Warm Weather Activities in Boston

Now that it is FINALLY starting to heat up in Boston, I’m itching to spend a lot more time outside and thaw out from winter. I know this semester’s finals will be a bit harder on the soul, as outside will be beckoning much more attractively than the 20 degree wind did in December. There’s a lot of things I really enjoy doing in Boston when the weather starts to get nice, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites tailored to life at BU Law.

Red Sox Games

I’m a born and raised third generation Red Sox fan, whose family line survived stints living in Hawaii, New Mexico, Korea, and dreaded New York to remain die-hard supporters of those lovable boys in white and red. I grew up going to Sox games, and it’s something I still love to do. Even if you don’t like the Red Sox, or baseball at all, Fenway is undeniably part of Boston’s heart and soul, and it’s impossible to not love the historic ball park. I urge everyone to go to at least one game while they’re here at BU. The atmosphere, passion, and joy that emanates from Yawkey way with each inning is something truly special. Grab $10 student standing-room tickets and take a study break. Get a Fenway Frank and ice cream in the most adorable bowls shaped like Red Sox batter’s helmets. Sing at the top of your lungs to Sweet Caroline (if you don’t, I’ll be wildly disappointed). And take in one the best experiences that makes Boston, Boston.

Lunch on BU Beach

This is a tradition that my section-mates and I started in the fall, and I’m so eager to start it up again. We found that McCausland commons gets exceedingly busy around lunchtime and finding a table for your group gets challenging. It’s so refreshing and enriching to eat lunch outside on BU Beach under the sun. There’s plenty of space to sit on the grass, the walkways, a bench, or the steps to Marsh Plaza. Moreover, it’s important to just get outside and away from the law tower, even if it’s just a few feet. Doing this on your lunch break is the best balance- you’re not dwindling away any study time, and it’ll re-charge you when you do go back to hit the books in the library. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll see dogs playing Frisbee and being walked by their owners!

Take a walk and explore

Boston has a lot of beautiful character that is embodied differently in each section of the city. It’s no secret that Newbury street, the Public Garden, and Boston Common / Beacon Hill are gorgeous. What’s less known, though, are the hidden gems of the city. In the fall I had to take some trips to Kenmore from the law tower and I walked along Baystate road for all of them. I was blown away with how beautiful the BU Brownstones were and the character flowing from each building. Moreover, I explored Coolidge Corner a bit in the fall and loved walking down the side streets and backroads. The old houses and tree-lined streets are an architecture-lovers dream. Exploring doesn’t mean taking a 40 minute trek into Beacon Hill; it can mean a ten-minute study break down Baystate Road along the Charles or a trip to grab ice cream down at J.P. Licks. It’ll fuel you with a bit more inspiration to push through that final bit of studying before summer!

Moot Court in New Orleans!

Captain’s Log, 3.22.17.

NOLA_landingNOLA_WaterfrontOur team is in excellent spirits. We departed Boston bleary-eyed this morning but pepped up after lunch in Charlotte. We’re currently cruising at 34,000 ft. Everyone looks fairly absorbed in reviewing cases and arguments during this final stretch. Tomorrow we argue on-brief at 9am; off-brief is scheduled for 1:30pm. I’m grateful that the time change is working in our favor. NOLA, here we come!

After walking through our arguments one more time, Stew, Nina, and I decided to spend the evening exploring the city on foot. We strolled down the Riverwalk, surveyed Bourbon Street–which was wild, even midday during Lent–and finished out the night dining on gumbo and bread pudding.

Captain’s Log, 3.23.17.

NOLA_5th Cir LogoRound one complete. We had a surprisingly sleepy bench. Petitioner came out exceptionally confident, poised, and articulate. I felt rather sorry for opposing counsel, who stood up there for over 7 minutes without a single question fired at him. Oral argument is far more fun when engaging with an active bench. He did an admirable job of filling the space; the bench’s silence certainly didn’t seem to phase him.

