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Students present legal research in Clarion University’s first law journal

July 23, 2018

First Clarion law journalClarion University College of Business Administration and Information Sciences has published the first edition of Clarion University Law Journal. The 52-page journal is the culmination of a class project for Advanced Legal Writing and Research.

Dr. C. Frank Shepard, associate professor of finance and instructor of the class, said law journals contain advanced legal research on topics of interest to legal professionals and anyone interested in the current state of our legal system.

"Students selected their own topics based on what they considered to be the most relevant legal topics of the day," Shepard said. "By the time they entered the class, they had a thorough knowledge of the use of online law libraries such as Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis."

Clarion students also have access to the Legal Collection, which contains all Law Reviews published in the United States.

"Each topic was exhaustively researched by the students. The legal conclusions of each paper were debated in sessions that frequently lasted at least a class period for each topic," Shepard said. "I viewed it as my job as instructor to research each issue so that I could take the opposite conclusion of the author and make counter-arguments."

Authors and their topics are:

  • Paralegals and Access to Justice – John Eichlin and Frank Shepard
  • Abuse of Civil Forfeiture in Our Communities – Kelsey Monro of Wall and Robin Rybczyk of Titusville
  • Bad Boys Bad Boys; Whatcha Gonna Do? Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You? – Austin Blose of Strattanville and Demetrius McKenzie of Clarion
  • How Gerrymandering Affects Elections in Pennsylvania – Jacob McCord-Wolbert of Lucinda
  • Breaking Up Families as We Debate the Constitutionality of DACA – Kassandra Wetterwald of Shirley, Mass., and TyNiesha Perry of Harrisburg
  • Human Trafficking: Plaguing the United States – Kaitlyn Vale of Greenville and Shawney Heffern, Franklin
  • Justice for the Brave – Zechariah Lemke of Harrisville
  • Gas Companies and Their Abuse of Private Property – Decklan Burkhart of Franklin, Nikki Deitz of Knox, Andrea Larsen of Warren and Ben Trinkley of DuBois
  • The Legal Status of Wrongful Birth and Wrongful Life Claims – Morgan J. Green of Allport
  • Understanding Your Freedom of Speech – Hannah Dewey of Tidioute
  • The Oil War of 1872 – Frank Shepard

Prior to taking the class, students had worked as interns in the legal community, with many volunteering to work additional hours at Legal Aid and with other organizations. They had completed several law classes and knew how to do legal research, write briefs and draft pleadings.

Shepard is exceedingly proud of the students.

"The Clarion University Law Journal shows the extreme talent, legal knowledge and skills of our students. The Advanced Legal Writing and Research class is required of our BSBA in paralegal students; however, every one of our associate students took this class as an elective and wrote stellar articles, which are contained in the journal," he said. "In preparing the journal, the students engaged in detailed legal analysis and applied that analysis to the tough societal issues of our time. This type of in-depth analysis and application will serve them well in their legal careers."

In addition to the typical content of a legal journal, the Clarion University Law Journal will always contain an article on local oil history, according to Shepard.

"Not only is our petroleum history a large part of what we are today, the publication of the law journal was funded by the Barbara Morgan Harvey Center for the Study of Oil Heritage, located on Venango campus," he said.

The journal is available electronically at

Clarion's BSBA in paralegal studies is accredited by the most elite business organization, American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business, and the most elite paralegal approval organization, the American Bar Association. Graduates are prepared to enter the business world and the law firms that represent them.

"We recognize that law practice is a business and that firms need expertise in the business field to manage their operations and their paralegal staff," Shepard said. "This degree has proven to be an excellent preparatory degree for law school."

In addition to the BSBA, Clarion offers two certificates, one in advanced paralegal studies and the other in oil and gas. The 24-credit programs can be easily completed as part of any Clarion major or used as a post-baccalaureate certificate. This allows students to add a legal component to their chose career.

"There is no field anywhere that does not involve law," Shepard said.

For more information, visit

Last Updated 1/11/21