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Montgomery Bar Association Article: Montco Bar 1L Program

1/6/2022 | Articles & Alerts, Media, News & Resources

By: Ivana Alexander, Esquire

I did not grow up wanting to be a lawyer. After I graduated from New York University, I accepted a position as a program director at the Salvation Army. I started an after-school program for low-income children near my birthplace in North Philadelphia. Advocating for my students, their parents, and my community sparked my interest in a career in advocacy. After establishing the after-school program and running it for three years, I decided to pursue law. I applied to Temple University Beasley School of Law and was accepted into the class of 2021.

I enjoyed my first year of law school. I made lifelong friends and gained valuable experiences. After the end of my 1L year I was accepted into the Montgomery Bar Association 1L Diversity Program. This program shaped the beginning of my legal career. I had the opportunity to meet federal judges and network with experienced attorneys. I connected with other diverse students. I experienced the wonderful community that the Montgomery Bar provided. I felt like the attorneys in the program truly wanted me to succeed. I hoped to join the Montgomery Bar one day down the line. Little did I know my hopes would come to fruition sooner than I thought.

The 1L Diversity Program placed me at Kaplin Stewart during my 1L summer. I worked primarily with attorney Pamela Tobin. From the start of my internship, she provided me with meaningful, substantive assignments. I drafted motions for a federal trademark infringement case. I drafted a pre-trial brief for a complex undue influence case. Pam was the greatest supervisor a shy, anxious 1L student could have. She provided me with constructive criticism on my writing and research skills. I developed into a confident legal researcher and writer after my summer at Kaplin Stewart. I continued to develop my writing and research skills over the next two years in internships with the United States Department of Labor, a federal Magistrate Judge, and a large regional insurance defense firm.

More importantly, Pam was invested in my future. She contacted my interviewers during OCI to give me a good reference and gave me invaluable career advice. We remained in touch after my summer internship ended. After I graduated from Temple Law and took the Pennsylvania bar exam, Pam reached out to me about interviewing for an associate position in the commercial litigation department at Kaplin Stewart. I was offered and accepted a position at the firm.

I could not be more appreciative and grateful to work at a firm that values their attorneys. The work is challenging and interesting. I am eager to flourish as an attorney at Kaplin Stewart and as a member of the Montgomery Bar Association. I am so grateful to Nancy Walsh and all the other amazing people at the bar who guided me to where I am standing now.

By: Pamela Tobin, Esquire

From my perspective, we hit the jack pot when Ivana came to intern at our firm the summer of 2019.  Ivana is smart, inquisitive and well, fun to be around.  She can be serious, but she is more often smiling.  She was eager to learn the practice of law and she took advantage of every opportunity that was offered to her that summer, whether it was to hear a lecture, attend a deposition or draft a motion.  I did advise her to clerk for a judge and to try working for a large firm, all of which she did.  When we had an opening, my first thought was of her, and we are so happy she accepted.  I feel so fortunate to have met Ivana through the Bar 1L program.  But for that experience, I do not know whether our paths would have crossed.  I am so glad that they did!  I look forward to watching Ivana grow as an attorney at our firm.  I would encourage all law firms to consider sponsoring a law student through the Bar’s 1L program.  It can lead to life changing and beneficial relationships you otherwise might not have the good fortune to experience!

Pamela Tobin, Esquire

Ivana Alexander, Esquire