BY: Casey Markiewicz (’20)
This week, I was able to speak with Autumn Gramigna. Autumn graduated from Marywood in 2014 with a BA in Communication Arts concentrating in Broadcast Journalism. After finishing schooling at Marywood, she decided to continue her education at Drexel University by studying law. Currently, she is finishing her last semester at Drexel. Autumn wishes to use her knowledge to teach a college or law school course in the future. Gramigna said she enjoys “being able to help others learn and realize their academic potential!”
Casey: What made you decide to continue your education and pursue a law degree after graduating?
Autumn: I always knew I wanted to further my education after college, but I didn’t know I wanted to go to law school until my senior year. We were required to take “Communication Law & Ethics” as part of the Communication Arts curriculum, and I really loved studying the case law and understanding the legal side of media and communications.
Casey: How do you plan on combining your Communication Arts and Law degree in your career?
Autumn: Simply speaking, being a good writer makes a good lawyer. My degree in Communication Arts enabled me to develop my drafting skills through multiple intensive writing courses.
Casey: Where are you working now?
Autumn: As I’m finishing my last semester of law school, I’m not working full-time. However, for academic credit, I currently work as a Student Attorney in the Community Lawyering Clinic, which offers direct legal services, referrals and community education on legal matters to members of the West Philadelphia community.
For example, I assisted in representing a gentleman sentenced as a juvenile serving life without parole in his resentencing case. In 2012, the United States Supreme Court held in Miller v. Alabama that it is unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile offender to mandatory life-without-parole. In January 2016, the Supreme Court held in Montgomery v. Louisiana that Miller should be applied retroactively. In practical terms, this means that those juvenile offenders previously sentenced to mandatory life-without-parole can seek resentencing by the trial court. My client is currently waiting for the Parole Board’s decision regarding his release. He’s been in prison thirty-six years.
After graduation, I will begin my employment as an Associate at Reed Smith LLP in Philadelphia.
Casey: I saw that you worked as a Summer Associate at Reed Smith LLP in Philadelphia. What was that experience like?
Autumn: The process to become a Summer Associate was highly competitive. I started interviewing for a Summer 2016 position in August of 2015! After many rounds of interviews, I was thrilled to get a position at Reed Smith LLP.
There I drafted legal memoranda on topics including bankruptcy, tax, real estate, and finance law, prepared advisory letters for clients on drug manufacturer liability and insurance broker privilege matters, and developed a presentation for clients on changes to the Overtime Final Rule.
The summer program also provided plenty of opportunities to meet and interact with Reed Smith lawyers in more relaxed settings. We had outings to museums, partners’ homes, sporting events and restaurants which allowed us to get to know our future colleagues.
Casey: When you were at Marywood, what organizations were you involved in within the Communication Arts department?
Autumn: I was a member of both the Society for Collegiate Journalists, Marywood University Chapter, and Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society, Rho Tau Chapter. I also served as Entertainment Editor and Managing Editor for The Wood Word, as well as participated in TVM and VMFM 91.7.
Casey: Do you feel your involvement aided you in your career?
Autumn: Being on The Wood Word allowed me to develop my writing skills, as well as strengthen my leadership abilities. It also taught me to appreciate the value of working collectively to meet a strict deadline.
My experience on The Wood Word helped me tremendously when it came to trying out for, and eventually running, the Drexel Law Review. In the context of law school, a law review is an entirely student-run journal that publishes articles written by law professors, judges, and other legal professionals.
I was elected by my peers to the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Drexel Law Review based strongly on my prior experience working on a publication. As Editor-in-Chief, I shepherd articles through the editing process, oversee all staff members, and ensure that deadlines are adhered to.
Casey: What words of advice do you have for current Communication Arts students?
Autumn: My advice for current Communication Arts students would be to explore all the career possibilities out there and never sell yourself short! A Communication Arts degree can open so many doors in so many different fields for you. There’s not one strict path you have to follow––be brave, try something new, and trust yourself! Who knows…you may end up as an attorney someday (and I’d be more than happy to show you the ropes)!
Casey Markiewicz is a freshman Public Relations/Advertising major. When she’s not in class or writing for Frame Your Future, she’s getting involved in the PRSSA/AAF organization.