Melissa Eydenberg '22

From a different point of view

After graduating from Lehigh in 1991, studying for a Master’s Degree in English Literature, and raising a family, Melissa Eydenberg decided to attend law school, which had been in the back of her mind for nearly 30 years. Now a 3L at Haub, Melissa’s advice for someone thinking about pursuing a degree in law is to “Do it in your own time- but do it!” Learn more about Melissa, why it is the people at Haub Law who make Haub Law stand out, and more in this Q&A.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I grew up in suburban New Jersey, my parents ran a small publishing company that specialized in supplements for gifted education i.e., “film strips” back in the day then videos and digital videos, critical and creative-thinking workbooks, literature guides and social studies materials. I graduated from Lehigh in PA in 1991 with a double major in English and Government – even then I couldn’t make up my mind about what I wanted to do! I went to UMD for studies in English Literature and left with a Master’s Degree, got married, worked very briefly as a recruiter in the European Equity Market, had kids and all of a sudden it’s 2022.

What inspired you to attend law school? 

I needed to learn about the world, my place in it, and “why is this happening?” I always wanted to go to law school. After having kids, I was basically a stay-at-home mom. When I divorced in 2006, I still had it on my mind and even advocated for some school funding in the settlement agreement!  It took 12 more years before I felt like I had the time to spend on myself, but here I am! Also, my fiancé runs a law firm out of my house, and I am surrounded by lawyers and I eventually got tired of telling everyone “I’m not a lawyer.”

Well, now that you are here, what have you found you like most about Haub Law?

The people. All of them: students, professors, staff. I can’t tell you how many times Michelle, JoAnn, Josie, or Tony have helped me out – especially with my technological challenges! Because I’ve been part-time, I’ve gotten to know more students than most people, and from all backgrounds, ages, races, religions, from literally all over the world, but all with a lot in common. I have loved learning with and from the lawyers of tomorrow and seeing where they are going and have gone. The “millenial” and “gen z” students have very different perspectives and life experiences and sharing with them has been invaluable. Because I am not THEIR mom they explain to me as a colleague, not as they would to a parent - but I have been known to hand out tissues, Band-Aids, masks, and snacks.

You are taking the Feminist Legal Theory seminar with Professor Crawford – can you talk about that class a bit?

What has been very interesting and helpful is listening to the younger students because they literally live in a world different from the one in which I grew up. It is impossible to understand what is going on in the law, in politics, in society without expanding my viewpoint and trying to see through their lenses. This is also my fourth class with Professor Crawford - Wills, Trust, and Estates; Corporations; Federal Taxation, and now Feminist Legal Theory.

Who are some of the most inspiring women in your life?

Looking back, a significant majority of classes I have taken at Haub Law were taught by female professors. As I am in the midst of my fourth class with Professor Crawford, you might have deduced I'm a fan. I'm kind of like that front-row seat that a rock star sees on tour at every show- is it a little creepy? She doesn't seem to mind.  Prof. Crawford is the most enthusiastic, engaged, invested, and organized teacher I have encountered at any level of education. Besides providing all her classes with every possible tool to learn, including a self-produced manual for success, she is a prolific writer and contributor in multiple fields and if you follow her on Twitter (yes, I admit it, super-fan), you might ask yourself, as I have, "how is she doing all of this?" It is inspiring and a bit daunting.  She's who I would have wanted to be when I grew up if I still had the time.  On an even more personal level, I think both my daughters are "inspirational women." My elder daughter came out, fairly recently, as trans and her quest to be her best self inspires others, who she reaches with her music (and can be found under "A Small Bird" on all the things!). My younger daughter has taken on the challenge of graduating college in a pandemic and going out into this crazy world with bravery and humor! They have both grown into compassionate, kind women and they inspire me every day! 

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about pursuing a degree in law?

Do it in your own time- but do it!