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Krystal K. Weigl is a May 2014 graduate of Syracuse University College of Law. She is interested in several different areas of the law, but plans on working in the field of human rights in Washington D.C. Krystal anticipates on taking the Illinois State Bar in July 2014.
She was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Krystal grew up with her parents, and her brother, Alfons, and her sister, Olivia. She graduated with a double major in History and Political Science and minored in Legal Studies from Illinois State University in December 2010. In 2009, Krystal served as an intern for the State Farm Corporate Headquarters Corporate Litigation Department and in the following year she served as an intern for the Illinois State University Student Legal Services. From 2009 to 2011, she served the Illinois State University Mock Trial Team. Krystal was the recipient of the 2011 Leadership and Outstanding Performance in Trial Advocacy Award.
At Syracuse University College of Law, Krystal made the Dean's List and was a member of the PAD sorority. During her first year of law school, she participated in the Oral Advocacy Competition. From 2011 to 2014, Krystal served the International Law Society. In 2011, she participated in the American Association for Justice Trial Competition and she published her work, "The Problem Inherent to the International Criminal Court," in Syracuse University College of Law International Law Society's newsletter. Krystal served as a student coach of the Black Law Students Association Trial Team and she participated in the Black Law Students Association Thurgood Marshall Trial Competition (2011-2012). From 2012 to 2014, she participated in the National Civil Trial Competition and was the recipient of the 2013 Award for Outstanding Commitment to Pro Bono & Community Service. Krystal recently spent a semester in Washington D.C., which was sponsored by Syracuse University College of Law's Program. She is currently a member of the American Bar Association, the New York Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association of Justice.
When asked about her internships, Krystal replied:
"I have had several internships in the past. The very first and possibly most memorable internship I had was at Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society in Syracuse, New York. My work was with low (to no) income clients who were pulled into the Family Court System, usually through custody and divorce disputes. This internship was during my first year of law school. I was learning New York Family Court law (which is far from uniform or settled) while translating the statutes for clients who generally had not finished high school. They would come in to the office with their toddlers and infants, visibly stressed and beyond annoyed with the court system, and ask my boss, an agent of the court, how the heck they were going to fix this. All the while throwing everyone from their child's father/mother/babysitter as far under the bus as possible for their predicament; some of their stories were truly heartbreaking. Occasionally it was necessary to explain to a mother of a toddler that she had to find a way to honor her child's fathers' parental visitation rights, while the father was in prison two hours away; these clients rarely had their own transportation. It was during this time, and largely thanks to my supervisor Lourdes Rosario, that I was able to understand the utility of empathizing (not sympathizing) with clients while keeping your mind clear enough to analyze the situation as a legal professional."
Did Krystal participate in any externship programs? She explained:
"My most recent externship was spending four months at the American Bar Association in the Center for Human Rights. I worked on the American Bar Association-International Criminal Court Project (ABA-ICC Project). My primary responsibility was assembling new concepts for a website that would make the information and work of the court easily understandable and digestible for the American public. In my experience, there are too many misconceptions about the ICC, particularly in the United States, that greatly impair US-ICC relations. As of yet, there is no medium through which people can easily learn the reality of the ICC, and this project sought to correct that.
Most of the work that I did on the website consisted of taking raw data regarding cases & situations at the ICC, as well as the Rome Statute, taking it apart, and putting it together in an organized and understandable manner. The Project also sponsored and organized several debates and discussions regarding the work of the ICC, including a trip to Madam Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to discuss the problems and achievements of the now-12-year-old ICC. I did everything from making sure that our Board members had coffee and breakfast at meetings, to high level statutory construction exercises regarding the Rome Statute."
When she isn't working, Krystal enjoys studying history, reading, and working out in the gym. Her favorite book is Samantha Power's A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.
Krystal's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations
Why did Krystal go into the law? "Advocacy is my passion. I heard a lot of people mention that they weren't 'smart enough' to finish school when I was a kid. I gave up believing that could be true by elementary school - everyone is 'smart enough' for school, it just takes work. There will always be people who are too young, too poor, too busy, or too unsure to go to law school. Those people need someone to advocate for them."
What are the areas of the law she hopes to practice? "My dream job would be in the field of human rights. I think victims of human rights violations are the most vulnerable population in pursuit of justice and to advocate on their behalf would be incredible."
Krystal shared her aims and aspirations. "My strongest career ambition is to identify a vulnerable population in pursuit of justice (there are plenty) and begin working to advocate on their behalf."
