Izabella Babchinetskaya

Hometown: Huntingdon Valley, PA

Education: The George Washington University; Political Science

Job: Associate at Ballard Spahr

Program: Full-Time Day

Temple Law Community

While at Temple I was on the Temple Law Review and the National Trial Team. I was also a teaching assistant for Professor Epstein’s Evidence class and Professor Morrow’s Legal Research and Writing class. These experiences taught me the importance of being a part of a community and working with others. As a member of the Trial Team, I spent countless hours working with other students, faculty members, and alumni. I learned that, through hard work, you can accomplish a lot more than you ever thought you were capable of. It was a great honor to be a part of such an incredible activity and to represent Temple at competitions.

As a teaching assistant, I had the opportunity to help students through their first year of law school. I always relied on teaching assistants as a 1L, so I wanted to make sure that I was a resource to other students at Temple. This experience helped me improve and hone my writing and communication skills, and it allowed me to work with incredible students that will continue making Temple proud in the years to come. Being a part of these activities has helped me build relationships that will last well beyond graduation.

Favorite Memory

After three years at Temple, I have countless memories and stories that I will never forget. There are two in particular that stand out. The first involves Professor Strazzella who passed away during the spring of my first year. I had Professor Strazzella for criminal law. One day I decided to go to his office to ask him a few questions. I spent an hour in his office talking about criminal law, why I went to law school, and how 1Ls are always incredibly stressed. Those who have been lucky enough to take a class with him know that Professor Strazzella’s office was filled with random objects, and you would never leave empty-handed. That afternoon, I noticed a bowl of marbles and stones on his desk. He told me to pick one out so that I could use it as a rubbing stone to hold for when I get stressed. I left his office that day with a small blue stone, and it has been with me at every exam I’ve taken in law school and every trial team competition I’ve participated in. It has been with me for the last 3 years and I will be taking it with me as I start my legal career.

The second memory is from the Regional Trial Competition that I competed in during the spring of my second year. My team had been working for months to prepare for the competition. In order to win and move onto the National Tournament, my partner and I had to win the final round. After a long weekend, we made it to the final round, and everything we had worked for came down to a three-hour performance. After the round, all the competitors, judges, coaches, and spectators filed into a courtroom in the Criminal Justice Center. We waited for what felt like an hour to find out the results. Finally, Judge Lloret announced that we had won the final round and that I had won the Ohlbaum Best Advocate Award. As I was walking up to accept the trophy, I looked around the room and saw my coaches and friends all cheering. At that moment I realized that these people weren’t just other students or faculty members, they were my family. Without their support and encouragement, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that I have in the last three years.

Faculty Influence

This is an incredibly tough question because all of the faculty members are great and truly care about their students. I was lucky enough to be able to learn from professors like Jules Epstein, Marissa Bluestine, and Dennis Morrow. Professors Epstein and Bluestine were my trial team coaches for two years. Words cannot describe the impact that they have had on my legal education. Beyond teaching me trial skills, they have taught me what it means to be a good advocate. For them, preparing for a competition wasn’t just about winning—although that was certainly a goal. It was about preparing the students on my team for the real world. They stressed that good lawyers should never stop learning. Every time we had a new case, they brought in subject-matter experts who helped me master new concepts. I learned from accident reconstructionists, mass tort litigators, and litigators who specialize in defense or plaintiffs work. This helped me expand the way I approach and think about a case. Seeing how motivated Professors Epstein and Bluestine are and how hard they work, inspires me to do the same in my career.

Professor Morrow has also been an incredible mentor. I have been his teaching assistant for two years. Beyond helping me improve my legal writing skills, his advice and knowledge has prepared me to start working as an associate. He brings valuable, real-life experiences to his classes, which has given me a great understanding of what to expect when I start working. I’m leaving Temple with resources and mentors that I will continue to learn from and who will continue to help shape my career.

Temple Law Lessons

Throughout my experience at Temple, I have always been taught that professionalism is incredibly important. The legal community in Philadelphia is small. You end up working with the same people over and over again. Even if you’re on the opposite side of a case, it is still important to treat everyone with respect and courtesy. As a lawyer, instead of treating every case as a competition, you will be more successful if you act professionally and try to work with others.