Author: Jasper Katz LAW '19

Temple Law’s Name Change Project

Wanting to help is a common thread winding its way throughout the Temple Law community. In 2017, this notion prompted Steven Johnston (LAW ’18) to meet with Professor Kathy Mandelbaum to discuss ways to help local nonprofits to serve underrepresented clients.  The Name Change Project at Temple Law was born. After being trained about gender identity and the name change process, teams of two students meet with clients to work through the paperwork necessary to complete an identity affirming name change. So far, the Project has been able to accommodate every client who opted to complete the process. Currently the Project is run by 2L Nikki Hatza and 3L Jasper Katz, with Professor Kathy Mandelbaum serving as the advisor. “I first reached out to Professor Mandelbaum after interning at Mazzoni Center and seeing first-hand the demand for competent LGBTQ legal services. By starting the Temple Law Name Change Project I hoped to efficiently aid transgender Philadelphians in changing their names and at the same time free up Mazzoni Center staff to focus on other pressing …

Social Justice Lawyering: A Student Advocate’s Perspective

As a 1L selecting courses for my second year, I immediately gravitated towards the experiential learning opportunities: things like clinics and internships that would allow me to figure out how to use what I was learning to serve the values I hold. My first year was difficult, but not in the ways I expected. Law school teaches us that the law is a neutral force, but I knew that to be false. I struggled to learn the first-year curriculum and simultaneously hold on to the people and values that had motivated me to come to law school in the first place. I found out about the  Sheller Center’s Social Justice Lawyering Clinic taught by Professor Lee through the course list. I was immediately interested based on the clinic’s name, so I looked through the Sheller Center’s  website and asked friends who had taken the clinic before for their opinion. Everyone said the clinic was an incredible opportunity, so despite the fact that I was terrified that I would do a bad job, I filled out …

transgender pride flag

Letter to a Transgender Prospective Law Student

Today is Transgender Day of Visibility. And, as I do on most days, I have many feelings. On the one hand, I want nothing more than your (our) visibility. I want us to be everywhere. I don’t want anyone to be able to go anywhere without knowing that there is a trans person there with them; without knowing that respecting us is not just an expectation, it is a demand. On the other hand, visibility should never be a prerequisite for your existence. You have always already deserved existence, survival, happiness. We shouldn’t have to go to the Supreme Court to be able to use the bathroom. We shouldn’t have to leave our homes, we shouldn’t have to let lawyers speak for us, and, more than anything, we shouldn’t have to die. Our worth should not be predicated on how visible we are. I came to law school because trans people are my home. Because I will choose trans people every time, without question and without apology. Because I wanted to be useful to this …

You Are Worth Infinitely More than the LSAT

The most important thing to remember when studying for or taking the LSAT is that, eventually, you will not need to study for or take the LSAT ever again. True story, I promise. This is not to say that the LSAT isn’t important or that you shouldn’t study for it (don’t pay $175 to sit in a room for four hours if you’re not going to study); rather, this post is meant to suggest that keeping the LSAT in perspective is a necessary and often difficult task. So, in that vein, here’s a list of things I found helpful while studying for/taking the LSAT: 1. Coffee. (Only half-joking.) (And by “half-joking,” I mean not joking at all.) 2. Some of the big study companies (like Kaplan) offer some free events, so sometimes it can be worthwhile to subscribe to their e-mails. I did an exam with them that was proctored online, and then afterwards one of their instructors went over a few of the questions with us. There are people who will participate in these …