Abbey Bryman

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Education:

  • Drexel University, Business

Job: Assistant District Attorney at The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office

Program: Full-Time Day

Life at Temple Law

After graduation, I am working in Philadelphia as an Assistant District Attorney. Working in trial advocacy has been my goal since starting my legal education. I wasn’t someone with trial advocacy experience, but I quickly realized that didn’t matter. I chose Temple Law because I wanted to be a trial attorney. Temple’s program and its resources have helped shape me into the kind of advocate I want to be. I was able to benefit from the small trial advocacy section of about twelve students and receive individualized feedback and attention that was vital to my learning. I recommend the Integrated Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP) to every student because it not only teaches you how to be a litigator, it teaches you how to be a lawyer. The lessons, skills, and confidence I gained from Temple Law’s Trial Advocacy Program will forever follow me through my career.

Community is another reason I chose Temple Law. You always hear horror stories about how cutthroat law school is, and I knew I wouldn’t fit in with that type of atmosphere. Students at Temple Law are always willing to help one another, whether it’s notes, questions or just some advice. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; law school is hard. But when you find a community like Temple, it doesn’t matter because the students and faculty are always there to encourage and help guide you through any challenges.

Experiential Learning

I spent my 1L summer as a Judicial Intern at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania under the Honorable Gene E.K. Pratter, and my 2L summer at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. I did the Philadelphia Defender Association Clinical, the Family Law Clinical, and the Advanced Family Law Clinical, and an individualized practicum at Impact Services. Through these internships, practicums, and clinics, I was able to use everything I had learned in the ITAP and put it into practice.

Never did I expect to leave law school with as many practical experiences. Hands-on experience is critical. I think many law students start law school not knowing what type of law they want to practice. Others think they know and later change their minds. A practicum or clinical can be life-changing and make you realize your true calling. I know it did for me. I learned what types of cases I liked working on the most. Practicums, clinicals, and internships also allowed me to foster new relationships with legal professionals, which led to additional opportunities.

Faculty Impact

The Temple faculty is truly remarkable. I’ve never experienced anything like it. The sense of community is unreal and it’s hard for me to pick just a couple of faculty members to mention. Temple faculty always go above and beyond. Professor Shellenberger and Dean Bretschneider have impacted me in ways I never imagined, both inside and outside the law school. The truth is, while law school will be a huge part of your life for the next three years, it’s still not your whole life. Other obstacles outside of the law school may arise and it’s important to know that you’re supported.

Professor Shellenberger was my criminal law professor my first semester of my 1L year. This is a professor who really cares. It was a matter of days before he knew every student’s name in our section. I benefited from Professor Shellenberger’s teaching style so much that I signed up for a class with him every semester. He has taught me more about criminal law than any other professor. Dean Bretschneider’s kindness and guidance has helped get me through law school. She advocates for law students without any judgment. Whenever there was a time I doubted myself, she was there. If I was ever having a bad day or going through something, I always knew I could knock on Dean Bretschneider’s door and that would quickly change.

These are faculty members who have taught me far more than just the law. I entered law school as one person, and I’m leaving it as another. I’m now the person I want to be. Thank you to Professor Shellenberger, Dean Bretschneider and all the other extraordinary faculty for teaching me what I’m capable of and always believing in your students.

Temple Law Lessons

The best way to prepare for law school is to try and relax and embrace the experience. Before you begin your own law school journey, do something you love that maybe you wouldn’t be able to once you start, like a fun travel trip. Think about what you want your law school experience to be and what success means to you.

Often, I see incoming students come in with the mindset that they have to be top 10% of the class. If the whole class thought that way, 90% of the class would fail. Success is so much more than just grades. Take advantage of all of the resources offered. Temple has so many. Stay focused, but try to enjoy the experience, the people, and the opportunities.

I always tell students that joining a student organization is a great way to meet people and get involved. I served as Co-President for Women’s Law Caucus, Co-Vice President for VetLaw, Social Chair for OutLaw and Campus Engagement Chair for School Discipline Advocacy Service. My time spent with these organizations has contributed to some of my best memories at Temple Law. Student organizations allow you to form lasting relationships with students, alumni and other legal professionals that you wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise. Make connections. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” And the same is true of law school. Find your balance and remember why you’re here. If you do that, you will succeed.