Farewell, Washington; Hello, Washington!

Senator Patty Murray and Me

Me with Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Thanks to BU Law’s Semester in Practice Program, my last day externing in the U.S. Senate was also my last day of law school. I could not have wished for a more perfect ending to these three wonderful years.

Going into this externship, my primary goals were to learn how Congress conducts oversight over the executive branch, to better understand the varied roles that government lawyers play within partisan policy committees, and to explore new areas of substantive law. In short, I embraced this externship as an opportunity to learn in a wholly different professional and legal environment than any I had previously experienced.

While I fulfilled these stated objectives, this externship also revealed something that, in retrospect, had been an unconscious goal all along: I wanted to feel useful.

In my application to BU Law, I explained that my motivation for attending law school was fueled by a desire to expand my advocacy tool kit. I had worked as a community organizer; I had lobbied lawmakers. But I had never learned how to shape and influence our legal system beyond the confines of advocacy as an outside actor.

I’m proud to say that law school has helped me cultivate these skills—through rigorous doctrinal classes and policy seminars, through BU’s Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic where I served my first client, and through my summer internships working at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and at a law firm in Seattle. I thus felt ready and eager to spend my final semester outside of the classroom and to put my training into practice.

As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, I could not have asked for a better externship placement. Since day one my team has treated me like a colleague, entrusting me with significant assignments and responsibilities. I participated in internal meetings where my opinions were valued and encouraged; I drafted blueprints for potential investigations; I alerted agencies to their misapplication of the law. I enjoyed the challenge, but the greatest reward was knowing that my small contribution was making a positive difference in government.

Next week will bring me back to Boston for Commencement. I look forward to celebrating with my dear friends and saying our final goodbyes (for now!) Then it’s back home to my beloved Washington State. The sun is setting on this adventure, but the dawn of the next is just beginning to rise.

One Comment

Caroline Lambert posted on May 5, 2018 at 3:49 pm

This experience sounds amazing. Congrats on finishing law school, Brynn!

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