We Defend Students Charged With Disciplinary & Criminal Violations

Practice Group

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Shanlon Wu, College Student Criminal Defense Attorney

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system.  A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department.  His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment.  He understands the mindset of academic institutions.

As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section.  This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases.  His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families.

Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years.  During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force.  His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups.

From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office.

Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

Jonathan Cook

Jonathan is an experienced college student defense attorney who has represented college and university students in more than 100 university conduct and academic discipline proceedings.  His experience encompasses university violations such as plagiarism, cheating & academic dishonesty, campus sexual assaults, drug and alcohol violations, disorderly conduct and housing code violations.  His accomplishments include numerous successful outcomes for clients accused of Title IX campus sexual assault violations at several different universities, as well as aggressive work on behalf of survivors in Title IX campus sexual assault cases.  He is an exceptionally well-rounded college student advocate who is equally skilled in the university hearing room, university appeals process, meetings with university administrators and investigators as well as in the criminal courts.

During law school, Jonathan interned for the Queen Anne's County Office of the State's Attorney and the Providence Solicitor's Office gaining invaluable experience in criminal and civil litigation matters.

From 2005 to 2009, Jonathan served as a public affairs professional for Porter Novelli's Washington, D.C. office, where he was an integral part of several award winning public relations campaigns. His background in public affairs and media relations enables him to advise his clients beyond immediate legal matters to help protect reputations from harm.

Jonathan holds a B.S. in Media Studies from Radford University and is a 2012 graduate of Roger Williams University School of Law where he served on the Moot Court Board and was president of both the Criminal Law Society and the American Constitution Society.

Jonathan is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Virginia and is admitted to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

For full bio visit dcwhitecollar.com.

Emily Hawthorne

Emily Hawthorne has been interning for WGW since Summer 2014. She researches trends in college life, Researches current cases in college sexual and domestic abuse, designs materials for WGW, and helps Shanlon Wu with his course at George Washington University (GWU). 

Emily is from Swampscott and Salem, Massachusetts and is double majoring in Fine Arts and Peace Studies at GWU. She also works as a graphic designer at the GWU Athletic Department. She is involved in the students art gallery and Student Legal Rights Society, and was inducted as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society her junior year.

Emily is currently studying for the LSAT and hopes to attend law school next year. She would like to assist victims of sexual and domestic abuse, as well as pursue her interest in helping returning veterans receive better healthcare coverage.

Alexa Tzarnas

Alexa Tzarnas is a senior at George Washington University and is from Philadelphia, PA. She is majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sustainability. She is also a member of the Women’s Varsity Squash team at GWU and a Presidential Scholarship recipient.

Alexa began interning for WGW in January 2016 to earn college credit. She conducts legal and factual research regarding college students’ rights within their universities and helps with administrative tasks around the firm. She also helps Shanlon Wu as a teaching assistant in his course at GWU.

Alexa will be graduating in May 2016 and hopes to work for a Criminal Justice think tank. She is also studying for the LSAT in hopes of attending law school in the future.

Anjali Saran

Anjali Saran is a recent graduate of George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. As a student she was an active member of the Order of Omega and the Italian Honors Society. She sat as External Philanthropy Chair for the Chi Omega Fraternity and served as secretary for the Società di Cultura Italiana, which she co-founded. Anjali was also a co-founder and active member of the Student Legal Rights Association.

Anjali began her career with WGW, PLLC as a legal and marketing intern during her senior year of college. As an intern she was responsible for editing blogs and articles published by the firm, planning speaking engagements for partners and coordinating marketing events, and assisting in social media and marketing initiatives.

Upon graduation, Anjali was employed by WGW as a paralegal. She works with attorneys in preparing for trials, hearings, and closings. She performs legal research and drafts legal documents for the firm, carries out investigations, interviews witnesses, and acts as a liaison among various internal departments as well as with outside agencies.

Ashley Wilson

Ashley grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma before moving to Washington, DC for undergrad at George Washington University, where she will soon complete double majors in Criminal Justice and Psychology, with a minor in Law & Society. She has competed in mock trial competitions at both the high school and collegiate levels in hopes of preparing her for a career in criminal law. In her free time, Ashley has tutored inmates in GED-prep at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women through the Petey Greene Program. She is currently serving as the Vice President of the GW chapter of the Student Alliance for Prison Reform. Ashley also serves as a University Justice on GWU’s Conduct Board in the Student Rights & Responsibilities office where she determines responsibility and sanctions for a wide variety of conduct and academic integrity violations.

