The Law as a Hobby?

When I first began law school, I knew nothing about the law. And I do mean NOTHING. I had no family members in the legal field, I had zero understanding of what lawyers actually do, and I did not know basic legal definitions, like what summary judgment is or the difference between a civil and a criminal trial. I cannot stress enough how little I knew, you guys: it was bad.

But then, of course, 1L happened. Through reading cases and occasionally Googling embarrassingly simple things, I learned. I now know things like how many federal circuit courts there are and the names of all the Supreme Court justices. But at some point in the middle of all of this legitimate learning, something unexpected happened: the law also became my hobby.

Now I should be clear about this: I do frequently participate in non-legal activities. I think you kind of have to if you want to stay sane in law school. But law school is also a big part of who I am as a person, and that manifests itself outside of a purely education context. To list a few examples:

  • I actually purchased a Notorious RBG t-shirt, and I am a self-professed RBG fangirl.
  • I play trivia on Thursday nights with a group of my law school friends. Our team name? Beyond a Reasonable Stout.
  • I followed the jury selection of the Boston bomber trial on Twitter, and I live streamed the Aaron Hernandez case a few days ago. Just… for fun.
  • Documentaries. Oh my goodness, the documentaries. I’ve always been a documentary fiend, but I now watch almost exclusively legal documentaries when I have free time.  Some of my favorites (most of which are available on Netflix): Hot CoffeeHow to Die in OregonEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, Capturing the Friedmans, The Central Park Five, and The Staircase.

I used to worry during 1L, when my classmates would be discussing the latest Supreme Court docket or the implications of a new bill of some kind, that I would never develop that same passion for the law as they all seemed to have. As it turns out, my relative ignorance of all things legal just caused me to be a little slow on the uptake.

Now, fully enmeshed in my fourth semester, I am officially a law nerd. I think that is definitely one of the most unexpected consequences of law school for me: this deep sense of truly caring about the law beyond a purely academic or career-driven sort of interest. And it’s also one of the BEST parts of law school; I never expected to feel this way, but I’m honestly privileged to be able to have a career in a field that affects every member of society in one way or another. It makes me wonder how I went so long without being fascinated by the legal world.

Spring Forward

Though it may not feel like it outside, spring has finally arrived. As each new season begins the one before it begins to disappear. Our lives change just as the seasons do. We can look back on past seasons with fond memories, yet we often still find ourselves looking forward to the possibilities that the next season holds for us.

I know that this is the season that I will graduate in. I already find myself tying up all of the loose ends I need to before I can graduate. I’ve filled out a form for my Health Law Concentration, which I am happy to have completed during my time at BU Law. I’ve also ordered my cap and gown, which I am excited to pick up a few weeks from now.

Graduation once seemed so far away. Now it seems so close. As I see admitted students tour the law school for the first time, I look back on my years here fondly. I know those students will have as great of an experience as I had, if not better.

This summer will filled with studying for and taking the bar. I am looking forward to spending it in Boston and to the seasons ahead. Another season, another chance to change our lives for the better.

That’s Amore

Over spring break I traveled to Italy. Not only was it my first time in Europe, but it was my first time travelling outside of the United States! Needless to say, it was a trip I will never forget.

I flew from Boston to Rome, where I spent most of my time over the week  I was there. Thankfully, I was staying with an Italian family, so finding my way around was fairly easy. I was able to visit some of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen, including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican. Each piece of ancient architecture took my breath away. I was amazed by the amount of history and culture the city had to offer.

I also visited Florence, which was very different from Rome in a good way. The city was bright and colorful. It was smaller than Rome, but also seemed less crowded. I really enjoyed walking through the city and taking the time to look at some incredible sculptures, such as Michelangelo’s David. The drive from Rome to Florence through Tuscany and all of its gorgeous landscapes was one of the nicest parts.

Perhaps the most memorable part of my trip was the art. I went to museums and saw some of the most beautiful paintings I could imagine. Seeing works of art from the Renaissance created by artists like Raphael and Da Vinci was unbelievable. Each church we stepped inside had art on its walls and ceilings. Of course, seeing Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was unforgettable. Art is everywhere in Rome!

On top of all of the sights I saw, I was also able to have plenty of authentic Italian cooking. A different pasta dish every night, each one better than the last. I’ve always enjoyed Italian food, but now I love it even more.

I’d like to go back to Italy in the future to see places like Venice and Milan. I’d also like to see Paris and London. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to travel the world. Until then, I’ll always remember my time abroad.

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Cardozo Moot Court

Life takes you strange places. If you’d told me three years ago that I would not only stand up to present a fifteen minute oral appellate argument more than once, but would actually sign up to do so of my own volition, I might not have believed you. I did know that participation in the J. Newton Esdaile was required of all 1Ls so I’d have to muddle through that somehow. And while it was a tremendous amount of work and mildly terrifying… it was also kind of fun. My 2L year I voluntarily participated in the Edward C. Stone competition and found it even less terrifying, and this year I represented BUSL at the BMI Cardozo Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition in New York.

A few background basics: ‘Mock Trial’ consists of preparing and performing in a sham jury trial proceeding, complete with opening and closing statements, witness exams and cross-exams, objections, the works. ‘Moot Court’ is preparing and delivering an oral argument in a court of appeals, frequently pretending to have a case before the Supreme Court of the United States because if you’re dreaming you may as well go big. Many schools compete in several of one or both types of competitions at the regional, national, and even international levels (every year one team from our school flies to Oxford to argue in a competition there).

My partner and I prepared a brief for the Petitioner but also had to be prepared to deliver arguments for the Respondent. Our fact pattern dealt with a dispute over two copyright issues (what constitutes “work for hire” in an employment context and what constitutes a joint authorship). Lots of times the people writing the problems have a little fun with pulling names for the parties from pop culture; for instance, I represented Tuco Comics Publishing against comic book artist Walter White with his maybe-joint-authorship collaborating Jesse Pinkman, with a smattering of other Breaking Bad references sprinkled throughout.

The rules of our competition required that we prepare our brief without outside assistance, but once it was submitted we were allowed to be coached by BU’s moot court faculty on our actual delivery of the arguments which was helpful in nailing the nuances of courtroom presence and presentation. The people sitting on the judicial panels (usually in threes) range from faculty at the hosting school to local lawyers who work in the competition’s practice area to actual judges.

So, how did we actually do once we got to New York? Not as well as we might’ve liked: every team was supposed to argue three separate rounds on the first day of competition (two ‘on brief’ or on the side that they prepared for and once ‘off brief’ flipping roles to be the opposing counsel), but a snowstorm intervened and cut us short so we only got to argue twice, and it’s my personal belief that we would’ve been stronger in the last round and made the cut for the finalist. Even still, the experience was terrifically valuable and I’m glad I had the chance to participate.

Stuffed.

“You’ll never go hungry.” These were some of the parting words my former boss gave me as I made the move from New York to Boston. Knowing how much I enjoy exploring new and different foods, my boss was sure I would love Boston. Unfortunately, 1L year leaves very limited time to love anything. So when a friend from undergrad (who also loves exploring different places to eat) was planning on visiting Boston for a weekend, I was very excited to spend 72 hours eating non-stop and making up for lost time. You might think I’m exaggerating about the 72-hours part but since eating is one of my favorite hobbies, my friend and I have become professionals. So for admitted students or anyone visiting Boston: below are some great places to try for students on a budget.

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Seoul Soulongtang is a Korean restaurant that specializes in classic beef broth soups. My friend and I ordered Kimchi Jeon, Yook Gae Jang, and Bibimbap. My friend who was visiting is Korean and said the Kimchi Jeon (Korean pancake) was one of the best she’s had in the states and really brought her back to her time in Korea so I’d definitely recommend it. I’m a big fan of spicy food so I’d also recommend the soup I ordered for anyone else that enjoys eating food with a kick. Seoul Soulongtang is 10 seconds off the Harvard Ave T stop so it’s in a great location for students who can’t afford to take too much time away from the books.

Jamón Serrano & Pan con Tomate

Jamón Serrano & Pan con Tomate

Tortilla & Jamón Serrano

Tortilla & Jamón Serrano

While my friend studied abroad in Seoul, I was spending my semester abroad in Madrid. Any of my friends will quickly tell you how much of a Spain fanatic I am (there’s four full-size Spanish flags throughout my apartment). After having been to the Korean restaurant, I decided to take my friend to Tasca, a Spanish tapas place. It was my first time at Tasca so I was really excited to get my first tapas fix in Boston. The atmosphere at Tasca was very similar to the tablao’s throughout Spain and the sangria was pretty on point to that which I had in Madrid. The tapas were portioned a little on the small side but I have yet to go to a tapas bar in the states that serves tapas true to the portions of Spain.

IMG_0336 IMG_0335Another thing that my friend and I have in common is that we both specialize in eating sweets. I haven’t found too many dessert places where I live in Allston so I would definitely recommend Finale for anyone who’s downtown and looking to satisfy their sweet tooth (and they have stellar coffee).

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I’ve now been to Penang three times in my short time in Boston. I guiltily think I should’ve taken two of those opportunities to explore something different but I think the food is that good and the place has a very cool vibe. I don’t think I’ve ever had Malaysian food anywhere else but this place definitely hits the spot. The sizzling platters are great, the mango chicken is great, the Chow Kueh Teow is great—it’s all great.

IMG_0345 IMG_0343A fellow foodie in my section mentioned last semester that El Centro is her favorite Mexican restaurant. Her family’s Mexican so I knew it was a reliable standard to follow. I took my friend to El Centro in the South End for brunch and can happily confirm the diagnosis. The chilaquiles were fantastic and the guacamole was probably the best I’ve had in Boston. The vibe also seemed very authentic and the coffee reminded me exactly of the coffee I’m used to drinking whenever I visit Latin America.

I’ve always said that I’ll try any food once and when you have a restricted law-student schedule, I believe socializing over a meal is the best way to take a break from studying. We visited a few other places during my friends’ visit to Boston but these are a few of the ones that I stand by and would definitely re-visit. My boss certainly knew what she was talking about in telling me I would never go hungry because one of the things I love about Boston is how many student-friendly places there are to explore.