Abby Bar Lev L’13 discusses the impact of Penn Law’s public interest community
My name is Abby Bar Lev. I graduated in 2013 and I am currently a Dorot Fellow at Alliance for Justice.
I work on their Supreme Court campaign, which tracks and monitors the Supreme Court and the influence of corporations on the Court. I work on reproductive rights and I track what is happening in the federal litigation with reproductive rights and I do some legislative advocacy around progressive issues trying to get progressive laws through Congress.
The public interest community at Penn Law had an incredible impact on getting me to where I am now and to where I can only imagine I will be in the future. As every step along the way, I knew I could go into the Public Interest Office and talk about any issues that I was having, whether it was something related to my classes that I wanted to talk more about, any sort of slight idea that I had about an internship, I could go in and Arlene, the director of the Public Interest Office, would help me break down my idea from a seed of some ambiguous kind of goal to helping me figure out what the different elements were, what different organizations focus on those different elements, who I could talk to, giving me their email addresses, and then helping me with my resume, helping me with my cover letters, and always helping me make sure that I was defining my goals in a way that made sense for what I wanted to do and why I came to law school. So, really helped keep me true to myself and gave me that, sort of, self confidence to go into my career.
My best pro bono experience that launched, sort of, my trajectory into my career was working with the Reproductive Rights Law Project and that is a community of women here at the Law School that work with women in the community as clinics and did a lot of different research projects for state legislative work as well. And, what was really significant to me about that was sort of getting a first hand experience about what reproductive rights meant to women in the community because I came into the community from out of town, I went to Penn Law, and it gave me a connection to the city of Philadelphia and a real connection to the issues. And the other thing that I want to mention is the Civil Practice Clinic, which was a really formative experience also in getting to see how the law impacts people and why policy work is so important in that way.
Transcript edited for length