I am from Omaha, Nebraska and I did my undergraduate at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.
The experiential learning opportunities are what set Temple apart from other law schools, in my opinion. Not only does Temple provide opportunities and suggest where students might seek opportunities on their own, but if you get an internship or have an idea for something you want to do, the administration will work with you to make sure you can take full advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. For me that made a huge difference in my law school career. In three years I worked for the General Counsel’s Office at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, two fantastic judges with the Supervision to Aid Re-Entry Program, and the General Counsel’s Office of a Department of Defense agency.
In my 3L year I was accepted into an internship program that required students to be in Washington, DC full-time in order to participate. I immediately emailed Professor Nancy Knauer, who directs the D.C. – based Law & Public Policy Program, and excitedly told her that I had this amazing opportunity but wasn’t sure I would be able to go due to the geographic requirement. She told me to contact Dean Esten and tell her about the program. With their support and the approval of the administration I was able to create my own individualized semester program that both met the credit requirements for graduation and allowed me to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Dean Esten and Professor Knauer went above and beyond what was required of them to make it happen. The real world experience and knowledge I gained through that internship are irreplaceable. While I was in D.C. I realized what I want to do with my law degree and without Temple Law I never would have been there.
I volunteered with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project for a semester in my 2L year. The experience was eye-opening and changed the way I view the criminal justice system, which isn’t perfect and sometimes fails. People are wrongfully convicted, appeals can be unsuccessful for any number of reasons, science can evolve to show evidence that wasn’t available at the time of trial, and in those instances it is critically important that there are organizations like the Pennsylvania Innocence Project to ensure justice is carried out and those wrongfully convicted don’t pay the ultimate price for a crime committed by someone else.
My favorite law school memory was the entire summer after my 2L year, when I was part of the inaugural class for the Law & Public Policy Program in Washington, D.C. The program, which was amazing, consisted of an approved internship (I worked for the General Counsel’s office at the Department of Veterans Affairs) and class two nights per week where we discussed current events from a policy-making perspective. The conversations were always invigorating and interesting, and I wouldn’t trade that experience with my fellow classmates for anything. I was also able to meet with Temple Law alumni, explore their different career paths, and make connections in DC that I still maintain today. That summer really highlighted for me the different career paths I could take and showed me that I wasn’t limited to what I had thought before law school. If you’re interested in politics or policy at all, this program is an opportunity you can’t pass up!
Temple Law taught me, more than any other experience in my life, that you make your own opportunities and that it is up to you to take advantage of them. Whether you know it or not, you already have the tools you need at your disposal, and if you work hard people will want to help you succeed. Temple Law wants its students to succeed and it has nothing to do with rankings and everything to do with a genuine desire to see to the student body succeed as professionals and do great things.
Take advantage of the experiential and clinical programs, especially those like the Law & Public Policy program. They can really set you apart from other students and the existence of these opportunities sets Temple apart from other law schools.