I’m New Here

Hello, new friends!

Since I’m new to the blog, I thought I would briefly introduce myself:

  • I am from Satellite Beach, FL, near where the shuttle and rockets launch from Cape Canaveral.
  • I lived two very happy years in Atlanta and seven in DC.
  • I worked in refugee resettlement before law school, both in case work and administrative settings.
  • I have a cat named Rhino. Once you earn his affection, he head butts you with love.

Now, let’s get to law school. After years in a job that constantly shuffled me between emails, meetings, phone calls, and presentations, I was nervous that I would not be able to stay focused in law school classes. I was worried I would not be able to read for hours on end. But guess what? I can! Because law school is fun!

Has anyone ever told you 1L is fun, or were you taught to dread it? Admittedly, I write to you mid-November. Yes, I will probably be miserable during December exams. But for now, trust me. You can enjoy being in school. I have a great section (subdivision of first-year students) who are bright, playful, and all-around pleasant to be around. I have four very unique and wonderful professors. I have a study group who is patient with me misunderstanding pretty much everything about summary judgment.

I will report back after exams, but for now, if studying for the LSAT has you down, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just put on your cheese hat and keep up the good work.

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Red Sox World Series Championship Parade!

If you’re wondering what it’s like to spend three years in Boston, I can tell you this: you’re likely going to have the chance to go to at least one championship parade. I’ll try to limit my gloating as I’m native to Massachusetts and this could very quickly turn into a “why Boston sports teams are the best” blog post but I imagine I might end up alienating some prospective students. I’ll try to remain somewhat impartial. Factually: during my time in law school, the Patriots have won the Super Bowl (at least once; this season isn’t over!) and the Red Sox have won the World Series. This means that Boston has hosted two championship parades! For those unfamiliar with how Boston celebrates winning, here are some details: the winning team and organization board duck boats and parade through the streets of downtown Boston, complete with confetti, tons of cheering fans, and giant-sized banners hanging from buildings.

I went to the Red Sox parade in ’07 when I was a kid and remember being enthralled. It’s exciting to see the entire city come together to cheer on the players and members of the organization. Everyone in the city was in a great mood even though it was a Wednesday, it was a bit chilly, and it was also Halloween. The Red Sox players really enjoyed it, too. I think the coolest part about Boston championship parades is the Duck Boats. Duck Boats in general are fascinating, and as a native resident they are one of the few things I don’t mind doing time and time again whenever I have out-of-town guests touring the city. They’re a quintessential piece of Boston history in their own right, and it’s just even more magical when they use them for the parades. For the parades, the Duck Boats get re-painted and re-named for the team (I saw a “Red Sox Nathan” duck boat, a play on “Red Sox Nation” and named for Nathan Eovaldi, in my opinion the unsung hero of the entire post-season). All the players board the duck boats, which have been modified with open-air platforms so players can stand and wave as they stick out of the top of the boat. There are signs on each duck boat identifying which players are present, and the boats receive constant cheers as they make their way down Tremont Street and through the heart of the city.

This year I went to the Red Sox parade on my lunch break from my internship and it was just as captivating as I remembered it. I watched from the intersection of School Street and Tremont Street, right in the heart of old town Boston and one block away from the Boston Common. I was standing next to a church which dates back to the 1700s and it was ringing its bell from the tower for the entire parade. Red, white, and blue confetti was everywhere and everyone from little kids to businessmen and attorneys in suits (and Red Sox hats) were crowded around to see the champions. It was fun, and exciting, and brought the entire city together. Even if you aren’t a fan of Boston sports, getting the chance to participate in a championship parade will solidify for you what the city of Boston is all about. The parades emphasize everything about this city: blue-collar roots next to white-collar institutions, a healthy dose of competitiveness next to collegiality for a common goal, historic duck boats passing by 18th Century churches and all-glass skyscrapers, and most of all, supporting each other.

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Judicial Internship FAQ

Entering November, the December 1st deadline for federal judicial internships starts to feel fast approaching. At this time last year, I was seriously questioning my commitment to applying for a spot in the federal court system. Drafting a cover letter, pulling together a writing sample, updating my resume, getting it all printed on bond paper, figuring out what bond paper was, printing labels, finding a UPS store to print labels for me when I couldn’t figure it out… All of it just seemed like too much entering my first ever finals season. However, in hindsight, I wish I could go back and give myself a high five for working through it and turning everything in on time, because my summer working as a judicial intern for the First Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Portland, ME was one I’ll always appreciate.

So, to help anyone who is curious about applying for a judicial internship or might be interested in clerking some day in the future, here are the questions I think would have been most helpful for me to know during my application process.

1. What does a judicial intern do? 

Honestly, the work of a judicial intern varies depending on which judge; however, I feel justified in saying that the general theme is largely the same. In large part, the work of a judicial intern is similar to the work of a judicial clerk. Someone in the chambers presents you with a question, you research it, and you draft a memo to answer that question. Depending on your court though, this may take different forms. You may be attending trials and helping clerks draft bench memoranda. You may, like myself, spend all summer outside of the courtroom. In general though, your role is to be part of the team, learning a new issue of law on the fly and becoming the expert on that issue for the purposes of that case in chambers.

