Grace Chehoud Vangelo

Hometown: Allentown, PA (Beirut, Lebanon; Maturin, Venezuela)

Education:

  • Moravian College, Political Science and Spanish
  • Villanova University, Modern Languages and Literature

Job: Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas

Program: Part-Time Evening

Advocacy in Action

During my time as a Temple Law student, I participated in a number of service opportunities including the National Lawyers Guild Expungement Project and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, and volunteered at the U.S.-Mexico Border with Al Otro Lado’s Border Rights Project. While these opportunities were rewarding, the most meaningful has been as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Lehigh County. CASA volunteers are appointed by the court to advocate for the best interest of a child or a sibling group who has experienced abuse or neglect and, as a result, is in the dependency system. CASAs spend a substantial amount of time with the child and gather relevant information from teachers and service providers to provide judges with a full picture to make the most well-informed decisions for that child. Being a CASA is challenging, but the rewards of helping give a voice to the most vulnerable in our community are immense.

Next Steps

A J.D. is much more than an advanced degree. It is an invitation – a challenge – to use your talents for the public good, to help bring about reforms that enhance the law’s fairness and accessibility.

I would like to use my degree to help some of the most vulnerable members of my community achieve basic rights such as safety and security, housing, the right to an education, fair wages, and meaningful access to the courts. Too many have been overlooked and forgotten; it’s time that their voices be heard. I realize that I cannot change the world, but I can make a difference in my community, one small step at a time.

Temple Law Lessons

Balancing work, family, and other obligations with the demands of law school, especially as an evening student, can be extremely challenging, but, if there’s a will, there’s a way. The thing about being an evening student is that you are not alone; you will have a support network in your classmates- who will become family – and in your professors – who genuinely care. Things will go wrong at times and the road will seem impossible, but as long as you work together as a group- taking turns picking each other up off the ground and pulling each other to the finish line – you CAN and you WILL do it! Also, there’s so much more to you than your grades, so don’t worry too much about them.