Law Student of the Year: Kaylee R. Gum, Marshall-Wythe School of Law

When she first came to Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary, third-year Kaylee R. Gum, also known as Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserves, quickly excelled academically while also serving as a member of the Moot Court team and the Journal of Women and the Law. She was the winner of the Law School’s annual Bushrod Moot Court competition and had her student note selected for publication. 

From her work with Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic, to her service with the United States Air Force, to her time in Iraq with the USAID Iraq Access to Justice Program (where she was able to use her Arabic language skills), Gum exemplified what it means to use one’s knowledge of the law to help those in need.

The clinic has received national media attention for its skills training model and for the pro bono assistance it provides to veterans trying to navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ complex claims system. During two semesters with the clinic, she helped 13 injured veterans seeking disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For 12 weeks in the summer of 2014, Gum worked with two senior legal advisors in the Iraq Access to Justice Project, part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s effort to enhance the delivery of legal aid to vulnerable and disadvantaged people in that country. ISIS’s siege of Mosul during her time in Iraq made her internship particularly challenging. She spent the first half of the summer living in Baghdad and then relocated to Erbil, in northern Iraq, due to security concerns in the capital. 

“Kaylee is thoughtful and analytical, and provided valuable input and feedback. In meetings with civil society, government, and international partners, Kaylee demonstrated professionalism and preparation and an impressive ability to communicate with stakeholders in both Arabic and English,” said Wilson Myers, Deputy Director of the Iraq Access to Justice Program.

After graduation she will serve on active duty as an Air Force Judge Advocate. She will initially work as a prosecutor within the military system in addition to providing legal services to commanders and active duty service members.

Gum is one of 25 future lawyers honored in the National Jurist’s inaugural “Law Student of the Year” feature.