Stradley Summers 2020

Stradley Ronon kicked off its virtual summer associate program on July 6, welcoming to the firm 11 law students based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., including the 2020 recipients of Stradley’s Diversity Scholarship who will split their summers with firm clients Vanguard and the Investment Company Institute.

 Mustafa Almusawi           
 Ashley Evans           
 Rachel Ortiz
 Michael Amugo    Nancy Fisher    Joseph Thomas
 Zack Bradley    Amy Lyon    Grace Wydeven
 Katherine Durr    Geena Marzouca    

Mustafa Almusawi

MUSTAFA ALMUSAWI
Georgetown University Law Center
Washington, DC Office

As a 2020 recipient of Stradley’s Diversity Scholarship, Mustafa will be splitting his time with a firm client, the Investment Company Institute

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
As a junior in undergrad, I began exploring legal careers after a family friend inquired about how copyright law might impact a book his coworker published. That next summer, I interned for an immigration attorney and focused on asylum cases. Working with asylees was a rewarding experience and opened my eyes to the impact a lawyer can have.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
To avoid having a competitive mindset, and instead devote energy to personal development and the needs of others.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
My Contracts professor during 1L, Judge Gregory Maggs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, served as an excellent mentor and helped me approach problem-solving in a more structured, thoughtful manner.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I am interested in learning more about the investment management practice area, as well as gaining expertise in securities law generally. I also have a soft spot for IP and technology and would like to incorporate that into my career.


Michael Amugo

MICHAEL AMUGO
Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Philadelphia Office

As a 2020 recipient of Stradley’s Diversity Scholarship, Michael will be splitting his time with a firm client, Vanguard


What inspired you to become a lawyer?
My inspiration to become a lawyer came from observing my mom. She is a human rights attorney fighting transatlantic human trafficking. While growing up, I believed that training as a lawyer could help me become an instrument to drive social change.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad always told me if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. This inspires me to always look beyond my capabilities for opportunities to grow and challenge myself.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
David Skeel who was my Corporations professor at Penn Law. His structured, thoughtful and passionate approach to the subject of corporate law inspires me to be better. 

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I would like to focus on investment management as I believe this practice area offers me the rare opportunity to work closely with investment advisers, public and private funds, fund sponsors, fund boards, and other industry participants in solving routine and sophisticated industry problems.


Zachary Bradley

ZACK BRADLEY
Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I decided to become a lawyer when I realized that a career in law promises a variety of intellectual challenges and the opportunity to work through them to help the needs of a client. Going to law school and becoming a lawyer was the best way for me to translate the skills that have gotten me where I am today into a successful and fulfilling career.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
To always be in competition with yourself and to wake up every day looking to better yourself incrementally.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
I am inspired by Candy Barr Heimbach. She represents exactly the type of lawyer that I want to be: accountable, dedicated, selfless and driven. I could not have asked for a better mentor in my pursuit of becoming a lawyer.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
At the moment, I am not set on one particular practice area. I look forward to using the summer program to gain a better understanding of each of the practice areas so that I can make a more informed decision on where I see myself best meeting the needs of the firm.


Katherine DurrKATHERINE DURR
Temple University Beasley School of Law
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I planned to pursue a graduate degree in art history after college and began working at an art gallery in the meantime. Surprisingly, the business and logistical aspects of that job made me realize that law was the perfect way to expand on my background in language and the arts. Becoming a lawyer would put my creativity to use and give me new tools to contribute to the world around me.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad always jokes: “You don’t know what you don’t know!” It’s a continual lesson that reminds me to be curious, humble and prepared in everything I take on.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
During law school, I have had the privilege of interning in the chambers of the Honorable Gerald J. Pappert and the Honorable Maria McLaughlin. In unique ways, observing the rigor, precision and thoughtfulness behind each judge’s decisions has shaped the kind of lawyer I hope to become.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
For now, litigation appeals to me most because of the interpersonal dynamics and the strategy. My mind is open, and I anticipate that exploring various practice areas this summer will help clarify my focus.


Ashley Evans

ASHLEY EVANS
Rutgers Law School
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I knew I wanted to go to grad school because, as a psych major, I knew my options were limited without an advanced degree. I was between getting a Ph.D. or going to law school, and I chose the latter because I thought there were SO many avenues I could take and more fields I could learn.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
You'll never need motivation as much as you will self-discipline. It taught me that always waiting for some great inspiration to hit will waste your time. The only way to move forward is to keep moving forward.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
Professor Sarah Ricks, who was my legal writing professor. She's such an intelligent, accomplished, and respected woman in law. Her career has been so diverse, and I admire that whatever task she takes up, she gives 110%, always.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I'm still looking forward to exploring different practice areas. As of right now, my interests include business or intellectual property law.


