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Ten things not to miss when visiting Penn Law

This blog series from current students examines aspects of #PennLawLife.

1. BYOB

One of my favorite things about Philly is prevalence of BYOBrestaurants. Get a taste of this part of Philly by dining at a BYOB with current students on Friday night or on your own. These restaurants are usually small and family owned. The food is authentic and the service is great. The owner will often know customers by name and will always go out of his or her way to make your experience perfect. Bring your own bottle of wine or whatever you choose, and enjoy a night of fantastic food with good company.

2. LOVE Park

On a beautiful day, you can always find a line of people in the park waiting to take a picture in front of Philly’s famous LOVE sculpture. The park is also a great place to relax with friends and be in the middle of the happenings of the city. Take the Market Frankford Line from 34th street to 15th Street to experience Philly’s SEPTA transit system. 

3.  Sit in the goat or the clock (or the courtyard if it’s nice!)

The best way to get a feel of Penn Law is to hang where the students hang. When you have some free time, park yourself in the Goat or the Clock and get a feel for Penn Law culture. Students will be eating lunch together, studying together, or just hanging out. Student clubs and activities often have tables in these locations as well.

4. Locust Walk and Penn Undergrad

The University of Pennsylvania has a beautiful undergraduate campus, and law students often take advantage of their libraries and other facilities. Stroll down Locust Walk, visit the Fine Arts Library, eat at Houston Hall, and check out the restaurants and shops along 40th Street.

5. South Street

Walk down South Street to hit several of Philly’s best spots! This part of Philadelphia is known for its diverse, urban culture. There are amazing restaurants, fun shops, and bars. Visit the Magic Gardens (a museum of mosaic art created by Isaiah Zagar), and don’t leave Philly without a cheesesteak from Jim’s or a bagel from South Street Bagels.  

6. Wawa

Wawa will almost inevitably become a large part of any 1L’s diet — at least during finals. Located less than a block from the law school, Wawa is convenient at any time of day for coffee, snacks, and sandwiches. It also has a free ATM and the best iced coffee in the city (in my opinion!). Since Wawa doesn’t exist in my home state, I was originally skeptical about eating so many meals at what seemed like just a convenience store. Now, I am a converted Wawa fan and can personally attest to their fresh and affordable sandwiches and snacks.   

7. Reading Terminal

Reading terminal is a large indoor food market, with vendors representing all food groups. The cheesesteak at Carmen’s is a favorite, but all vendors have excellent reviews. Reading Terminal is great for fresh produce and meats and is located close to LOVE Park if you want to grab something to eat and go sit in the sun. 

8. Take a walk along the Schuylkill

Walk off those cheesesteaks along the Schuylkill River. Enter the walk via the bridge right past 30th Street, and stroll along the river past the Waterworks, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the famous boathouses.  

9. Meet a professor

My favorite thing about Penn Law is the brilliant and inspiring professors. Although they may seem intimidating in class, they are all very nice and approachable in the halls. Professors regularly take students out to lunch to get to know them outside of class. See for yourself — stop a professor in the hallway and introduce yourself as an admitted student!

10. Ask your questions

Admitted Students Weekend is your time to experience Penn Law. Don’t leave with any unanswered questions. Take the opportunity to get to know each aspect of the Law School experience, and do not hesitate to ask students for their emails and phone numbers to follow up with any questions you may have in the future.

By Hannah Glass L’17

A Week in the Life

This blog series from current students examines aspects of #PennLawLife.

While a typical day in the life of a 1L at any law school isnecessarily going to involve a lot of time spent reading and going to class, what happens outside of the classroom may differ vastly from school to school. So, I thought I would share a sample of what happened each day of one week outside of my normal class time at Penn Law so that you can get a sense of some of the opportunities available to you here.

Monday, February 23: Bloomberg Research Training (and FREE Chipotle for lunch!) 

There are two main takeaways here — the importance of early hands-on legal training, and strategically locating sources of free food. As a Penn Law student, you have access to all of the same databases as practicing attorneys do, including cases, statutes, treatises, and even newspaper archives, and as a 1L you will learn to use them while you write your first legal memos and briefs. You can also attend training sessions like this one outside of class to further hone your skills. The Bloomberg session on Monday focused on the tricks for taking electronic notes on your sources and sharing your files with colleagues. And as a student on a budget, the free burrito was an added bonus!

