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Third-year law student finds success at Penn State Law in University Park

Max Giuliano, a third-year law student at Penn State Law in University Park, has had an eventful law school career.
Max Giuliano

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Max Giuliano, a third-year law student at Penn State Law in University Park, has had an eventful law school career. Currently ranked second out of 115 students in his class, Giuliano has received the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) Awards for the highest grades in Torts, Administrative Law, and Corporations. Giuliano is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Penn State Law Review and worked in the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic, which petitioned the Supreme Court in November 2022.

“My Penn State Law experience was an opportunity to learn. Not just the course material, but from everyone around me—classmates, faculty, and staff at Penn State Law. At the end of the day, the breadth of experience and social interaction I was exposed to at Penn State will stick with me. So what Penn State Law means to me is simple: it’s where I really prepared for adulthood, in every sense of the term,” said Giuliano.

Michael Foreman, director of the Penn State Law Civil Rights Appellate Clinic and clinical professor of law, said, “It was wonderful having Max in my clinic last semester. He is obviously intelligent but also demonstrated a maturity well beyond a third-year law student.”

In February 2023, Giuliano will attend the third annual Judicial Clerkship Opinion Writing Conference at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. This distinguished event is open to only 25 conferees who have accepted federal clerkships. Judges and Catholic University faculty members will provide guidance and insight to instruct future clerks on how to write a judicial opinion. The conference concludes with a judicial opinion writing contest.

After Giuliano graduates in 2023, he will serve as a Federal Judicial Clerk for The Honorable Kim R. Gibson in the United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania in Johnstown, PA, until 2024. Then, he will start a second Federal Judicial Clerkship with The Honorable D. Brooks Smith in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 2024-2025. Giuliano had previously completed a federal judicial externship with Smith in spring 2022 and served as a teaching assistant for Smith in fall 2022.

“I’m so excited about these clerkships. They are both, without a doubt, a product of Penn State Law and the opportunities this school has given me both academically and professionally, especially the ability to get to know Judge Gibson and Judge Smith through my courses and my externship. It all comes back to Penn State Law putting me in a position to have these opportunities,” said Giuliano.

When Giuliano completes his clerkships, he plans to join Squire Patton Boggs, LLP, where he is tentatively slotted to begin as a Litigation Associate in the Cross-Border Litigation Group. This group represents foreign sovereigns, large foreign financial institutions, and other foreign entities primarily in federal court throughout the U.S. Giuliano worked as a 2L Summer Associate with Squire Patton Boggs, LLP in their Washington, D.C. office and as 1L Summer Associate in their Cleveland office.


Giuliano in his office at Squire Patton Boggs in Cleveland.
IMAGE: Provided 


Laying the Groundwork for a Successful Future from the Start

When Giuliano first received an email from Penn State Law as a prospective student, the Lewis Katz Building stood out to him as an ideal place to study law. “I loved the building, the campus, and the feel of being in a large college town.” Upon coming to Penn State Law as a 1L, he noted the qualities that make the school unique. “It’s a young, Big Ten law school. I think me and my other classmates who chose to come here all felt like we were getting in on the ground floor of a really exciting, growing law school with an unbelievable faculty and great facilities. My time here has only proven that to be correct,” he said.

Giuliano entered Penn State Law focused on government and politics, but he quickly found that he would take his legal career path in a different direction. “My first-year courses like Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure really shifted my focus. I loved the ability to formulate creative arguments and write them persuasively. I think that’s when I found myself drawn toward litigation, writing briefs, potentially being in court one day, and taking on cases,” said Giuliano.

The Career Services Office recommended that Giuliano find an externship at a firm to gain experience to see if he was on the right career path. This process is how he found his 1L Summer Associate position with Squire Patton Boggs, LLP in Cleveland. He highlighted how the law firm provided him with numerous opportunities to get experience and grow. “Anything you wanted to do there, you had an opportunity to participate,” he said.

