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Costello Named to VLW "Leaders in the Law"

Virginia Lawyers Media, publishers of Virginia Lawyers Weekly, has announced the 2009 class of "Leaders in the Law," which includes Professor John L. Costello of George Mason University School of Law as an honoree.

Now in its fourth year, this awards program recognizes the lawyers who are setting the standard for other lawyers in Virginia. "Leaders" are recognized for changing the law, serving the community, changing practice or improving Virginia's justice system, among other accomplishments.

The honorees will be celebrated at a reception on Oct. 22 at the Bolling-Haxall House in downtown Richmond. The "2009 Leader of the Year," to be voted on by the 2009 honorees themselves, will be announced at this reception. Each honoree also will be profiled in a special publication that will be distributed at the event and inserted into Virginia Lawyers Weekly in early October.

Costello's career as an academic dates back to 1977, when Costello, a 1955 graduate of Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law, retired after a 22-year career in the U.S. Army JAG Corps that culminated with his role as associate judge for the U.S. Army Court of Military Review in Falls Church, Virginia. At that time, Costello began his association with the International School of Law (ISL), destined in 1979 to become the first and only law school in northern Virginia: George Mason University School of Law. During the ISL's struggle to become part of a larger educational institution and to achieve ABA accreditation, Costello participated in the successful efforts to make both become realities. In his 32 years as a professor, Costello has retained the dedication that characterized that challenging era in the law school's history, and he remains a repository for information pertaining to the law school's early years. He serves on multiple committees at the law school and is particularly interested in student and alumni matters and the legal market in Virginia. Not surprisingly, he remains in touch with many Mason Law alumni, most of whom remain in the Commonwealth.

Costello has long served as George Mason's primary externship advisor and general connoisseur of the Virginia legal market. In this role, he mentors students through the day-to-day challenges of serving as a legal intern in the private and public sectors, assists students in finding suitable internship and attorney positions, lectures on ethics in the workplace, and provides job leads to George Mason's career office and alumni population. Given his knowledge of the local legal market, Costello has assisted literally hundreds of students and practitioners.

Some of Costello's most significant contributions to the Virginia Legal Community include state-accredited CLE pro bono presentations. Since 1997, he has presented an annual 2-hour legal ethics program. At this popular and well-attended event, Costello covers developments in Virginia ethics law.

Costello has served the Commonwealth and his profession from 1979-1984 and from 1996 to the present as a member of the Law School Review Committee of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, which meets semi-annually to review the most recent bar exam. In addition, in 2005 Costello served at the invitation of Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr. of the Supreme Court of Virginia as a task force member of the newly formed Commission on Virginia Courts in the 21st Century.

This year, in testimony to Costello's tireless contributions to the law school and his positive impact on a generation of law students and lawyers, the George Mason University School of Law Trial Advocacy Association established and hosted the first John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Competition, which will continue as an annual event.

In addition to Virginia Remedies and Virginia Practice, Costello has taught Professional Responsibility, Federal Courts, The Organized Legal Profession, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Agency, Evidence, Appellate Practice, Trial Advocacy, and the Supervised Externship courses. He is the author of numerous articles in academic, peer reviewed, and ABA publications.