Fanny Lau

Hometown: Chicago, IL


  • Lawrence University, 2014 | Anthropology

Program: Full-Time Day

Life at Temple Law

I was President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA), Executive Articles Editor & Diversity Editor of the Temple International & Comparative Law Journal, and a member of the Moot Court Team.

Being part of an affinity group like APALSA is like being part of a family. Members of affinity groups support each other through the highs and the lows, pass down advice to the “younger generation”, and contribute to a sense of community and belonging. Being a part of any student organization within Temple Law’s vibrant community brings vital balance and joy to the law school experience.

Experiential Learning

During my time at Temple Law, I completed a practicum at the Philadelphia Law Department’s Tax & Revenue Unit and interned with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. I participated in the Law & Public Policy Program, the State Court Honors Internship Program, the Federal Judicial Clerkship Honors Clinical, and the Systemic Justice Clinic at the Sheller Center for Social Justice. I also served as a research assistant to Professor Stephanie Holmes Didwania. Finally, I drafted name change petitions for transgender folks in Temple Law’s Name Change Project and assisted clients in clearing their criminal and arrest records in the National Lawyers Guild’s Expungement Clinic.

One of the highlights of my education was participating in the Systemic Justice Clinic, taught by Professor Shanda Sibley. My project team worked on building a framework for the Parole Preparation Project, which will train community volunteers to collaborate with incarcerated folks on their applications to and appearances before the parole board. We also participated in a weekly seminar about collateral consequences and their intersection with the criminal legal system.

On the last day of our clinic, Prof. Sibley reminded us to “challenge the system constantly, but don’t let the challenges of the system wear you down.” One of the greatest gifts of the Systemic Justice Clinic was that it taught us both practical lawyering skills and sustainable work habits so that we can challenge the system for years to come.

Faculty Impact

While many faculty members were extremely influential in shaping my legal education, a few left an indelible impact. It isn’t easy learning legal research and writing as a first-year law student, but Professor Kristen Murray broke down complex concepts in engaging and effective ways. Professor Stephanie Holmes Didwania always took the time to answer any questions and review my assignments in Criminal Procedure and Empirical Analysis. Professor Craig Green went above and beyond in the era of remote learning to reach every student in Federal Courts & Jurisdiction and Administrative Law. The Law & Public Policy Program, directed by Professor Nancy Knauer, provided unparalleled opportunities to learn about the connections between institutions and people.

Professor Shanda Sibley taught me as a whole person, not just as a law student. Week after week, she prioritized our growth as creative thinkers and competent collaborators. She taught me to embrace the process, value my own strengths, and remember that a lot of good can come out of hard things. She also taught me that being a lawyer means operating with integrity and in alliance with your clients. I know I’ll carry her lessons about being the best human I can be for the rest of my career.

Finally, some of the greatest people at Temple Law are those who remind you of all that you are capable of. I am forever grateful to Jorge Godoy, Mai Le, and Dean Bretschneider for all their advice and encouragement throughout the years.

Temple Law Lessons

Commit to exploring as much as you can! One of the great privileges of being a law student is the ability to take a practicum in one area of the law, then enroll in a clinic that focuses on something else entirely. Resist the urge to stick to a single type of field or legal setting. It’s called an “education” for a reason.

To my fellow first-generation law students: sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know. Seek advice when you need it. Three years fly by too quickly to be fumbling in the dark. Never hesitate to reach out to a member of Temple Law’s faculty, staff, and administration for support. But also know that sometimes, you can’t listen to what anybody else says. Tune out the noise when it matters, honor your own voice, and find the courage to do what’s best for you.

Advice from a Graduate

Before you start law school, take stock of all the things that bring you joy. Chances are, those things will only grow in importance while in law school. Once you’re in school, build in time to periodically check in with your mental health and well-being. Remember: your best is always enough. You will frequently face forks in the road, but there is no “right” way to do law school. Don’t lose sight of the things that matter to you. Fight with the tools that are uniquely yours and make the right choices for you.