All posts filed under: Student Commentary

An International Student’s Story

While I am currently a 3L J.D. student, I began my career at Temple Law school as an exchange student to the International LL.M. program in the fall of 2013. I was born and raised in the small town of Liyang, China. I had dreamt of exploring the world outside my town since my childhood. I still remember how thrilled I was when the flight landed in Philadelphia that August because it was the first time I would step out of the door into my country. My exchange semester at Temple Law will be a lifelong memory. I have been so grateful that the Graduate and International Programs Office took such good care of us international students—from raising awareness of safety, recommending the best restaurants and fun events in the city, to guiding us in how to survive in law school.   The first glimpse of an American law school was colorful. I made friends with law students from around the world—Japan, South Korea, Sudan, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, and more. We joked that every class we had …

Temple Law Owls Take D.C.: From Rhetoric to Asylum Policy

Words are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally, in to you. – Maya Angelou One should never underestimate the power of words, for he who can use words skillfully, strategically, and cunningly may shape another’s mind in his hands. Indeed, rhetoric is an effective instrument, and a power to which the Trump Administration is no stranger—particularly as it relates to shaping public perceptions on asylum policy. Over the past few years, the conversation on immigration, once grounded in human rights, have given way to more serious discussions predicated on national security and labor. Trump’s logic stems from the idea that a strong America requires a thriving labor market, which is the product of an impenetrable border. Such desires to preserve the American worker and defend him from foreign nationals have given rise to an ardent nationalist movement. To his base—voters suffering from the woes of a sluggish labor market, stoked by fears of the “dangerous foreigner”—this message …

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 …

Learning to Dream Bigger

When I made the difficult decision to leave a career as a middle school teacher to go to law school, I did it to chase what I thought of as big dreams. I had become increasingly frustrated by the limited reach that I had in my classroom, feeling powerless to address the many barriers my students faced outside the classroom. I was tired of teachers and students being treated like political footballs and as manifestations of different ideas rather than as individuals with different experiences and needs. I felt that to have a larger impact, to stop feeling powerless, I would need to work in some combination of law, politics, and policy. As I decided to submit an application to Temple, guided in large part by my interest in the Law and Public Policy Program, I remember thinking that “maybe someday, maybe somehow I’ll work in legislation in City Hall. Maybe someday—maybe years from now—I can make it that far.” I was able to check that off my list while still a student in my …

Thoughts on Temple Rome

I became interested in the Temple Law Rome Summer Program because I studied abroad in Rome as undergrad and fell in love with the city. Additionally, I had an interest in international law and was hoping to learn more through the program. One of my favorite parts about the program was how close we were able to get to our professors. It was a great opportunity to develop stronger, more personal relationships with them because we were able to spend time with them in both academic and social settings. We had an aperitivo at Professor McCarthy’s apartment one afternoon, which was exceptionally fun and led to many engaging conversations. For anyone who does not know what aperitivo is, it is the Italian equivalent of happy hour, but much better and with a variety of appetizers. Professor McCarthy and Professor Murray were very open to discuss all sorts of topics over wine and plates of cheese. It was definitely a night to remember! Participating in this program helped me to realize that language and cultural barriers …

Temple Rome – A Cultural and Educational Experience

After the stress of my first year of law school finally settled, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Rome, Italy this summer to study in the Summer in Rome program. I studied at Temple for my undergraduate degree and had always been interested in the summer program, but always had conflicting internships or summer plans that prevented attending. I knew this was probably one of my last chances to study abroad and spend over a month in Europe. One of my biggest concerns was whether I would be able to find a summer internship that would accommodate this program, and obviously the cost of attending. I was lucky enough to find both a judicial internship with a judge who was supportive of my plan and accommodating of my later start date, as well as a scholarship to study in the Rome Program. Temple was extremely accommodating and helpful to students in making the accommodations they needed to get as much out of their summer as they could. In Rome, I studied International Dispute …

Section 1’s Litigation Basics Class Trip

The beginning of 1L year can be tough – for three weeks we delved into Bluebook citations, criminal law, contracts, and torts. In addition, we were introduced to the judicial system and the mechanics of both criminal and civil litigation in our Litigation Basics class. Over the course of nine classes, we learned about the procedure involved while taking a case to trial and even drafted a hypothetical complaint. Throughout the course, we enjoyed hearing Professor Jacobsen’s “war stories” about his own experiences as a litigator. To celebrate “completing our first law school course”, Professor Jacobsen took our class to visit the James A. Byrne United States Courthouse in Center City. The courthouse was impressive, and it was very exciting in particular to visit the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Seeing the courtroom gave us the opportunity to apply everything we learned in Litigation Basics about courtroom procedures, including where each party sits during a trial. At the courthouse, we got to meet the Honorable L. Felipe Restrepo, Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and …

1L Community Service Project

After a busy week of orientation, I was excited for the opportunity to get out of the classroom and participate in the 1L Community Service Project. I viewed it as an opportunity to discover the neighborhood where I am starting my legal career while giving back to the community. It was also an opportunity for me to connect with a smaller section of students that are service oriented. I knew coming into law school that I am a service-oriented individual and value public interest work; community service is one of the many ways to assist others. We volunteered with cleaning up a community maintained children’s park and the surrounding blocks. We painted fences, mowed grass, picked up trash, and cleared sidewalks from debris. After a few hours of work our host, Denise Armstrong, offered us beverages, snacks, and I finally had City View pizza. I am happy that I was able to connect with my fellow students in a relaxed environment and see the immediate impact of hands-on work.

Summer Internships: The Ella Baker Internship at the Center for Constitutional Rights

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to be an Ella Baker Intern at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. CCR is a legal organization whose work is centered on supporting social movements. This means that, at CCR, lawsuits are not simply about who wins and loses in the courtroom, but how legal work can support wider systemic change. The Ella Baker program is named after one of the most brilliant strategist and organizers of the Civil Rights Movement and carries forward her work by equipping young lawyers with the necessary tools to become movement lawyers. I, along with 11 other law students and two undergraduate interns from across the country, started the program with an exercise asking four questions: Who are the people who inspire us to do social justice work? What is our superpower? What was our “aha moment” that led us to law school and CCR? What we each do to relax? The people who inspire me have always been my family and my community in the Bronx. I …