Nina and I fired back with strong substantive counterpoints. The judges later commended us for responding well to petitioner’s arguments with excellent case citations.

Lunch at Café on the Corner. First time eating fried green tomatoes—in BLT form! Strong recommend.

Round two complete: Stew began off brief with a hot bench! He received all manner of sticky procedural questions and handled them beautifully. Nina was on fire; you’d never know she wrote the issue for the other side. NOLA_Nina-Brynn-Stew_Dst Ct

Evening reception. I had a wonderful time meeting law students from Tulane, Charleston, Washington University, and Louisiana State. It’s great to have new friends spread around the South. Fortunately a number of them are also 2Ls, so I already look forward to our reunion next year…in Seattle! Yep, the big news is that Seattle U. will be hosting next year’s John R. Brown Admiralty Competition. I can’t wait!

Captain’s Log 3.24.17.

Round three complete: Nina and I argued on brief at 10:30am this morning. This felt like one of our strongest rounds yet.

Semifinals: Well, we didn’t make it. Looking back, we lost our first round to the team from Washington University that swept the competition. Losing to such a phenomenal team didn’t feel like a terrible defeat. On the plus side, this means that I have more time to walk around the French Quarter with Mr. and Mrs. Hooper. I’m ready for some beignets!

Captain’s Log 3.25.17.

NOLA_French QuarterI should have spent the morning catching up on homework, but instead I wandered around art galleries in the French Quarter and made friends with a local photographer.

NOLA_FinalsStew, Nina, and I spent the afternoon cheering on the two finalists at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both teams were incredible; I couldn’t believe these were law students arguing. The courtroom itself was stunning to behold! NOLA_B&N finals

After the awards banquet, our team went out for a celebratory dinner at Antoine’s. Today also happens to be Nina’s 25th birthday. We surprised her with a humongous Baked Alaska.

Captain’s Log 3.26.217.

What a journey! After months of hard work, first on our brief and then preparing for oral argument, I did not expect to walk away from this competition feeling energized! But there it is—I had such a wonderful time that I’m already looking ahead to next year. And it’s not just me; while waiting around at the airport, Stew, Nina, and I made a pact to send our dynamic trio to Seattle next year. Without a doubt, this experience has been the highlights of my 2L year. Here’s to great friends and memories!

Over and out.

The Annual PIP Auction

This past Thursday, the Public Interest Project (PIP) hosted its annual gala and auction. I didn’t make it to the event during my 1L year, but after hearing rave reviews, I made sure to get to the student union ballroom this year to see what it was all about.

Over the course of the last several weeks, I had been in the student organization room while the PIP members spent their afternoons collecting auction items for the auction and painstakingly cataloging them, so I knew a lot of work had gone into the event. The hard work paid off. Not only was there a wide range of impressive auction items, but there was also a remarkable lineup of honorees who were recognized for their contribution to the public interest. It was fascinating to hear Nina Totenberg from NPR dish on her experiences covering the Supreme Court, and the alumni who were honored provided powerful reminders of the opportunities and responsibilities that come with a law degree.

Of course, the focus of the evening was on the public interest applicants themselves; the law students who will dedicate their summers to jobs that pay little to nothing but provide valuable services to the community at large. By raising money through the auction, the Public Interest Project helps subsidize these students through the summer months.

I don’t know what the grand total was for the night, but judging from the live auction, it seemed like a pretty good night for PIP. Professors Volk and Rossman provided some expert auctioneering, rapidly calling off rising bids for weekend retreats, signed memorabilia, and other goodies. What might have been my favorite part of the evening was the fact that students were enthusiastically outbidding each other for auction items like a professor’s old bike, dinners hosted by professors, and even a moonshine-making experience hosted by a professor and his family.

Throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to get together with other students or alumni or faculty members with the various bar reviews or networking events or mixers that take place. But this past Thursday stood out among those events. At the PIP auction, any gradient or disparity in work experience or life experience was removed, and all of us were sitting side by side to cheer on and support our classmates who are doing big things this summer and beyond. The room had a celebratory feeling, as if we were reveling in the possibility of what we could do as a community when we put our minds to it.

