Julianne Beil, L'13
Franklin & Marshall College/2007/B.A./History
Pittsburgh (Forest Hills), Pa.
What type of law do you practice at Cutruzzula & Nalducci?
I practice mainly personal injury law, handling plantiff's automobile accidents, professional negligence suits, premises liability, workplace injuries.
Which law school organizations and/or publications were you involved with?
While at Duquesne, I was involved with the Military Law Society, and also with the Student Bar Association, both as a class representative, and in my 3L year as president. Being involved with these student organizations gave me opportunity to get to know other students, faculty and administration as well as many Duquesne Law alumni.
Why did you choose Duquesne University School of Law?
After working for several years in and around the Washington D.C. area, I was eager to return home to attend law school. I was drawn to Duquesne by the small class sizes, strong alumni network and close connection with the legal community in Pittsburgh.
How did Duquesne Law prepare you for work as an attorney?
Duquesne provided me with a foundational understanding of the black letter law, and the skills to analyze a problem and reach a solution. I was able to learn from both full time professors and scholars, and also from part time adjunct professors, who are still active practitioners. Through this combination, I gained an understanding of the law and acquired the skills necessary to apply this in a real-world setting.
What was your experience with the Duquesne Moot Court Program? Has it contributed to your current practice?
While at Duquesne, I had the opportunity to compete as a member of Duquesne's national trial team. Participating in both regional and national competitions was an experience from which I have benefited tremendously in my current work as a litigator. In the Trial Advocacy class and the competitions, I gained a strong foundation in the rules of evidence and learned proper courtroom decorum and procedure. The fact-patterns we worked from allowed me to apply the substantive law I had already learned in the "mock trial" setting. One of the program's strongest assets is the one-on-one training from experienced faculty and alumni, who serve as both professors and coaches. This part of the program focuses on individual skill development through instructions, practice, implementation and feedback. The value of this individual attention cannot be overstated. From my experience with the Duquesne Moot Court Program, I was able to take to practice the experience of having already tried a case several times. It gave me the confidence to walk into a courtroom and focus on my case without having to worry about where I should sit or stand, or what part of the proceeding came first.
What was your first job after law school?
My first job after law school was as an associate with my current firm.
Are there benefits to working at a smaller firm?
One of the biggest benefits to working at a smaller firm is the experience. Early and often I was able to meet with clients, be the point of contact for opposing counsel, and be in court. Because my work-day is not based on the "billable hour," the small firm setting also allows for a good bit of overall flexibility, which has allowed me to participate in committees and events through the bar association and other local organizations.
What advice would you give to students considering attending law school? To those interested in working in private practice?
I would encourage those considering attending law school to visit the school, to speak with students and alumni, to learn about the opportunities that a law school education can provide, and to begin to think about what career path you will be working towards. To those interested in working in private practice: You can create opportunities for yourself by working hard in school from day one. Take advantage of extra-curricular groups and organizations, and networking opportunities that will expose you to different areas of practice and different people in the legal community. Get as much out-of-the-classroom experience as possible, whether through the Clinical program, internships or externships. These experiences will be invaluable when you transition into practice, and will increase your marketability!
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