A week or so ago, I received an email invitation to attend Alumni Weekend at my law school alma mater, the Temple University Beasley School of Law. And because this is my class’ Silver Anniversary year, there is additional hoopla planned for us. Attached to the email was a list of all of the members of the class and their current contact information.

Glancing at the list, I was surprised at how large the class actually was on the one hand and how few of the names I actually recognized on the other. Our class includes a former US Congressman and a current one, senior partners at large Philadelphia law firms, Federal and State Court judges, top homicide prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys, and a surprising number of married couples. Who knew law school was such a “meet” market?

Law school, of course, is a much different experience than a resident college where you’re interacting with classmates continually: in class, in the dorms, in the dining hall, in the gym, on the quad and at off-campus student hangouts.

In law school, especially an urban school like Temple, where there was a substantial population of “returning” students, like me, with families and professional obligations, you don’t see much of your classmates outside of class. The minute that class is over, you’re out the door to attend to your other interests.

Where you did spend a lot of time with classmates, however, was in Clinical Programs. The one I participated in was the Defender Program that was administered by the Philadelphia Public Defender’s office. The idea was to give you some practical courtroom experience so that your knees would not be knocking together the first time you were representing a paying client in court.

I made two enduring friendships in that 12-student practicum, one now a top homicide prosecutor and the other a top public defender, but what I remember most about my classmates was this one woman who, when the rest of us were dreaming of becoming center-fielders for the Brooklyn Dodgers even though we could not hit a curve ball, must have been pretending to defend her Barbie doll for killing her abusive Ken doll.

She never thought that any criminal defendant could ever possibly actually be guilty of the crime charged, a belief that never failed to engender a cascade of eye-rolling amongst the rest of us given that the vast majority of criminal defendants are, in fact, guilty as charged.

I’m trying to imagine what my classmates from that clinical program will be thinking about me when I tell them that the claims that I see being made against my home inspector clients actually never do have any validity. It’s a great lesson in home inspector training.

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