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About

HIGHER EDUCATION CONSULTING FOR UNCONVENTIONAL STUDENTS – Greater Los Angeles Area

You: not the average student with the average career aspirations, but a seeker and a doer eager for adventures of the mind and of the spirit. Hungry for knowledge and eager for self-knowledge.

You have high expectations of yourself but are unsure of how to fulfill them. And you need a mentor/coach to learn something not taught at your school (college-level literature, Italian, German, French poetry, Homer in Greek, law, legal theory, mediation), to help you navigate college essays ahead of the crowd, or to help you explore applying to law school.

Your parents: they’re committed to supporting you in seeking an expert who’s ready to come to your home in the greater LA area.

Not your average college and higher education consultant, I draw on over 35 years of experience as undergraduate teacher, tenured law school professor, tutor, mentor, lawyer, author and mediator.

I’ve counseled undergraduates. law school applicants, graduate and law students, as well as lawyers in career transition.

My students and those I’ve mentored now sit on the federal appeals court, teach and practice law, work in international law firms, or, as former lawyers, have become gourmet chefs, social activists, and writers.

I love working with unconventional, nonconforming, and gifted students eager to take on the world, break molds, study intensely, and fulfill themselves ––  students restless to explore more than one career during their lives or hungry to learn first-hand what it is to live in a place so foreign as to overturn what they thought they knew about themselves.

My consultation and coaching sessions are designed for parents and students demanding stimulation not easily satisfied by traditional schooling.  

While other college consultants insist that parents get their kids “college ready” by 6th or 7th grade (if not earlier), my focus is not on test preparation but rather on developing the student’s human potential as thinker, writer and reader, helping the student to embrace his or her special gifts and to find joy in self-expression and self-discovery as well as in different study and career paths.

Self-knowledge and self-assessment are critical aspects to developing one’s potential — that’s one reason why the personal statement is so crucial in higher education admissions.  

For many reasons, I encourage students to learn as many languages as possible, take risks, travel, and fall in love with ancient Greek or Latin — one of the most pleasurable ways to explode your vocabulary and understand the story of language.  (Learn ancient Greek? Of course you can, even in middle school. I’ll show you how!)

My background:  An academic gypsy while a single mother, I’ve been a motorcycling corporate lawyer, mediated in the West Virginia coal industry, run a 70-acre farm, translated Emily Dickinson into bad Latin, and co-founded the Law and Humanities Institute when such things nearly meant career suicide.

My Harvard LL.M. hangs over the commode and brings laughter to my house guests.

Having taught at fine universities across the country and at Sing-Sing prison, where inmates named me MVP in the prison’s paralegal training program (featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal), I understand the urge to try unconventional paths. Fulbright awards led me to teach Chinese law students at Wuhan University in China for 2 years and to teach mediation to African students at the University of Botswana.

I’ve trotted off to Kabul University in Afghanistan to interview for a law teaching post.  Undaunted at not being hired, I ended up in Khujand, Tajikistan, stationed with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law program. (Tajikistan?  Yes — it’s where Alexander the Great turned back, figuring he’d had enough.)

At Harvard Law School, I was an inaugural Fellow in the Law and Humanities program, receiving an LL.M. with a thesis on usury in Dante’s Inferno At Cornell University, I taught Law and Literature to Honors Students at Telluride House and, as a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities, taught Aristotle and his impact on Renaissance theories of slavery.

Love of Ancient Greek drove me to give up a tenured law post for graduate work in Classics as University Fellow, University of Texas.

In a long career, I’ve taught law at USC’s Gould School of Law, University of Texas School of Law, Syracuse University College of Law, Rutgers University School of Law (Camden), Pace University School of Law, West Virginia College of Law, Chapman University School of Law, and at Texas Southern’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.  Awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities took me  overseas and for summer work to leading universities state-side, but just as often I turned down offers at prominent law schools and universities due to family priorities.

Unlike most law profs, I didn’t practice law after my clerkship but did a backflip:  left law teaching to handle corporate bankruptcies and commercial arbitration.

One learns to do what other single working mothers do —  nurse a newborn in Evidence class in law school, a second newborn while preparing law lectures, and a third newborn on an interview at the Yale Law School Dean’s office.

In addition to degrees from Rutgers (A.B.), Boston University (J.D.), and Harvard, I’ve been a Visiting Scholar at Washington University School of Law and at Harvard Law School’s East Asian Studies program.  Currently, I’m Public Interest Chair and sit on the Board of the Harvard Law School Association of LA.

Whether sensible or not, I  have done the thing that makes most academics shudder—leave a tenured teaching post to practice law—as well as the thing that makes most lawyers quake—quit practice to open a mediation business. I’ve litigated pro bono constitutional cases with the Center for Constitutional Rights in NY, practiced immigration law on behalf of abused undocumented women, taught ancient Greek to 4th and 8th graders, lectured and published professional articles.

Distinctions:

In addition to fellowships at Harvard, Cornell and Texas, grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, two fellowships at the School of Criticism and Theory, and grants for research in Florence and London have fallen in my path.

Next to that Harvard degree hanging over the commode is an H.L. Mencken award for provocative published work.  My articles range from bankruptcy to national security, from Shakespeare to Melville and Dante — as well to narratives of a night in Kabul and depicting life in a small backwater (7-8 million souls) in central China.