Katherine Thackray

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Undergraduate School: University of Pennsylvania; English

Master’s of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College

Job: Associate at Heckscher, Teillon, Terrill & Sager, P.C.

Temple Law Community

While at Temple Law, I participated in several student groups. I was able to get involved with Temple’s Family Law Society as a 1L representative, and remained on the executive board of the organization throughout my entire time here. During my 2L year, I served as the Peer Mentor Chair for the Women’s Law Caucus, where I had the chance to help match 2L, 3L, and professional mentors with 1L students. I was also a staff editor for the Temple Law Review.

I enjoyed all of these activities, but my favorite student group was definitely the Student Wellness Association, which I founded with my friend, Matt Leili LAW ’18, after our 1L year. After that first year of law school, Matt and I noticed a need for an organization dedicated to helping students maintain their mental and physical wellness throughout law school, which can sometimes be as stressful as it is rewarding. Prior to law school, I had a background in social work and had worked briefly as a therapist, so I knew that there must be a way to help students incorporate healthy coping skills and to support one another during their law school journey. When we proposed the organization, we were met with a huge amount of support by fellow students, faculty, and the administration–everyone was so encouraging and offered to help. The Student Bar Association welcomed our organization, and we started holding events such as Wellness Lunches and a Mental Health Awareness Day to ensure that anyone who needed it had peer support within the Temple Law community. I am thrilled that the Student Wellness Association has grown immensely since its inception, and I hope that it is around to help students for many years to come.

Experiential opportunities

During my 3L year, I enrolled in Professor Debra Kroll’s Elderly Law Project. This clinical gave me and five other students the opportunity to spend several days during the spring semester working in a local senior center and assisting clients with different legal problems, such as helping them with social security issues, Medicare and Medicaid, and estate planning documents. This was the first time in my law school career that I truly felt like a “real” lawyer — I met with clients one on one, followed up with their problems, and completed legal documents, all while under the supervision of Professor Kroll. Professor Kroll knew exactly when to let us learn on our own and when to provide a guiding hand, and I learned a great deal from her about not only substantive legal issues, but also how to treat clients with dignity, respect, and kindness. By the end of the semester, I was well-versed in drafting simple wills and advanced healthcare directives, which is especially valuable since I plan to work in estate planning when I graduate. I left this clinical feeling extremely prepared for my future and excited to get started in my career.

Temple Law Lessons

As I leave to pursue my career, I will always carry with me the sense of community that existed throughout my three years at Temple Law. Since day one, I have been impressed by the kindness, brilliance, and humility of all of the people I have encountered, from the faculty down the students. I remember being so nervous to start law school — all of the movies and rumors I heard prior to deciding to go to law school painted it as a scary, cutthroat, and lonely place. They couldn’t have been more wrong. During my time at Temple Law, I found professors who went the extra mile to take me under their wing, friends who sacrificed their time to help me understand difficult topics, and future colleagues that I know I will respect and admire. When I leave Temple, I hope I carry with me the lessons I learned from those professors who supported me, the kindness and compassion I have experienced from my peers, and the motivation to work hard that I believe makes Temple Law students so unique.