While this was my first PIP auction, it is good to know that next year does not have to be my last. A solid showing from alumni around Boston served as a reminder that support for PIP does not end at the doors of the law school, and I am looking forward to showing my support next year.

Plus I have my eye on the Dean’s parking spot during the next live auction…

working during law school

This past weekend I just started a new part-time job as a waitress at a restaurant.  I’m actually really excited about it, because I haven’t waited tables since right after college.  It’s fast-paced, good exercise (lots of walking and carrying heavy plates), and very people-oriented.  I’m hoping this job will give me some extra money and help out with expenses over the summer while I’m studying for the bar exam.

You may be wondering if it’s a good idea to work during law school, and I can’t really tell you the answer to that.  Each person has their own financial needs and their own study habits.  At least for me, working in addition to studying forces me to manage my time more wisely (if I have too much free time, I’m tempted to procrastinate).  But for other people, working in addition to studying may add stress.

I know that during 1L year it is not recommended because you will be studying so much, and your 1L grades are quite important.  Also, your schedule is set by the school in 1L year, so it would also be more difficult to coordinate anyway.  I didn’t work during 1L year, precisely for those two reasons.  But in 2L and 3L, there is much more flexibility with your schedule and what activities you are involved in.

During law school I’ve actually worked several jobs:  at a bookstore, tutoring, and now this waitressing job.  Other students have found part-time legal jobs, which is a great option if you want to put it on your resume.  There are also on-campus jobs, such as teaching assistant and research assistant positions.  There are lots of options, but I think the most important factor when looking for a job is to find an employer who understands how important your studies are and is willing to schedule around them!

Writer’s Block

You must do many things to graduate from law school, but one of the more formidable hurdles may be the upper-class writing requirement.  Seven thousand five hundred words. That may not sound like that much in the world of academia, but it can be a challenge to find the time to research, write, and edit that kind of paper on top of the day-to-day demands of law school.

There are a number of ways you can fulfill the requirement. You can do it as a part of seminar, or through a clinic, or as a moot court memo. I decided to work on my writing requirement as a part of my work on the Public Interest Law Journal. The process started in the fall, when I started researching my topic and making sure that it was not “pre-empted,” or previously written about by some other law student in another law journal. Once the topic was approved, I got to work researching the historical background and legal background. I decided to write about the feasibility of certain laws aimed at mitigating pollution in the apparel industry. It’s still a work in progress.

IMG_2910

Off to a solid start…

Over the course of the year, I have handed in multiple drafts to my note editor and managing editor who have provided feedback on my progress. Note writing is unlike most other writing I have done up to this point—no contention can be assumed, so everything must be supported by documentation. So if I say the sky is blue, I have to find a credible article that supports that fact. It can be slow and frustrating work, and while writing my most recent draft, I hit a wall. Now, it’s been over a decade since I was working on papers during undergrad, so this was the most significant bout of writer’s block I’ve faced in a long time. I set aside weekend plans so I could focus on the paper, and I just spent hours staring at the thing. I needed to do some dramatic re-structuring, and it was hard to even know where to start. I had come across some new articles that would help shed some light on the topic, and I couldn’t figure out where to plug it in to the paper. I decided to chip away at the small edits, correcting grammar, editing citations. After a while, I was through those, and I was back to the major changes that needed to be made. So the hours ticked on, and I had changed very little on the paper.

This was peak law school frustration—there was no particular reason to have hit such a wall, and staring at this paper was not making my other work go away. So I did some reading for my classes, hoping something would come to me. Still nothing.

This went on and on until something just clicked, and I was able to start putting words on the page and getting the note a little closer to a final product.

After finally sending the document in, I knew there would be more nights of contending with writer’s block and battling deadlines to come—not just in law school, but in professional life as well. But for now, hitting the send button felt awfully good.

Now on to tech checks!