All posts filed under: Student Commentary

National Lawyers Guild | Student Organization Voices Series

Your Name: Celia Givens Graduation Year: May 2021 Name of Organization: National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG) Position in Organization: Co-President TLS: When did you join this organization? CG: I signed up for NLG at the student organizations fair at the beginning of 1L fall. Later during the fall semester, I applied and was selected to become a 1L rep for NLG’s Criminal Justice Committee (along with the other current Co-President of NLG, Sarah Kim). TLS: Why did you decide to join this group? Before I came to law school, I worked for four years at the Legal Aid Society in New York City as a paralegal in their Criminal Defense Practice. It was somewhat of a culture shock going back to school after taking time off to work and I missed being able to work with clients on issues directly impacting their communities. I was interested in joining NLG because they focused on the areas of law that I am most passionate about, including client-centered defense, criminal justice reform and direct-client services. TLS: What is your …

Teaching, Engaging, Achieving, and Motivating

“Lift as you climb.” As I embark on various endeavors and gain knowledge, skills, and experiences, I feel morally obligated to use the resources I have acquired to help others progress and succeed. Throughout my undergraduate education and law school, I have become keenly aware of the lack of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.  Specifically, there is a shortage of African-American attorneys and few African Americans and minorities in leadership roles within firms, companies, and organizations nationwide.  One way to address this issue is through opportunity and exposure. Since 2015, I have created five educational programs for minority students. The majority of my programs were created and implemented for students in the Greater Philadelphia area.  My latest initiative is the Teaching; Engaging; Achieving; Motivating program (T.E.A.M.), which I facilitated in Willingboro, New Jersey. T.E.A.M. was launched in January 2019 for 50 middle schoolers in Willingboro, NJ. The 14-week program consisted of 60-minute sessions held on Friday mornings at Memorial Middle School.  Students learned basic criminal law and criminal procedure including Miranda rights, police …

More Than Volunteering

If you asked me five years ago if I ever saw myself completing a marathon, the answer would have been a stern no. Despite the fact that I loved team sports, I never considered myself a runner. However, this fall, when two students told me they wanted to complete the Philadelphia Full Marathon their senior year, I could not say no; I was their running mentor after all. Students Run Philly Style (SRPS) is a nonprofit organization that provides youth with mentorship, training, and opportunities to run nationally-recognized races without cost. SRPS encourages kids to “run” the streets instead of being consumed by the violence often found in their neighborhoods. I became involved with SRPS in the fall of 2016 while I was still a high school English teacher. Within three months, alongside four of my students, I was crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. Since then, we have completed the Philadelphia Half Marathon a second time, the Broad Street 10-miler twice, countless other informal races, and most recently, the 2018 Philadelphia …

The Lessons We Future Lawyers Should Learn From the Life of Nipsey Hussle

During his 33 years of life, Ermias Joseph Asghedom (pronounced “Air-me-yaahs” and “Ahs-ged-om”), also known as “Nipsey Hussle,” was an ambitious and virtuous man who inspired millions to never give up, achieve their dreams and give back to their community. For those of you who have never heard of Asghedom, or only learned about him in the last week since his untimely death, please allow me to introduce him to you before I highlight some lessons we future lawyers should learn from Asghedom’s life. Asghedom was born in Los Angeles in 1985 to an Eritrean father (Dawit Asghedom) and an African-American mother (Angelique Smith) and raised in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Los Angeles. As a youth growing up in the rough world of South LA, Asghedom joined the “Rollin 60’s” Neighborhood Crips gang. Despite his affiliation with the Rollin 60’s in his early years, Asghedom knew early on that he wanted to transition out of the gangster life and into one where he could become a musical artist and entrepreneur. Fortunately, Asghedom was able …

Income Tax

The 2019 Fogel Lecture by Dana Trier

On March 21st Temple Law students had an exclusive opportunity to hear about the 2017 tax legislation, commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “2017 Act”), first-hand from Mr. Dana Trier, the 2019 Fogel Lecture keynote speaker. Mr. Trier served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy in the U.S. Treasury Department, and was at Treasury during the lead up to the 2017 Act. Many of my peers, myself included, thought Mr. Trier might simply cover the key elements of the 2017 Act, such as the BEAT, essentially a base erosion deterrent in the form of an alternative minimum tax, and the increased taxation of CFC’s under Section 951A, the new GILTI provision. Instead, Mr. Trier treated the room to a truly fascinating recounting of his time at Treasury immediately leading up to the 2017 Act. Indeed, not only was Mr. Trier involved in the process generally, but many of his personal comments directly shaped specific provisions. Mr. Trier first discussed the role of Treasury in passing the 2017 Act. Contrary …

Integrated Transactional Program: A Student’s Perspective

During my second year at Temple Law, I was interested in developing practical legal skills that I could use at my summer associate job. I studied abroad in Rome and worked as a research assistant throughout my first summer of law school, so I didn’t have real world experience in the legal field just yet. The Integrated Transactional Program (commonly known as ITP) was the perfect opportunity to focus on my professional and legal skills in a classroom setting. The 2-semester, 10-credit sequence, led by Professor Robert Bartow, combines Trusts and Estates, Professional Responsibility, and an experiential component. Trusts and Estates is taught in the fall semester, while Professional Responsibility is held in the spring. One evening per week in both semesters, students are separated into smaller groups to practice lawyering skills with an experienced lawyer or judge as an adjunct professor. Students gain experience interviewing clients, drafting estate planning documents, negotiating contracts, and much more. Some exercises confront ethical questions in which students are required to put the Rules of Professional Conduct to use. …

A Night Owl Takes Flight – An Evening Student’s Open House Experience

The Temple Law Admitted Students Open House is a must if you are still on the fence about where to go to law school. Before the Open House I already had an idea about what Temple Law had to offer and if it would be a good fit for me; but attending the Open House sealed the deal. The experience made me feel like I was already a student here. The day was packed with different events to give you a perspective of the many offerings here at Temple Law. Before breaking out to mock classes, Dean Mandel gave a welcome speech, highlighting how Temple Law values diversity of professional and personal backgrounds. The breakout classes were a great way to get to know some of the professors here at Temple Law and get a feel of how a law school class is structured. One of my favorite part of the day was the presentations on areas of study, I attended the Business and Transactional Law session, and the Tax Law session offered by Professor …

Open House – Your First Introduction to Temple Law’s Community

As a prospective law school student, I wanted to remain in Philadelphia, but was willing to move elsewhere if I did not find a school that seemed like the right fit for me. I visited Temple without any idea of what to expect. I entered intimidated by the very thought of law school and left ready to start as soon as possible. I had a surprisingly wonderful experience at the Temple Law Open House because of the passionate faculty, exciting experiential learning, smoothly run programming for the day, and thoughtfulness toward the prospective students. Open House was an accurate representation of the Temple Law experience. I have a B.A. from a small liberal arts school and an M.A. from an Ivy League university, and Temple Law has some of the best professors with whom I have worked throughout my academic career. Law school is not easy and can feel overwhelming, but professors are genuinely invested in helping students and want us to do well. I am very proud to be a part of this community. …

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 …