Month: February 2021

Immigration Moot Court Competition

Have you ever signed up for something and during the process thought “never doing this again”? That was me for the past 2 months during our moot court competition. However, when everything came together at oral argument this past Friday (Feb. 12th) I enjoyed every second of it. Now that it’s over, I am so glad I put myself through that experience. This competition was 100% the most difficult I had ever been involved in, but also the most rewarding.

A little background.
Moot Court is an honor society to which you can “grade on” or “write on”. Once in the organization, you sign-up for a competition. I chose immigration because my ultimate goal is to become an immigration attorney. The excitement begins when your problem “drops”. My partner and I received our problem on December 18th. Our brief was due January 31st and, you guessed it, we researched and wrote up until the last second. But wait there is more. Then came oral argument preparation. We had 1 day to prepare our argument outlines because we began “mooting” the following day. Our coach had several moots lined up for us. We had no time to lose because oral argument was in less than 2 weeks. Even though we are currently completely virtual, our professors and Widener staff were more than willing to help us moot. We were even allowed to do our oral argument on campus. Having the technology and court-like atmosphere helped mentally prepare us for what was coming. We had 3 oral arguments and it was absolutely amazing because I was able to demonstrate that I knew the law and that we, as respondent, had the better argument.- Obviously!

Final thoughts.
This competition absorbed so much of my time, but all the time and work I put into the competition allowed me to enjoy oral arguments because I knew I was prepared. I am in my final semester of my 2L year and this competition has been one of the best experiences. There were many times during this competition that I questioned myself- did I find all the relevant cases, am I missing something, how should I answer that question, how do I organize what I want to say, etc. I am so proud of myself for getting through my fears and this competition. I’m so thankful to be a part of the Widener community. The support we received from all the professors, staff, alumni, and administration was unbelievable.

Definitely give Moot Court a try, you might regret it during the process, but I assure you – it will be one of the best things you do in your law school career.

Get Involved!

I am Daina Pizarro, a 3L at Widener. I am involved in several extracurriculars on campus and off campus.

I am the President of the Federal Bar Association, the Vice President and Treasurer of Trial Advocacy Honors Society, Vice President of Criminal Law Society, Vice President of the Latin American Law Student Association, Vice President of the Veterans Association, Student Ambassador, and on the schools National Trial Team.

I intern at Crisp & Associates, LLC which is a military defense firm, and nanny for two families part time.

There are many reasons I am so involved. 1) I love to be busy, staying busy forces me to have great time management; 2) extracurriculars make you well rounded and set you apart from others; 3) I love taking leadership, being on the executive board of the organization I am a part of gets me a chance to move the org in the direction I want them to go; 4) it gives me experiences you can’t get solely in the classroom; 5) it gives me a break from law school work; and 6) I can am linked up with other students who have similar interests as me!

I am here to tell you, get out there, try new things, and try things that you are interested in. It is possible be involved and still get good grades. So go for it! Go to the interest meetings, go to the happy hours, and get involved. It has made be a better law student, a better future lawyer, and an overall well rounded person. There is a organization on campus for anything you can think of and anything you are interested in. If there is not an organization, you can start one!

What A Difference A Day Can Make

On a Friday during the Spring of 2019 instead of going to my classes at Penn State I left for Harrisburg to attend Accepted Students Day at Widener Commonwealth Law School. Upon first arriving at Widener Commonwealth I was struck by the stark difference in the size of the campus as opposed to the one which I had become accustomed to during my time at Penn State. At first, I was leery of the small size of Widener but by day’s end after listening to various students, professors and administrators speak of their fond regard for their small close-knit community, I realized the size and scale of the law school might be a welcome change. In fact, that brush with the Widener Community was the primary reason I chose to attend Widener Commonwealth. In particular I found what several Widener students had to say about their personal experiences most impactful. The students spoke of the relationships they had fostered with their professors and how influential those relationships had been in the early stages of their legal careers. On average I talk to a professor (one-on-one) at least once a week to discuss class material, ask for guidance with moot court, seek insight about internships and the list continues.

In addition, when I was a 1L the upperclassmen were willing to help in whatever way they could. They were not intimidating and were cognizant of the challenges of adjusting to law school. They inspired me to do the same. As a 2L I became an Academic Success Fellow for Contracts I and II. I hold weekly office hours to meet with 1L students. It has been a pleasure to provide whatever support they might need in a particularly challenging 1L year.

I am happy to say I have experienced all the benefits of Widener Commonwealth described at Accepted Students Day despite the pandemic restrictions. I feel the nature of our close-knit community that was so apparent to me at Accepted Students Day has been a true blessing during this pandemic. I believe our law school community’s already tight-knit nature allowed it to adapt as seamlessly as possible to a virtual format. The administration and staff provided all of its students with the flexibility and support needed. In addition, the Widener Commonwealth professors continued to impress me and went above and beyond to make sure we received the same legal education we would have if we were attending in person. Although I was no longer able to walk down the hallway and stop into a professor’s office, I could still meet with the professors just as frequently and with relatively the same ease. In some way the professors became more available. All you have to do is send an email and they are willing to jump on zoom to discuss something.

The relationships I have developed with the professors at Widener are something I never experienced during my undergraduate career. I can already sense the impact these relationships have had on my legal education and I am certain when I graduate their value will come into an even sharper focus. I will always be grateful for the support and direction from these dedicated professors. I only hope that they will not change their email or phone numbers because I suspect I may still have a few questions after my time at Widener is over.