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PRATTERS AGREE ON ONE THING: PENN LAW’S GREATNESS (cont'd)

“I remember when I started school feeling that my parents had been holding out on me for 25 years,” recalls Paige. “I had expected to be familiar with much of what we covered in the first year just from growing up in a household with two lawyers. When school started, I found that I was familiar with about the first six hours, and then I’d exhausted everything I’d learned in 24 years at the dinner table.”

(Even an early meeting with Professor Curtis Reitz hadn’t fully prepared her. The legendary Reitz, feared for his grueling Socratic style, taught both Gene and Robert, and helped Paige with her fifth grade report on Brown v. the Board of Education. “And I was not scared of him,” Paige recalls. “I was too young to know any better.”)

Her mother had tried to counsel her about the rigors of the law. In “A Letter to My Daughter” in The Philadelphia Lawyer in 1999, Gene advised Paige to “recognize from the start that it won’t be particularly easy or a barrel of unrelenting laughs. . . . [sometimes] more reminiscent of the trial scene from Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland . . . than the prose of Judge Woolsey’s opinion in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses.”

Continuing her counsel, Gene also wrote in the letter, “. . . It is a field that provides much. . . . I urge you to seize and hold on to a sense of self-confidence, of responsibility for your own well-being and that of others with and for whom you work, and of the obligation to preserve and promote your career choice with honor and integrity.”

Paige has heeded her parents’ wisdom and is now striking out on her own path. She is articles editor for the school’s Journal of Constitutional Law, a member of the Guild Food Stamp Clinic, and on the school’s building, budget, and planning committee. She has interned at Dechert in Philadelphia and Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. She will clerk for U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly after graduation this spring.

“Penn has given me one of the best legal educations available,” says Paige. “More important than specific knowledge of the law, though, is that we have all been taught how to continue to learn about our field, and how to approach and understand legal concepts that we haven’t even encountered yet. The opportunity to learn this process, in the company of the truly remarkable friends I’ve made, from faculty who are just terrific, is something that I will value long after we graduate in May.”

 
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