Kirgis Fellows

The Kirgis Fellow program is a mentoring program designed to assist first-year and transfer students with the adjustment to law school by providing guidance and advice about academics, the job search process, and life in Lexington. The Kirgis Fellows are upper-level law students who mentor a first-year, small-section class, with two Kirgis Fellows, one male and one female, assigned to each small section. Transfer students also have Kirgis Fellows, which include both former transfer students as well as second-year students.  

Kirgis Fellows play a large role during Orientation and share their perspective as experienced students throughout the year. Over the course of regular meetings, Kirgis Fellows meet with first-year students to discuss study strategies, summer jobs, law school exams, coping with the stress of law school, and the traditions that make W&L Law unique. In addition, Kirgis Fellows are available throughout the year to answer questions and to provide support to first-year students. Students are encouraged to keep in touch with their Kirgis Fellows and ask for help and advice as they encounter questions and challenges during their first year of law school.

Head Kirgis Fellows

Joanna Thomas

Joanna Thomas is a third-year law student from Falls Church, Virginia. She attended undergrad at the University of Virginia with a double major in Public Policy and Government. While at UVa, she was active in Honor Council, Class Council, and Greek life. She graduated in 2018 and came straight through to W&L.

At W&L, she is a member of the Women Law Students Organization and Phi Alpha Delta. During her 1L summer, Joanna worked in Richmond, Virginia. She interned for the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia in the Health, Education, and Social Services Division.  

When Joanna is not at Sydney Lewis Hall, she enjoys cooking and eating Greek food, spinning, cheering on the Hoos, and watching American Idol auditions.

Ruta Trivedi

Ruta Trivedi  is a third-year law student from Chantilly, Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016 with a BA in Biology and minor in Chemistry. While at VCU, Ruta was involved in volunteer work at the Maymont Nature Center and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion program. After graduating, Ruta worked at the Office of the Attorney General in Richmond, VA in the Criminal Appeals Division.

Ruta spent the first half of her 1L summer as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. at the Court of Appeals of Virginia. During the second half of her 1L summer, she interned for The Honorable Judge Brian F. Kenney at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division.  

Ruta is a member of the Women Law Students Organization and in her free time she enjoys Keeping Up with the Kardashians, rooftop bars, and cooking.

Kirgis Fellows

Nikolai Abaev is a second-year student from Saint Michael, Minnesota. He graduated from University of Minnesota with a B.A. in History. Before attending W&L, Nikolai opened his own trucking company and drove a 16ft box truck across the United States and Canada.

Nikolai spent his summer as a McThenia Research Assistant. Here at W&L, he is the Vice-President of Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA). Outside the school, Nikolai enjoys boxing, playing music, and watching the Vikings play football.  

Ryan D'Ercole is a second-year law student from Centreville, Virginia. He graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2016 with a degree in Political Science and minors in Leadership and National Security Studies. Before attending W&L Law, Ryan traveled the Midwest as a fraternity consultant and then worked in Washington, D.C. at a market research firm.  

During his 1L summer, Ryan interned for Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division. Outside of his role as a Kirgis Fellow, Ryan is a Law Ambassador with the Office of Law Admissions, a Staffwriter on Law Review, and the Treasurer of OutLaw. In his free time, Ryan enjoys playing tennis, making sideline appearances at LSFL, and stowing away with several of his classmates in Classroom C at 8:00pm on Wednesdays to watch the greatest TV show of all time - Survivor. 

Elizabeth Hudson is a second-year law student from Berlin, Maryland. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 2014 with a degree in Government. After graduation, Elizabeth worked in legal recruiting at a large firm in New York City and then as a paralegal in Maryland.  

During her 1L summer, Elizabeth interned for Judge Richard D. Bennett of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Here at W&L, Elizabeth is a Law Ambassador with the Office of Law Admissions, Co-Chair for the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity Auction, and a member of the Women Law Students Organization. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys spending time outdoors, listening to podcasts, and cooking.  

Scott Ingram is a second-year law student from Virginia Beach, Virginia. He graduated from James Madison University (JMU) where he majored in Political Science and Philosophy and minored in Classical Studies. While at JMU, he was involved in the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, worked as a Teaching Assistant for a Philosophy professor, and helped with an on-campus ethical reasoning initiative. 

After graduating from JMU, Scott worked as the Ethical Reasoning Engagement Fellow at JMU for a year. In that role he helped teach an ethical reasoning strategy across campus and coached two ethics debate teams. Scott also works with children with autism when he's back home in Virginia Beach.  

During his 1L summer, Scott interned with the Norfolk Public Defender's Office in Norfolk, Virginia. At W&L, Scott serves as the President of the Henry IV Society and as the Vice President of Networking and Education. Outside of school, Scott loves playing soccer, going to the gym, or hiking in the area.  

Matt Kaminer is a second-year law student from Hewlett, New York. He also attended Washington & Lee for undergrad, graduating in 2018 with a degree in Business Journalism. As a W&L student, Matt was a captain of the varsity wrestling team-where he was a four-year starter at heavyweight. During his senior year, Matt also served as the Class of 2018 Representative to the Executive Committee of the Student Body. After graduation, Matt worked as a paralegal at a boutique antitrust litigation firm in New York City, and volunteered as an evening caseworker with a suicide hotline.  

During his 1L summer, Matt interned for Judge Paul G. Feinman at the New York Court of Appeals, and worked on a project with W&L's Office of General Counsel. Outside of his role as a Kirgis Fellow, Matt is a Staffwriter on Law Review, a Hearing Advisor, and the Co-President of the Antitrust & Consumer Law Society. He will also be a judicial extern to Judge Christopher Russell at Virginia's 25th Judicial Circuit Court in Lexington.  

