Author: Steven A. Johnston (LAW '18)

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 …

Being Mindful of Your Sense of Self

Law school isn’t always where you go to find yourself and it can take its toll on your sense of self. Depending on the circumstances of your prior education, Temple can be an incredibly diverse place and for me it was. I had traveled the world and lived abroad, but my experiences were still limited. It wasn’t until I went to Temple Beasley School of Law that I was able to grow as an individual. In the first semester of law school I met incredible new friends, mentors, and faculty, some of whom were members of the LGBTQ community. I had several friends who were gay men before law school, but almost no exposure to LGBTQ families or married couples. Temple changed all of that. Despite the stereotypes, I wasn’t indoctrinated, in fact I didn’t even speak with the LGBTQ faculty, I just observed how they were able to be themselves and be successful socially and professionally. Despite the challenges the law school environment presented, I decided it was time to be myself and so …