Tuesday, February 24: Legal Practice Skills Guest Lecturer: Judge Restrepo of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

At Penn Law, the Legal Practice Skills program engages students not just in introductory legal research and writing, but also practical lawyerly skills. We’ve had numerous meetings with our professor acting as our supervising attorney or a fictional client, and last semester we conducted mock negotiations and drafted a non-compete clause for an employment contract. On Tuesday, we heard from Judge Restrepo, a federal judge here in Philadelphia, on conducting settlement negotiations, which we will be simulating over the next few weeks. His take on the practical considerations of the litigation process was very engaging, and our 1L class really enjoyed hearing his talk.

Wednesday, February 25: Lunch with Professor Alison Donahue Kehner

Having lunch or coffee with a professor is a frequent occurrence here. Professors at Penn Law are eager to get to know their students outside of the classroom, and informal lunches are a great way to do so. Professor Kehner spent time talking to us about our upcoming summer jobs and her experience working for a judge and in a law firm prior to joining the Penn Law faculty. We also had great conversations about travel, celebrities, and television — the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary had just aired, so we shared some of our favorite segments of the show! Engaging with professors is not only a great way to make students feel more comfortable in the classroom; it also provides an excellent opportunity to practice networking with practitioners.

Thursday, February 26: EJF Auction

Penn Law’s commitment to public service is highlighted each year with the Equal Justice Foundation Auction to raise money to fund summer work for students in the public sector. Professors, students, and alumni donate everything from hugs and coffee deliveries to weeklong getaways and circus lessons with a professor, which are sold in both a silent and a live auction. Many of my friends bid on NBA tickets, restaurant gift certificates, and dinners with their professors. Even if you didn’t bid, the excitement was well worth the trip!

Friday, February 27: Exam Review Session and Netflix

While my Administrative Law class does not typically meet on Fridays, Professor Lee held an exam review session to begin to work through a classic issue spotter exam in the context of what we have learned so far. It was very helpful — yet admittedly unnerving as we are fast approaching the midpoint of yet another semester! So after accomplishing another week’s worth of cases and legal materials and this added test prep, one Penn Law classmate and I rewarded ourselves by spending the afternoon watching the latest season of House of Cards. Rest assured that at Penn Law you will have plenty of opportunities like these to balance your time and experience life as a law student both inside and outside of the classroom.

By Brianna Bloodgood L'17

On May 18, Penn Law welcomed thirty-four judges from Thailand for a two week, custom certificate bearing program, “Advanced Evidence and Modern Criminal Procedure.” The program, co-directed by Judge Carolyn Temin L’58 and Sharswood Fellow Sara Mayeux, was designed by Penn Law’s Legal Education Program for the Office of the Judiciary in Thailand. The courts in Thailand have been adopting changes in their rules of evidence akin to the Federal Rules of Evidence, and judges from all levels of the Thai judiciary, including the chief justice of their Supreme Court, Chumnan Ravivanpong, attended the program. 

The judges heard lectures from a number of Penn Law faculty, including Kermit Roosevelt, who gave an introduction to U.S. law and Stephanos Bibas, who discussed the general principles of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Adjunct faculty Jill Fertel and Fred Magaziner lectured on character evidence and assessing the reliability of expert testimony, and James Temple, an instructor for the Penn Clinical Program, spoke on the hearsay rule. Judge Temin lectured on post-conviction procedure and Mayeux presented lectures on the right to counsel and the Fourth Amendment and the Exclusionary Rule. The program concluded with lectures by outside speakers on motions to suppress, sentencing advocacy, and guilty pleas.

In addition to the lectures, the judges visited the Federal Courthouse and had lunch with the judges of the Eastern District through the coordination of the Hon. Gene K. Pratter L’75. They also traveled to Washington, D.C., for a tour of the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian Institute, and the memorials, and to New York City for a tour of the 9/11 Museum, Ellis Island, and Times Square.

On the last weekend in February, Penn Law’s Mock Trial Team hosted its Fourth Annual Intramural Mock Trial Competition, with ten teams competing and arguing State of Midlands v. Dawson. This criminal case focused on the issue of whether the defendant involved committed murder by recklessly drunk driving and demonstrating extreme indifference to human life.  

In the preliminary rounds Catherine Eagan L’16 was recognized as the best defense attorney, Sarah Kramer L’17 and Leia Andrew L’17 were both recognized as the best prosecution attorneys, and Allison Theveny L’17 was recognized as the best witness in the tournament.

In the championship round, Kramer, David Schneyer L’17, and Theveny represented the State of Midlands. Joseph Moro L’15, Eagan, and Antonia Link L’17 represented Danny Dawson. After excellent arguments from both sides, the championship was unanimously awarded to the defense team of Moro, Eagan, and Link. 

A law student, two Wharton students, an architecture student, and an education student recently set up an independent study exploring interdisciplinary problem solving and design thinking in international development. They have been working with Glasswing International to help them with their education initiatives in El Salvador.

Over spring break, the group of students traveled to El Salvador to meet with Glasswing staff, visit schools, and conduct observational research. While there, they led a workshop with 80 El Salvadoran leaders from businesses, non-profits, law firms, and government on the role they can play in preventing violence through supporting education. Since arriving back at Penn, they have been continuing to work on coming up with a sustainable solution to improve Glasswing’s education initiatives and curtail the hopelessness that is so prevalent in the education system in El Salvador.

Read more about their work: designingimpact

Life after 1L

This blog series from current students examines aspects of #PennLawLife.

After 1L year, in which our schedules full of mandatorydoctrinal courses were largely decided for us, I was excited to begin 2L and finally have the flexibility to chart my own path here at Penn Law. Not only are the course offerings each semester varied and appealing — from practical skills classes with adjunct faculty, to small seminars on cutting-edge legal issues — but the opportunities for enrichment outside the classroom are vast as well. This year I have had the opportunity to engage and enhance my interests and passions by serving the Philadelphia community through pro bono legal work, assuming rewarding leadership roles in student organizations, and taking litigation-oriented courses.

Working with the Guild Food Stamp Clinic has been one of the most rewarding experiences of law school thus far. I hadn’t gotten too involved with pro bono during 1L year, so I knew that I wanted to dive right in from the start of 2L. Although the learning curve was steep, before I knew it, I truly looked forward to going to my food stamp clinic shift at Philadelphia Legal Assistance every Thursday afternoon. I certainly learn a lot in my classes, but there is nothing quite like sitting down with a client — who relies on and trusts you — listening to their legal problem and using the skills you’ve learned throughout law school to work toward a solution. When I’m at my pro bono shift, I feel like a real lawyer who is making a difference in someone’s life, and that alone has made my 2L experience so special! I know that my experiences doing pro bono work during law school will help me succeed in my future career, and I’m grateful to go to a school like Penn Law that offers such incredible public service opportunities.

Another fun and enriching experience this year has been serving on the leadership board of a number of student organizations. I’m currently the Alumni & Mentorship Chair of the Penn Law Women’s Association (PLWA), as well as a Co-Choreographer for the Law School Light Opera Company. I have enjoyed taking on more responsibilities in and helping to improve the student organizations I am passionate about and have been a part of since I first started law school. Working so closely with a group of talented and intelligent people has allowed me to think about things from different perspectives and become a better at brainstorming and problem solving. In February, PLWA held its Annual Dinner, which celebrates women in the legal profession and serves as an incredible networking opportunity for students to connect with Penn Law alumni and other attorneys. Meanwhile, rehearsals have been underway for the Light Opera Company’s 2015 musical, Urinetown, a hilarious legal, political, and social satire, which will open April 2! It’s always so exciting to see our hard work culminate in these amazing events, bringing the entire Penn Law community together for some fun outside the classroom.

Last, but certainly not least, getting the chance to finally fill my schedule with courses of my choosing has made this year great! Since I’m leaning toward a career in litigation, I have chosen classes that I think will equip me with the skills and knowledge to tackle litigation assignments both at my firm this summer and after graduation. In the fall, I   chose courses like Employment Law, Evidence, and Appellate Advocacy, and right now I am taking Corporations and Civil Pre-Trial Litigation, amongst others. The practical skills courses quickly became some of my favorites. My Appellate Advocacy class was taught by the current Chief of Appeals for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. In that class I learned how to write an effective appellate brief and further honed my oral advocacy skills, while also getting the chance to hear about my instructor’s experiences working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. This semester, I have already learned so much from my intensive Civil Pre-Trial Litigation class, in which we simulate a litigation from beginning to end! The course is taught by two incredibly talented members of the Legal Practice Skills faculty and has allowed me to try my hand at everything from answering a complaint to conducting discovery and drafting a summary judgment motion. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” and I am confident that the skills courses I have taken at Penn Law will allow me to put my best foot forward out in the professional world.

All in all, 2L year has been a blast and has given me the opportunity to do the things I love, while also discovering new strengths, interests, and passions through which to shape my law school experience. I am incredibly excited for the newest students who are just beginning their Penn Law journeys, and I can’t wait to see what 3L year has in store for me!

By Courtney Skarupski L’16

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Five Penn Law students recently participated in the Salzburg Lloyd N. Cutler Fellows Program in Washington, D.C., whichbrings together 50 of the nation’s top law students with leading academics, judges, and practitioners of private and public international law.

Kayla Green L’15, Natalie Mencio L’16, Tim Cochrane L’15, Brandon Kenney L’15, and Cochav Elkayam-Levy SJD’17 were selected as fellows and attended the program along with William Burke-White, Richard Perry Professor and Inaugural Director of the Perry World House. Burke-White also serves as Deputy Dean for International Affairs and Professor of Law and is currently a Salzburg Global Fellow. 

Through the Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program, Penn Law students workshop academic papers under the guidance and mentorship of renowned experts in a variety of areas of international law. This annual collegial exchange advances student international law scholarship.

Memo to attorneys: There are ethical snares associated with the use of Twitter and Facebook that may have never crossed your minds.

So says Michael Graif ENG’88, who would know because he has been called on to counsel many such lawyers over the last several years about the developing world of case law in the area of social media.

“As an emerging field, case law is being decided and jurisprudence is being shaped on a weekly basis,” Graif said.

Graif, who is teaching a new Penn Law course in Social Media Law in January, ticked off a couple examples of how lawyers can get caught in an ethical bind if they do not understand the boundaries of professional practice in the context of social media.

Consider the case of a lawyer conducting permitted research on a prospective jury member. On Google she comes upon and clicks on the juror’s LinkedIn page, only to leave a digital fingerprint for all to see. This is classified as prohibited contact, Graif said. Also illegal under the rules of professional conduct, he said, are efforts to use deception to “friend” someone on Facebook for the purposes of discovery.

“Things like this are really slippery ethical issues that attorneys need to know right away, today,” Graif said.

Fortunately, Penn Law students will have an opportunity to learn all of these slippery slopes in Graif’s class, which will examine the inherent tension between information sharing and privacy, the rights of employers and school districts to restrict and discipline employee and student speech, property rights in a social media account, and how courts and regulators are shaping the law. This will be the first such course taught at Penn Law.  

“I think it is tremendously useful for law students to learn about this area, whatever their ultimate professional goals might be,” Graif said.

Graif is chair of the Intellectual Property Group at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP in New York. He has been teaching a similar course the last few years at New York’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Graif has developed expertise in social media law despite the fact that he does not have a Twitter account nor is active on Facebook.

Penn Law students have also had the opportunity to learn about social media and the law through joint efforts by the Law School’s Center on Professionalism and Office of Communications. Trainings offered include how to use social media proactively as a law student, how to take control of your Google search results, LinkedIn profile reviews, and guest lectures from industry experts.

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Team Quiz Pro Quo started their 1L year with a bang by winning the the 2017 Penn Law Orientation Quizzo Cup! The event, which kicked off Penn Law’s Orientation Week on Sunday night, provided the incoming 1L students with a chance to meet their upper-level student mentors, the Morris Fellows. The students swapped tips for success at Penn Law with their mentees over dinner at the Law School before the highly-anticipated Quizzo game. 

Dan Atlas L’16 and Amanda Webb L’16 provided challenging Quizzo questions ranging from “How many clinics does Penn Law have” (Answer: 9) to “Which three presidents died on July 4th?” (Answer: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe). After four hotly contested rounds of Quizzo, Team “Quiz Pro Quo” emerged as the champions.

Team Quiz Pro Quo’s nine 1L student members include Cate Barrett, Blair Bowie, Chet Eckman, Brendan Galloway, Christina Gunzenhauser, Kim Kirschenbaum, Geoffrey Lochner, Aaseesh Polavarapu, and Amanda Tortorello.  

The Penn Law Quizzo Cup trophy will be displayed in the trophy case in Silverman Hall for all to see. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks for all who played!

ATTENTION #PENNLAW2016!

You have completed one-twentieth of your J.D. Yes, on October 10, by a formula known only to the Dean of Students and the President of CSR, you will be 5% done with your JD, with only 95% to go before Graduation!

We know it’s difficult for you to even consider an hour way from books, but this is a major milestone. And a beer. And pizza.

The 5% Party will be held tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:00 pm at The Clock.