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Jesse Krohn L’11 on representing indigent teen parents

April 04, 2014

Jesse Krohn L’11, a staff attorney and 2012 Skadden Fellow at Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA), highlights her work in the family law unit providing direct representation to indigent teen parents on matters of child support and custody, protection from abuse, and access to public benefits. She also discusses her transformative experience as a Toll Public Interest Scholar at Penn Law.

My name is Jessie Krohn. I graduated from Penn Law in 2011 and I am currently a staff attorney at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, which is a non-profit civil legal services agency here in Philadelphia. I am in the family law unit and I help low income Philadelphians with problems pertaining to child custody, child support, and domestic violence.  

I came to Philadelphia Legal Assistance as a Skadden Fellow. I got my Skadden Fellowship in 2011 and started in 2012. Before that I was in practice in Maryland. So my work did put me in the family law unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, but it also gave me the opportunity to shape what my role would be. So, for my first two years at PLA, what I would do is, all the legal services that we had were parents who were under the age of 21. So, I was working with teen parents, some who were in foster care, some who had multiple children, some who did not speak english, some who were victims of domestic violence, many victims of sexual assault, so feel like I was addressing an already vulnerable population and kind of addressing these even smaller vulnerabilities within it. And I felt really excited about that work and it was something that my law school career had kind of been propelling me towards. 

When I was at Penn Law, I was a Toll Public Interest Scholar. I enjoyed being part of the Penn Law public interest community generally, but being a Toll Scholar in particular was really great because the opportunities to make connections and to just kind of be known and an entity. Penn will support anyone who is interested in public interest, but it really helped to kind of already start known to other people as someone who is committed to this work and someone you could kind of count on to be someone who would care, who would be involved, who would want to participate. It was important to me to come to law school and kind of step into that ready made community.  

One of the things that I really like about Penn Law is that the opportunities for public interest aren’t really limited to the public interest opportunities on campus through student groups or law school sponsored clinics, but also the opportunities to get that kind of real world experience off campus. When I was at Penn, I obviously did summer internships that pretty much everyone does, but Penn kind of helped me develop a way to split my summer so I had extra exposure to multiple organizations and I also did a one semester externship and that was a really terrific experience because I was meeting practitioners, experiencing what it is to work day-to-day as a public interest lawyer. I think that kind of exposure really did help me be prepared to just leap in. 


Transcript edited for length.