This is Boston University School of Law

One of my illustrious professors has some colorful phrases he likes to use to indicate where we’ve gone wrong in our arguments in Constitutional Law. When we talk too much about policy, or sociology, he emphatically reminds us that this is Boston University School of LAW.

So, what is Boston University School of Law?

It’s a community that stands up for what it believes in. From securing immigrant rights to fighting for freedom of speech, the students here are passionate in their beliefs and work to make a difference.

It’s a community that comes together when times are tough. Recently there was an event involving the well-being of one of my section-mates. It was a tough, turbulent, scary day nonetheless filled with compassion. We all recognized the strength of the bond we’ve formed with one another since September and how each one of us played an important role in our classmates’ 1L experience. Outside of our section, the community reached out to us to offer support. It wasn’t asked for, it was wholeheartedly and willingly given.

It’s a community that helps one another. I’ve had upperclassmen I barely know offer to send me outlines. I have a writing fellow who passed on old study aids. I have mentors who have been guiding lights in the entire 1L process. I have colleagues from different student groups lending endorsements to help other students secure research assistantships. We’re all motivated and driven to succeed, but not at the expense of our classmates.

It’s a community that tries really, really hard to make law school easier. Law school is hard. Being a 1L at a top tier law school? Even harder. But what I’ve found here is that BU Law tries very emphatically to make things easier to handle. During the fall semester finals week the school created hundreds of care packages for students to collect. The packages featured treats and snacks with witty sayings that corresponded to the contents, like “you’re a SMARTIE” and “Donut be stressed.” A few days ago, on the last day of classes, there was student appreciation afternoon with free ice cream for everyone. Student appreciation days, I might add, happen randomly throughout the year and are often sponsored by individual offices. And on the first day of the reading period, the 3Ls decorated the doors of the 1L classrooms with wrapping paper, balloons, streamers, and pictures of them as little kids with funny and encouraging messages. This is a community that spends a lot of time and energy communicating that: 1) they get law school is really difficult; 2) they care about you; and 3) they try their best to make it easier.

That is Boston University School of Law.

Keeping an open mind

BU has tons of opportunities for its students to get involved. There’s clinics, journals, mock trial, moot court, externships, research positions- you name it, and we probably have it in some form or another. That being said, having all of those options available to you can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. I know for me at least, I found it hard not to decide that I already knew exactly what I would like and wouldn’t like before trying it. My advice, both to past me as well as any new or incoming law students, is to keep an open mind about the things you open yourself up to in law school.

For example; I convinced myself to take a chance on the BU mock trial intramural tournament my 1L year. At first, I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I felt like moot court was more my style, since I was interested in appellate advocacy and I had some familiarity with it from my undergraduate experience. Fast forward to now, and I absolutely love mock trial. It’s one of my favorite activities at BU, and I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t decide to take a chance and have an open mind. The same idea applies to my experience with the criminal law clinic. While I had more of an idea that I would enjoy my experience going in, I was on the fence about participating because I don’t know if criminal law will ultimately be the career path that I take. And while I still don’t know how likely it is that I ever become a practicing criminal law attorney, I am learning so much through the clinic, and loving every second of it. On the flip side, I am on a law journal as well. As it turns out, I don’t think the journal experience is quite for me. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with my journal, but it turns out that my favorite law school activities are those that give me the opportunity to put my practical skills to the test. That being said, I wouldn’t have known that about myself if I wasn’t willing to try new things.

It can be hard at times to know how to walk that line. It’s important, I think, to make sure that you have an open mind when going through law school. You might surprise yourself! At the same time, know yourself and your limits, and try not to stretch yourself too thin. Law school is really a balancing act, and everyone is still figuring it out for themselves. But wherever you can, consider trying something new. It may turn out to be the best law school decision that you make!

Appreciating The City

I am not a Boston native. I am not from the Northeast. I was born in Florida, grew up in Florida, went to undergrad in Florida, and didn’t ever set foot in Boston until after I decided I was going to come to BU for law school. That being said, I don’t consider myself particularly well-versed in the life of a Bostonian. Now, at the end of my 2L year, I’m realizing that there is a lot of stuff going on in this city that I have yet to discover, and I really need to spend my last year here exploring and getting the most out of the city! To help inspire anyone who, like me, wants to start expanding their Boston knowledge, here’s a list of the things I *do* know about and really enjoy, especially now that the weather is getting nice.

Harpoon
I’ve only been to Harpoon’s brewery a couple of times, but I always have a great time when I go. It’s easy to get to on the T, and between the brewery tours and the beer hall, it’s a really fun way to have a good time with friends away from the law school world. They always have different beer selections depending on the season, so it’s definitely worth checking out a few different times! There are also events happening all the time, from holiday parties to festivals to charity events. Harpoon isn’t the only brewery in Boston, either; the Sam Adams brewery is here as well. I haven’t gotten a chance to go to that one myself, but all the more reason to get out, go exploring, and try something new!

