St. Joseph’s University; Philadelphia, PA
Temple Law Class:
Associate, Cozen O’Connor
Experience Prior to Law School
I grew up in the northeast section of Philadelphia. I completed my undergraduate studies at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. After completing my undergraduate studies, I was a seventh and eighth grade teacher for three years at a Catholic school in the East Falls section of the city.
One of the most meaningful activities of my education at Temple Law was the Academic Core Enrichment (ACE) Counseling program spearheaded by Professor James Shellenberger. After my experience with the ACE Counseling program in my 1L year, I felt really strongly about being an ACE counselor to future students. During my first year, so many upperclassmen reached out to guide me through the process, and I was determined to pay it forward. As an upperclassman, I enjoyed working with 1Ls and 2Ls because it gave me the opportunity to help others through the difficulties of law school. I felt connected to the success of others, just as others were and are connected to my success. I know in my legal career that there will be many times when I may need to turn to others for help in order to reach success, but I hope that there are even more times that I am able to help others reach success.
During my 3L year, I helped coordinate the Philabundance Canned Food Drive and Moment of Thanks Toy Drive. Temple Law’s generosity was astounding and rewarding, but what was even more rewarding was meeting some of the toy recipients and hearing how many children would be receiving gifts around the holidays because of Temple Law School. As I listened, I could imagine the faces of the children lighting up when they walked into the room filled with toys and could select a few to take home.
Additionally, during the homestretch of my 3L year, I helped work on the Class Gift of 2014— The Edward D. Ohlbaum Class of 2014 Memorial Scholarship. Working on the gift collection gave me the unique opportunity to hear why so many people love Temple Law. Some people wanted to give back because they received such a great education, others as a way to thank a favorite professor, some because they met lifelong friends at Temple, and others because Temple Law is simply a great place. Knowing that so many of my classmates were willing to give a future student an opportunity to attend Temple Law literally brought tears to my eyes on graduation day when the class gift was presented.
Law School Memory
My favorite memory of my time at Temple Law was participating in the Rome Study Abroad Program. I’m admittedly a little bit of a homebody. I am one of five siblings and have never really spent much time away from my family or Philadelphia. During 1L orientation, Dean Thompson shared stories and pictures of the program, and I was convinced I had to take the chance.
Upon leaving for Rome, I did not know many of the other students, or my roommates for that matter, other than to just say hello in passing. By the time the five week program had ended, I had not only visited different parts of Italy and traveled to different countries, but had made lifelong friends. Attending law school in a foreign country was challenging, but the experience also created unforgettable memories and relationships.
What I Wish I Knew Before Attending Temple Law
Entering law school, I doubted my ability and wasn’t sure that I had made the right decision. I didn’t think I was up for the challenge, and I didn’t know where to turn.
What I didn’t realize during my early period of self-doubt was that there were people around me that noticed and were there to help. Dean Epps happened to be my Litigation Basics teacher and invited me to come to her office hours to talk about the first few weeks of school. She reassured me that everyone had questions, everyone was confused, and it was okay to feel self-doubt. She encouraged me to feel these emotions and to learn from them. She encouraged me to challenge myself and to work hard. She reminded me that success in law school is not predicted by my performance on the LSATs or where I went to undergrad, but rather on my ability to dig deep and give law school everything I had.
Without the encouragement of Dean Epps throughout law school, I fear I would have given up on myself before I even started. When I arrived at Temple Law, I expected to travel down the law school road alone. After graduation, I realize how wrong I was. Temple Law is filled with professors just like Dean Epps – professors who are willing to reach out and provide words of encouragement at just the right moment.