Jane Marie Russell
University of Notre Dame, BA (Political Science), 2007
Florida International University, MA (Asian Studies), 2008
Professional Experience Prior to Law School:
I worked at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in Miami for three years. I was on the Deployment Strategy & Itinerary Planning Team, which creates the day-by-day global itineraries for the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises brands. I loved my job and the company, but I knew that pursuing a law degree would be the best thing I could do for my career for advancement and opportunities.
What I Am Hoping to Do with My Law Degree:
After law school, I would like to work in the travel industry again, either in a law firm or in house capacity. More importantly, I want to use my law degree for the public good through pro bono work, government service, or teaching someday. I am a big believer in “paying it forward”.
My Best Experience at Penn Law:
In my first semester, I have shared a meal or coffee with almost all of my professors. It is great to have professors that not only want us to learn in the classroom, but also want to get to know us on a more personal level. This really contributes to the culture of collegiality at Penn Law.
Professor Who Influenced Me Most:
Professor Shyam Balganesh. He has taught us how to analyze a court opinion, parsing out the underlying values and goals that motivate the court. He also places cases in historical and political context, which allows for a much richer understanding of the material.
My Favorite Course:
Property. I have really enjoyed Professor Balganesh’s philosophical approach to the class, as well as his humor. Besides learning about the general foundation of property law in the United States, the class has also taught me more about intellectual property, one of my interests.
An Example of How the Law School’s Cross-disciplinary Approach Influences My Legal Education:
Law does not exist in a vacuum, but interacts with every aspect of society, especially business. Penn Law’s cross-disciplinary approach is one of the main reasons I decided to attend the Law School. I would like to pursue a Business Certificate from Wharton and perhaps a combined degree through another school at Penn.
Meaningful Cross-disciplinary Experience at Penn:
Since starting classes, I have attended several lectures and conferences with the Lauder Institute and Wharton. Having academic and professional events available to all students has allowed me to integrate my legal education with other disciplines. I love being part of a rigorous academic community with countless opportunities to learn.
Penn Law is known for its collegial environment. Why is collegiality important to a legal education? How has it affected your legal education?
Here at Penn Law, the administration, faculty, students, and alumni make great efforts to welcome 1L’s to the community. Everyone wants you to succeed. From Day One, I have had multiple mentors ranging from alumni to 2L and 3L students. I feel at home here and know that I can look to my classmates, the faculty, and the administration for support. That collegiality is essential to both a positive law school experience, as well as the foundation for a successful legal career.
My Favorite Philadelphia Moment:
Sitting at our class orientation dinner at the National Constitution Center last August. It is such an honor to be studying law in the city where our country’s legal framework was created. I remember getting goose bumps as I could see Independence Hall from where we sat. Not many law students have that opportunity.
What I’m Most Proud Of:
Attending Penn Law.
My Extracurricular Activities at Penn Law:
Alumni Relations Committee
Online Editor, East Asian Studies Review
1L Representative, Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA)
What I Did For Public Interest:
As part of LALSA, I plan to participate in the club’s service activities in Philadelphia. I also hope to participate in the Externship and clinical programs in my 2L and 3L years.
My Favorite Place or Activity on the University Campus:
Silverman Hall. As the oldest building of the Law School, the Great Hall’s grand entrance and staircase create a very traditional and scholarly impression of Penn Law. The contrast of Silverman Hall to the newer buildings of the Law School is a great reminder of Penn Law’s rich history as one of the country’s oldest legal institutions.
What has been your favorite Penn Law moment outside the classroom?
Dean Michael Fitts invited my cohort to lunch with a notable Penn Law alumnus last month. It was part of his Career Crossroads series of bringing alumni to campus to speak with students. We had a delicious lunch in the Law Library and learned a lot about the attorney’s career path. It’s another example of how the Law School encourages students to interact with alumni both on campus and in the community.