From trying cases in clinics or externships to tearing up the moot court circuit and finding their legal calling, six members of the Class of 2013 reflect on their time at Moritz and share their future plans.
When Janay Stevens ’13 packed her bags and left the alpine slopes and crystal clear lakes of Reno, Nev. three years ago, she did more than relocate for law school. She found herself a new home.
“I am an only child and daddy’s girl so it is hard,” she said. “But Columbus is definitely the right fit for me. It is a big city with a small-town feel and the most fantastic people.”
Stevens will be working at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP’s Columbus office after graduation in the labor and employment practice group. She spent the past two summers at the firm.
“I love the diversity of labor and employment law, and I welcome the idea of working with employers proactively,” she said.
The University of Nevada undergraduate is now a full-fledged Buckeye fan, attending every home game in the three years she spent in Columbus. She was the business editor of the Ohio State Law Journal and played a significant role in the new student organization SPEAK.
“I am very passionate about SPEAK and helping people engage in difficult conversations,” she said. SPEAK stands for Students Promoting Empathy, Action, and Knowledge.
Stevens took the Justice for Children Practicum, Mediation Clinic, and Civil Law Clinic while at Moritz.
“All three clinics were so different,” she said. “In the children’s clinic, my clients were young children, which required a different method for explaining things and working together. In the Civil Clinic, I was fighting to get a terminated employee’s paid time off paid. And, in the Mediation Clinic, I did not have a client and needed to be neutral. I had so many different experiences.”
On his way through law school, Branden Albaugh ’13 was able to experience firsthand all three levels of the state judiciary in Ohio. “Being a judge would be my dream job,” Albaugh said.
But, before he makes a run for the bench, Albaugh will start out as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia this fall.
After his first year of law school, Albaugh secured a summer position at the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office in the Appellate Unit, a position he continued to hold as a law student. Besides performing traditional law clerk duties, Albaugh made two appellate arguments before the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals during his final year of law school.
“The first one was a state’s appeal of an expungement case,” he said. “The argument went well, but we lost the case. The 10th District has since certified the ruling as being in conflict with decisions from other appellate districts, potentially paving the way for review by the Ohio Supreme Court. The second case was an appeal for ineffective assistance of counsel. I am waiting on a decision. Because I received my legal intern certificate, I also was able to put my name on written briefs as a 3L.”
Albaugh was also an extern for Judge Guy L. Reece II ’81 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas as well as Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
“It is unique to be able to experience all three levels of courts,” Albaugh said. “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to see the process at the different levels. It was challenging to go from the role of the advocate, writing persuasively, for the Franklin County Appellate Division, to evaluating the arguments for the Chief Justice at the Ohio Supreme Court.”
Albaugh also took the Prosecution Clinic, where he tried both a domestic violence case and a case involving a notorious scrap metal thief. He took Trial Practice with Judge Algenon L. Marbley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and his final classroom trial took place in Marbley’s downtown Columbus courtroom.
“Judge Marbley’s class was phenomenal,” Albaugh said. “Everyone got up in every class and tried out their skills and Judge Marbley would give constructive feedback. To learn trial skills from a practicing judge was a huge benefit.”
Albaugh was on the National Moot Court team and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. He also served on the Inter-Professional Council, representing all six Ohio State professional schools on the University’s Government Affairs Committee.
In May, Amanda Parker ’13 graduated with two degrees from Ohio State – her J.D. and an M.B.A. It took her four years, and she mastered parking on both ends of campus while shuttling between classes as well as very different teaching styles in the two schools.
“When I started law school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Parker said. “But, after I took Business Associations and learned about the Moritz Corporate Fellowship Program, I knew I wanted to earn a joint degree. I loved the Fisher College of Business, and classes there are so different than in law school. Every class I had was graded entirely on group projects.”
Parker will be a Moritz Corporate Fellow at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron for one year. She is taking the New York bar exam.
“I chose New York because it has great reciprocity, and I want to keep my options wide open,” Parker said. “I know I want to work as in-house counsel. I love the diversity of work and getting to really know the business side.”
She worked at Deere & Co., most commonly known as John Deere, as in intern while in law school.
“I want to be a lawyer, that has always been the bottom line,” she said. “But I loved what I learned on the business side, and I don’t want to have to do one or the other. Working in-house lets me still have those conversations with people in corporate strategy and talk about corporate goals. Often, companies give law firms limited information to narrow the focus of their work and keep costs down.”
This year, Parker participated in three different moot court or mediation tournaments, and did not spend a single weekend in Ohio in February. She tied for the Best Mediator award at the Great Lakes Mediation Tournament. She was also on the executive board of the Black Law Students Association while in law school.
