Abigail Thibeault

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Undergraduate School: Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina

Job: Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellow with CeaseFirePA

Student Groups

I have always enjoyed extracurricular activities as much as classes, so I participated in student organizations throughout law school, holding leadership positions with the Student Public Interest Network (SPIN), Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ), and the Family Law Society. As a student leader I strived to find creative ways to carry out each organization’s mission efficiently and effectively. I am proud of my work with LSRJ, for which my co-president, Mary Kate Kalinich, and I earned the National Organization’s Cari Siestra Award for Excellence in Organizing. However, most of my energy went to SPIN. SPIN seeks to promote and support public interest law at Temple. As auction chair, and later as co-president, I worked hard to make the organization even better. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from my successes and mistakes as a student leader.

Experiential Opportunities

I competed at the International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition in my second year and with Temple’s National Trial Team in my third year. Participating in Moot Court made me a stronger advocate, as a writer and orator. While on Trial Team, my team competed in the semi-final round at the John Marshall Law School National Criminal Justice Trial Competition. Nothing compares to the experience of competing with and against such talented people. Knowing my teammates depended on me motivated me in a way ordinary classes just couldn’t. Competing also taught me to take risks, like when I indignantly motioned for a mistrial in the quarter-final round at John Marshall (which we won). I saw my potential at that competition, and I cannot wait to take what I’ve learned into my practice.

Volunteer Service

I volunteered often through SPIN and LSRJ, participating in neighborhood cleanups, escorting at the Philadelphia Women’s Center, and more. But my most meaningful experiences came from volunteering with the Student Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS). Through SDAS I represented juveniles in school disciplinary hearings. SDAS gave me real-world experience, but more importantly, it gave me the opportunity to just be there for some incredible kids and their families at a difficult time.

Favorite Memory

Competing at the semi-final round of the John Marshall Law School National Criminal Justice Trial Competition tops the list. During that round I saw that all of my team’s hard work had made a difference. When my trial partner, Sarah Kiewlicz, began the round with perfectly argued motions in limine, I knew the round would go well because I had talented teammates who cared about the competition as much as I did. That feeling of being able to depend on your trial partner and of wanting to succeed for her is rare and can’t be beat.

Making an Impact

Next year I will be working as a Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellow with a non-profit called CeaseFirePA on a special project to keep firearms out of the hands of juveniles. I am grateful to be one of the many people seeking to improve outcomes for our youth by making Philadelphia safer. I hope my research will contribute to our efforts to reduce violence in our communities. Temple has prepared me for this position by teaching me to think critically, build relationships, and communicate well. After I complete my fellowship, I hope to be able to use what I’ve learned at Temple as a trial lawyer.