Paralegal Students Learn About Major Supreme Court Cases

Two panelists talk about Supreme Court cases
Jennifer Ellis, GW Paralegal Studies alumna & Supreme Court Staff Assistant holds up her schedule of Court arguments & conferences, the most important thing she has at work, while speaking on the panel with Prof. Lawrence Ross (Photo credit: Toni Marsh).
October 25, 2018

Paralegal master’s degree students, alumni, and other interested attendees gathered in Gelman Library September 25 for an enlightening and lively conversation exploring the 2017 US Supreme Court term and upcoming cases of note.

Two noteworthy panelists lead the Supreme Court Review discussion, including GW Paralegal Studies Professor Lawrence Ross, JD and GW Paralegal Studies alumna and Supreme Court Staff Assistant, Jennifer Ellis, MPS.

The annual event, proudly sponsored by the GW Paralegal Studies master's degree program, is designed to give students an opportunity to participate in in-depth discussions about cases from the previous Term and give them a preview on what is to come. 

This year the hot topics included issues like:

  • Voting rights, including gerrymandering, cracking, and packing;
  • Public-employee labor unions;
  • Internet sales taxes; and
  • A day in the life of a Supreme Court paralegal.

Ms. Ellis, a GW MPS alumna and an employee of the Supreme Court, was able to lead a spirited discussion about career opportunities at the Court and how the GW Paralegal Program prepared her and other alumni to work at the Court.

“Working for the Court has been a life-long dream which I was able to achieve with the help of the GW Paralegal Program.  As a Staff Assistant, I can utilize my degree by performing case research and cite checking on a more specialized basis consistent with the Court’s preferred methods. Without my degree, I doubt I would be where I am today.”

The students were very engaged and asked questions about several of the Court’s decisions, including Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Division (the gay wedding cake case) and Carpenter v. United States (whether the government can seize your cellphone location data without a warrant), among others.  

"Since we launched the GW Paralegal Studies program we've sought to make it the most rigorous, selective, intellectually enriching program possible and to use that position to expand and promote the paralegal profession,” said Toni Marsh, JD, Director of the GW Paralegal Studies Program and Associate Professor.

“In that regard, I'm proud that not one but TWO of our alumni have gone on to serve at the United States Supreme Court, and that they've come back to share their knowledge and experiences with their fellow GW Colonials. I'm grateful to Jen and to Professor Larry Ross for sharing their extensive knowledge with us and the community. Talk about #OnlyAtGW!"