There is nothing more important to Tova Friedman than her family. A mother of seven children, all ages 14 and under, she is grateful that Southwestern provides an option that makes it possible for her to attend law school and raise her family. "I chose Southwestern because of the PLEAS program," Friedman said. "It was the only way I could get an outstanding legal education while still putting my family first."
Friedman finds Constitutional Law and Criminal Law particularly fascinating and is interested in possibly working for the city or district attorney. She may also pursue work in family law. "Criminal law and family law are different but similar in one important regard," she said. "They both look to help people. Criminal law helps make the world safer either for families or societies at large, and that appeals to me."
Originally from New York, she completed her undergraduate education at Touro College in Manhattan, earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a concentration in education. After she began teaching, a mutual friend fixed her up with the man who became her husband, Chaim, who is from Los Angeles. The newly married couple spent four years in Israel where their first two children were born before returning to the United States and settling in Southern California.
Friedman and her husband were both teachers at private schools - she taught at Bias Yaakov, a girls' school. and he teaches at Hillel Hebrew Academy. When she had her fifth child, she took a year off from teaching English literature and grammar and decided to take the LSAT. Her interest in law was piqued by her father-in-law and brother-in-law who are attorneys, and her husband's cousin, who is a Southwestern alum, encouraged her to apply to the law school.
While Friedman's PLEAS schedule allows her enough time to fit in class and all the necessary carpooling for her brood, it is still a challenge to find adequate time to study, as her children always come first. "I try to take at least one morning a week to catch up on my coursework or get ahead," she said. "I try to study when the kids are asleep, and I have to use two Sundays before finals, but my husband helps out with all the kids."
Friedman also took a year off from law school when she gave birth to her daughter. She is used to a big family as she is the oldest of eight children herself. "I miss my family in New York, but I love L.A.," Friedman explained. "We usually go to New York twice yearly with the whole family and I go once a year by myself." She also enjoys reading and staying in touch with her East Coast siblings and cousins through Facebook.