Pandemic Academics: Three KWW summer law clerks help employers navigate unprecedented workplace issues

May 26, 2020
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Unprecedented times have helped create a unique learning opportunity for three summer law clerks at our Akron boutique labor and employment law firm.

Alissa F. Peeples, Michael R. Tontillo, Sean A. McKinley

“The pandemic has certainly resulted in a high volume of client calls seeking help to manage their workforces,” said Jim Wilkins, KWW’s managing shareholder. “The public health and economic impact on businesses, non-profits and public employers have had us researching, interpreting and consulting on issues ranging from employee safety, unemployment, compensation and benefits, layoffs and furloughs, rehiring, government assistance programs, stay-at-home orders, and more on a daily basis.”

“For our three extremely bright law clerks, they’re living in an historic moment and experiencing ‘real world’ education at its finest working alongside some of the region’s most seasoned labor and employment attorneys.”

KWW, which represents management exclusively, has a longstanding commitment to mentoring and training law students as well as a commitment to diversity and inclusion. While it is customary for the firm to hire one or two law students each summer, this year it jumped at the opportunity to hire three outstanding candidates.

“While several Northeast Ohio firms were withdrawing offers they’d made to summer clerks because of COVID-19 concerns, we’ve added our largest class ever,” Wilkins said. “It will be a memorable summer for our clerks and for our lawyers.”

Third-year law school students Alissa Peeples and Mike Tontillo are returning to KWW after working for the firm last summer as well as during the recently concluded school year. New to the firm is Sean McKinley, a Shaker Heights, Ohio native and 3rd year law student at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

“I chose KWW because, as a smaller firm, they provide ample opportunity for their clerks to develop practical legal experience while providing constructive feedback and thoughtful advice. I hope to continue to craft my writing and analytical skills this summer with KWW, as well as provide exceptional legal services for KWW clients,” McKinley said.

At Moritz, McKinley is involved in a variety of organizations, including the ACLU at Moritz, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Black Law Student Association (BLSA), and the Diversity Committee of the Student Bar Association (SBA).

Before KWW, Sean worked as a law clerk with the Zone Initiative in the Office of the Columbus City Attorney, where he assisted attorneys who worked in tandem with the Columbus Police Narcotics Division and the Columbus Division of Neighborhoods to abate chronic nuisance properties within the city.

Tontillo is also at Moritz while Peeples studies at The University of Akron School of Law.