Andy Kriha ’20 was named this year’s University of Virginia School of Law recipient of the Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Clinical Student Award.
Students are nominated by their law school’s faculty for excellence in clinical field work and for exceptionally thoughtful, self-reflective participation in an accompanying clinical seminar.
Kriha, along with Dani Gibbons ’21, helped an Environmental and Regulatory Law Clinic client present arguments before the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Responding to arguments raised by the clinic, on Jan. 28 the commission ordered Appalachian Power Co. to model plans to meet state targets for renewable power.
The students participated in every phase of advocacy, including brainstorming issues to raise and arguments for those issues, researching support for their arguments, formulating and drafting discovery requests, and drafting and editing portions of the statement that Professor Cale Jaffe ’01, the clinic’s director, read at the commission hearing.
“This award shines a light on the high quality and impactful work that Professor Jaffe has been able to draw to the clinic,” Kriha said. “The work I did over the past year was the result of being given meaningful assignments and being guided by an excellent mentor. I am grateful that I was put in a position to do some good work and succeed.”
Kriha said he learned the detailed mechanics of participating in the administrative process at both the state and federal levels. He added that participating in the clinic also greatly improved his legal writing and advocacy skills.
After graduation, Kriha will work for the Washington, D.C., office of Eversheds Sutherland and hopes to join the energy and infrastructure practice group.
“We had an amazing group of students in the clinic this year who really came together as a team, generously pitching in to help each other,” Jaffe said. “Andy’s brilliant insights and thoughtful contributions across a wide array of projects exemplified that spirit.”
Virginia’s 20 clinics, many of which offer contact with clients, build experience with real-world problems. Students also advance their skills through courses in public speaking, trial advocacy, professional responsibility, and legal research and writing, as well as extracurricular moot court and mock trial competitions.
“We have a wide range of clinical programs and many talented students who excel in them,” said Professor Sarah Shalf ’01, director of clinical programs, “but Andy’s work really stood out as illustrating the maturity and professionalism that we hope all UVA Law graduates have developed through clinical education.”
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.