Hometown: Middlesex County, NJ
- University of Pennsylvania, 2017 | Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
Job: Assistant Public Defender at Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender
Program: Full-Time Day
After my 1L year I made it a point to have at least one experiential learning experience each semester. I participated in Temple Law’s Integrated Trial Advocacy Program, the City Solicitor Tort Litigation Clinic, the Criminal Litigation Clinic at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and the Asylum Practicum with Al Otro Lado. These experiences allowed me to learn directly from Philadelphia Judges and legal professionals at the top of their field. I learned how to interview clients and understand legal documents, and I even represented clients in criminal proceedings. Additionally, during my 2L spring break, I traveled with 9 other students and Professor Mary Levy to the Mexican-American border to provide legal services to asylum seekers.
I encourage future students to explore the many opportunities Temple Law has to offer. At the start of my law school career I was not exactly sure what type of law I wanted to practice, but by being open to new educational and work experiences, I learned more about myself and how to be a better advocate for my future clients.
As a future public defender I have found the Temple Law Faculty and Staff extremely supportive in my legal education and professional development. In particular, Professor Didwania was instrumental in helping me feel prepared for my future career.
As a Criminal Law professor, she effectively balanced teaching the subject material of her classes while navigating topics that can be difficult and sensitive for some students. As a minority student, Professor Didwania’s classroom approach made learning more accessible and enjoyable.
I subsequently found myself confidently applying what I learned during her class while clerking for the Honorable Judge Mia Roberts Perez and during my clinical experience at the Defender’s Association of Philadelphia. I even found myself reviewing the notes I took during Professor Didwania’s class to prepare for interviews while searching for a job post-graduation.
Beyond just doctrinal learning, Professor Didwania’s professional decorum created a space where I felt comfortable reaching out for help when needed. I am very grateful for her guidance, and she is just one of many Temple Law professors that I look forward to engaging with, and relying on, throughout my legal career.
Temple Law Lessons
Law school is truly what you make of it and the community you have around you makes such a difference. When you work with people instead of competing against them, both yourself and others are much more likely to succeed. I also found that advocating for myself, knowing when to ask for help, and challenging myself was key to finding success at Temple Law. Whether it’s reaching out to Dean Bretschneider, a faculty or staff member, or my fellow classmates, I found that difficult and challenging moments are easier when you are surrounded by those that care for you and want you to do your best.
Balancing Life and Law School
Prior to law school I had a 9-5 job with a set routine of biking to work and playing soccer with my friends on the weekends. I entered law school telling myself I was going to stick to my 9-5 routine, and that quickly went out the window! I would advise incoming law students to be flexible with their schedule and not to be hard on themselves if it takes a few tries to figure out what works for them.
During my 1L summer I got back into my groove and found a new, sustainable routine that worked for me in law school. I found that having a few set activities that combined my love for being physically active and hanging out with friends helped me balance the demand of law school with having a life. I joined activities like Temple’s intramural football and floor hockey teams with my classmates to give me built in social breaks during my evening study sessions. I also found a gym that provided me with a structured work out plan so that I did not have to make one myself.
Finding new ways to do the things that bring you joy outside of law school while still honoring your schedule and needs may feel difficult at first, but finding your own balance is what is crucial for a successful law school career.