Boarder Tsai, Class of 2024
Before studying at Drexel’s Kline School of Law, 2L Boarder Tsai earned an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of Oregon School of Design, where he approached art as a means to advocate for underserved communities.
He created projects with local communities, such as the Northern Paiute indigenous peoples, after studying their literature and history. He also helped inmates from a local penitentiary write their life stories.
Tsai rounded out his cultural growth after college by volunteering as an English teacher with the Peace Corps in the mega city of Chongqing, China. However, his Peace Corps experience was cut short in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From there, Tsai thought a career in law would enable him to advocate for people more effectively than art. “I haven’t changed professions, I just changed my medium,” he said during an interview over the summer. “I felt like going to law school was just the logical transition to learning the literal law of the land, and to be able to work with the same people that I’ve always been working with.”
Tsai served as a summer law intern with the Defender Association of Philadelphia recently. He hopes to work in direct advocacy for the public after he graduates in 2024. Each week, Tsai worked with a different unit in the Defender Association, from the treatment corps to mental health corps. During the experience, Tsai said he wrote dozens of legal memos and reports.
“A current case I am looking for started with a memo about the discovery, then a trip to a prison, and now a brief on the supporting case law and potential arguments,” Tsai said.
He credits criminal law classes for teaching him what burdens of proof are needed to prosecute and defend cases in trial. That knowledge helped when Tsai interviewed clients leading up to their court dates and assisted in legal preparation, reviewing body camera footage and radio transmissions related to cases.
Interning at the Defender Association revealed some of the inner workings of the justice system, Tsai said. “A lot of the time, our hard-handed justice system doesn’t work for people who go through that pipeline,” he continued. “It’s really illuminating the issues of our system.”
Law school has also helped Tsai to explore one of his artistic passions: photography.
“Being a law student is the best thing to happen to my photography career,” Tsai said. “Everybody needs a head shot, and it’s a great way to network as well.”
A member of the law school’s nationally ranked mock trial team, Tsai produces the Watch Mock podcast with Phil Pasquarello, JD ’18, an attorney at Kline & Spector and trial competition director at Drexel’s Kline School of Law. He also serves as Vice President of Student Affairs for the Student Bar Association.
Tsai said his motivation has always been to develop genuine human connections with people wherever he goes and to contribute something meaningful.
“I really try to own my place at Kline and not just be a student there,” he said.
Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program
Drexel Kline Law is one of only four law schools that offers returning Peace Corp Volunteers an opportunity to apply for a coveted Coverdell Fellowship. The fellowship offers 75% tuition assistance, mentorship and service opportunities. Learn more about the program.