“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.” - Bryan Stevenson, speaker at David Hardesty Festival of Ideas, 11.7.16

Law schools have been at the center of a sustained—and often heated—debate concerning the relevance of legal education and scholarship.  Moreover, this election cycle has cast a bright light on the decades-old fact that our economically disenfranchised neighbors, generally, and our Appalachian brothers and sisters living in poverty, specifically, have been left behind by the entire American political establishment. 

Because we:

  • live in Appalachia;
  • work at West Virginia’s largest land grant University and singular law school;
  • provide pro bono legal services to indigent and financially distressed Appalachians;
  • believe that service to our state is our mandate and duty; and
  • believe that law schools, legal education, and legal scholarship can and should “be relevant again”

The WVU faculty and staff from various fields created the Appalachian Justice Initiative (AJI). The AJI’s mission is to develop law school programming and projects that seek to address poverty in West Virginia and provide enhanced legal services and education to West Virginians most in need.