“It really all flew by very quickly,” she said.
The career of Christina Karam ’13 was put on a trajectory one day when she sat in the William B. Saxbe Law Auditorium as a 1L listening to a judge speak from the podium.
“He wasn’t even talking about clerkships, but it came out as a side note, and I knew I wanted to learn more,” Karam said.
Karam will begin clerking this year for Chief Judge James C. Dever III in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C. In 2014, she will clerk for the Honorable Edward Carnes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. After that, she has an offer on the table from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York City, where she worked last summer, and hopes to focus on litigation.
“I have an accounting undergraduate degree, so I thought I might work on the business, transactional side of things,” Karam said. “But I love appellate litigation. I love the writing and the research. I even like Bluebooking.”
Karam started developing her appellate advocacy skills as an extern for Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton ’90 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She worked in chambers, attended oral arguments, and researched and wrote bench memos.
“It was so great just to be in chambers and to discuss the cases,” she said. “Hearing the thought process of the judge was invaluable.”
At Moritz, Karam was the chief managing editor of the Ohio State Law Journal and was on the ABA National Moot Court team that made it to the final four in the national competition.
“Judge Sutton was one of the judges we mooted with,” she said. “We were so well-prepared, and many of the questions we received during our moot sessions were harder than the ones the judges at the actual competitions asked us.”
In the distant future, Karam has her eyes set on a state solicitor general’s office.
For Tim Watson ’13, the battle of smartphones and other electronic devices is much deeper than photo quality, download speeds, and app availability. Watson is moving to Silicon Valley to work in intellectual property and patent litigation for Alston & Bird LLP. Watson, who earned an undergraduate degree in systems control engineering from Case Western Reserve University, will be the firm’s only Ohio State law school alumnus.
“Silicon Valley is one of only three places in the country where a lot of IP and patent litigation occurs,” Watson said. “The future of everything is going toward computers. My focus on large-scale systems has a lot of applications to other types of engineering. A lot of what I will be doing will involve computers and electrical engineering. There are a lot of cases involving smart phones and other telecommunications devices, all of which have thousands of patents associated with them.”
Watson will take the California bar exam this summer and will likely sit for the patent bar in the future.
“I always thought about going to law school in the back of my mind, even when I was pursuing an engineering degree,” he said. “I always did well in my writing courses, which is rare for an engineer. I thought law school would really help maximize my skills.”
While in law school, Watson’s experiences ran the gamut. His favorite course was the Legislation Clinic and, after spending a summer as a research assistant for professors Edward B. Foley and Steven F. Huefner, election law would be his alternative career choice. He was also the treasurer of the Public Interest Law Foundation and worked on the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution.
“I found that thinking like a lawyer and thinking like an engineer really are not that different,” he said. “They both require a lot of logical thinking and making very structured arguments.”
Alyssa Staudinger ’13 will be heading to the Nevada desert to work as a deputy district attorney in the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, which covers Las Vegas. After entering law school unsure of what she wanted to do, Staudinger has worked in three different prosecutors’ offices and took the Prosecution Clinic.
“I initially thought I would work at a law firm, and I didn’t particularly like my first-year Criminal Law class,” Staudinger said. “But after my first year, I applied for all kinds of jobs and ended up accepting a summer position at the Delaware (Ohio) County Prosecutor’s Office. I just loved it. I loved the action and the interesting issues. I started taking more criminal classes and realized this is exactly what I want to do.”
The following summer, Staudinger worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, located in Baltimore. During her third year, she worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
“In Baltimore, I worked on a lot of drug and gun crimes,” she said. “I wrote sentencing memos, memos related to the suppression of evidence, and researched the admissibility of certain evidence. I also was able to do some trial prep work and was all ready to sit at the counsel table during a trial, but, of course, the defendant accepted a plea at the 11th hour.”
In the Prosecution Clinic, Staudinger handled three cases.
“Even though I had already worked at both the county and federal level, the clinic was a different experience because there were so many issues like search warrants, collection of evidence, the thought process on deciding what charges to file that law clerks just don’t normally see. As a law clerk, the case is well-developed by the time it gets to you for research questions. In the clinic, I got to make some of those preliminary decisions, including what I was and was not willing to offer as a plea.”
In Clark County, Staudinger will start in the appeals division and after a year will apply to one of the office’s trial divisions.
“I knew I wanted to be a prosecutor so I applied to just about every office in the country that hires before graduation,” she said. “It worked out well that I am heading to Las Vegas.”
Tags: Alyssa Staudinger, Amanda Parker, Branden Albaugh, Christina Karam, Edward Foley, Guy Reece, Janay Stevens, Jeffrey Sutton, Steven Huefner, Tim Watson