Nancy Fisher

NANCY FISHER
Temple University Beasley School of Law
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I would say a combination of things. I started with an interest in learning about the criminal justice system, which expanded to the legal system as a whole in college. I enjoyed studying sociology, ethics and philosophy, and eventually realized that I would probably enjoy studying the law. Thankfully that turned out to be true. Now my motivation comes from wanting to build my skills as an advocate and have the greatest impact on the lives of my loved ones and my community.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

A few come to mind, but I was recently told not be afraid of not knowing. I think this applies to not knowing the answers to both small and big questions, from specific legal questions to what I want to do with my life. I live in the now and (try to) focus on the doors in front of me.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
Min Suh is my Philadelphia Diversity Law Group mentor, and she has inspired me with her fearlessness and professionalism. She has worked hard and dedicated herself to making changes, sometimes difficult ones, to shape her practice and her life. 

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I am not sure yet. I enjoy litigation and written/oral advocacy and would like to continue to grow my skills in this area. But I have heard great things about Stradley's other practice groups and would like to be exposed to as many of them as possible this summer. 


Amy Lyon

AMY LYON
Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
During my last semester of college, I took a course on Native American law taught by a Native American judge. The course presented unique challenges that were unlike the challenges I commonly grappled with while pursuing a science degree. I learned to view history and current events through a legal lens and was interested in the law’s influence in every aspect of an individual’s life. With this new perspective and appreciation for the law, my plans changed and law school was pushed to the forefront.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My homestay parent in Australia would remind me to live in the present moment. This simple piece of advice is something I often overlook as someone who is always planning and preparing for the future. Australians enjoy the simple things in life and taught me to be mindful of this simplicity.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
My professor and mentor, Rachel López, inspires me. Watching the way she carries herself as a humble and kind individual, but also as someone who achieves many accolades for her various responsibilities and passions is inspiring. She takes on challenges with grace and an open mind, which is something I hope to emulate as a lawyer. Judge C. Darnell Jones II is also a source of inspiration. He is able to respect and focus on each individual he meets, regardless of the circumstances. Because of him, I strive to stay optimistic and build meaningful connections with others.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I have several practice areas that I am interested in, but I am unsure of which area I would like to focus on. I hope to narrow down this list while in the summer program.


Geena Marzouca

GEENA MARZOUCA
American University Washington College of Law
Washington DC Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
While getting my undergraduate degree, I decided to go to law school after I graduated, which seemed like the best option because my skill set was a good fit for the legal field.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A former boss told me I needed to learn when and how to say no and not take on more than I can handle. I have always been tempted to say yes to everything that is asked of me, but I recognize that is not sustainable.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
I am inspired by many of my law school professors, especially those who make time to take students under their wing.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I am most interested in the securities field because it is where I have the most experience.


Rachel Ortiz

RACHEL ORTIZ
Temple University Beasley School of Law
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I always wanted to become a lawyer. After joining the military, I didn’t know if it would ever happen. I spent a year in the Republic of Korea where my closest friends were military lawyers. They inspired me to take the leap and pursue a career in law.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A mentor of mine taught me to always take time to listen and observe first. Whether in making everyday decisions or when joining a new team, I try to keep that in mind.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
The Hon. Judge Wendy Beetlestone from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania inspires me. She is fair, compassionate, and authentic. Her example inspires me to never back down from a challenge and always find a way to make it work.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I’m not sure yet. I hope to gain exposure to as many practice areas as possible this summer.


Joseph Thomas

JOSEPH THOMAS
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
While developing my real estate startup, I had to address all sorts of issues along the way. I eventually realized that my skills and experience could be put to even greater use in the legal field. A significant life event gave me the jolt I needed to break the mold, and support from my loving family, friends, and colleagues helped me make the transition into law.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A brilliant artist friend from the Lumbee Tribe, Ashley Minner, created a series of letterpress prints that simply say: “Nothin' to it but to do it.” I often look to this advice when fear and self-doubt encourage procrastination.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
My professors at Villanova Law have been a great source of inspiration and support throughout my 1L year. Additionally, I have been inspired by lawyers from literature and works of drama, such as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, because they unshakably clung to what was right and just, despite the consequences they faced for doing so.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I am interested in specializing in tax law. I enjoy breaking down complex concepts into understandable terms and explaining the why and the how to folks who are less familiar with the nitty-gritty intricacies of tax planning. Tax impacts everyone in some way, shape or form, and I delight in being able to relate to people. As an analytical thinker, I have a knack for navigating puzzles, evolving strategies and solving problems, all of which play an important role in tax law.


Grace Wydeven

GRACE WYDEVEN
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
Philadelphia Office

What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I have several family members who are lawyers, and I have always admired their ability to problem solve and help people in need. I knew that I wanted a career where I could use the skills I had developed in college to be an effective advocate for others, so law school was the perfect fit.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Stay curious and ask good questions. One of my professors in college always told me that in order to learn new skills, you have to be willing to ask questions.

What impactful judge or lawyer inspires you?
I have been really inspired by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro. I had the honor of working for the Attorney General’s Office last summer in the Insurance Fraud Section. Through that experience, I got to see firsthand the positive impact that Mr. Shapiro and his office have on the citizens of Pennsylvania.

What practice area would you like to focus on, and why?
I’m interested in the litigation practice area, especially in light of the impact COVID-19 has had on the legal field. However, I am also looking forward to gaining exposure to all of the other practice areas that Stradley offers.