarlac, Philippines and moved to Hawaii after graduating from Saint Louis University Baguio City, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies, said she chose to attend ASL “because I knew it was a place where I could focus on my studies.” After a tour of the campus, she said she fell in love with the school and everyone associated with ASL.

“The faculty and staff welcomed me and I saw that this was a place I could see myself succeeding,” she said. “I have enjoyed every moment at ASL and I will be forever thankful for all the opportunities that ASL has given me.”

Gibson, who worked with Justice Elizabeth McClanahan (who will soon take over the helm at ASL as its new Dean next month as she retires from the Supreme Court), said the opportunity to work at the Supreme Court of Virginia was a good experience.

“I am fortunate to have been given such opportunities,” Gibson said. “I encourage others to seek out and avail themselves to such opportunities, as they arise. Each experience will help me moving forward as each builds upon the education and experience I have obtained in the law, while at ASL.”

Gibson said at the Virginia Supreme Court, he observed the June Session oral arguments and completed some research and record verification requests on a case before the Court.

“I came away with a greater understanding of how to effectively present an oral argument on appeal,” Gibson said. “Much of what we have learned at ASL came into play, as each case and controversy was different.”

Gibson also had the opportunity to attend the Energy Mineral Law Foundation meeting in Washington D.C. where Justice McClanahan was a presenter delivering a presentation on a survey of State Supreme Court decisions affecting the energy industry sectors in the Appalachian Basin.

“My job was researching and finding State Supreme Court Cases from eight states from the end of 2018 to present,” Gibson said. “I was also tasked with creating the PowerPoint presentation to accompany Justice McClanahan’s speech. In completing the work for the EMLF convention, I worked with Professor Laura Wilson and fellow student Caitlin Young. The experience put my legal research skills to the test and allowed me to be creative and bring humor to the topic, as requested by Justice McClanahan.”

Gibson, who is from Marietta, Ga., where he retired from his business as an electrical contractor prior to choosing to attend law school, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on history from Excelsior College.

“I love attending ASL and given the chance to do it over, I would choose ASL again for more reasons than I could have imagined when I began this journey through law school,” Gibson said.

Wysor, of Grundy, graduated from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology.

“I worked at the Supreme Court of Virginia in the Office of the Chief Staff Attorney,” Wysor said of his summer experience. “While there, I had the opportunity to write summary memoranda for the Justices describing the facts and legal issues of pending petitions.

“During the summer, we attended writ panels where we got to see which of these petitions for appeal were granted by the Justices,” Wysor continued. “In addition, we had the opportunity to give an oral presentation to three Justices in which we explained our rationale in a given case. Overall, working at the Office of the Chief Staff Attorney was an incredible experience that allowed me to feel more confident in my writing and oral advocacy and the knowledge I gained in appellate procedure will be especially beneficial for me in the future when handling clients’ appeals to higher courts.”

“After attending undergrad at a large university, I definitely wanted to go to a law school where I could feel more at home,” Wysor, who is attending ASL on a full-tuition merit scholarship, said. “Our small community really makes ASL feel like a family and I’ve been able to cultivate relationships with classmates and professors in a way that just wasn’t possible elsewhere. When I came to ASL’s open house as an applicant, it was apparent that everyone here wants to make sure that every student succeeds and the faculty really goes out of their way to help students in any way they can.”

In addition to the Supreme Court of Virginia, additional ASL externship/internship sites, by state, were as follows:

Virginia: Buchanan County Commonwealth Attorney’s office, Grundy; Buchanan County Administrator’s Office, Grundy; Buchanan County Attorney’s Office, Grundy; Buchanan County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Grundy; Court-Appointed Special Advocate program, Grundy; Appalachian College of Pharmacy, Oakwood; Russell County Circuit Court, Lebanon; Tazewell County Attorney’s Office, Tazewell; Henry County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Martinsville; Bland County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Bland; Hanover County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Hanover; Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, Chesapeake; O’Quinn Law Office, Wise; Washington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Abingdon; Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Virginia Beach; and Town of Leesburg Attorney’s Office, Leesburg.

West Virginia: Marcum Law Office, Williamson; Public Defender Corp. for the 9th Judicial Circuit, Princeton; Wayne County Family Court, Wayne; and Mingo County Family Court, Williamson.

Kentucky: Pike County Attorney’s Office, Pikeville; Pike County District Judge, Pikeville; Carter County Attorney’s Office, Grayson; Perry County District Court, Hazard; Department of Public Advocacy, Hazard; and Appalachian Research & Defense Fund, Prestonsburg.

North Carolina: 6th Judicial District Court, Wilmington; and Church World Service, Greensboro.

South Carolina: Fourth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Dillon.

Georgia: Southern Judicial Circuit, Valdosta; and Augusta Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office, Augusta.

Ohio: Coshocton County Prosecutor’s Office, Coshocton; and Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office, Gallipolis.

Indiana: Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, Bloomington.

Florida: Tyson & Denson PLLC, Jacksonville; and Brooks, Warrick & Assoc., Milton.

Alaska: Alaska Court System – Family Law Self-Help Center, Anchorage.

New Jersey: International Rescue Committee – US Programs, Elizabeth; Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Newark; and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Trenton.

Colorado: Douglas County District Court, Castle Rock.

New York: Clinton County District Attorney’s Office, Plattsburg; and United Nations-Mission of Pakistan, New York.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, Eau Claire.

Wyoming: Legal Aid Wyoming, Inc., Cody.



ASL students have spent the summer completing externships and internships in 15 states. Three students — Josh Wysor, Janella Loaiza and Richard Gibson — spent the summer working at the Virginia Supreme Court. They are pictured here with Justice Elizabeth McClanahan, who will be joining ASL as its Dean next month as she retires from the Supreme Court.


August 6, 2019

Media Contact: Cathy St. Clair – 276.202.0383 or

Posted February 13th 2021 Posted by Brian Presley