In a way, this is nice. You go into the summer job knowing that you’ve spend all year working on the one skill you need to succeed. You also know that you’ll be working on refining a skill that you will need for the rest of your career. Every day feels like a challenge, but every completed task feels like you’ve drastically improved in some way. I had my work “line-edited” for the first time, basically meaning one of the law clerks tore a draft of my memo to shreds. Was that tough initially? Of course! But I still use the comments he gave me in my writing today.

On the other hand, I won’t lie, the work feels a bit tedious sometimes after a year of reading, research, and writing. You’ll enter your second year having continued to live in a world of theory, having never met a client or filed a motion. Fortunately, if you’re like me and decide that you’re willing to wait to get these experiences, your second year is full of opportunities to experience these things, particularly through clinics and externships.

2. How much research should I do on the judge before I apply?

In all honesty, this is a little bit up to you. As far as I can tell, there are two schools of thought about applying to judges. 1) Apply only to the judges you agree with ideologically. 2) Apply to everyone because working for a judge is an honor. While I fall into the latter camp, I will say that I think the most important consideration when applying for a judicial internship is WHERE you will be working, not WHO you will be working for. BU Law has a strict policy that if you interview with a judge and are accepted, you must accept the internship with that judge, as well as immediately withdraw your name from consideration from all other internships. This means that if you apply to an internship in Massachusetts and an internship in California, and the internship in California accepts you first, you now have to go to California. Point being, think long and hard about 1) where you would like to be and 2) where you can afford to be.

3. What materials do I need for my application?

This is definitely one of the sections I wish I had more advice on before I applied. Most important note: start getting your applications together EARLY. Like now if you can. Finals are coming, which will lead to stress. But, more than that, the process of applying for federal judicial internships is independently tedious. First, you must print all your materials on bond paper. This means going to Staples, buying the bond paper, and either printing your materials at home on this paper or paying Staples to do it for you. Next, you have to print labels. Again, this means formatting the labels with the addresses of the chambers, having those labels printed, and applying those to manilla envelopes. Also, buy manilla envelopes. Finally, you’ll have to mail these applications to your judges. This is a consideration to keep in mind when you’re thinking about how many judges you want to apply to. Sending large packets of information gets expensive. I applied to only the First Circuit and paid about $50 to mail my applications.

4. What will you learn over the summer? 

As discussed above in the “what does a judicial intern do?” section, you’ll learn a lot about research and writing during the summer. You’ll also learn how the judicial opinion writing process works, how courtrooms operate, and whether Westlaw or Lexis is your favorite.

Outside of this though, you’ll also get an opportunity to interact with some truly brilliant legal minds. If you’re lucky, at least one of these will be your judge. However, no matter what, you’ll have an opportunity to interact with the law IMG_8672clerks, who – in my experience – are some of the best mentors you can have. These law clerks are generally relatively recent law school grads who have already gone through all of the stuff you’re trying so hard not to think about during that first summer – from OCI to research assistant positions to someday clerkship applications. In my case, I attribute my path for 2L year at least 65% to my law clerk mentors this summer. I went into the summer saying I would skip OCI, and I now have a job working for WilmerHale next summer. (Note: As future posts will tell, I couldn’t be happier about it.)

 

Long story short… You’ll be considering a lot of opportunities for the summer after your 1L year. All of them will sound amazing, and you might be overwhelmed by the possibilities. If you leave this blog post with one thing. have it be the fact that if you choose a judicial internship, you will not regret it.

4 Activities to Get You Through October

Hello readers!

If any of you have read my blog posts from 1L, you’ll know that I learned one important thing in my first ever semester of law school: There is a time to panic and stress and be at school all weekend long, and there is a time that isn’t for those things. I promised myself after that first semester that I would remember this tip in my next semesters of law school and enjoy my weekends in the months before finals season. I promised I would get my relaxation in when I could and appreciate it. Now, if you know me in real life, you know that this is the sort things I’m the absolute worst at doing. I know, right? A type-A law student? Shocking.

But, thanks to my new partner in crime this year (note: there is a post about balancing dating and law school soon to come), I’ve actually stepped outside of the library this first semester of 2L. In particular, I’ve gone on four great adventures in these first few weeks, which I would recommend to any future law student looking to enjoy October at Boston University.

IMG_9161Breakfast at Zaftig’s (Coolidge Corner, Brookline)

Nestled in perhaps one of the cutest areas of Boston, this authentic Jewish deli frequented by local celebrity Congressman Joe Kennedy (yes, that matters to me) has perhaps the best breakfast around. As one pleased customer wrote on Trip Advisor,  it features “all the classics–Borscht, chicken/Matzo ball soup, knishes, blintzes, potato latkes. The dark wood ambiance is comforting, as are the doting waitresses, and there’s even a sprinkling of homespun Jewish humor reflected in their t-shirts, featuring clever Jewish puns “Go Red Lox” instead of Sox.” For brunch, come in and treat yourself to a bagel with lox and a mimosa. And then wander over to Brookline Booksmith. You’re in law school. You like books. 

