Adetola Ajayi

Hometown: Willingboro, NJ

Education: Villanova University; Philosophy

Job: Business Counseling Group Associate at Archer & Greiner, P.C.

Program: Full-Time Day

Temple Law Community

If I could describe my Temple Law experience in one word, it would be “transformative.” I am not the same person today that I was on the first day of law school orientation. I have both developed in and contributed to the Temple Law community over the past three years.   

I served as the 2017-18 Black Law Students Association President (BLSA), 3L senator, Law Owl Ambassador, Academic Core Enrichment (ACE) counselor, faculty hiring committee-student member, Affinity Group Coalition executive board member, legal research and writing teaching assistant, and Criminal Law Research Assistant. While all of these positions taught me the importance of communication, organization, and time management, serving as BLSA president really shaped my legal education.

During my term as President of the Temple BLSA, my team established and executed many successful initiatives to support the professional, academic, and personal development of our members. For example, we established the “Adopt-A-School Initiative,”  a “Learning Law School Series,” “Mental Health Wellness Series,” and revamped our book library and outline bank. We also started the student awards tradition for our members at the Annual BLSA celebration. BLSA will always have a special place in my heart because it’s a community within a community; a place to call home.

Experiential Opportunities

During law school, I participated in several experiential learning courses including the State Judicial Clerkship Program, the Federal Judicial Clerkship Program (FJC), Landlord-Tenant mediation, Small Claims mediation, and a self-designed practicum. These experiences taught me the importance of mentorship and interpersonal interaction.

I particularly enjoyed the FJC program and my self-designed practicum.  Through the FJC program, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Carol S. Moore Wells in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  My main tasks were to read habeas corpus petitions and draft habeas corpus reports and recommendations. Grappling with the complexities of the habeas statutes and its procedural rules and limitations was both intellectually challenging and stimulating.  I also enjoyed regular one-on-one conversations with Judge Wells about life, current events, and more. During my last semester of law school, I launched a 14-week educational and mentorship program for students in my hometown, Willingboro, NJ. The students learned basic criminal law, criminal procedure, and participated in a mock trial. This practicum was so gratifying because I had complete autonomy to design the program activities and work directly with the students.

Faculty Influence

Several faculty members played an integral role in the successful completion of my legal education:  Professor Bonny Tavares, Professor Kathy Mandelbaum, and Dean Bretschneider.

Professor Tavares was my Legal Research and Writing professor during 1L year and I was her Teaching Assistant during my 2L and 3L year. Professor Tavares’ class taught me that there are no shortcuts for good work product and taking on challenges can be rewarding.  As her teaching assistant, I have connected with and helped so many law students, while reinforcing my own understanding of LRW. Overall, Professor Tavares’ mentorship has instilled a sense of belonging and empowerment in me.

Professor Mandelbaum was more than just my practicum advisor, she was a mentor, advocate, and problem solver.  Our weekly meetings consisted of session run-throughs, hypothetical situations, and advice about any and everything.   

When I had my first one-on-one meeting with Dean Bretschneider,  I immediately knew it would not be the last. Anytime I had a question about a class, opportunity, or internship, she would promptly assist me or point me in the direction of someone who could. Dean Bretschneider was also a huge supporter during my tenure as BLSA president and was a sounding board for my self-designed practicum. Without her warmth and support, my experience at Temple Law would not have been the same.   

Temple Law Lessons

Three of the most important lessons I have learned in law school are:

  1. No one is expecting you to have all of the answers, but you should learn how to find answers, either by asking questions, doing research, or both.  Getting comfortable asking questions is a learned skill, like networking: you learn it by doing it.
  2. While there are unifying pillars of a Temple Law education (community, advocacy, and scholarship), each student has a unique experience in law school.  Never compare your journey with anyone else’s. Success has multiple meanings in law school, and a high GPA or Law Review membership are not the sole markers of achievement.
  3. Self-care is as obligatory as studying.  Self-care applies to both mind and body. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, sleeping, meditating, spending time with loved ones, or whatever it is that reduces your stress should be a habit, that is engaged in regularly.