Toward Success, Through Concentration & Practice

Today I’m going to concentrate on “concentrations.” The concept is really neat — you take a certain number of classes (a quarter of your total degree requirements, or fewer) in the area of your concentration, and at graduation, you receive a certificate indicating completion.

BU Law offers concentrations in five areas (Health LawIntellectual Property LawInternational LawLitigation and Dispute Resolution, and Transactional Practice). Each one is an opportunity to delve deeply into an area of particular interest to you, or of practical use in your future career — though I’d certainly hope the two overlap!

By far the area of greatest interest for me was Litigation and Dispute Resolution. Fortunately, I had  practically covered the concentration requirements before even signing up for it in the first semester of my second year!

I wrote my note on a topic related to litigation (strategy in custody cases), so I covered the writing requirement by mere coincidence. I was also enrolled in the Civil Litigation Clinic.

So, if I was going to do it anyway, why is the concentration so great?

First, it helped me pick courses going forward. From the many, many classes that would have satisfied this requirement, I took the Legal Externship Program (independent study), Judicial Externship Program, Mediation Theory & Practice, Sex Crimes, Evidence, Juvenile Delinquency, and Family Law. So, even within the concentration, I could focus on those classes of interest to me. It shaped how I viewed course selection for the final two years of law school. As I occasionally have felt out to sea in this foreign realm of law school, this was a great guide.

Second, it offered me recognition for the hard work I put into learning about something important to me. Concentrations are not noted on our transcripts, but I can put mine on my resume. This helps set me apart from everyone else with the rather nondescript “J.D.,” which is important in the crowded job market. Additionally, if I have the great fortune of having a sufficient GPA in relevant coursework, I can note that I received honors in my concentration, as well. For students who are not in the very top tier academically overall, this can indicate that they have chosen to concentrate hardest on the classes that mean the most to their future work.

Finally, it has been a lot of fun learning about litigation and dispute resolution, as a purely academic exercise, and it has helped me cement my choice of path as a future attorney. I feel like I will be ready for jobs in the field as soon as I finish my clerkship. I have also managed to enjoy the majority of my classes. In other words, I’ve done what I set out to do!

Law school is seen as a rarefied and occasionally abstract environment. I am an almost-lawyer committed to serving real-world clients. These two things could be at odds, but with this concentration, I have been able to bridge the gap!

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *