For the next few weeks, I plan to showcase some of our students, administrators and professors so you can see what Widener Law offers. Although this post is focused on the Delaware campus, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information on the Harrisburg campus.
Damiano (Dom) del Pino, president of the Student Bar Association (SBA), is in his fourth year as an Extended Division (part-time) student. He has been highly active in the Widener Law community and gladly shares his experiences in different programs, classes and organizations. During a break in his busy schedule, he offered a few comments about Widener Law.
Dom has a challenging yet rewarding job leading the Student Bar Association. Widener Law’s chapter is extremely active with over 30 organizations and a strong commitment to community service. Students are encouraged to assist the local population and give back to Widener Law. Social networking is also a key component for the SBA, alumni are invited to every event and regularly attend as guests and speakers. They actively promote Widener and seek opportunities to interact with current students. Not only are students encouraged to network with alumni, they are also reminded that fellow students are future colleagues who can offer valuable professional partnerships in the future.
As a fourth year student, Dom has witnessed many changes on campus. The dorm room renovations impressed him. For example, each floor offers a kitchen unit with two stoves and secure cabinets for each dorm room; this is well maintained by campus services. Also, each dorm room has a micro-fridge unit for easy storage. Furthermore, both Shipley and Concord dorm buildings will replace their windows for improved insulation. In Shipley Hall, there is a gym open until 10 pm for students, faculty and staff. Furthermore, students are given membership to the Jewish Community Center (JCC), located about a mile from Widener Law, offering state of the art equipment and an Olympic style pool. One night per week, the JCC gym is reserved for Widener Law intramural sports teams.
In terms of safety, new cameras were installed by the townhouses and entrance to the dorms requires an activated campus ID. Call boxes will also be installed soon, providing immediate response if needed.
As a law student, you will likely spend a good deal of time in the library. Dom is impressed by Widener Law’s resources. As a public library, federal and congressional materials are available for students and the community. Although thousands of publications comprise three levels, our highly trained staff can locate any printed journal not housed in our center. Many library staff members also hold a J.D., not only can they assist students with research, but also with legal related questions.
Dom has also seen additions to technology. Most recently, Widener Law implemented a closed circuit tv network which allows anyone on campus to view events in our main venue – the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom. The Main Law Building offers outlets by each seat for laptops in every room and the entire campus has wireless internet. Every classroom also has tv and dvd access.
Some incoming students worry about Widener Law’s grading curve. Dom understands these concerns but believes the faculty do an excellent job in clearly describing our system. The grading system is transparent and detailed through two pages in the student handbook. Dom finds this to be unique at Widener since he heard that other programs allow faculty to develop different curves for each class. Widener Law has a standard curve for all students. He finds that the curve becomes less stringent for upperclassmen and is slightly easier now for first year students. Attorneys in the area know about Widener Law’s curve, especially when interviewing with Widener Law alumni. It is also well known that Widener Law’s program is very challenging; therefore J.D. graduates are considered extremely well-prepared for practice.
Dom mentioned a new Career Development initiative where a counselor provides personal counseling one night per week in the Main Law Building. Evening students seem to be particularly appreciative of these after hour sessions. Also, alumni are successfully employed, particularly in clerkships. He encourages new students to focus on their writing skills when applying for jobs. Employers care more about writing samples than GPA or class rank. Fortunately, Widener Law has a strong writing focus with three methods classes and one required seminar with a final paper.
New and prospective students should be excited with Widener Law’s growing reputation. Dean Ammons hired three new faculty with the same vigor and passion as new students and continues to renovate campus facilities. Dom is excited to see new developments during his final year.
To learn more about Dom, please visit his profile!