Law Student of the Year: Emily Bock, Temple University

Temple University Beasley School of Law third-year Emily Bock demonstrated a commitment to serving low income people in need of legal services before she even started as a law student.

She worked at the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women in Philadelphia and the Employment Unit of Community Legal Services (CLS) in Philadelphia. These formative experiences sparked her long-term interests in criminal defense and eliminating barriers created by criminal records.

While at CLS, Bock became involved as a volunteer with a restorative justice project at the maximum security state prison in Graterford, Pa., a commitment to which she continues to devote many hours. At Graterford, Bock works with incarcerated men to plan and design workshops providing other men with a new framework for understanding crime and their own role in the criminal legal system.

In her second year of law school she launched the Expungement Project, a new student pro bono group. She spearheaded the founding of the group by working closely with mentors at CLS and recruiting 43 students. Bock said there is a tremendous need for assistance with expungements in Philadelphia, the “poorest big city” in the U.S., where an estimated 20 percent of the population of 1.5 million (about 300,000 people) has a criminal record.

She is working with Professor Jennifer Lee at Temple’s Sheller Center for Social Justice to ensure that the successful project will continue to flourish after she graduates in May. She has also successfully lobbied the law school administration to allow first-years to sign up for pro bono projects on a limited basis in their first semester, with the idea that this would help in recruiting long-term, committed student volunteers to the project.

Bock is one of 25 future lawyers honored in the National Jurist’s inaugural “Law Student of the Year” feature. 

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