Posted May 3, 2012

Law grad plans to pursue her passion in public interest law

Kevin Cook

During her time as a student at Temple's Beasley School of Law, Kara Forsythe Morse has been a significant leader. As chair of SPIN (Student Public Interest Network), she organized an auction that raised funds in support of Temple Law students who pursue public interest internships. In addition, she organized a charity basketball game and recruited and coordinated a Temple Law team to participate in the annual Community Legal Services of Philadelphia 5K run. Of the area law schools, Temple sent the highest number of runners to the event, which supports the organization's legal outreach to low-income residents of Philadelphia. Morse also served on the editorial board for Temple Law Review.

Temple Times: Why Temple?

Kara Forsythe Morse: I chose Temple for a number of reasons — one being geographic: my husband was attending medical school in the Philadelphia area. But I was also drawn to Temple Law's focus on practical law and its commitment to its North Philadelphia neighborhood. I also liked the fact that many of the lawyers practicing in Philadelphia attended Temple Law.

TT: How did you get interested in public interest law?

KFM: I think that even in high school I always had law school in the back of my mind. I majored in political science and French at Willamette University, a small liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon. Attending college in a state capital gave me the opportunity to experience working in a state legislature as part of an internship and I got a glimpse of how public policy wheels turn.

After college, I accepted a position at a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. that performed advocacy for non-profit groups. I specialized in reproductive health, public health and civil liberties. All of my mentors at the organization were public interest lawyers and it seemed like a perfect fit for me.

TT: What has been your most significant or transformative experience at Temple?

KFM: During my third year, Professor Frank M. McClellan of Temple's Center for Health Law Policy and Practice recommended me for an externship with a small, local non-profit called To Our Children's Future With Health. In this position, I have been helping the organization make sure they comply with state law. After two years of hitting the books hard, doing this work has felt a little bit like returning to my roots. It's been a wonderful opportunity to combine my passion with my legal training.

TT: What will you do after graduation?

KFM: I plan to return to my hometown in the Seattle, Washington area and pursue my calling in public policy and public interest law.