In his free time, Matt volunteers as an assistant coach with W&L's wrestling program. He also enjoys following professional basketball and mixed martial arts, listening to podcasts, reading about high-performance psychology, and trying to convince his friends that he doesn't live in the Brief Stop.

Jake Lichtenstein is a second-year law student from Roanoke, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Cognitive Science and a minor in History. He served as Executive Editor of The Cavalier Daily, the independent student newspaper at UVA. Jake graduated in 2019 and came straight through to W&L Law.  

At W&L, Jake is a Law Ambassador and a member of the Jewish Law Students Association. During his 1L summer, he interned for the Honorable M. Hannah Lauck of the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. In his free time, Jake likes to hang out with his friends and his dog Ivy, go to the gym, and try to fly fish but never actually catch anything.

Sabrina Matlock is a second-year law student from Pennington, New Jersey. She graduated from American University in Washington D.C. where she majored in Law and Society and minored in Spanish.   

As a 1L, she was a law ambassador with the admissions office. She also was the 1L liaison for the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and competed in the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial competition. Her team placed third in regionals and advanced to nationals where they made it to the quarterfinals.   

During her 1L summer, she interned with the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office. In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with friends, cooking, listening to music, and watching Netflix. 

Kylan Memminger is a second-year law student from Sarasota, Florida. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in finance. During undergrad, Kylan studied abroad in Greece, was actively involved in the Panhellenic Council, and spent her summers interning for local politicians.  

During her 1L summer, Kylan interned on a settlement administration project for a law firm in Richmond, VA. Here at W&L, she is a Law Ambassador with the Office of Law Admissions, Vice President of Service and Mentorship of the Women Law Students Organization, a board member of Phi Alpha Delta, and a Staffwriter for the W&L Journal of Civil Rights & Social Justice.  

When she isn't studying, Kylan loves running, group fitness classes, listening to podcasts, and trying new recipes.

Lauren Robertson is a second-year law student from Sarasota, Florida. She graduated from Florida State University with a B.A in English and a minor in Economics. While at Florida State, she was involved in Garnet and Gold Key Society, Honors Delegates, and the Honors Colloquium Leadership Program. Before attending W&L Law, Lauren worked in commercial insurance in West Palm Beach, Florida.  

During her 1L summer, Lauren worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Julie Sneed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Here, she is a Staffwriter on Washington and Lee Law Review, Secretary of Black Law Students Association (BLSA), a Research Assistant for Professor Hasbrouck and Professor Bond, a class representative on the Student Library Advisory Council, and member of Women Law Student's Organization (WLSO).  

In her free time, she loves working out, shopping at Trader Joe's, and baking lemon bread.  

Sarah Vanderhoff is a second-year law student from Columbus, Ohio. She attended Ohio University and majored in Communication Studies with a Public Advocacy concentration. While there, she was a part of the Center for Law, Justice, and Culture, through which she studied human rights abroad in Northern Ireland. Sarah also served as a mentor for students at Athens High School, where she developed engaging programs and coordinated weekly small group meetings. She chose to attend law school to become an advocate for people who are marginalized and underserved.  

As a 1L, Sarah competed in the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial competition. She spent her 1L summer working in the Ohio River Valley, first as an intern at the Appellate Division of the Montgomery County Public Defender's Office, and then as a law clerk at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. When she graduates, she plans to return to Ohio to start her career in public interest law.  

Sarah looks forward to being a Kirgis Fellow, remaining an active member of the Black Law Students Association and the Christian Legal Society, and serving as a leader of the Public Defense Group. Outside of law school, Sarah can be found hiking around Rockbridge County, amateur hairdressing and barbering at her house, or reading and lettering at Lexington Coffee Co. 

Tim Wang is a second-year law student from Singapore. He pursued undergraduate opportunities in Sociology and Art History at Columbia, after serving in the military. While at Columbia, Timothy participated in LGBTQ advocacy, and ran an undergraduate business group that strove to de-stigmatize being "out" in conservative workplaces.  

Before law school, Timothy was a litigation legal assistant at Davis Polk in New York, and was briefly seconded to J.P. Morgan. To escape the drudgery of litigation, he found joy in pro bono matters, and has facilitated name changes for transgender persons and asylum applications for persecuted individuals. One day, he hopes to serve as pro bono counsel to support underserved individuals, families, and the nonprofit sector.  

During his 1L summer, Timothy interned for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and tackled racial justice, reproductive health, and LGBT rights issues. Aside from being a Kirgis Fellow, he is involved in OutLaw, Office of Inclusion and Engagement, International Law Society, Environmental Law Society, and German Law Journal.  

In his spare time, Timothy enjoys practicing yoga, competing in triathlons, struggling with New York Times crosswords, and slaving away in the kitchen. Though he currently uses a pod coffee maker-and hates himself for it-he believes his coffee game is strong, and would love to tell you all about it.  

Claire Welch is a second-year law student from Park River, North Dakota. She attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and majored in Political Science with a minor in Italian Studies. While there she was President of Chi Chapter Kappa Kappa Gamma, worked for Gibraltar Title Agency, and participated in the Minnesota Court Watch Program. She also interned for Senator John Hoeven in Washington D.C. She studied abroad in Perugia, Italy and volunteered at an orphanage in Prejmer, Romania for a summer.   

During her 1L summer, Claire interned with Centurion Managed Care's in-house counsel. Centurion contracts with state and local prisons and jails to provide them with health care services. Here at W&L, she is Vice President of Events for the Women Law Student Organization and a staff writer for the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. In her free time, Claire enjoys eating Doritos with peach mango salsa (try it before you bash it), running Chessie Trail, and water skiing.