Are there any particular achievements that she would like to share? "Look for the website I worked on at aba-icc.org; it should be up and running in August." Krystal continued to say that she worked with the website's developer for the past six months and she helped create the website's raw data.
What are her key accomplishments? "Recognizing the importance of education, understanding my own strengths, and realizing how much I have to learn."
Krystal then discussed the key skills and strengths that she will use to further her career goals. "The court room is my place of reason. I believe in the justice system, despite its many flaws. I believe that with strong advocates justice can be not only pursued, but found. I am a strong advocate and I am only going to get better. I speak well, I write well, and I am passionate about advocacy."
As for her weakness, she candidly revealed, "Plenty. I want to improve everything from my shortest mile time to my understanding of government expenditure to more exact knowledge of the law I will be practicing in the future. There is always room for improvement!"
Law school can be stressful at times, so Krystal shared how she relieves stress. "I usually have to identify exactly what it is that is causing my anxiety, figure out a way to mitigate possible worst-case-scenarios, and then come up with a Plan B (or C, or D, or U as the case may be). That's normally exhausting enough that I'm too tired to be stressed! And of course, then I know what I need to do."
How does she handle new assignments? "When it comes to paper work or routine filings, I use the same system and templates every time. Every other assignment I have received is treated like a brand new creation; this way I don't miss details."
Where does Krystal derive her confidence? "The only place it can come from, me!"
Three Wishes to Live By, Staying Informed with Human Rights, Coping with Fear and Facing Obstacles
If Krystal had three wishes, what would she wish for? "A. I wish that everyone had a legitimately fair opportunity to educate themselves. B. I wish for a world that uses courts to pursue justice, and courts that are up to that challenge. C. Zero Calorie Pizza. Enough said."
What is her top priority outside of work? "Keeping myself educated; particularly on human rights violations."
How does Krystal deal with fear? "'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' I love that mantra and believe in it entirely."
Has she faced any obstacles in her life? "Everyone faces obstacles, mine are no more simple or complicated than anyone else's. You just keep moving forward."
Community Service, Studying Abroad, Most Influential Traveling Experience and Speaking Bavarian
Has Krystal participated in community service? She stated:
"When I was in junior high I would volunteer every weekend at our local nursing home. I fund raised for and coached my sister's basketball team in 2007. I worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters for three years and was a Big Sister for two during my undergraduate years. I worked over 500 hours at Hiscock Legal Aid during 2012. I volunteered to coach our BLSA Trial Team upon being asked for help by some of my classmates. I worked with that team, on my top of my own competition practices, about 18 hours every week during 2012-13. I received an award and honor cords from Syracuse University College of Law for 'Outstanding Commitment to Pro Bono & Community Service.'"
Has she been part of any study abroad program? "Yes, and it was incredible. I studied at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland because my family is from there; Irish literature is interesting but not exhilarating. I backpacked Europe for a few months and then went to Lorenzo de Medici University in Florence, Italy. I was a history major and there is nothing quite as unbelievable as studying the Renaissance at its birthplace."
Does Krystal have a most influential traveling experience? She acknowledged:
"I've been privileged enough to travel quite a bit! I've backpacked through Europe, lived next to the Duomo in Florence, gone skiing in Vail, Colorado, been down to the Caribbean Islands, and climbed Zugspitze in the Alps. The most memorable trip of my life was going to Ireland with my Grandma for a week and visiting our family's origin. Also, watching her try to drive on the wrong side of the road for all of five minutes is a vivid memory."
What language is she fluent/conversant in? "My father's family lives in Bavaria and I am conversant and can read and write in Bavarian - Northern Germany or Austria is a different question though."
Personal Philosophy, People You Want to Surround Yourself With and Favorite Quote
What is Krystal's personal philosophy? "I stole this one from Martha Washington but it could not be more true, 'the greatest part of our happiness depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances.'"
What does she believes holds more truth in light of her personal philosophy. Was it fate or choice? "100% choice. I see many people make too many excuses or they get discouraged. If you go forward there are no predetermined limitations."
What kind of situations and people is Krystal attracted to and what kind does she avoid? "Optimism. People who, like me, don't complain without considering means of improvement. I look for the 'doers' and the 'thinkers' who are willing to lose a little sleep for a better tomorrow." As for situations and people to avoid, she asserted, "I have too much to learn and am much too young to be purposely avoiding people or places already!"
Krystal's favorite quote is by Dr. Seuss: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it's not going to get better, it's not." The quote derives from The Lorax, which was Krystal's favorite book as a kid. She noted that Dr. Seuss can take complex ideas and can make it simple for five-year-old children to understand through his amazing writing.
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