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In a day and age where the media is riddled with negative incidents in the fraternity world, Beta Rho chapter is proud to cultivate men of honor who become accomplished alumni.

One such alumnus making Sigma Nu proud is Jay Fiddelman ’10. After graduating from Penn, Jay went on to Columbia Law School, where he excelled and won the Whitney North Seymour Medal at graduation—an award for distinguished trial advocacy.

During and after law school, Jay had the opportunity to work for several judges at both the state and federal levels.

“The summer after my first year of law school, I interned for a criminal trial judge of the New York State Supreme Court, which is the trial level court, in the Bronx,” he said.

Jay assisted the judge in research and writing, observed a number of criminal felony trials and other proceedings, and learned about the criminal court system in New York.

“After my second year of law school, I was a summer associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York, where I did patent work,” Jay continued. “Then, my first year out of law school, I had a clerkship working with a federal District Court judge in the Southern District of New York. Generally, each federal judge has a staff of three or four young lawyers recently out of law school, who assist the judge with legal research, drafting court opinions, and case management.”

The clerkship application process was quite competitive, just as it was for the second clerkship he completed—a clerkship in 2014-2015 with a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Jay valued every minute of his experience in both clerkships.

“It was an amazing two years,” he said. “It’s just a fantastic experience when you get to work so closely with a judge. Federal judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and they are among the best of the best lawyers out there.”

“Both of the judges I worked for are absolutely brilliant and amazing people,” he continued. Beyond learning more skills in the legal field, Jay says, “It was also a fantastic experience just spending time with people who are that brilliant, compassionate, and wise. I learned a lot about how to conduct myself, and they became mentors. I’m still in close contact with both judges, and I hope to maintain those relationships in the years to come.”

Having finished his second clerkship in September, Jay is now an Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York. “I’m doing a mix of general litigation work and white-collar regulatory investigations,” he said.

Jay attributes some of his success to the skills he learned and honed as a member of Beta Rho.

“I highly value my time and involvement in the fraternity,” he said. “Beyond the normal benefits that you would think of gaining from a fraternity—the friendship, the bonding, the relationships—I learned a lot in terms of personal growth, specifically with respect to my interpersonal maturity and the ability to interact with people, manage peers, and help form a cohesive flow of responsibility and trust among team members.”

Jay served as Lieutenant Commander during his second year at Penn and served as Recruitment Chair in his senior year.

“Both those positions involved skills in managing interpersonal relationships,” he said. “Being the vice president involved dealing with people and interacting with the brothers—and not just from a friendship/brotherhood perspective the way you would as a normal fraternity member, but also in terms of having responsibilities, making sure others fulfill their responsibilities, and looking out for one another.”

“As Recruitment Chair, I interfaced with potential members, convinced people to join, helped them through the pledge process, and got all the brothers excited about recruiting,” Jay continued.
Through his experiences as a brother and leader of Beta Rho, Jay gained a valuable skillset.

“I learned skills that are crucial to be successful at anything, but particularly for being a lawyer when you’re spending your whole day interacting with your colleagues, working for more senior lawyers, managing more junior lawyers, and interacting with clients,” he said.

“As a brother, you learn to be a team player and what it means to be part of something larger than just yourself,” he continued. “That’s really a key component here in a law firm when you’re on a team of eight or nine lawyers working for a client. It’s not all about you—it’s about moving the ball forward for the team as a whole. Sometimes that involves getting to do the more exciting pieces, but sometimes you have to do the less exciting pieces to be a team player.”

“I also learned compassion, empathy, and all of those skills you gain from being in such a closely knit brotherhood,” he said.

During the rush process as a freshman, Jay was looking at several other fraternities, but it didn’t take long for him to figure out that Sigma Nu was where he belonged. As it turned out, many of the upperclassmen he had already met were in Sigma Nu.

“I thought that was quite telling, because the people that I had naturally gravitated towards through a variety of other activities on campus were all associating together,” Jay said. “This meant that Sigma Nu must really be a place that matched with my personality and the type of people that I enjoyed spending time with.”

During his time at the chapter, Jay enjoyed the overall sense of camaraderie and having such a strong support network.

“You always know that if you’re having trouble with whatever else may be going on in your life, you come back to the fraternity at the end of the day and you have that instant group of friends and brothers to talk to and unwind with,” he said. “It was amazing being part of that type of family.”

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