The Commons and the Boston Public Library
This one may seem a little obvious to a lot of people, but for some reason I’m always surprised by how infrequently I spend time at these two Boston gems. The whole Copley area has a lot of awesome places to spend time, and I always seem to find something new when I go down there. Going to the Boston Commons and Public Garden can be so relaxing, and when the weather is nice, laying out on a blanket with a good book and some iced coffee can make for a great afternoon. If laying out in the sun isn’t your thing, then head over to the public library and get comfortable in an armchair. The building is gorgeous, and whether I’m there to study or just to spend some quality time with my just for fun reading list, it’s always nice to have some new surroundings for a change of pace.

Local Parks
Of course, sometimes trekking out to the Commons can seem like a chore, especially if you live in the heart of Allston/Brighton. Lucky for us, we don’t have to make the trip to Boston Commons just to enjoy some nature. I recently went exploring a little bit around my neighborhood, and I was surprised by how many little parks and playgrounds there are around me. I have a new favorite study spot at Ringer Park when the weather is nice (much to the relief of the employees at the Starbucks near my house, who I think were beginning to fear that I was moving in). Taking the time to explore the area around where you live might lead you to discover some pretty cool places, and sometimes a nice long walk is exactly the kind of head clearing activity a law student needs to come back productive, refreshed, and eager to learn.

How Far You’ve Come, and How Far You Will Go

April 30th, 2017, and I’m sitting at the (almost) end of my second year of law school. Honestly, I’m not really sure where all that time has gone, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because wondering how time passes so quickly one of the biggest cliches there is. In any case, realizing that I’m coming up fast on my last year of law school has put me in an introspective mood, and I can’t help but think back over these last two years and notice a huge difference.

When I think about it, I’m a different person now than I was when I started. Now, it isn’t lost on me that I came to law school straight out of undergrad, and that I’m on the younger end of the age spectrum here. It’s very normal that I would change and develop while I’m in law school. I do think it is important, though, to take the time to recognize and identify those types of developments. Of course, some of that growth has been personal, and while I assure you that I am, in fact, a fascinating human being, I won’t subject you to reading about that here. Much of my growth, however, has been on a professional/skill level (Imagine that, being in law school teaches you something). I know it seems obvious, but when I stop to identify the growth from where I started to where I am now, it really does feel kind of amazing.

I came to law school really with no discernible legal skills. I knew what WestLaw and Lexis were, but I wasn’t able to do anything effective with them. I didn’t know how to thoroughly research a legal issue and develop arguments for and against a proposition. Hearsay didn’t make any sense, and I had no idea what happens at an arraignment. Now, I have experience with all of those things. My knowledge base has vastly expanded, and what’s more, my experiences have given me real tangible skills that I can take with me and use. It’s the nature of being in professional school, but it is a cool feeling when you realize you are actually getting to the point where you actually have the specialized knowledge to be successful in a field like law.

BU has given me so many opportunities that have allowed me to get to this point. 1L year, as much of a stressful time that was, gave me such a strong foundation. Mock trial and moot court gave me the chance to practice my oral advocacy skills, build my confidence in the courtroom, and practice balancing careful planning with flexibility and adaptability. Being on a law journal has heightened my attention to detail. I can’t even begin to address how much I’ve learned in only one semester of clinic so far.

All this being said, I am very excited for my third year. There’s definitely something bittersweet about coming to the end of school, but certainly I am not coming to the end of my education. I am excited to be working in a field where I will constantly be learning and growing and challenging myself. I am thankful for my experiences at BU, and I look forward to another year of exciting challenges and beyond.

‘Twas the Night Before Finals

‘Twas the night before Finals, when all through the school
Not a creature was stirring, just like a gag rule;

The outlines were bound by the laptops with care,
In hopes that test answers lie somewhere in there.

The 1L were weeping so far from their beds;
While visions of law review danced in their heads;

And 3Ls in tassels, and I and my cat,
Had just settled our brains for a long summer’s nap,

When out on Comm Ave there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen rain,
Gave a lustre of midday to construction cranes,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a terrier sleigh and a cheerful Dean Muir,

An exuberant driver, so lively a muse,
I knew in a moment she came with good news.

“Now, Contracts! now, Con Law! now Admin and Torts!
On, Crim Pro! on, IP! on, Tax and Fed Courts!

To the top of the tower! To the top of the roof!
Your finals are daunting but not shredderproof!

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

To the tall tower the terriers flew
With the sleigh full of tests, and our jolly Dean, too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The shredding and grating of each legal proof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down from the tower she came with a bound.

Dressed in BU Law gear, from her head to her knees,
Her clothes lightly dusted with dense legalese.

The shredded exams she flung to the ground,
And as though from the bench she began to expound:

School just for the learning! No exams, how merry!
No curve for the students! No journal, no queries!

Was this really happ’ning? All finals were cancelled?
Pray how did you get this system dismantled?

Her droll knowing smile was drawn up like a bow,
Her eyes said it all: Wouldn’t you like to know?

A wink of her eye and a nod of her head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

She spoke not a word, but went straight to her sleigh,
I waved misty-eyed as she darted away.

Mittens mewed in my face; I awoke with a jerk,
My outline askew—right—I’m not done with work.

I turn out the lights and fall into bed.
If we’re being honest, there is some slight dread.

But let’s keep perspective; these finals shall pass.
Law school is wondrous, despite this morass.

As Dean Muir exclaimed as she flew out of sight
“Happy Finals to all, and to all a good night!”

Grinch