A Message from the Dean
Mission Iraq
Dealmakers
A 1L Odyssey, Part 2
Isabelle Johnston Bids Farewell
Gloria Watts, Beloved Registrar, Gets Big Send-Off
The Brief
Graduation / Reunion
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
Philanthropy
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam
 
A 1L Odyssey, Part 2 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
BY LARRY TEITELBAUM

The school year is nearing an end. It is as if Melissa Iachan has been out to sea for several months and now spots land. She can see the shore, but before she gets there she must first navigate a few remaining shoals. One of them is oral argument.

Melissa is about to make what amounts to her closing argument for her first year of law school. She has the opportunity to display everything she’s learned: her research skills, reasoning ability, and aptitude for thinking on her feet.

As her day in court approaches, Melissa hones her argument, which she had spent a weary week encapsulating in a 35-page brief. When the day comes, Melissa arrives at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia excited and confident. Still, she wants to get it over with. At a little past 8 p.m. Melissa, hungry and tired, is invited into the courtroom. She stands before a panel of three judges (actually law clerks themselves only a year removed from Penn Law School).

The case, which had been heard in the U.S. Supreme Court, involves a Native American Indian who was convicted in tribal court and again in federal court for assaulting a federal officer. Melissa represents the government.
 
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