|A 1L Odyssey, Part 2
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It’s gratifying as well when your efforts are rewarded. Melissa’s
brief laid the groundwork for a stellar performance at oral
argument, where the judges praised her poise and preparation.
Paying her the ultimate compliment, they said she and co-counsel,
Steve Park, made the best presentations of all the 1Ls.
Melissa’s first year is fading fast, and so many decisions lie
ahead. After a taste of different areas of the law, she is still mulling
what she wants to do after law school. Regulatory law? First
Amendment issues? General Litigation? Transactional Law?
International Law? All are possibilities.
“That’s the beauty, I guess, of having a law degree because
you can do a lot with it,” says Melissa, who during the first
semester began to waver about public service work.
More immediate is her need for a summer job. The job
market is competitive. It is next to impossible for most 1Ls to
snare a high-profile position in a major law firm. After a few
false steps, Melissa nails a job – as a research assistant to Jason Johnston. Johnston,
who taught Melissa in both semesters, sees
progress in her grasp of the material. By the end of the year, he
says, she seems “more comfortable and confident.”
That confidence will be put to good use in the fall, when Melissa
will be at orientation to help ease the new 1Ls’ transition
to law school. And what will she tell them?
She will advise incoming students to embrace the Socratic
Method, to focus as much on learning as on grades, to plunge
into extracurricular activities, and to drink in all that Philadelphia
has to offer.
Oh, one other thing she will confide: “You will be able to
write a 35-page appellate brief by the end of the year without