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Taxing? Not at All. Hales Finds Lively and Interesting Clerkship
Just Her Speed

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Stephanie Hales, L’07
Melissa Iachan, L’06
Adam Pollock, L’06

Stephanie Hales with the Hon. Diane P.Wood
“Oh lovely,” thought Stephanie Hales, L’07. It was August 2007 and she and her co-clerks had just received the docket for their first session of oral arguments as judicial clerks for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. And what was the first case listed? A tax law case. Stephanie had never taken tax law at Penn, and now, after earning a prestigious clerkship coveted by lawyers across the country, she had been asked to assist her judge in forming an opinion on the subject. ‘Oh lovely’ aren’t the first two words that would come to the minds of most.

Despite her lack of tax law classroom experience, Stephanie, fresh out of law school, felt confident in her ability to help tackle the issue for the court. In fact, she believes her law school education challenged and prepared her to deal with exactly this sort of situation. “I was taught how to think about these problems, how to approach them,” she says. “Every class you take helps you confront a new legal problem...teaches you how to start from the ground up and build your own analysis.”

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