Justin Vaughn White

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Education:

  • Binghamton University; Economics & Sociology

Job: Associate at Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzberg

Program: Full-Time Day

Temple Law Trial Team

The first time I visited the law school, I walked into Klein Hall, and the first thing I saw was the Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.  From that moment I knew Temple was the law school for me.  Then, as I walked the halls of the 6th floor, lined with seemingly countless mock trial trophies, I knew this was a tradition I wanted to be a part of.  Having the opportunity to compete for the Trial Team at the highest level was easily my most enriching law school experience. It was an unparalleled opportunity to learn from some of the most respected attorney’s, not just in Philadelphia, but in the nation.  Although the case files were “mock cases,” the training was anything but.  We learned how to communicate with real scientific experts to break down the nuances of a case, how to voice our opinions and talk through case strategy with licensed attorneys,  built real life long bonds with teammates, and most importantly, we learned to advocate as our authentic selves in the courtroom.  In 2020, I can proudly say that I achieved my goal of being a part of the Temple Trial Team legacy, with all the lessons I’ve learned and a Regional Championship trophy added to the 6th floor hall to show for it!

Experiential Learning

“Thank you.  I don’t even care if we win, I’m just thankful that you listened to my story and believed in me when nobody else would.”  Those were the last words my Social Justice Lawyering Clinic client told my partner and I, with tears in his eyes the day before we walked into court.  Because of his refugee status, he was taken advantage of by his employer who stole thousands of dollars in wages from him.  Being able to fight for people like my clinic client is the reason I came to law school.  The clinic armed me with the tools to handle the case from intake all the way through trial.  But I gained something greater than any lesson I could have learned in a classroom; a sense of purpose.  (P.S. We won!)

Temple Law Lessons

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to always do your best, because you never know who’s watching.  An amazing opportunity for 1L’s in Philadelphia is to become a Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) Fellow.  After an intense application process only a handful of diverse 1L’s are given the opportunity to summer at some of Philadelphia’s most prestigious firms and get access to amazing networking and skill building opportunities.  Unfortunately, I was cut in the final round of interviews.  That summer I ended up working in the Appeals Unit at the District Attorney’s Office.  Hard work had been instilled in me since I was a kid, and at the DA’s Office I worked my butt off. Unbeknownst to me, one of the new supervisors of the appeals unit was a PDLG Alumnus and was a partner at one of Philadelphia’s top law firms. She noticed my work ethic and asked me if I had applied to PDLG. I told her that I was cut in the last round, ironically by her former law firm, and she said PDLG was a perfect fit for someone like me and that she was willing to vouch for me.  By the end of the summer I was a part of the PDLG Fellowship program.  You never know who’s watching, so always work hard because a surprise door may open because of it.

First-Time Philadelphian

My first day of law school was my second day ever in Philadelphia.  As an out-of-state student I was unsure about life in a new city.   I didn’t know anyone in Philadelphia nor what any of the neighborhoods were like, so I rented an apartment, literally around the corner from the school.  I was worried about how I would learn the city and adapt to the Philadelphia culture. As I waded through my first year in Philadelphia I learned two tips I want to pass on to incoming out of town students are: 1) Don’t worry.  Temple has a welcoming culture, with plenty of Philadelphia native students willing to show you around. 2) Join law school affinity groups and/or groups with people that share common interests to network and make friends!