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Dwayne Bensing

Associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP
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    Dwayne Bensing L'12

I’m from Springdale, Arkansas. I went to the University of Arkansas and majored in Political Science and Communication. I deferred my admission at Penn Law to do Teach for America in Philadelphia, where I taught middle-school science and social studies.

I am currently an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP (Washington, DC Office). I’m still figuring out the future.

Clinics were my favorite courses.
I participated in both the Legislative Clinic and the Mediation Clinic. Those clinics were my favorite courses while at Penn. I maintain friendships with folks I worked with on the Hill through the Legislative Clinic. I hope to participate in mediations with the DC District Court once I am admitted to the DC bar.

I was the co-founder of the Civil Rights Law Project. My 1L Summer Internship was with the PA Human Relations Commission, one of the main partners of CRLP. So, that internship experience helped result in us offering students new pro bono opportunities through the project.

Life-long friendships form here.
The best experiences I had at Penn were outside of the classroom, whether it be with the Journal of Constitutional Law organizing the Symposium, with Lambda Law planning social and political events or preparing for our moot court competition, or whether it was with my 1L study group trying to figure out the differences between formal and informal rule-making. I’ll never forget how in my first semester, a week before Thanksgiving and two weeks before finals, when I got appendicitis, my section classmates all chipped-in to get me a get-well package. Though I may have never figured out the Rule Against Perpetuities, I think I got a lot more through the life-long friendships made at Penn.

A memorable closing argument.
I was in Judge Jones’ trial advocacy class my last semester. First of all, having a District Judge as a professor, particularly one with as much experience as Judge Jones, was a great opportunity. The “final exam” in the course was a mock trial. I had prepared, but not as much as I probably should have. Even through the course I was slow to volunteer and/or participate, being unusually timid. I did debate and other public speaking in college and relied on those past experiences to get me through the trial, attempting to incorporate some the many lessons taught and demonstrated, with ease and clarity, by Judge Jones throughout the year-long course. I was still nervous, though, as it was not every day that a U.S. District Judge was evaluating my work. At the end of the “trial,” Judge Jones gave individual feedback. He finally came to me. “And Mr. Bensing,” he said, with an added deliberate pause. My heart stopped. What was he going to say?? “That was the best cross examination and closing argument I have heard in all my years of teaching this course.” My head inflated too large to leave the court room! It was a great way to finish off my law school career.

Another best experience would be receiving my diploma from my partner, Christopher Howland (L’10), on graduation day. We were the first gay partners to participate in Penn’s tradition of allowing alumni to give diplomas to their family member. It was a memorable and touching experience.