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What’s it like being a law student? Ian Epperson-Temple ’17 wanted to help young people, especially the most at-risk and disenfranchised. And that passion persisted throughout law school. This is his story.

Ian Epperson-Temple ’17 developed an early interest and appreciation for the practice of law. Inspired by his mother’s encouragement, he participated in mock trials in high school, and ever since sought out opportunities that would help him develop the skills he would need to succeed in a legal career. After completing his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College, he set his sights on earning his JD.

“I knew the law was in my future,” Epperson-Temple says. “But first I wanted to gain more professional experience.”

In search of a job where he could make a meaningful impact on the lives of others, he moved to Boston and began working for the education-focused nonprofit City Year. After a year of serving and mentoring students, and gaining familiarity with the Boston community, it became clear to Epperson-Temple that Boston was the city for him—and that he was ready to dive into his legal career. He applied to New England Law, motivated to forge meaningful connections and make a mark on the legal field.

“My main goal was to develop a strong foundation and a solid network—and it worked,” he says. “New England Law alumni helped me make countless connections and gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a vibrant community and work with so many talented lawyers.”

One of Epperson-Temple’s most beneficial legal experiences occurred as part of a law school clinic during which he clerked at the Suffolk County Superior Court. While sitting in on trials and jury selections, Epperson-Temple observed the processes and procedures of trial law, gaining insight into how lawyers structured their arguments to maximize their effectiveness and persuasiveness. He carried this wisdom with him through two other paid internships later in his New England Law career, where he continued to develop an appreciation for and talent in trial law.

At the same time, he continued to make good on his enduring passion for service as a participant in the Future Stars Basketball Program at the Judge John J. Connelly Youth Detention Center in Roslindale. He helped inspire the youth in the center and garnered meaningful perspective on the justice system outside the courtroom. To celebrate his longstanding dedication to empowering youth, the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association presented him with The Honorable Chief Justice Roderick Ireland Leadership and Juvenile Advocacy Award in March of 2017. Only one student is selected for this prestigious award each year; the recipient is celebrated for their outstanding leadership and passion for juvenile advocacy—two qualities that Epperson-Temple perfectly embodies.

The diversity of knowledge and experiences Epperson-Temple acquired at New England Law—as well as the connections he made along the way—have positioned him for success after graduation. And the support of his New England Law network was never more evident than when he began working at Manion Gaynor & Manning LLP.

"I received several emails from New England Law alums welcoming me to the firm, and met up with the ones working in the Boston office,” he says.

“At that moment, I could immediately see how this support wasn’t something that would end at graduation but would accompany me throughout my professional life.”

You can meet more law school students and alumni hereThis article originally appeared in the fall 2017 edition of New England Law's alumni magazine, The Bridge