Law Students for Reproductive Justice Career Panel
October 17, 2014
By Elizabeth Focht
The Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law started the year off with a bang when they hosted the first “Careers in Reproductive Justice” panel on September 24. Professor Joy Delman led the dynamic discussion, which was co-sponsored by OUTLaw and TJSL Career Services. Three esteemed panelists – Tracy Skaddan, general counsel of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest; Debbye Rosenthal ‘12, associate attorney at the Fertility Law Clinic; and Vince Hall ‘08, one of San Diego’s most experienced political professionals shared their insight and experiences with an eager audience of TJSL students and professors. Ms. Rosenthal and Mr. Hall are both proud TJSL alums.
The panelists recognized the importance of involvement in social justice and provided encouragement to the students in attendance. While acknowledging that the current job market is tough, the group emphasized the significance of building relationships and explained that sometimes career paths don’t always go as planned. For example, Ms. Skaddan spent many years as a litigator before finding her position at Planned Parenthood, and said she never imagined she would have the type of career she does today. Ms. Rosenthal, who graduated TJSL in 2012, advised the group not to be afraid to take jobs that they didn’t expect to take, because you never know where a position will lead. Ms. Rosenthal started her position at the Fertility Law Clinic working as a clerk three to four days a week; now, she is a full-time associate handling many exciting matters.
The panelists agreed that networking is one of the most fundamental activities for students and young professionals. They said that even though it’s awkward, you just have to go for it, stick your hand out and make those introductions. Mr. Hall elaborated that going to events and becoming a recognizable face within your desired field is an excellent way to get your foot in the door. He also gave the group valuable advice on how to stand out when submitting resumes and cover letters. Mr. Hall, who has read thousands of application packets, says employers look for candidates who explain how the position is a good fit for both the company and the applicant. The panelists echoed this sentiment and stressed the importance of showing how you will be an asset for that particular role and not having a one-size-fits-all application materials.
An engaging question and answer session followed the panel. The experts assured the students not to be afraid to make mistakes or take risks in their careers; such endeavors are all learning experiences. Students had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Hall, Ms. Skaddan, and Ms. Rosenthal after the panel. All three panelists encouraged students to keep in touch and contact them with further questions. The group strongly supports LSRJ and its social justice mission.
The Law Students for Reproductive Justice believe that Reproductive Justice exists when all people have the social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies and sexuality for ourselves, our families, and our communities. If you are interested in joining or learning more about the TJSL Chapter, please e-mail Elizabeth Focht or Mia Saling at email@example.com.