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Saturday October 25, 2014

Law Grad Credits Mentors and Powerful Work Ethic for Success

News Release

Law Grad Credits Mentors and Powerful Work Ethic for Success

Your Source for University News
Media Contact:
Cathy K. Donovan
856-225-6627

Courtney Munnings’ journey into the field of law was far from direct. For the Springfield, Mass resident, becoming a lawyer may have crossed her mind, but she thought the hard work required was just too overwhelming. To her great surprise, the hard work she once feared has proved to be the most rewarding experience she’s had in her life.

This powerful work ethic, cultivated while at Rutgers Law–Camden, has also yielded her some impressive results: she’s lined up a position at a top Philadelphia law firm months before graduation.

“I knew a couple of lawyers, who had suggested law to me,” says the Temple University alumna, who began her undergraduate education positioned to become a dentist, but ultimately majored in Spanish. “I was working as a make-up artist for MAC Cosmetics, and thought I’d try law school out.”

The transition into law school had been intense, but she also found immediate and lifelong allies: her professors and her peers. 

As challenging as the first year had been, she can’t forget the classes that confirmed her decision to enroll in law school. “Torts with Prof. Oberdiek made me think I could really be a lawyer,” Munnings recalls.  She’s also grateful that she heeded John Oberdiek’s counsel to connect with Career Services as early on in law school as possible, an action that ultimately led to her first-year internship.

And when the course load ramped up, and her newfound confidence waned, other faculty members stepped up to offer guidance.

“The first time I was reading cases in Civil Procedure was scary,” she says. “I remember emailing Prof. Swedloff doubting myself and he quickly responded that I come to his office immediately.” 

She credits getting her academic footing in law school to Rick Swedloff’s willingness to break down the complicated information into steps she could understand.

From there, Munnings found great support and great fun in bonding with her fellow Rutgers Law–Camden students, with whom she spent many hours studying and navigating the rigors of a legal education. 

In her second year, Munnings took advantage of Rutgers Law–Camden’s student group options and became treasurer of the Black Law Students Association, participated in trial competitions, and was selected as a Marshall Brennan Fellow. The confidence she acquired at law school, she shared with others curious about the law, but also new to the material. When teaching the U.S. Constitution at Christus Academy in Camden, through the Marshall Brennan program, Munnings felt compelled to make sure, like her Rutgers Law–Camden professors, that her students also understood every step of the process.

This focus and drive led her to serve last summer for 10 intensive weeks, with a select few law students, as a summer associate at Pepper Hamilton, where she put her legal skills into action. While a competitive environment, the Rutgers Law–Camden student was well-prepared and even enjoyed researching and writing memos for actual cases. After graduation, she will return to Pepper Hamilton as a first year associate. 

Munnings says she’s excited for her family to come to what she calls her new home. And from all over the world, they will come to Camden to celebrate her success: her dad from the Bahamas; her mom from Washington D.C.; her aunt from South Africa. 

“I know I’m very lucky,” the Rutgers Law–Camden student says of the challenging job market confronting recent law graduates. “But I did go from not even thinking I’d get into law school, to doing well, to actually getting a job before graduating.”

Media Contact:
Cathy K. Donovan
856-225-6627
Your Source for University News