and online editions)
was named the interim dean at the Appalachian School
of Law earlier this month. (Staff
photo/Cathy St. Clair.)
ASL Dean Ready to Build On Law School Successes
Shinn Looks Forward to Challenges Ahead
Cathy St. Clair
Wes Shinn takes over the reins at the Appalachian
School of Law as its interim dean next week, he said,
he is ready to get to work to continue the successes
the law school has experienced in recent years.
Shinn, who first came to ASL in 1999, left in
2001 for five years and returned again this past
August, said he was happy to return, having enjoyed
his time at ASL the first time time around.
When former Dean Jeff Kinsler called him in
2005 to offer him an opportunity to return to ASL,
Shinn said it was nice to know he was wanted and as
that offer was also extended by a couple of ASL board
members as well, Shinn said the decision to return to
what he called "a comfortable and friendly
environment," was an easy one.
"I'm glad to be back," he said.
"This is a good place with good people."
Shinn is a graduate of Tulane School of Law,
where he graduated with highest honors. While there,
he was elected to Order of the Coif and served as
editor in chief of the Tulane Law Review. He earned an
LL.M. from Harvard Law School.
He has published in the legal field of civil
law obligations, secured transactions, and
environmental law and is a frequent speaker in the
area of wills and estates.
He previously taught at ASL until 2001 when he
left to return to the deep south to be near family and
to teach at Mississippi College School of Law. He was
there in 2005 when he received ASL's invitation to
return as a full professor.
At ASL, he currently teaches courses in
property, secured transactions and estates and trusts.
Prior to returning to teaching in 1999, Shinn
was a practicing attorney in New Orleans, La., for
more than 25 years.
And while he is currently the interim dean,
Shinn confirmed he has also tossed his hat into the
ring to be named the school's permanent dean. A
national search to name a permanent dean is now
"This is an interim position now as the
search continues, but I intend to do this job as if it
were permanent," Shinn said of the focus and work
he intends to put into the post.
In addition to being named interim dean, Shinn
was also named chief operating officer, which he said
is a governance issue recommended by the ABA.
And while he focuses on the day-to-day duties
of the dean, Shinn will also continue to teach classes
in wills and estates and property.
Shinn said he considers himself to continue to
be "a student of the law," and added he
recommends to all his students that they continue to
challenge themselves to learn and to stay abreast of
changes in the law by always remaining students of the
Looking ahead, Shinn said, ASL must continue to
prepare for its next review by the American Bar
Association. ASL was granted full accreditation
earlier this year, which puts the school on track for
another review in three years. After successfully
passing the three-year review coming up, under ABA
rules, law schools are then evaluated on accreditation
issues every seven years.
Based on the current schedule, Shinn said he
expected a site team would visit the school in the
fall of 2008 or spring of 2009.
Currently, faculty and staff are reviewing the
institution's strategic plan and self study which will
be revised as needed and submitted to the ABA prior to
the site team review.
Surveys of students and data gathering are
"We want to see what we do well and see
what areas we can improve upon," Shinn
For more of the
story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer,
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call 276-935-2123 today.
County Tax Deadline Is Set for January 5
by Cathy St.
County residents are reminded that county real estate, personal
property and merchants capital taxes are due next week.
The deadline for the payment of 2006 county taxes is Friday,
January 5, 2007.
The Buchanan County Board of Supervisors changed the tax due
date for 2006 to January, instead of December, in action taken in
earlier discussions on the date taxes are due.
Historically, the board had changed the due date on an annual
basis from December to January.
Residents paying after the January 5 deadline will be subject
to a 5 percent penalty and
10 percent interest beginning January 6, 2007.
Tax rates are $1.95 per $100 assessed value for personal
property; 49 cents per $100 assessed value for real estate; and $2
per $100 assessed value for merchant's capital.
Anyone who has not yet received a tax ticket or who has
questions about them may call Treasurer Bill Keene at 935-6551.
For questions related to the value of the real estate or
personal property, Commissioner of Revenue Victor Breeding may be
reached at 935-6541.
CEDA Recognizes Yates for His
Service to Region
Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) during its
final meeting of the year last Friday recognized retiring Executive
Director Charles Yates for his tireless efforts and dedication to
Yates, who has served since 1989 as the Coalfield
Authority’s only executive director, is retiring Dec. 31. Jonathan
Belcher, who had been serving as acting executive director since
July, was named executive director at the board’s Nov. 9 meeting.
“Because of the hard work of Charles Yates, Southwest
Virginia has seen excellent results in advancing the economy of the
coalfield region,” said Donald Baker, chairman of the VCEDA
executive committee, who presented Yates with a resolution from the
The resolution honoring Yates said: “Under Mr. Yates’
leadership as Executive Director, great advances in economic
development and diversification were made in the seven-county and
one-city Coalfield Region of Virginia, including a significant
reduction in unemployment rates, the creation of thousands of new
jobs, and the location of many major new industries to the
In other action, the VCEDA board presented a $1.4 million
grant to the Breaks Interstate Park Commission for the construction
of cabins along Laurel Lake in Breaks Interstate Park .
The board also elected its current slate of officers for
another one-year term. Officers are Mark Wooten, chairman; Jay Rife,
vice chairman; Richard Edwards, secretary; and Mike Quillen,