Challenges and Rewards
Hometown: Narbeth, PA
- University of Pennsylvania | B.A., History
Job: Legislative Director at United States House of Representatives
Program: Both! Started in the day program, transferred to evening
I faced two great challenges in law school. The first was returning to school after several years as a professional on Capitol Hill. It’s hard to go from making policy to taking tests and doing homework. That is a mental adjustment that you need to prepare yourself for. It’s not easy. Second, COVID interrupted the middle of my 1L year. Changing to online classes was not ideal. All of my professors did a great job working to figure this out, but it wasn’t always smooth.
The most rewarding experience was realizing that I understood how to think like a lawyer. It is a different way of thinking about problems and how to solve them, and I had wanted to gain this skill in law school. Second, publishing my research in law reviews, including an op-ed in Politico about space law and then being interviewed by the BBC about it were very rewarding experiences because they showed how the skills I was gaining could be applied to affect policy.
This is a tough question because there were several faculty members at Temple who helped shaped my education. First, I’d like to mention Professor Knauer. I joined her Law and Public Policy Program the second it was available for 1L’s and didn’t look back. I came to law school from working in politics with the goal of continuing in politics afterwards, so this was a natural fit. Professor Knauer is the ultimate mentor. She cares deeply about her students, will look to find opportunities for them, and will always push them to succeed. She will remain an important mentor for me throughout my career.
I’d also like to thank Professors Hollis and Rishikof with whom I took several courses on international law, national security law, and cybersecurity law. Both professors, along with Professor Knauer, are the reasons I published my work in law review articles, Politico, and got interviewed by the BBC. I am grateful to both of them for expanding my knowledge in the type of law and policy I’d hope to focus on throughout my career.
Advice From a New Graduate
There’s nothing wrong with big law or getting a prestigious clerkship, but please, please, please do not think this is the only way to succeed in law. During 1L, many students tend to focus on these two markers as if they are the only measurements of success. As such, they slip into a familiar pattern that often neglects other exciting opportunities that may prove more motivating as career options. Law school is a marathon, not a sprint, and you don’t need to have your entire career planned out on the first day. Take a variety of classes, see what you like, and above all be open to opportunities and push hard to make your own opportunities even if they lead you on a less traditional path.
Advice on Networking
Don’t limit yourself to networking just with attorneys. There is so much you can do with a law degree, so why limit yourself to just talking to partners at firms? Being well rounded is important and the same is true for one’s network. Also, don’t be afraid to cold email people you want to talk to. It may seem intimidating, but you have nothing to lose. Most people are happy to talk about their career path and offer you advice – so send them an email or message on LinkedIn!