The custody and support assistance (casac) is a student founded and run organization that assists low income Philadelphians with their custody, child support, and protection from abuse needs. We work closely with Philadelphia Legal Assistance, which is a local legal aid organization in town, which provides us space and in addition providing us supervision from a practicing attorney in family law. And then we work very closely with the Penn Law community as all of our advocates are Penn Law students.
Some differences between the casac experience and the classroom experience include really the handson and practical nature of the work that you do. In the classroom, most of our work is focused on the law, not much as on the facts of the case, those have already been developed. However, during CASAC as advocates, really you are discovering the facts during each intake and during phone contact with the client as the case goes on. Developing those facts and helping them learn how to present them best before a judge or master.
In a custody support or protection from abuse hearing and additionally, for some clients we will be drafting documents, so helping them prepare pleadings for them to file in court. This will be my second year with CASAC and I chose to stay on and even apply and become a board member and a shift manager because CASAC was my saving grace last year. I worked for a number of years before coming to law school and I did not expect the transition.
To be so difficult for me back to school, but it really was. casac was the one time a week where I didn’t have to think about text books, I didn’t have to worry about being cold called. I went down to the PLA office, the Philadelphia Legal Assistance office, and I was working one on one with real clients who had real issues that I could actually help them with. I walked out of every CASAC shift, as long as it may have been or as difficult as some of the issues may have been, I walked out of every CASAC shift feeling like I had.
Done something to help someone else. and i had made a real difference. that’s what kept me going throughout my 1L year. I have stayed with the program all three years of my time at Penn Law because I just found it was not only helpful to me as developing as a young attorney, but I felt it was a great opportunity to actually serve the local community. I came to law school hoping to really give back, to add something to society so to speak and this provided great opportunity to do.
That. your working with so many people over the course of a year and you get to see them progress though this process on issues that are really personal to them. You know, these are issues on access to their children or being able to put food on the table. These are really important things in their lives and you get to help them manage that and you work in a system where ofter they are left to their own not understanding just how to navigate the courtroom. And you can help them do that. So, I think it has been a really.
Jesse Krohn L11 on representing indigent teen parents
My name is jessie krohn. i graduated from penn law in 2011 and i am currently a staff attorney at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, which is a nonprofit civil legal services agency here in Philadelphia. I am in the family law unit and I help low income Philadelphians with problems pertaining to child custody, child support, and domestic violence. I came to Philadelphia Legal Assistance as a Skadden Fellow. I got my Skadden Fellowship in 2011 and started in 2012. Before that I was in practice in Maryland. So my work did.
Put me in the family law unit at philadelphia legal assistance, but it also gave me the opportunity to shape what my role would be. So, for my first two years at PLA, what I would do is, all the legal services that we had were parents who were under the age of 21. So, I was working with teen parents, some who were in foster care, some who had multiple children, some who did not speak english, some who were victims of domestic violence, many victims of sexual assault, so feel like I was addressing an already vulnerable population.
And kind of addressing these even smaller vulnerabilities within it. and i felt really excited about that work and it was something that my law school career had kind of been propelling me towards. When I was at Penn Law, I was a Toll Public Interest Scholar. I enjoyed being part of the Penn Law public interest community generally, but being a Toll Scholar in particular was really great because the opportunities to make connections and to just kind of be known and an entity. Penn will support anyone who.
Is interested in public interest, but it really helped to kind of already start known to other people as someone who is committed to this work and someone you could kind of count on to be someone who would care, who would be involved, who would want to participate. It was important to me to come to law school and kind of step into that ready made community. One of the things that I really like about Penn Law is that the opportunities for public interest aren’t really limited to the public interest opportunities on campus through student.
Groups or law school sponsored s, but also the opportunities to get that kind of real world experience off campus. When I was at Penn, I obviously did summer internships that pretty much everyone does, but Penn kind of helped me develop a way to split my summer so I had extra exposure to multiple organizations and I also did a one semester externship and that was a really terrific experience because I was meeting practitioners, experiencing what it is to work daytoday as a public interest lawyer. I think that kind of exposure.