Apple Picking (Russell Orchard, Ipswich)

Russell Orchards is actually great all year long, as they have picking for every season. In IMG_0979particular though, it is a fall-lover’s dream come true. Not only can you pick apples and enjoy the beautiful foliage, but you can also do so much more. From the hayride to the pumpkin patch to the winery and apple cider donuts, this place is basically your October instagram feed come to life. Make all your followers jealous. Pet some adorable animals at the petting zoo. Sit by a beautiful lake and eat an apple. It’s worth the trip from the city! (Although I might suggest either 1) a friend with a car or 2) a zipcar).

Another great suggestion: Honey Pot Hill Orchard (Stowe, MA)

The Topsfield Fair (Topsfield, MA)

IMG_9135Recently celebrating its 200 year anniversary, the Topsfield Fair is America’s oldest agricultural fair. You’ve seen it in the movies — Come October, it’s time to go to the agricultural fair and watch as farmers compete to see who grew the largest pumpkin of the season. Since its founding, the fair has expanded past its agricultural roots. It includes carnival games and rides, hundreds of food stands selling all your favorite fair food, artisans from local workshops, and more.

 

 

BU Law Halloween party! 

Of course, it wouldn’t be a BU Law blog without repping the BU Law Halloween party! Honestly though, taking the time to go to the Halloween Party has become one of my favorite BU Law traditions. Celebrate the end of October and the beginning of the crazy month of November with all your classmates.

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Long story short, enjoy October. Whether it be through something small like finding the best breakfast place in your neighborhood or something big like an apple picking adventure, take time for yourself in these first few weeks.

 

Organization in Law School

Organization is something that didn’t become integral to my everyday values until law school. I almost feel like I succeeded in high school and college despitemy lack of organization skills (well, I saw it as a lack). When I got to law school, organization became an absolute necessity. 1L year helped usher in this change because our schedules were very controlled and organized for us. This structure both showed me the importance of organization and set a tone of needing the organization to maintain control over my busy schedule. In the past two years I’ve discovered some processes and tools that have really helped me maintain my organization and, as a result, some shreds of sanity.

 

Find a good planner that works for you

In high school I bought trendy Vera Bradley and Lilly Pulitzer planners because they looked pretty and all my friends had them. I would write down things every once in a while but mostly just kept my “homework” assignments written at the top of my notebooks for each class. News flash: this is not efficient, effective, or helpful. When I started law school I was gifted a different (albeit still trendy and pretty!!) planner. This planner was good, but as the year went on I realized that its format and layout didn’t exactly fit my needs. So for 2L I scoured the web and stores for the perfect planner for me and found it- and repurchased it for 3L, too. This planner works for me because the days for each week take up the left-hand side of the page and each day has open space to write in all assignments. On the right-hand side of the page it is formatted with big sections for notes, to-do lists, things to remember, and goals. This format is really beneficial for me because many of my responsibilities as managing editor, for example, don’t really belong to a “day” like schedules and meetings do. I urge you to think about what your responsibilities are on a weekly basis and figure out a planner that can best facilitate keeping the tasks organized.

 

Write things down

I used to rely mostly on “brain power” to remember my assignments for each class, the activities and responsibilities for each club/group, and other miscellaneous tasks on my plate. This is a no-good, awful, terrible, very bad system. Don’t do this. Writing each task down not only helps you remember it better, it puts it in a concrete place where you can reference it easily and be reminded of it daily.

 

Utilize apps

I try to write in my physical planner as much as I can, but since phones are so ubiquitous and accessible I also have a habit of substituting various tools and apps on my phone instead. Like most people, my calendar on my phone is integral to my personal organization structure. But I often found myself using my calendar to create “events” that were really just things I needed to remember to do. Recently I was reminded of an app that I downloaded and attempted to use years ago but never found my groove with. I’m happy to report back, however, that it has now become a great tool for my law school life! The app is called Trello and it’s a great way to keep all my “to dos” organized well in advance.* The app allows you to create “boards” which I organize into categories like BU, Managing Editor, Groceries, etc. Within each board you can create lists, and within each list you can create different cards. For example: within my BU board, I have lists for homework, recurring, and groups/events. Under homework, I have cards for specific homework assignments, outlining, my final paper for my ethics class, and certing my note. Under my recurring list I have a card for blogging and within that card I have made a checklist for keeping track of how many times I’ve posted each month. And for groups/events I list different events I’m interested in, reaching out to my mentees (with checklists for each mentee), and meetings with different administrators or professors. Basically, it’s a way to breakdown your tasks and responsibilities into smaller and smaller chunks, and when you open the app and go to your “home” page you can see which tasks are immediately upcoming! It’s really helpful for personal and also joint use as you can share your boards with other people (I share my “groceries” board with my boyfriend, and we have lists for weekly groceries, Costco trips, and replenishing my baking cabinet, which either of us can check off or add to whenever we want). I highly recommend Trello if you’re looking for a way to keep all of your responsibilities (that you’ve been scurrying away in improper apps or categories) in a more centralized location!

 

*This post is not sponsored by Trello. But Trello, if you’re reading this, I have some product development suggestions!