Western State College of Law is committed to preparing students for the real world and helping them find their passion in law. To meet this goal, we take pride in providing our students with best-in-class professors that combine strong classroom teaching techniques with real-world experience. Our professors come from a variety of backgrounds and have a wealth of experience to share. Professors that care about students’ success help us do that. Professor Stacey Sobel is one of our esteemed faculty members known for sharing her depth of knowledge in the classroom as well as her involvement with many student organizations as a faculty advisor.
Professor Sobel teaches Constitutional Law I and II, criminal law, criminal procedure and a sexual orientation and gender identity seminar. She has a host of previous work experience and success, including holding the role of executive director of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania (formerly the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights) and was employed by the Service members Legal Defense Network (SLDN). She also served clients such as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Women’s Law Project. In these positions, she has provided legal services and advocacy to thousands of people whose lives were affected by their sexual orientation or gender identity. She also worked to pass legislation for LGBTQ equality and to educate people about the LGBTQ community.
Why did you make the switch to teaching full-time?
I have always been passionate about teaching and came to realize that while I could do good things in my legal career, I was only one person. Teaching allows me to make a bigger impact by sharing what I know with many students who can go on to do good and meaningful work in their communities.
What drew you to Western State?
There are several things that stood out about Western State. First off, the student population. I was intrigued by the diversity – the student body is made up of first-generation college graduates, working adults and more. Western State brings in such a unique and passionate group of students. So many of them are rooted in their home communities and are looking to use their law degree to help build a better future in those areas. Being a part of their process excites me.
Western State also provides a superior student-to-faculty ratio. My small class sizes allow me to really make a connection with students. Because I teach both 1L and 2L courses, I am able to see students at the start of their law school journey and as they grow. This type of connection is something that makes Western State special.
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
I am fortunate that I have been surrounded by many great people throughout my career. I can’t choose just one person. So many of the people I have encountered and interacted with have affected me in different ways. Therefore, I am a believer that students should try different things and seek as many experiences as possible. By bringing together all the pieces of information I have learned throughout my journey, I’ve cultivated a deep body of knowledge that I can tap into today. While having one mentor is great, opening yourself to what everyone in your path has to offer is the best way to expand your horizon.
Tell us a little bit more about your classes and teaching style.
I aim to make my classes as realistic as possible. When I have my students examine a case, I might change some facts to inspire them to think about their arguments. I like to ask probing questions prompting students to describe what they might do if they were the prosecutor and then switch it and ask them to think about the case as defense counsel. I want students to leave my classroom with a solid foundation and everything they need to feel prepared and confident in real-world situations.
What advice do you have for current or prospective law students?
No matter what someone tells you; there is not one way to do law school or to be a lawyer. It’s an individual process. Practicing law is very broad, so again, try different things to uncover your passion. There’s a place for every person and every interest.
When Professor Sobel is not teaching, she can be found working as a faculty advisor to several student groups including the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF). In this role, she has helped arrange guest speakers to talk about their work experience and being involved in public interest law. Additionally, she helps to organize events to help students prepare resumes to get them ready for the public service job fair. These are a few of the many ways she shows her dedication to making every experience and opportunity valuable for her students.
At home, Professor Sobel has two incredible children and a wife who she enjoys spending time with them in a variety of activities. She also spends her free time reading and watching her favorite baseball team, the New York Mets.