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Steph Albano

Hometown: Medford, NJ


Prior Education: Lehigh University, B.A.


What I Am Hoping to Do with My Law Degree:

This summer I will be working in Allen & Overy’s international capital markets group at their headquarters in London, and I hope to return to the firm after graduation.


My Best Experience at Penn Law:

The day of our last final first semester. After weeks of holing up in the library and studying for exams, everyone suddenly had nothing to do and nothing to worry about until January. The law school had kegs and champagne for us in the Goat, and that night almost the entire class ended up at the same bar in Center City. Not only was it a great time, but also it was a great affirmation that while everyone here cares about doing well and is willing to work hard to achieve their goals, we still want to have a good time along the way.


Professor Who Influenced Me Most:

Professor Wax for Civil Procedure. I would be remiss if I went through my law school experience without having that one professor who pushed you to your limits and always demanded me. I was lucky enough to have such a professor for my first semester, in fact, my first ever law school class. Although she was definitely intimidating at first, we soon realized that she just wanted her students to succeed, and her previously intimidating brilliance became a source of inspiration for us.


My Favorite Course:

My favorite course so far is Intro to Intellectual Law and Policy with Professor Abrams. Because of my interest in media and entertainment law, this elective is a perfect fit for my interests. Additionally, Prof. Abrams leads an exciting class with a lot of student involvement and multimedia components to keep us on our toes.


An Example of How the Law School’s Cross-­disciplinary Approach Influences My Legal Education:

My Contracts professor also works with the Psychology department here at Penn, which gave our class a unique lens to examine the law of contracts through. She would often infuse the lessons with her findings from the study of Psychology, such as the optimum bias when allocating risk, or the endowment effect when determining appropriate remedies.


Meaningful Cross-­disciplinary Experience at Penn:

My Administrative Law professor is actually a professor at Wharton who teaches this course at the law school. His classes are refreshing, because they are taught in a hybrid law-­school/business-­school manner, incorporating legal cases with case studies and practical discussions on the current state of affairs in the Executive branch of our government.


Penn Law is known for its collegial environment.  How has it affected your legal education?

The collegial environment at Penn is precisely the reason I chose to come to law school here. Collegiality is so important to a legal education because law school is so competitive by nature, that adding increased competition in the student body would only lead to a negative environment. By working together as allies instead of viewing our classmates as the enemy and attempting to cut down their success, we are able to learn more and enjoy ourselves in the process. During finals, people’s true colors come out, and the people at Penn Law pass the “4 a.m. Test” of people you wouldn’t mind working with at four in the morning. Two examples of this: One, my birthday was the day before our first final and stress levels were running high, but one of my classmates took the time to bring me a cupcake and make sure that I took at least five minutes to enjoy myself that day. Two, another classmate and I sat together for about 10 hours in the lobby of my building going over our Civil Procedure outlines in detail the night before our exam. By the end of it, we were having such a great time and laughing about various statutes that the Wharton students (who are thought to have more time for fun than law students) asked us to take our fun elsewhere so that they could study for their exam. Therefore, even in the height of stressful times at Penn Law, we still make an effort to help each other stay sane and get through it together.


My Favorite Philadelphia Moment:

Our first main orientation event was held at the National Constitution Center, where we were inspired by the words of our nation’s founding fathers as we began our legal education. Having the opportunity to start studying the law on this historical site, in this historical city, was very moving and made me very proud to be a student at Penn Law.


My Extracurricular Activities at Penn Law:

At Penn Law, I am involved with PAC, or the Post-­Acceptance Committee; the Penn Law Women’s Association; the Penn Intellectual Property Group; and the Constitutional Literacy Project.


What I Did For Public Interest:

Last semester I became involved in two pro bono projects: the Civil Rights Law Project and the Penn Law Constitutional Literacy Project. For the former, I researched upcoming First Amendment cases in the Third Circuit for the Philadelphia ACLU in order to help them allocate their resources on various free speech issues. For the latter, I teach a class on constitutional rights to high school seniors at a local high school on Friday mornings. What I love about the public interest opportunities at Penn Law is the variety of offerings, as evidenced by my two very different pro bono projects, and I hope to work with more groups throughout the rest of my time here.


My Favorite Place or Activity on the University Campus:

I love going to Houston Hall, the undergraduate student center, for lunch during the week. Because I came to law school directly from undergrad, I still feel nostalgic for that lifestyle, and it is nice to be able to get that in the form of a good, old-­fashioned campus food court. Plus, the food is great, and the walk there from the law school is lined with the beautiful buildings of Penn’s main campus.