Gladiator Law Marketing $1500 Law School Scholarship Winner Joseph Keller

It is an honor to be chosen for Gladiator Law Marketing’s Scholarship. I am deeply appreciative of Gladiator Law Marketing’s support of my law school education. I believe that law can be used as a powerful force for good, and I plan on using my legal education to better advocate for laws that help individuals with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. This scholarship will help me fulfill my education goals by reducing the financial burden of attending law school. Thank you, Gladiator Law Marketing!
– Joseph Keller


Shaping the Law
By Joseph Keller

I looked out at the faces in the crowded room, my heart racing, to see who my audience
was. “One of these people might hold the key to my first job out of college,” I thought to myself.
“No pressure.” I took a deep breath and walked towards the podium, glanced again at the
audience, and started my presentation. “Good morning, everybody. My name is Joe Keller, and
my legislation incentivizes police officer training in mental health first aid and crisis intervention
techniques. This legislation is for my brother Alex, who has autism and an increased risk of
being shot in a police encounter.”

I dreamed of this moment for so long that I hardly believed I was proposing legislation to
the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. When I was young, my parents declared bankruptcy
after receiving large surprise medical bills. As a result, I was encouraged to pursue a financially
stable career in engineering or manufacturing, but I wanted more from life than a steady
paycheck. I recognized that good laws improve the lives of millions of people. My young mind
perceived that bankruptcy laws allowed my family to gain control of their finances and that
human services laws gave my brother access to autism services. Nevertheless, I also knew that
the law is not static and needs improvements. Believing that my life would be more impactful if I
could shape the development of new laws, I decided to take a risk and pursue a degree and career
in politics.

At times, I questioned the reasonableness of my decision. I was a first-generation college
student with no familial political connections receiving little financial support from my parents.
But I persevered, working at least 20 hours every week throughout college while building my
own political network through multiple internships. Finally, for my last semester of college, I
was accepted into the Pennsylvania House Fellowship program, where I would propose original
legislation after a semester of full-time work in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
I decided to craft legislation incentivizing police officer training in mental health first aid
and crisis intervention techniques when I realized that my brother, as an individual with a
disability, is statistically more likely to be killed by a police officer. I began this project by
researching state law and regulations to determine current police officer training requirements. I
then collaborated with stakeholders to determine which new trainings should be required. I also
developed a new funding stream to pay for these trainings. Lastly, I refined the legislation until I
was satisfied that, if enacted, it would lead to fewer lethal interactions between police and
individuals with disabilities.

I made a compelling argument for my legislation at the presentation, but the legislature’s
majority had other priorities. Despite this setback, my dedication to improving the law remained
unchanged. Three months after the presentation, I began working in my current role as a
researcher for the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus. I truly love what I do, which
fundamentally involves learning about a health or insurance issue, shaping and analyzing
legislation to solve that issue, and maneuvering behind-the-scenes to turn that legislation into
law. My recent legislative successes include strengthening state enforcement of federal mental
health parity laws, expanding access to breast cancer screenings, increasing what insureds are
paid when a life or health insurer is declared insolvent, and obstructing attempts to increase the
prevalence of surprise medical bills.

I have learned through these successes that I can make more powerful contributions to the
legislative process, and by extension the laws that come out of that process, by becoming a
lawyer. That is why I am thrilled to begin studying law at Seton Hall University in August 2021.
By attending Seton Hall Law I am capitalizing on a unique opportunity to study the law while
continuing my work shaping new laws that I hope will positively impact others in the way that
my family was many years ago.

While I am excited to pursue this goal, I recognize that attending law school poses a
financial burden. I am thankful that I was awarded an institutional scholarship, but many
expenses remain, which will be exacerbated by a large amount of undergraduate student loan
debt. Budgets provided by Seton Hall Law show that mandatory student fees and books alone are
expected to cost at least $11,520 over four years – and that does not account for inflation or other
necessary expenses, such as housing, food, and transportation to and from campus. Gladiator
Law Marketing’s $1,500 Law School Scholarship will help me achieve my goal by tangibly
reducing financial burdens, specifically the costs of mandatory fees and books, associated with
attending Seton Hall Law.

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