Since the moment I first laid eyes on a DUKW—an amphibious vehicle known as a Duck—I wanted to ride in one. Badly. Originally designed to transport military troops and supplies during WWII, these days Ducks are better known for transporting tourists around Boston’s best-known attractions.

Image from dukw.com

Image from dukw.com

My dream finally came true thanks to an unexpected invitation from BU Law. As part of Boston University’s Alumni Reunion festivities, the law school organized a Boston Duck Tour outing for students and alumni. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity and roped my friend Nina into joining the tour as well.

Menacing clouds gave way to rain as we trudged along to our rendezvous spot. The technicolor milieu typical of autumn in New England was muted by monotone skies reflecting off skyscrapers. I feared the inclement weather would put a damper on our excursion.

B&N_PreBoatGameAtStarMarketI was wrong. Boarding Frog Pond Lily was akin to landing in Oz via the Magic School Bus. The interior was awash in red pendants, BU-branded sunglasses, and the rosy countenance of our fellowship. ConDUCKtor Milk was our fearless leader. He skillfully guided us through the enthralling chaos of downtown Boston, all the while enlightening us with trivia about the founding fathers, local delicacies, and The Boston Molassacre. Finally, the big moment arrived: We drove straight into the Charles River.

Image from http://old.bostonducktours.com

Image from http://old.bostonducktours.com

Driving the Frog Pond Lily

Driving the Frog Pond Lily

What happened next might just be one of the greatest moments of my law school career: I, Brynn Felix, was handed the wheel of the floating Frog Pond Lily. The sheer excitement of it all rendered me terribly awkward; I was so overcome that I only managed to mumble, “This is riveting,” in response to Mr. Milk’s fluid comedy routine at the helm. I’ve been in the presence of Senators, Governors, and even an Emperor, but nothing quite beats the thrill of maneuvering the Frog Pond Lily through the Charles River. I’m grateful to know that if a career in law doesn’t work out, I could always have a future in the Duck arts.

For more information about Boston Duck Tours, visit http://www.bostonducktours.com/.

The Displaced Food Snobs

At times Boston can feel like one giant college campus. Students are everywhere. You can see it on the T through the autumn as the morning commute slowly transforms from young professionals making their way to work to students making their way to class—and as finals get closer, bleary-eyed students in sweatpants and hoodies making their way to class. Such a big concentration of students means a big concentration of out-of-towners, and such a big concentration of out-of-towners means something else:

Displaced food snobs.

What’s a displaced food snob? It’s someone who misses the food from back home, and will allow nothing from around here to come close, no matter how delicious it might be. Every region has its own version. Take, for example, a Texan studying in Boston who stops by a restaurant that advertises barbecue. For this person, the use of the word “barbecue” in the description of their Boston-made meal is a personal affront, an abuse of the very word barbecue. For the rest of us, it would be a perfectly tasty sandwich, but to the Texan, it is worse than bad.

Or perhaps another example is the Californian who wants a fish taco, and in tasting the local Boston version they are appalled by the lack of freshness in the avocado and the seasoning on the fish. “The fish tacos are way better in California,” this person might say. Again, to the rest of us, perfectly fine fish taco.

Even closer to home, those of us from the tri-state area around New York City are guilty of displaced food snobbery, and we’re often overheard grumbling of the difficulty of finding good New York pizza, a worthy Italian hoagie, or a chewy bagel like the ones in Long Island or New Jersey that supposedly taste so good because there’s something in the water.

Fortunately, Boston is a fairly big city and after a year I think I have actually tracked down a few places that can satisfy the need for some of those longed-for treats:

If you want a great bagel, head out to Rosenfeld’s in Newton Centre—it’s the best bagel I’ve had in town and for just under $6 for a half dozen, it’s worth the commute. You can find them at https://www.rosenfeldsbagels.com.

If you want a great Italian sub, try out Bottega di Capri in Brookline, right on Harvard Street. Good bread, thin and fresh-sliced meats, and fresh veggies make for one of the best sandwiches in the city, and the pasta looks pretty good too. Check it out at http://bottegadicapri.com.

And if you want a great pizza? Well that’s for you to decide—for the displaced food snobs, “What’s your favorite pizza?” is like a personal question.

I’m looking at you, Chicagoans.

Part II – Landing a 2L Job (AKA How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Interviews)

I have a confession: I had a remarkably easy time finding a 1L summer internship, especially compared to my friends whose searches spanned countless interviews over a period of months. I, on the other hand, spotted my dream position on an internal job board, submitted my cover letter and resume, and received an offer without so much as a single conversation with my future employer. I hit the jackpot, or so I thought. It wasn’t until I was waist deep in 2L summer applications that I realized my friends had a huge advantage in the job search arena: they were old pros at this interviewing game long before On Campus Interviews (OCI) even rolled around.

OCI is the primary method by which 2Ls find summer jobs. Where you spend your 2L summer often dictates where you will begin your legal career, so OCI is a pretty big deal. (Caveat: this is truer for firm positions than public interest placements, as government agencies frequently abide by different hiring rules.)

