Temple Law School alumna Jan Levine offered some encouraging words at the 2015 In Our Own Voices: Conversations about Women, Law, and Leadership forum, held by the Women’s Law Caucus (WLC) as part of their annual networking event. Asked about balancing personal and professional demands, she told the audience, “You will figure out how to do it. You have to think it through, but it can be done. It’s about choices … decide what success is for you, and then make your choices accordingly.”

Levine is a partner and co-chair of Commercial Litigation at Pepper Hamilton LLP, where she focuses her practice on health care litigation, data breach, antitrust/unfair trade practices, and directors’ and officers’ liability. She joined Professor Laura Little, also a 1985 graduate, onstage as part of the WLC’s annual speaker series. During their wide-ranging conversation, Levine talked about her own “serendipitous” route to healthcare litigation, and how gaining expertise in that area spawned additional work in antitrust and data privacy cases. She advised new lawyers to view each case as “part of your client’s industry – each case involves a problem faced by people in that industry. If you can talk about the issues facing their industry, clients will call you back.”

She also offered a word of caution about missed opportunities, suggesting that students “think now about what you want to do.” Rather than jump straight into practice at a firm, Levine said, “It’s a good idea to clerk, go to the US Attorney’s office or the District Attorney’s. Those are great places to learn the skills… in retrospect, I would have considered taking two years to do these things first.” That said, Levine was adamant that ultimately success involves “liking what you do – who would do this job otherwise?” She counseled students to “do what your passion tells you, not what’s hot …. Work for many different people. Spread your wings. Take chances!”

Finally, Levine reassured listeners that life in a large firm practice had plenty to offer, too, including the possibility of balancing work and family. “I think law does give you flexibility,” Levine said. “It’s not 9 to 5, which is a plus and a minus. You can attend school functions, but the work still has to get done – so it will mean some late nights. It’s your choice.”

Photo, from left: Professor Laura Little, Jan Levine LAW ’85, Dean JoAnne Epps