Seven Days

Seven days from today my fellow 3Ls and I will don our red and purple caps and gowns and graduate from BU Law. I’m ecstatic that one of my dearest friends is our student speaker, and I can’t wait to hear what words of wisdom and encouragement he will send us off with.

As my final blog post, here is my send away to the class of 2018:

First, I would like to offer a special thank you to Dean O’Rourke for her outstanding leadership and service to the school. During our 1L year you were named as one of the nation’s most influential legal educators—and it’s easy to see why. Under your direction the school has blossomed—from the development of the Redstone Building to the growth of our public interest community and programs.

Your student-centric approach to legal education has fostered a culture of community and collegiality that even outside observers couldn’t miss. I vividly recall participating in a student-led interview with a faculty candidate and hearing them remark how struck they were by how happy students our students are – imagine that, smiling law students on the eve of finals!

A strong community culture starts at the top, and we in the class of 2018 could not have been luckier to attend BU during your tenure as Dean. Thank you for your constant support, accessibility, and innovative leadership.

I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on what has happened over the course of these past three years. During our shared time at BU we carved out very different paths for ourselves. We fell in love; we become engaged; we married; we brought new life into this world. I continue to be inspired by our resilience in the face of all manner of tribulations—and trials!

In seven days we will disperse to every corner of this country and beyond to pursue our individual dreams. But as different as our time has been, as different as our lives shall be, we still share a collective experience—an experience born of our training, of our shared labor, but above all, of our unique moment. For no one else in history will experience this moment in time. It is ours. We know it intimately, better than any to come, and we bear responsibility for its outcome. This moment, our moment, is what I would like to address.

There is no question that the world looks monumentally different today than it did when we began this adventure in August of 2015. As 1Ls, we pored over centuries of opinions that painted a rich and dynamic portrait of this country’s history—the ebb and flow of economic, political, and social movements; periods of division, uncertainty, and fear. The legal doctrines and rules embedded in these opinions offered a snapshot of how our institutions responded to each generation’s unique needs and demands.

But our study of the common law was not merely a history lesson. Our participation in classes, clinics, and internships have taught us how to navigate our current legal systems – how to advance or resist our cause through avenues such as impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and policy-making.

Outside the Redstone Building and Law Tower, we have seen our profession rise in the public’s esteem. Once the butt of jokes, lawyers are now at forefront of this nation’s most heated political and legal debates. As our institutions are challenged from within and without, people look to lawyers to uphold our democratic system. To uphold the rule of law itself.

As students, we have contributed to this change. We welcomed immigrants at Logan Airport and informed them of their rights. We drafted amicus briefs when courts sought guidance. We both staffed government agencies and served as their watchdogs.

And so this is our moment. As students, we are on the cusp of joining a profession on the front lines of change. As lawyers, we will be the ones people look to as this country decides what it will preserve and what it will become. As advocates, we must decide what we are advocating for.

I leave each of us with this to contemplate:
We leave BU with tools.
We leave BU with a broader context.
BU leaves us with a choice: What will your contribution be?

Thank you.

 

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