All posts tagged: Community

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 …

Local Service Matters

I was recently appointed to serve on the Cheltenham Township Human Relations Commission. Like many local cities and towns, Cheltenham Township, where I live, has a Human Relations Ordinance prohibiting discrimination in housing accommodations, certain commercial property transactions, employment, and public accommodation, within the Township. The CHRC is a citizen committee that hears complaints and mediates disputes under the ordinance, and works with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission on situations that go beyond mediation to disputes in court. The CHRC also plays a valuable role in providing community education about the kinds of discrimination that are unlawful and what community members can do about it. The Cheltenham ordinance, like many similar local laws, covers a broader range of categories than the state or federal anti-discrimination statutes. Its purpose is to “ensure that all persons, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap, disability, or use of guide or support animals and/or mechanical aids because of blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or the user is a …

Meet the New Dean of Students

Eleanor Myers officially took over as the new Associate Dean of Students on January 3, 2017.  Kaitlin Perry, Associate Director of Student Services, interviewed Dean Myers to learn a little bit about her and what she is looking forward to in her new role. How long have you been at Temple Law? I have been at the law school since 1993. I have taught an array of Business law courses but my true calling is Professional Responsibility. I’ve always thought that the ethical choices lawyers make are the deepest and most personal decisions. I want students to understand you can be true to your personal moral and ethical standards and also be a very good lawyer. Haven’t you retired from teaching? I did retire, on the understanding that I would continue to direct the fall semester of the Intro to Transactional Skills course to the first-year day division students and teach in the Integrated Transaction Program (ITP) for two years. I teach with Professor Rob Bartow in the ITP program which I helped pioneer along with …

Sometimes Normal is the Best Medicine

This is a personal story about how Temple Law has been a community for me. In February of 2016 I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.  For a variety of medical reasons, I needed to start chemotherapy immediately.  The drugs in question have almost all the horrendous side effects of which you’ve probably heard—hair loss, nausea, problems eating, low energy. For about a month before I received the diagnosis, I had been teaching Property to a first year section, as I have done here at Temple for many, many years.  The class seemed to me to be going well, and—though several of my colleagues offered to take over teaching it—I did not want to give it up and become a full-time patient.  On the other hand, there was no way the students would, over time, fail to notice that something was going on with me.  The drugs were going to have a visible effect. “Everyone I’ve told so far has asked if there is something they can do.  And my …

commuter on phone

Your Kindle Dims My and My Students’ Empathy

I am the commuter many of you hate. Maybe I see you alone at the bus stop reading a book that looks interesting and ask you about it. Perhaps I see you looking a little confused on the train platform and ask if you need help figuring out where you are going. Or maybe I see you wearing that Phillies shirt on the train after the game and ask you the score, why you aren’t a Cubs fan like you should be, and how the Phillies will ever improve. In short, I am the overly interested in you transplanted Midwestern type that you may be trying to avoid, trying to draw you into a longer conversation to learn about you. You will succeed in chasing me away with a one-word answer—I am also Midwestern enough to know to leave you alone based on your response—but we’ll miss something. We’ll miss the chance to get to learn a little more about the world and each other together, to possibly become friends (it happens this way!), to …

Alter Hall Flags

Embracing Cultural Competence to Enhance Legal Representation

I sat listening intently to my constitutional law professor, engrossed in the lecture-induced dawning realization that the word “equality” did not in fact appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. My body leaned forward, as I unconsciously shook my head in agreement with my professor’s assessment that this celebrated document was flawed in many ways that continue to mar society today. Catching the movement out of the corner of his eye, my professor looked at me inquisitively and asked which part I disagreed with. Startled, I replied with fervor that I wholeheartedly agreed with him. Then I realized that I had been shaking my head from side to side instead of up and down, as I had often seen my Indian father do when he approved of an idea and wanted to express his support. Subtle body movements, vocal sounds and unconscious gestures, informed and molded by cultural norms, have entirely different significance based on the cultural lens through which they are observed. An incorrect reading could very quickly escalate to misunderstanding, offense, or a missed …