Jonathan Shahar

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA


  • The Pennsylvania State University, 2016 | Major: Business Management Minor: Economics

Job: Clerkship with Judge Joshua Roberts in the Court of Common Pleas

Program: Full-Time Day

Balancing Life and Law School

My favorite thing to do in my free time, as is probably the case for many of you, is to spend time with friends and family. Whether we’re going out to dinner, going on a hike, playing a sport, or just hanging out, time spent with your people is imperative. More importantly though is to do all this with people outside of law school. Whether through a Philly Sports League or a community organization, the more people you develop meaningful relationships with and spend meaningful time with away from law school the better. None of that is to say your law school classmates shouldn’t also make up your friends and family group. But it is so nice, and good for mental health, to step away from it all and enjoy the other odds and ends that make each of us unique. So, my number one hobby outside of law school to help me find balance is do anything that brings you joy but with people who don’t go to Temple Law. Because it feels so necessary to always being doing something for school, this hobby is easier said than done. But believe me, studying, homework, outlining, and reading can wait, trying new things can’t.

Experiential Learning

DO NOT miss a chance to take a clinic, practicum, or externship. These clinics provide an amazing opportunity to get real world experience and figure out what you like. I was able to work at the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and Temple’s Small Business Development Clinic. I met some great professionals, dealt with real client issues, and put all the classroom knowledge I gained into practice. It also helps that these are mostly controlled environments, so while doing your absolute best is expected, it’s also expected that you may mess up and that’s okay. Just step out there, try being a lawyer, and if something goes wrong, learn from it and grow. All the time I spent in the clinics undoubtedly helped set me up for success in my first couple years of practice.

Faculty Impact

Temple has the #1 Trial Advocacy program, the #7 Legal Research and Writing program, top Tax and International programs, and without a doubt the best faculty in the whole country. Without them I would be a fraction of the lawyer and person I am now. Professors (whether you take their class or not), administrators, and staff were always there to provide support, guidance, mentorship, and general good vibes. A special thanks to the professors whose courses I took like Professors Lipson, Monroe, DeJarnatt, Lin, Ramji-Nogales, McCarthy, Braccia, and Judge Rice, and those whose courses I didn’t take like Professors Green, Little, Weiner, and Lippy all of whom, whether they know it or not, had a huge impact on where I am now. Also, a shout out to the wonderful administrators, Dean Bretschneider, Britt Walden, and Dean Harris, to the International Office, Allison Lamson and John Smagula, and to Molly Driscoll and Kristen Davis in the Office of Career Services. And of course, a debt of gratitude to the undisputed heroes of Temple Law Ms. Carol and Michele, who just made walking into the building all the more enjoyable. I know I missed a bunch of people, but I can not stress it enough, all of the people who help make this law school experience possible are second to none.

Temple Law Lessons

As I am sure you already know, law school is going to be challenging and not just academically. This environment is a self-selected group of highly capable, smart, and driven people which can intimidate even the most confident among us. Now I know its cliché, but internalize this, if you’re seated in Klein Hall reading my student spotlight, you deserve to be there. When everything seems to be crashing around you, and this will happen, take a deep breath, walk away for a minute or a day, and come back to it. Be sure you communicate any struggles with professors, Dean Bretschneider, or the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers representatives, because everyone wants you to succeed and will help you out where they can. They just aren’t mind readers. Lastly, and most importantly, HAVE FUN. Despite the terror, the stress, the imposter syndrome, grades, on-campus interviewing (OCI), extracurriculars, and everything else going on, it is crucial that you find moments to have fun. Whether you crack a couple jokes in class, plan superlatives for your section, join an intramural team, or create fun finals rituals, all the moments of levity will make law school not only bearable but enjoyable.