Ashley Wilson began interning for WGW in January 2016 before becoming a paralegal in June 2016. She assists in legal research for college student defense cases and writes for a blog about the college disciplinary process. She also aids attorney Shan Wu with his college course at GWU: Campus Justice. She has been accepted to multiple law schools and is currently weighing her options for 1L this fall.

Eden Hankin

Eden grew up in Los Angeles before moving to Washington, DC for undergraduate school at George Washington University, where she is completing a major in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Law & Society. She has worked in two other law firms where she has received a variety of hands-on experience in the field as well as being a member of Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity. Eden also served a semester as a University Justice in GW’s Student Rights and Responsibilities office, determining responsibility and sanctions for conduct violations. Eden Hankin began interning for WGW in June 2016. She assists in legal research for college student defense cases and also writes for a blog about college disciplinary process.

Izabella Babchinetskaya

Izabella Babchinetskaya is a recent graduate of George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Criminal Justice. As an undergraduate student, Izabella participated in GW Mock Trial, a competitive speech and debate program. During her junior year, she became President of the organization, and she still remains a Captain of GW Mock Trial’s Varsity Team.

Izabella has previously worked for a variety of legal internships. Most recently, she interned at the Environmental Crimes Section of the DOJ. Prior to that, she worked at various law firms specializing in many different fields including estate law, criminal law, and civil law. 

Currently, Izabella is working for WGW as a paralegal. She is gaining valuable experience in legal research and trial preparations, as she works closely with attorneys on a daily basis. All of her legal experience will certainly help her as she begins law school in the fall of 2016.

Jack Culhane

Jack grew in Oakdale, New York before moving to Washington, DC for undergraduate school at The George Washington University where he is completing his major in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology.  He has competed in mock trial competitions throughout his time at GW, and is currently serving as the president of his university’s organization.

Jack began interning at Wu, Grohovsky, & Whipple in June of 2016.  He now serves the firm as a paralegal and writer for their blog on student defense and college disciplinary processes.

James Hawthorne

James grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts before moving to Washington, DC to pursue an undergraduate degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University. His degree is concentrated in both International Security Policy as well as Middle Eastern Studies, supplemented by learning both the MSA and Eastern dialects of Arabic. James is a member of the Varsity Men’s Heavyweight Rowing team at GWU, and has competed on the national stage both in university and in high school. In his free time, James pursues his career as a musician. James began interning for WGW in February 2017. He assists in legal research for college student defense cases and writes for a blog about the college disciplinary process run by Ashley Wilson.

Maya Weinstein

Maya Weinstein is a recent graduate of George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Human Services. During college she served as President for Phi Sigma Sigma Fraternity and as Director of Policy and Community Outreach for GW Students Against Sexual Assault.

She has previously worked with a variety of victims’ services and advocacy entities, including the National Center for Victims of Crime and RAINN.

Maya began her career at WGW, PLLC as a student intern, where she was responsible for assisting attorneys with case law research, investigative tasks, client relations, and keeping up with current events.

Upon graduation, Maya was employed by WGW as a paralegal. She works closely with attorneys in preparing for trials, hearings, and closings. She performs legal research and drafts legal documents for the firm, carries out investigations, interviews witnesses, and acts as a liaison among various internal departments as well as with outside agencies.

Dana Sherman

Dana Sherman grew up in Long Island, New York and is currently completing her senior year as an undergraduate at the George Washington University. She is a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in International Affairs, where her interests lie in understanding the intricacies of civil and criminal law on both a domestic and international level. While living in D.C., Dana has worked with various lawyers and advocacy agencies ranging from victim services to legal education.

She recently began interning for Wu, Grohovsky & Whipple, PLLC in February 2017 and assists in performing legal research and programmatic outreach in regards to college student defense and contributes to a blog about the college disciplinary process. She intends to take the LSAT and apply to law school in the next two years.