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Inspired by Adversity

Niayla-dia Murray, Class of 2023

Niayla-Dia Murray

Niayla-dia Murray has known she wanted to be a lawyer since her days on trial team at Constitution High School in Old City, Philadelphia. But when a travel mishap landed her in a Swedish hospital, Murray said her eyes were opened to a career in medical malpractice law, which she currently studies at Drexel’s Kline School of Law.

During her final year of undergraduate study at Drexel, Murray took part in an intensive course abroad that included a journey through Sweden, Denmark and Norway. However, she found herself sidelined in a Swedish hospital for several weeks with a broken ankle.

“The purpose of the trip was to explore the Scandinavian justice system, and next thing you know I’m getting a side project where I’m basically exploring the Scandinavian health care system,” Murray joked.

Murray said the treatment she received in Sweden was “phenomenal,” and that she felt far more vulnerable while completing her recovery in the U.S. health care system.

The turn of events inspired Murray to study medical malpractice at Drexel’s Kline School of Law.

“There’s a population of people, a lot of people who are very vulnerable to doctors,” Murray explained. “Sometimes making them whole with a system that’s not as perfect as it is across the world in various aspects does do some justice along the way.”

Murray gained valuable medical malpractice experience researching and writing legal memos as an intern at Kane, Pugh, Troy & Kramer LLP in Norristown, Pa. Murray said studying torts and legal writing at the law school prepared her for the position’s demands.

Later, Murray argued in front of judges and negotiated on behalf of clients on lower-level cases as a law clerk for the Delaware Department of Justice’s traffic court.

Murray speaks highly of Professor Gwen Stern’s trial advocacy courses, which have helped her improve her arguments and public speaking.

Beyond the classroom, the law school’s nationally ranked trial team allows Murray’s competitive spirit to shine. When the pandemic forced mock trial competitions to be conducted virtually last year, Murray said the Kline staff furnished trial team members with everything from lighting to web cams so the virtual experience felt like an authentic production.

“Trial team is a super congenial experience, even though it’s competitive,” she said. “It’s like sports for legal nerds.”

Now, Murray continues to learn the ins and outs of malpractice law as a law clerk at Philadelphia’s Beasley Law Firm, where she conducts legal research, assists in depositions and writes memos in reference to medical malpractice discovery issues.

Wherever she lands after graduation in 2023, Murray said she hopes to inspire other Black women to consider the legal profession.

“A lot of my mentors are legal professionals, but there aren’t a lot of people who look like me,” Murray said.