Judge Denise Casper’s Tips for Law Students

Recently, I’ve had a chance to work with the Law School’s marketing staff to produce some articles for the main school website. It’s a win-win: The school gets coverage of its events; I get to attend the events and get paid. Any extra money helps during law school, of course, but I honestly enjoy attending these events and learning more about the legal profession.

The student organizations at BU Law bring in panels and individual speakers an average of twice a week, I would guess. I’ve seen some excellent presentations by leaders in their field, both scholars and practicing attorneys. The events the law school puts on are equally likely to be entertaining and educational.

My final big event of the year was part of the James N. Esdaile Jr. Lecture Series. While I’m sure the Hon. Denise J. Casper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts would have been an interesting speaker on any number of subjects, I appreciated that she chose to focus on her advice to law students and young lawyers.

Judge Denise J. Casper (Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe image labelled for reuse)

We get so much “career advice” in law school that it has started to run together. I chose, however, to listen to Judge Casper with an open mind, and I’m glad I did. My personal takeaways from her presentation were:

  • Be the type of lawyer who chooses wisely at the outset: Go for “zealous advocacy” when appropriate, even disagreement with the court, but also know when you don’t know something.
  • Remember that your reputation will be set early and that it will stick with you.
  • Don’t restrict yourself to your office–get to know other lawyers and join professional organizations.
  • Keep the idea that you’ll likely change jobs at least once in mind. Diversify your education.
  • Advocate for well-funded courts and representation for indigent individuals.
  • Look for good mentors and keep those relationships strong.
  • Balance work and life for better perspective on both.

It’s encouraging to hear that the things I see as important are also important to a successful judge. It gives me hope as I put my first year of legal education to rest that I might even be on something of the right track!

Read the full story on the lecture here.

Spring is finally coming to BU. Flowers bloom and grass gets green on the last day of classes!

Spring is finally coming to BU. Flowers bloom and grass gets green on the last day of classes!

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