Nearly every law school has some form of OCI, as it’s an incredibly efficient labor market hub that benefits everyone involved. Employers have the ability to assess a revolving door of applicants through brief screening interviews, followed by lengthier on-site interviews for select candidates. Law students have the advantage of cycling through numerous potential employers in a single day. (Think of all those dry-cleaning savings!) Moreover, OCIs offer the perfect forum for rehearsing and polishing interview answers.

In contrast to my 1L job hunt experience, my 2L search was daunting. To begin with, I didn’t participate in BU’s OCI. By and large, the participating employers were recruiting for positions in Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C., whereas I plan to practice law in Washington State. As a result, I had to be proactive about researching Washington employers, submitting applications throughout the summer, and scheduling interviews for the few weeks I was Seattle before resuming school in Boston.

Despite my previous work experience, the thought of interviewing was extremely nerve-wracking. How does one overcome a feeling of stomach-lurching panic when meeting with a prospective employer? This is the million-dollar question, and I’m afraid my million-dollar answer is as underwhelming as receiving that lump sum in pennies: Much like cultivating any other skill, the key is to practice, practice, practice—until you’re blue in the face. Even with extensive preparation, interviews that took place early in the cycle fell flat. I often walked out feeling as though my answers were too long-winded, too vague, too abstract. Gradually, though, I found my groove. I knew there existed a finite number of interview questions; it was simply a matter of polishing my routine. Each successive notch in my interview belt boosted my confidence until I was finally able to answer questions with spontaneous normalcy. I don’t want to give the impression that this process was as magically transformative as Daniel’s training montage in the Karate Kid. I didn’t suddenly ooze charisma or beguile my audience. I merely practiced being myself—sincere, quirky, and competent—under extremely stressful circumstances.

I’m happy to report that the toil and turmoil all paid off. Next May I will return to my beloved Washington to work with a fabulous firm in downtown Seattle.

Seattle Skyline

“It gets better.”

It gets better. This was a tweet reply that I sent to a 1L at a different law school last week. She had just tweeted that she had made a terrible mistake by going to law school. As a 3L, I was confident to reassure this 1L at a completely different school with a completely different curriculum that it will get better. Because it will. Law school is a grind and the rigor and stress that law students put themselves through are rivaled by few, if any, professional schools.  From talking to law students at a variety of different schools, I’m confident in stating that every 3L’s comfort level far surpasses that of a 1L. That’s why I was able to say confidently “It gets better.”

Law school certainly isn’t for everyone. The stress and overbearing of the first couple months of 1L year are unlike anything I’ve personally experienced in my life. Day in and day out you are unsure if you are doing enough with very little assurance and feedback. As time moves forward in law school, this level of insecurity goes away. You are comfortable handling new material at a fast pace. You grow used to reading cases on a daily basis. You know what a law school exam looks like. And most importantly, you get very good at time management.

The point is that for 1Ls right now there is a great deal of uncertainty, but like anything else, this too shall pass. After the first round off 1L finals, you have outcomes to base your work level off of. You know what worked and what didn’t work in terms of how you prepare throughout the course of the semester. You also start to learn what type of material you enjoy so you can better capitalize on the wide range of class offerings during your 2L and 3L year.

While this post may not be the most specific piece of advice given to you throughout your 1L year, that’s by design. This post is to reassure any 1Ls who stumble across it, no matter if they are BU Law students or not, that it does get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Once you get through your first semester (which there’s only 2 and a half months left of!), you begin to have a renewed sense of confidence. So to everyone who may be doubting their choice to go law school, as many do, put your head down, keep focusing in class and on reading cases and your comfort level will soon grow with each passing day and week.

Welcome to Boston, Class of 2019!

To all those who are reading this that are new to the city of Boston, welcome! We are entering a fantastic time of year and hopefully everyone is able to take a break from their reading and case briefs to enjoy it. While some may think that I am referencing the great fall weather, pumpkin spiced coffee and football season, I’m not. I’m talking about the fact that playoff baseball has finally returned to Boston for the first time since 2013. Starting late next week, the Boston Red Sox will play host to two home playoff games at nearby Fenway Park. (Playoff schedule TBD)

Playoff baseball brings a different environment to Boston – I know this from experience. In September 2007, I moved into my freshman dorm at nearby Northeastern University. 2007 also happened to be the year that the Red Sox won their second World Series title in four years. The energy and excitement of the city during this time made me fall in love with it – and as they say, the rest is history because I’ve never left. I had the opportunity to celebrate this World Series as a college freshman and it was truly a life changing moment for me.

There aren’t many cities in the country that has such a passionate fan base. While some students who come from bigger cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles may think that Boston is “too small,” that is part of its charm. That charm and appeal is shown in no better way than the city’s love for its sports teams. When broadcasters and journalists comment that playoff baseball “has taken over the city of Boston,” they’re right. And all of the new students to this great city are about to witness it.

So while law school may seem overwhelming at times and you may feel like there’s too much to do, take some time to enjoy the environment that playoff baseball brings to your new city. Go walk around Fenway before the game and grab a drink at a nearby bar. Now is the time to do it because the playoffs aren’t here every year. Plus you don’t even have to start outlining or studying for finals yet!