Vicky Killion

A Scholarly Streak

Victoria Killion has wanted to attend law school since the 8th grade, when she took a class on the Constitution that kindled her inner scholar. In the years since, her studies in Political Science with a focus on International Politics and her exposure to women’s issues while studying abroad in Senegal have changed some of her reasons but none of her resolve. Now, after three years of honing her legal writing and advocacy skills, Vicky is prepared to enter the challenging worlds of litigation and international law as an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C.

Vicky cites her travels to the Dominican Republic and Senegal as critical to her awareness of the need for lawyers in the developing world. While working as an intern for the Association for the Advancement of the Senegalese Woman (“APROFES”) in Kaolack, Senegal, Vicky watched as victims of domestic violence and the advocates at APROFES were forced to navigate the legal system on their own because there simply were no lawyers available to help them. “That was a big part of my desire to become a lawyer—to be a compelling advocate. It comes down to having a legal framework for working with people to effect real change. A college professor and mentor told me early on that you need the ability to write, speak, and reason persuasively. This is the skill set that law school gives you.”

That Vicky has acquired that skill set is beyond dispute. After successfully earning a spot on the staff of the Temple Law Review through her performance in a writing competition, Vicky was selected as the publication’s editor-in-chief the following year. As a staff member on the law review, Vicky had the opportunity to research and write a scholarly paper, which was later selected for publication, providing her with an opportunity to further the discourse on a topic of importance to her. But that’s not the only opportunity that Vicky’s law review experience has created. On the basis of her strong writing skills and academic performance, Vicky will spend the year after graduation clerking for a federal judge – a position filled with equal parts prestige and challenge, and reserved for the brightest of the bright.

While Vicky credits her first year Legal Research and Writing courses with giving her both the skills and the confidence to meet her personal goals, she also acknowledges the support of her professors in making her law review article come together. Professor James Strazzella, for example, advised Vicky to “write on something practical – do the grunt work on a topic so that others can build on it,” she recalls.

Working on a journal is just one facet of legal writing that Vicky enjoys. Vicky used Professor Smyth’s class in International Development Law and Policy to “pick a development law topic that I was passionate about, research it in-depth, and then Professor Smyth-- a former World Bank attorney-- helped me find ways in which the law could resolve the issues I identified in my research.”

That Temple has such a strong international law faculty was something of a surprise to Vicky, who came here on the strength of Temple’s trial advocacy reputation. She likes “the way that it makes international law real. Whether it’s Professors Spiro and Ramji-Nogales sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience in immigration and refugee law cases, or Professor Hollis teaching about treaties in a very hands-on way, Temple gives us the tools to make a difference when we leave here.”

Vicky’s employers at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C. feel the same way. As a summer associate at the global firm, Vicky applied what she had learned at Temple to a range of assignments, including one that required her to interpret treaties. Vicky recalls that during a conversation with one of the attorneys about her treaties class with Professor Hollis, she learned that many law schools don’t even offer such particularized courses in international law and that the attorney was impressed that Temple was teaching those skills. They were pretty impressed with Vicky, too: enough to offer her a position as an associate, which she will begin upon completion of a prestigious one year federal clerkship.

For Vicky Killion, the dream that began as a middle school scholarly ambition has blossomed into a vision of how to effect change on a level that is both global and personal. Along the way, Vicky has learned that sometimes the distinction between “scholarly” and “practical” work isn’t much of a distinction at all. And as she looks forward to her new career, Vicky knows that with her Temple J.D. and the hands-on knowledge she has gained here, she can write, speak, reason, and work her way into creating lasting change.

" Temple gives us the tools to make a difference when we leave here. "
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