The firm gave Giuliano an offer to return the following year. Giuliano enjoyed the culture of Squire Patton Boggs, but he was also interested in experiencing a different market. He interviewed with their office in Washington, D.C., and was accepted. While he was able to meet new people and experience a new city, he also had opportunities to continue to work with people in the Cleveland office. “Being able to stay with the firm but try a different city and go to Washington, D.C., for the summer was fantastic,” he said.


Giuliano with fellow summer associates at Squire Patton Boggs in D.C. 
IMAGE: Provided 


Giuliano credits his Penn State Law education with preparing him for his summer experiences. “Attention to detail was emphasized in the 1L courses, particularly in research and writing courses. I think this paid dividends when it came to my summers with Squire Patton Boggs.”

He also mentioned the respect that faculty has for students and the respect that students have for each other. With the culture of respect in the foundation of Giuliano’s legal education, he entered his summer associate positions not thinking about how quickly he could get to the top, but how he could learn from everyone around him. He said he wanted to be conscious of what he didn’t know and to be receptive to the people who knew more than him.

“I think that all stems from the respect that emanates from the faculty and students and everybody who is involved at Penn State Law. Everybody is respectful of each other. You get the feeling that everybody around you wants to see you succeed. The support you receive from the faculty and students is second to none,” he said.

Giuliano’s externship with Smith during his second year of law school was a result of Career Services informing him about the opportunity. Giuliano pursued his interest, interviewed, and was accepted.

During his externship, Giuliano wrote bench memoranda, drafted non-precedential opinions for the Third Circuit, and discussed cases with Smith and Smith’s clerks. “Truly the best part about that externship was being able to spend one day a week in appellate chambers as a law student. If it weren’t for Penn State Law and Judge Smith’s connection with Penn State Law, I’m not sure I would have had this opportunity,” he said.

While this was a new experience, Giuliano relied on the values and skills he had learned at Penn State Law. “A pillar of Penn State Law is integrity. You feel that through the classes you take, the faculty, and the people around you, and it radiates from every part of Penn State Law. Having objectivity ingrained from such an early point at Penn State is such an invaluable quality to carry into federal clerkships. I’m grateful that Penn State Law instilled that value in me.”

Advice for Future Penn State Law Lawyers

Giuliano’s advice for Penn State Law students starts with using the resources available at the school. “That starts with getting to know the faculty. Every single professor here cares about the students and wants to help the students in any way possible,” he said.

Giuliano also encouraged students to recognize the other resources they have, like the Career Services Office. CSO supplied Giuliano with resumes and cover letters printed with the Penn State Law watermark, along with other materials so he could mail applications and be prepared for future interviews. It was also through Career Services that Giuliano learned about the Judicial Clerkship Opinion Writing Conference.

Giuliano’s final piece of advice was for students to recognize how their peers can help them succeed. He said he’s learned a lot from the students around him. “Everyone has something to bring to the table here—the culture is not as adversarial as some people might think. Everybody has their colleagues’ best interests in mind,” he continued. “I think that makes it a lot easier to lean on everybody around you.”

Favorite Memory and Continuing the Penn State Law Legacy

Looking back at his time at Penn State Law, Giuliano said his favorite memory was attending the 2021 White Out game against Auburn in Beaver Stadium with his girlfriend and fellow third-year Penn State Law student, Nina Franco. Giuliano said, “I think that’s one of the biggest draws of Penn State Law—the overarching community you are welcomed into and share with the undergrads and fellow graduate students. I remember saying to myself ‘Okay, I’m a part of something way bigger than I ever imagined when I signed my commitment letter.’ And I couldn’t be happier that is the case.”

Giuliano looks forward to the future of Penn State Law and how new students will help the school to grow. “I’ve often said to classmates: ‘Just wait until 10 years down the road when we look back at Penn State Law. It’s going to be bigger, better, and more prominent than we could have ever imagined when we signed on.’ And I’ve always looked forward to Penn State Law proving us right in that sense. Truth be told, I think Penn State Law is on track to do exactly that.”

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