My name is Mira Baylson. I graduated in 2008. I am in my first year at the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
Since graduating from Penn Law School, I have done two clerkships, one on the Third Circuit and one in the District of New Jersey. And, I also did a fellowship, the Langer Grogan Diver Fellowship for social justice in the Delaware Valley that is actually sponsored through Penn Law. And then, I started at the Defender’s Association.
One of the best things about Penn Law was all of the clinics that I are provided for you. So I was in the Defense Clinic, which actually interned at the Defender’s Association. I also did the Reproductive Rights Clinic as well as the Prisoner Education Clinic. All of those clinics really give you an idea about direct service, which is really what being a public defender is all about, providing legal advice and legal consultation for people who don’t necessarily have the finances to afford the best attorneys out there. And Penn provides you with a range of opportunities to get involved. Specifically in Philadelphia, which obviously is a city which is in somewhat of a large need of good community legal services of all varieties.
Penn has a number of resources at its disposal that aren’t available to other law schools in the area. Not just the University of Pennsylvania as a University but funding, faculty, etc. that you don’t really get at a lot of the universities around here. And, it provides you with a leg up in terms of being able to provide those services to people who really need them. In fact, this year, I started a new student run clinic with a student here who is a 3rd year. It is called the Women’s Legal Assistance Project, it is for women coming out of the criminal justice system who need civil legal advice and aren’t able to afford it or can’t have it and basically what we are finding is that a little information goes a long way. And one of the wonderful things about Penn is that it was so welcoming and able to support a newly formed clinic like ours. So, I am very happy about the way the institution responded to our interests and has been supportive.
Transcript edited for length