Alumni Commentary

Circle of Law School Life: A Love Letter To Mentors

There is a small gem of a coffee shop tucked away on a side street in Center City named Elixr. I have been there twice: once in my first semester of law school, and once last week. Afterward, I posted this on Facebook:

A friend commented that we could appropriately cue music from The Lion King.

Though I graduated knowing how much I owe my Temple Law mentors for all their support and guidance, my Owl pride has amplified in the past few weeks as I started my job at the Defender Association. Many of our trainers were my former professors or internship supervisors, such as Temple Law Owl Marissa Boyers-Bluestine (TLAW ’95), who is the Executive Director of the PA Innocence Project, and Director of Advocacy/Famed Evidence Professor Jules Epstein. Part of my training even included a presentation from Kevin Harden (TLAW ‘10) about the importance of networking and mentorship. When I sat down to interview my first client, I realized my mentor Paul Messing (TLAW ’73) had represented him 15 years ago.

I found out I passed the PA bar last week. Temple Law continues to be the law school with by far the greatest number of PA Bar takers and passers. I will put my Temple Law trial advocacy certificate to work in court and represent clients confidently, knowing that Temple’s trial advocacy program is unmatched, and that I learned Criminal Law, Evidence, Trial Advocacy, and Criminal Procedure from the best.

I could not have done any of this without the steady mentorship that I benefited from at Temple Law. I acquired Kate Vengraitis (TLAW ‘15) as a mentor through School Discipline Advocacy Service and visited her office countless times during law school. My office is now on that same floor. Amanda Reed (TLAW ‘15) and Paige Joki (TLAW ‘17) were my BLSA mentors; they have both been there throughout my law school career to offer guidance and support and both texted me within 20 minutes of bar results posting. Daryll Hawthorne-Searight (TLAW ‘17) is another all-star unofficial mentor who I texted with last week. Emily Bock (TLAW ‘16) was my National Lawyers Guild mentor and is now my colleague; she answered questions for me on Friday when we were assigned to the same shift! Alex Dutton (TLAW ‘15) was the Owl I met for coffee my 1L fall. I run into him around Center City all the time—most recently at a restaurant last week. Lilah Thompson (TLAW ‘17) was the best unofficial mentor I could ask for; she was always there to reply to a quick text or have a long phone call, most recently to help me understand sanctuary cities and plan out my bar trip to Havana. Over the summer, I connected future Temple immigration lawyers to her.

Just after I found out I passed the bar, I ran into a current Temple Law student and hopeful member of next year’s Defender class on the street—I encouraged her to reach out with questions about applying to the Defender Association. I speak with current students on a near daily basis. Not only do I love helping future social justice leaders, they could be my boss one day soon!

As I was told countless times during law school, Temple truly runs Philly. I have so many mentors to reach out to when I need something. It is such an incredible relief to be at the point in my career where I am the one taking a student to coffee. There is an overwhelming amount of resources available to you as a Temple Law student and even as an alum—all you have to do is ask!

Ask Liz to take you to coffee at or tweet her at @LadyLawyerLiz

Questions about this post? Drop us a line at