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BRETTS LAUD SCHOOL’S DIVERSE AND EGALITARIAN CULTURE (cont'd)
Her legal career has followed her earlier predilection to public service. After serving as a Colorado state deputy public defender for five years, she joined the State Office of the Attorney General and currently represents the state board of medical examiners in civil prosecutions against physicians who violate Colorado’s medical practice act. “I was pretty sure I wanted to be a lawyer but I viewed my Penn education as training to become politically involved as much as to become a lawyer.”
Steve Brett recalls an even-handed atmosphere where faculty did not direct students to particular disciplines in law. “There wasn’t any faculty influence about areas to specialize in because this or that was hot. Most of my courses were intellectually stimulating and socially comfortable, and Criminal Procedure was fascinating.” He also remembers how the Vietnam War and national tragedies overshadowed the campus.
“John Kennedy was killed and the anti war movement picked up. Most students at the time had difficulty supporting the war and believing it was the right thing for the country.”
While the war went on, he continues, “Penn Law was a great social environment and we enjoyed some good parties. It was a warm, cocoon-like atmosphere at a time when society seemed pretty messed up. When I left I really missed it, that kind of place where your friends and pressures are all focused on one or two common things.” He remembers classes as a place where “things clicked. The faculty and students fed off each other. The faculty being relatively young and new at Penn made the experience so good. “After graduation, Steve Brett went into corporate law in New York before heading to Colorado, where he has enjoyed a rewarding legal career in telecommunications and with Sherman & Howard in Denver, first as a partner and now as of counsel.
Both father and daughter recall classmates attracted to large law firms. In Steve’s era, students had their sights on firms in major cities. “Working for big firms might have been hot for some on campus,” says Claudia, “but my professional interests were clearly in public service, and it was the same for the people I hung around with. I wanted to be doing major impact litigation in a civil rights forum or poverty law, and my professors encouraged my aspirations.”
Steve Brett remembers his law school experience as “one of joy.” For Claudia, “I certainly made some friends for life at law school. I was intellectually challenged and engaged, and I have wonderful memories of Penn Law and Philadelphia.”