Jessica Marco, 3-L | Medina, OH
My name is Jessica Marco and I graduated magna cum laude from Ohio Northern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. While at Ohio Northern for undergraduate studies, I studied Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow, Scotland. While there, I traveled around Europe and the United Kingdom. I also have experience as an Intern Investigator at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia as well as experience at Building Blocks Adoption Agency in Medina, Ohio. Throughout my law school career, I held a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Michael P. Kelbley in the Court of Common Pleas in Tiffin, Ohio. I am the 2012-2013 Articles Research Editor on the Board of the Ohio Northern Law Review. Additionally, I was the Chief Justice of Phi Alpha Delta, International Law Fraternity and am a Teaching Assistant for Public Law and the Legal Process. I was clerk at a law firm, Duncan Simonette, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio for the summer, 2012.
My interests outside of law school include gymnastics, reading, foreign films, and traveling. Interestingly, I am the great-grandniece of Anthony J. Celebrezze. Celebrezze was the mayor of Cleveland, served as the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the Cabinets of both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, served on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and has an archive room dedicated to him at Ohio Northern University College of Law.
Blog Post 1: Why ONU Law?
The leading factor in my decision to attend ONU College of Law was the immediate “at-home” feeling that struck me upon entering the law school. After attending ONU for my undergraduate studies, I decided it was the best place to continue my education. The principal question I kept in mind during the admissions process was simply “where would I feel most comfortable?” Had I not known anything in general about ONU prior to my visit to the College of Law, my decision and feelings would not be any different. Did I want to be one of too many students whom a professor wouldn’t recognize outside of class? Or do I want to be one student out of many, each of whom a professor has the desire to get to know personally? The latter of course was my answer. The faculty and staff were so welcoming and I was highly impressed with the conversational and intimate atmosphere of the classroom.
Preparing for law school and actually attending law school are fairly different. Studying for the LSAT was very daunting, intimidating and quite frankly did nothing but further my anxiety about actually attending law school, let alone getting in somewhere. After sitting through my first few days of class, I realized that law school was more than a series of LSAT tests, and that the unnecessary anxiety and apprehension about the correlation of my LSAT score with my performance in school was moot. Succeeding in law school became clear, very quickly. It wasn’t some complicated mathematical equation, nor did it require no life outside of school (though sometimes that is true), and it certainly wasn’t about having the rare genetic genius gene and scoring the highest on the LSAT. It was simple: preparation, determination, and a desire to succeed. Once I realized those three simple things, the anxiety about actually attending law school, and being scared about how hard I thought it would be, disappeared almost instantly. All in all, my advice would be (1) to put effort into the LSAT, but don’t fret if you don’t get the score you hoped, it’s truly not the end of the world and it will likely not be determinative of your success in law school, (2) if you want to do well, you will, and finally (3) let your determination reflect in the entire admissions process. While going to law school is scary, the feeling is temporary, especially if you choose a school with faculty and staff who reflect their desire to help you and who are your biggest advocates. With this in mind, the admissions process is just the beginning to your success, but it is not that which is determinative: what is, however, is your attitude, your desire, and your determination that will get you where you want to be. I can end with saying that choosing to go to ONU was the decision that I will never regret as it’s gotten me exactly where I want to be.
Blog Post 2: An Environment Designed for Success
The academics at ONU Law are designed in a way that best shapes law students’ ability to “think like a lawyer” and to learn how to read and write like a lawyer. Further, the substance of the classes offered is intended to teach the basic foundations of the law, along with current emerging issues today. There are seminars and skills classes offered to allow a student to choose particular subjects that are either of interest to them, or will best prepare them for practice.
One of my past favorite classes was Scientific Evidence where it was based on the admission of expert testimony in the courtroom. Specifically, it gave students the chance to learn the difference between science and the law, which is different than I had ever imagined. Currently, my favorite class is a Negotiations class which teaches students how to be better negotiators along with life skills of how to get along with others in difficult situations (including arguments/disagreements with those closest to you).
The interaction with professors here is unlike anything I’ve come across. As I previously stated in my first blog, the professors truly care. They are willing to help with anything from personal issues to class questions to helping you find a job. They are a fantastic resource and go way above and beyond their job descriptions. Feeling comfortable talking with them on a daily basis and them knowing who I am as a person has really contributed to my overall experience here at ONU Law. This openness in turn leads to it being very easy to find academic support- whether it is from the two academic support advisors or any other professor. Having gone through a personally difficult first year due to a family tragedy, the support from the staff here was incredible- it felt like being surrounded by people who truly care.
The atmosphere of law school in general is competitive, there is no denying that and there is no doubt you will run into it at any law school. That isn’t to say, however, that you won’t find a group of people to work with. Generally, everyone realizes they are in the same boat, and if you show someone else you are willing to help, it is usually reciprocated. The competition is prevalent but it is not detrimental, and I find that if you turn the competition around to be competitive with no one else but yourself, it makes it a whole lot easier. My advice is to stick with a group of people with whom you can trust and with whom all are willing to contribute to the support and help on the same level. It isn’t about being better than someone; it’s about learning the material for yourself to help you in the future.
Blog Post 3: Engagement Outside the Classroom
There are a variety of student organizations on campus offering student’s many options to become involved in extracurricular activities and organizations. They include: Criminal Law Society, Christian Legal Society (CLS), Environmental Law Society (ELS), Federalist Society, Icelandic Legal Exchange Program, International Law Society (ILS), LAMBDA Law Students' Association, Legal Association of Women (LAW), Public Interest Law Association, Sports Law Society, Street Law Society, Student Bar Association (SBA), Moot Court, Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) and Law Review. This list is not exhaustive, though represents the majority of organizations. These organizations are available to all law students and I would encourage new student’s to pick and choose which ones they are interested in and are willing to devote time to. Some of them are available through a selection process such as law review and moot court. Others, however, are easy to become a member and include fun activities throughout the year requiring as much participation and dedication as you are willing to put forth.
