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Pathways to the Profession: Tyler J. Burrell L’21

April 20, 2021

Tyler J. Burrell L’21 is an elected Councilman and Vice-President of Council of a New Jersey Township, J.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and pursuing a Certificate In Politics at The Fels Institute of Government.

My lifelong goal has always been to work for what I call “the greater good.” In other words, the greater good of society, community, and nation. Perhaps instilled in during my younger days as an Eagle Scout, the passion for helping others is my guiding light.

In 2016, I was first elected to serve as Councilman at Large in Delran Township, New Jersey, representing over 16,000 residents as one of the youngest Councilman in the State of New Jersey. Two years later, my fellow Council members elected me to serve as the Vice-President of Council. Each and every day I serve the greater good of my community, addressing resident concerns from something as simple as missed trash collections to managing the complexities of infrastructure improvements. Although these are not flashy, front-page, headline issues, they impact the daily lives of Delran residents.

During the last three and a half years of my term, I have focused on prioritizing community engagement and comradery by introducing events such as a townwide “Night Out” featuring the first firework display in nearly 20 years and a Winter Festival welcoming in the holiday season.

Governmental work is often unpredictable and challenging, but the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in an array of unprecedented issues, all in the midst of a lengthy 2021 budget process. The general challenges of budgeting were exacerbated by the financial unknowns of the pandemic, projected tax revenue declines, and ever-changing guidance from the State. After we passed the budget, I focused my resources on organizing a team of volunteers to help neighbors in need of funds to pay bills or help obtaining groceries.

My first term ended in December 2021 and I am honored to be re-elected this year. Again, my young age was a point of contention for the electorate. I believe my age is an asset that allows me to understand issues in a different lens. Most importantly, it has never been more apparent in the face of this unprecedented pandemic and societal change that the value of community and the importance of strong leadership. While there is no single answer to solve the problems we face today, the words of songwriter James Taylor ring more true than ever: “We are bound together by the task that stands before us, and the road that lies ahead.” We need leadership that embodies the notion that while we may have different opinions, we are bound by the same principles. Put aside party politics and focus on the common task – the greater good of society. That is my platform in Delran.

The cross-disciplinary opportunities at the Law School are by far my favorite aspect of my legal education. In fact, Penn’s deep commitment to cross-disciplinary was a deciding factor in choosing Penn Law. During the course of my law degree studies, I completed a Certificate in Politics from the Fels Institute of Government, where I took courses in Public Speaking and Government Relations. Law and politics are so intertwined that Penn’s cross-disciplinary studies broaden my understanding of how laws are crafted, how laws impact various communities, and the underpinnings of policy design. Ultimately, the skills I learned at Fels not only compliments my legal training to better advocate for my clients, but sharpens my tools to serve the people of Delran.

Outside of the political spectrum, I am a law clerk at McOmber McOmber & Luber, where I have worked since an internship during my undergraduate studies. During my time with the firm, which represents victims of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, I have participated in client meetings, mediations, and appellate brief drafting. After graduation, I am thrilled to join the firm’s plaintiff litigation practice.