Rafael Perez, SJD Candidate
Universidad Catolica Andres Bello. (J.D. Equivalent)
Universidad Central de Venezuela. Specialization in Administrative Law (thesis pending)
What I Did Before Law School:
Before coming to Penn Law, I was practicing law as the Assistant of the Attorney General of Chacao, the financial municipality of Caracas. I represented the municipality in real estate transactions as well as in constitutional and administrative litigation.
Why I Chose Penn Law:
I chose Penn Law for different reasons. First of all, the school has a strong tradition in Constitutional Law. Penn Law’s first professor was James Wilson, one of the most prominent framers whose legal thoughts can be considered as one the cornerstones of American Law and his ideas are behind most of the current American constitutional law. Second, Penn Law offers a vast variety of courses and even gives you the opportunity to take Wharton courses, which serves to the important purpose of integrating law and other fields of study as finance and economics. Finally, the school is located in Philadelphia, the historical and exciting city where the Constitution was framed, located in the heart of the Northeast Coast between Washington D.C. and New York City.
My Best Experience at Penn Law:
I have only been in Penn Law for three months and so far my best experience was the first day of the summer program. I worked very hard to have the opportunity to study here and I had very high expectations of my classmates, my professors and the whole school. My expectations were completely fulfilled because everything was great, and it was a wonderful day.
Professor Who Influenced Me Most:
All my professors are great, but the one who has influenced me most is Professor Seth Kreimer because he takes everything to a deeper level and makes you think and doubt of even the more established legal principles and theories. In my opinion, Professor Kreimer makes sure you learn what I think are two of the most important lessons about law: 1) there is more than one correct answer to every single legal question; and 2) you can always find a deeper reasoning behind any legal statement.
My Favorite Course:
My favorite course is Constitutional Litigation. The course is intellectually challenging because every singe class takes you to a higher level of questioning and understanding. Moreover, when you take this course you have the opportunity to learn and apply principles of other courses such as American Civil Procedure, Federal Jurisdiction and Constitutional Law, which makes Constitutional Litigation even more interesting.
My Favorite Philadelphia Moment:
My favorite Philadelphia moment was when I watched the Phillies winning the World Series! They played so well for the entire season that they really deserved to win. The entire city was crazy and everyone was very happy.
What I’m Most Proud Of:
I really admire the environment that the Penn Law community has developed and how people get along with each other and how everyone is always willing to help. In my country, Ivy League Law Schools, in general, are famous for having a very competitive environment between students and for having faculty members who are not easily accessible. However, according to my experience at Penn Law, the generalization I just made is completely wrong because what I have found here is a very friendly environment among extremely brilliant students wanting to help each other. I have also found that the offices’ doors are always open. Staff, professors and even the highest school’s authorities are always willing to hear and teach you. I am very proud of being part of the Penn Law community.
My Extracurricular Activities at Penn Law:
There is a large list of different extracurricular activities at Penn Law. I belong to the Softball team, I have played with the soccer club, and both are fun because you get the chance to know people. Beside sports, I have joined the Latin American Law Students Association at Penn Law, which is great because we organize social events where we share the Latin American culture with everyone else. I have also participated in events organized by the International Law Organization, which is very interesting from my foreign legal background prospective. I teach Spanish in the language lunches and those are also great. I have a very good group of students who teach me a lot about their culture and legal background while they improve their Spanish skills.
My Favorite Place or Activity on the University Campus:
I love the Courtyard. No matter if it is a big event like a party, a barbecue, an informal meeting with a friend or just studying or having a coffee. The Courtyard offers the perfect environment. You have the trees and the grass surrounded by beautiful windows and lots of nice people.
Are there different Pro Bono programs at Penn Law?
Absolutely, Penn Law offers a wide variety of Pro Bono activities in many different areas, so every student is able to work for the community in the field of his or her interest.