UVA Law student uses sign language in federal appeals court, wins case

UVA Law student uses sign language in federal appeals court, wins case
Jehanne McCullough. Photo provided by Jehanne McCullough. (Source: Jehanne McCullough)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A student in the Appellate Litigation Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law used American Sign Language to argue before a Richmond-based federal appeals court and won the case alongside her partner.

UVA Law student Jehanne McCullough is deaf and used interpreters during her oral argument in court.

“While I know a good number of wonderful Deaf lawyers with communication styles similar to mine, I was not aware of any who had done an oral argument. When it came to doing an oral argument, I just went ahead and did what felt right to me,” McCullough said.

McCullough worked with her partner, Nina Oat, where the two practiced their arguments before the September hearing.

“I can’t emphasize enough how much of a privilege it’s been to be part of this and to be part of Jehanne’s incredible victory on this. and to be part of the clinic in general,” Oat said.

McCullough says it’s important to live out your passions and dreams no matter what.

“If there are deaf individuals who want to attend law school and become lawyers themselves I think you know one of the biggest lessons I learned from this is you should go for it and not be afraid,” McCullough said. “Even if you don’t see someone like you doing that, you should still go ahead and take advantage and try out those opportunities.”

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