A Message from the Dean
A 1L Odyssey
Alumni Fill Halls of Academe
New LAS President Hopes to Increase Outreach to Alumni
Levy Scholars Program Provides 'Mark of Distinction' for Top Students
Tanenbaum Hall Turns 10
Judge Rosenn Inspires A Following Among Former Clerks
The Brief
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
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In Memoriam
 
A 1L Odyssey 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8

Given her precocious interest in politics and policy, Melissa seemed destined to attend law school. Her role as Al Gore in her sixth grade mock election prefigured bigger things. By eighth grade, Melissa was the youngest member of the Democratic Club in Coral Springs, Fla. In high school she volunteered for political campaigns. That preoccupation grew in college, when she worked for Gore’s presidential campaign in New Hampshire and served as the candidate’s student coordinator in Rhode Island. At Brown University, she was vice president of the school’s College Democrats, senior class advocate, and the driving force on feminist issues. She kept busy off campus as well, serving as head of opposition research for David Cicilline’s mayoral campaign in Providence, and working for the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office.

“I’m an activist from the ground up,” Melissa says. “Policy and politics get my blood pumping… I think that law school gives you the right tools to be a more effective legislator. A political career is in the front of my mind.”

When applying to law school, Penn Law was also top of mind. Unlike some peer schools, Penn Law exudes a welcoming atmosphere — less competitive, more congenial. For those reasons, and the school’s emphasis on public service and pro bono work, Melissa wanted to attend Penn Law. She says another drawing card was the rapport between students and professors, which she has found to be true.

But first she had to pass the ultimate Darwinian test and get into Penn Law, where the competition is fierce. There were 5,140 applicants; the Class of 2006 includes 260 students. Then, before she knew amicus from apriori, she was assigned to read cases over the summer.

After traveling more than 1,000 miles from South Florida and settling in for a few days, Melissa finally walks into Penn Law as an official 1L, rife with anticipation and apprehension. Over the next two days, Melissa and her classmates will attend sample classes to get their first taste of what lies ahead and receive more advice than they can process.

 
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