Hometown: Glenside, PA
Undergraduate School: University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
Job: Independence Fellowship, Education Law Center
I participated in both the Public Defender Clinical at the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Family Law Litigation Clinical at the Temple Legal Aid Office. Both experiences gave me the opportunity to handle real cases in courtroom settings. Through the Public Defender Clinical, I learned a lot about Pennsylvania criminal procedure and law, including how to litigate a motion to suppress and a preliminary hearing. I also learned how to visualize and conduct a cross-examination of government witnesses in misdemeanor trials.
Through the Family Law Litigation Clinical, I litigated custody and support matters, conducted extensive client interviews, and learned more about how family lawyers serve as investigators, counselors, advocates, etc. I also learned how to present an extensive direct examination that effectively told my client’s story. These experiences were some of my favorite at Temple Law and most invaluable.
Learn more about Alex Dutton, honored with the PJSD Pro Bono Publico Award for his work in building a youth court program at Strawberry Mansion high school.
I volunteered extensively with the School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS) and Youth Courts, as well as the Student Public Interest Network (SPIN). SDAS began as a Temple Law student group, but has grown into a coalition of law students from Temple, Penn, and Drexel law schools who serve as advocates for Philadelphia public schoolchildren facing harsh discipline. It truly defined my Temple Law experience. I took my first SDAS case as a first-year student and took my last case after third-year finals! I love it and will miss it. I have seen the program grow from serving fewer than 10 young people to more than 100; from a two-school partnership to a three-school coalition. I am so proud of SDAS and all that Temple Law students and faculty have done to make it such a successful model.
One of my favorite memories was the 2014 SDAS Symposium, which brought together legal practitioners and community organizers to discuss school discipline in Philadelphia’s charter schools. It was a unique event and really put SDAS on the map in Philadelphia as a respected organization doing important work.
Making an Impact
I plan to advocate for disadvantaged communities, groups, and individuals in Philadelphia. In particular, I plan to serve vulnerable and at-risk youth in some capacity. I received an Independence Fellowship to work at the Education Law Center to provide representation to young people in truancy proceedings.
Carrying Temple Forward
I will carry forward the spirit of Temple Law, which, to me, is the advocate’s spirit. I came to Temple Law to learn the skills necessary to be a great advocate for the people I intended to serve. I leave with those skills and more!