While at ONU College of Law, I have been the Chief Justice of Phi Alpha Delta, International Law Fraternity (PAD) (2011-2012), a staff editor on the Law Review (2011-2012), and a Board Member of Law Review (2012-2013) to name a few. Balancing academics with organizations was a challenge at first, but becomes easy once you get into the groove of law school and managing time. It takes flexibility and dedication in order to do such. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as Chief Justice of PAD as it was fun to run an organization that mostly has fun activities outside of school. As an incentive to get participation in the organization, PAD puts on events such as a flag football tournament, a Continuing Legal Education Seminar, a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, and other cookouts and food drives outside of school. I have found it necessary to become involved in out of classroom activities because it is easy to get so bogged down with law school that it’s difficult to remember to have fun. Being involved in organizations gives you a chance to get away from school while still focusing on it. Law Review is another creature and demands time in school and requires as much time as any other class- learning to balance that into your schedule requires treating it like a job.
Many students spend time together outside of organizational functions and activities. Everyone is in the same boat and sometimes spending a late night with your peers in the library leads to a group of people gathering and doing something fun. It is important to keep a support system and friends while in school because it balances the intensity of law school. Whether it is in this way, or through organizational activities, much time is spent with peers and is a personal choice on how much time that is. All in all, law school is a small community inside and out of the academic realm.
Blog Post 5: Real Life Experience
While at Ohio Northern, I participated in the judicial externship program in the summer after my first year of law school. It was probably one of the best decisions I have made while in law school. There is an opportunity for entering 2L and 3L’s to participate in a judicial externship for 2 credits. There are many state and federal judges who participate in the program. I worked under the supervision of The Honorable Michael P. Kelbley at Seneca County Common Pleas Court. During the summer I helped out with research and writing for Judge Kelbley and had the opportunity to sit in on many court proceedings with him as well as with the domestic relations division on the same floor.
It was quite interesting as it gave me the opportunity to apply what I had learned so far in law school to real life situations. It was also pretty neat when Judge Kelbley would consult me for my opinions on certain cases and how I would rule. Afterwards, he sincerely took my thoughts into consideration before deciding. There was one case I sat in on that was so high profile I had to sit behind the armed court reporter. It is a great experience and one that law school alone cannot teach students. Participating in a program such as the judicial externship really gives students the opportunity not only to participate in, but also to observe how different attorneys act, prepare, and argue in court. It was interesting to observe many behaviors that I would not follow along with and also observations of behaviors that I thought were professional and very effective in the courtroom. Law school classes and law outside of the classroom is very different and a judicial externship enhances a student’s experience in legal education more so than just sitting in a classroom and discussing hypothetical situations; a judicial externship exposes students to reality.
All that is needed to participate in a program such as a judicial externship is to fill out an application and work with a professor who will match you to a particular judge. That same professor will collect weekly journals about your experience and a writing sample if you wrote an opinion for a judge. Grades are determined based on the writing the professor collects. It is a unique and well worthwhile experience for any student wishing to be exposed to the reality of law outside of the classroom.
Blog Post 6: The January Term Experience
The January term serves many purposes. For first year law students, the three week term is a chance for law students to gain knowledge about how to take a law school exam, how to think and write like a lawyer. The term provides students with an opportunity to take practice MPT exams that are part of the Bar exam, and allows students to get feedback from a professor on how to improve. It is a very practical course that gives students a chance to improve their exam taking ability in school and for the bar exam. While the class does have homework and is graded, it is definitely less intense than the fall/spring semesters so students have a chance to enjoy being at school and being with friends outside of school.
For second and third year law students, the January term is optional. I cannot say too much about it because I opted not to take it both my second and third years. During this time off I worked on applying for jobs, relaxing after a stressful fall semester, and used it as a time to work on law review papers and editing. After a stressful semester, it is really nice to use this time off to do things that you might be too busy to do during the semester and catch-up on life outside of law school.
Blog Post 7: Focusing on Academic Success
This semester I am taking a variety of courses including: Entertainment Law; Real Estate, Finance, and Mortgage law; Transitions to Ohio Practice (bar study prep course); Alternative Dispute Resolution; and Negotiations: Dealing with Emotions, as my seminar requirement. It is really nice to be a third year law student because you can choose classes that interest you most. The negotiations seminar and a negotiations skill class (that I took last semester) are new to ONU. I have really enjoyed those in particular because they are very practical. The classes teach you how to deal with people in a negotiation setting and how to come up with a valuable and favorable agreement—which will occur no matter what area of law you choose. It is a unique course and is one I will talk about in job interviews due to how practical it is and how useful the skills you learn are to employers. Additionally, the alternative dispute resolution class is also interesting because we actually conduct real mediations starting the second week of class. This gives students an opportunity to be thrown out into the real world and learn as you go. It is tough to teach people how to deal with people until they actually have to in reality. These two classes prepare students well in this regard through the interactive and realistic nature of the courses.
I cannot say that I have a particularly favorite professor at ONU because they are all great. All of the professors here are willing to help, to write recommendations, and to sit and talk about more than just school. This semester the third years, including myself, take a class called “transitions” which prepares students for the bar exam through a review of a couple classes and practice exams. Professor Sabol teaches this class and is also head of academic support here at ONU law. In addition, she keeps tabs on everyone studying for the bar exam whether it is for the February or the July bar exam. She is a great resource for the students as she calms students down and keeps tabs on everyone to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to in preparation for the bar exam. I think this opportunity she provides is rare and something ONU law, including myself, is very proud to have.