Dinah M. Manning
Few things are more humbling and thrilling for Dinah Manning ’14 than defending her client.
“I’ve always been a litigator at heart,” says Manning. “I value alternative dispute resolution, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Mediation Clinic here on campus. But my natural inclination is to fight for the underdog—to give a voice to the voiceless.”
Upon graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in philosophy, Manning spent two years working at a civil litigation firm in her hometown of Los Angeles. After providing substantial support to trial attorneys there on health care and regulatory compliance matters, she decided to pursue a career in law.
Manning joined the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition team in her first semester, determined to supplement her classroom experience with experiential learning. She and her teammate, Demetri Blaisdell ’14, ultimately finished first runner-up at the national competition. Later that year, Columbia Law School awarded the pair the Simon H. Rifkind academic prize for best moot court performance in the 1L class.
Since then, Manning has continued to hone her advocacy skills. As an extern in the Bronx Defenders’ criminal defense practice, she developed theories of cases and assisted in trial preparation. She also enrolled in a trial practice seminar during which she simulated defending a client accused of murder.
Manning says she most enjoys the adrenaline rush of standing by her clients and defending their interests. “I love presenting my client’s position,” she says. “I love talking to judges. I love being an advocate.”
Now she’ll be able to take her passion to the next level as she begins work as a trial division staff attorney at The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia after graduation.