Gut Instinct Leads to the Law
Abigail Evans ’22 didn’t always know that she wanted to be a lawyer, she instead came to the realization slowly as an undergraduate communication student at Boston College. The Oreland, PA, native originally thought she wanted to work in marketing and advertising. Instead, she found herself registering for business law classes and trying to fit them into her schedule whenever possible.
“Those were the classes I really enjoyed going to,” said Evans. “While I was at Boston College, I had a lot of opportunities to work in marketing, and I actually spent four years interning in a sports marketing department. I liked it, but I didn’t see myself having a long-term career in it.”
The first person in her family to pursue a law degree, Evans initially wasn’t well-versed in legal practice. She started exploring the idea of attending law school, and all the potential career paths lawyers can take. “I realized it was something I wanted to pursue,” she said. “I followed a gut feeling and I definitely made the right decision.”
When Evans toured Villanova Law she knew it was the right fit for her. “I knew I was going to work hard and get a good education no matter where I went, but I wanted to go to a law school where I would enjoy going to class and putting in hours at the library,” she said. “During Admitted Students Day, I noticed that everyone knew each other by name and seemed like friends, and I knew this was the place where I wanted to be. It said a lot about Villanova as a community and an institution, and now that I am a student myself, I can say that’s just how people are here. It is collaborative rather than competitive, and we really are trying to help friends succeed.”
During her 1L year, Evans attended a public interest/public service career fair where she applied and was selected for a prestigious Summer Law Clerk externship position with the United States Attorney’s Office in Delaware. Over the course of the summer, she had the opportunity to work on both civil and criminal cases, performing research and writing briefs, including letters in response to petitions for compassionate release for COVID-19. “Working on compassionate release for COVID was so new and happening in real time,” she said. “The courts were struggling with how to approach it. It was interesting to see that sometimes the world moves faster than the law.”
One case that she worked on caused Evans to pause and consider her future career. “I was asked to research sentencing guidelines before filing charges against an individual,” she said. “It hit me that because I did my job well this person was a facing a minimum term of 15 years in prison. I had to take a moment to reflect. I found criminal law fascinating but I don’t know if I can see myself doing it as a career. For me though, learning what you don’t want to do is just as important as learning what you do.”
“I was able to take a lot of what I learned in my Legal Writing and Legal Research courses, as well as other things I picked up from my doctrinal law courses to synthesize the law and craft an argument,” Evans added. “I was surprised that after just one year of law school I felt like I had the basic tools and knowledge of how to approach the issue.”
Back on campus at Villanova Law, Evans is the managing editor of operations for the Villanova Law Review, a research assistant for Professor Mitchell Nathanson, and she serves as a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions, connecting with prospective students to discuss Villanova Law and all that it has to offer. She recently accepted a summer associate position with Blank Rome LLP in Philadelphia where she will have the opportunity to work with different practice groups and explore various areas of law. Evans is excited to experience private legal practice and home in on the area of law she wants to pursue for her long-term career.