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Practitioners who want to give back to the legal community, sharpen their skills and round out their professional lives frequently find themselves standing behind lecterns, though not necessarily at conferences, CLE courses or bar section meetings. Many such attorneys become adjunct faculty members, teaching law students the ins and outs of employment discrimination, contract drafting and legal writing, among other subjects. Alice Ballard, an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, told The Legal Intelligencer that she believes educating future lawyers is simply part of professional life. The attorney said she had found her work at Penn Law — and previously Villanova University School of Law — both rewarding and helpful, since teaching keeps her on her toes. Dechert partner Vernon Francis is one of Ballard’s fellow adjuncts. He teaches an introductory defamation course and said the work is great fun. The labor and employment, media and privacy law classes are full of smart, well-prepared students who make the work challenging, he said. And after teaching for four or five years, Francis said, he thinks most adjuncts view the experience as a privilege. And like Ballard, who has been molding students’ advocacy skills for more than 20 years, Francis said he finds that teaching what he practices keeps him sharp. Another lawyer, Teresa Cavenagh, an adjunct faculty member at Temple University Beasley School of Law, also said her teaching efforts improve her own work. Cavenagh has been a Temple Law adjunct legal writing and research professor since 1990. She told The Legal Intelligencer she believes that it’s important to give back to her alma mater and that being a writing and research instructor keeps her fresh because she learns something new with each course. But all three attorneys said the time commitment teaching requires makes the endeavor challenging. Ballard, who heads her own firm, has been teaching an appellate advocacy course at Penn Law for the past three years. The attorney said she would not be returning for a fourth year. Because she works with only one other attorney — an associate — Ballard will not be able to continue in appellate advocacy. She said the course is just too time-consuming for her practice. In fact, Ballard said, while she is not the only adjunct faculty member at Penn Law who is also a sole proprietor, she does believe she is the only appellate advocacy adjunct who is serving as her own boss. According to Ballard, adjuncts find it easier to make time for teaching when they come from firms that are able to support their members’ curricular activities. Francis said he’s grateful that Dechert is tolerant of the time he spends away from the demands of his daily practice. Like Ballard, Cavenagh said her courses require generous time commitments. The Duane Morris partner described teaching as a balancing act. And legal research and writing lasts two semesters rather than one, she said. But it’s not class time that drains the hours from the day, the attorney said. It’s the reviewing, critiquing and commenting — the heart of teaching legal writing — that gobble up time. During the heavy parts of each semester, Cavenagh simply commits a full weekend day, or close to it, to her students’ work, she said. Fortunately, she said, the writing and research classes Temple turns over to its adjuncts are small — 10 to 12 students, with a maximum of 15. Cavenagh is a litigator who teaches from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. She said she enjoys teaching in the night program because its students bring unique perspectives and work experiences to their class work. Temple Law dean Robert Reinstein told The Legal Intelligencer that those very attributes make adjunct faculty members crucial components of the university’s graduate programs. Reinstein said Temple offers numerous advanced and specialized courses, in tax and advanced corporate law, for example, that full-time faculty members simply cannot teach. Thus, adjunct faculty members are brought in to round out graduate programs’ curricula and provide sought-after expertise to their students. Temple Law’s well-known trial advocacy program relies heavily on trial lawyers to impart courtroom skills to students, Reinstein said. Similarly, the school’s clinical and transactional programs require adjuncts’ supervision. Reinstein said that most of the school’s adjuncts seek out their positions but that occasionally, specific practitioners are sought for certain courses. Ballard said she landed her teaching jobs after learning about vacancies and contacting the schools. Francis said one of his former professors at Penn Law planted the idea, leading Francis to accept a subsequently offered position. Cavenagh heard about her current position when Temple’s acting director of the writing program contacted a Duane Morris colleague about it, she said. The colleague wasn’t interested, but Cavenagh, a former librarian who still had a hint of teacher in her, said she took advantage of the opportunity and has been there ever since. “It’s a labor of love,” Reinstein said simply of his adjuncts’ efforts.

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