Meeting the Class of 2019

At this time of year, I have the opportunity to meet many of our admitted students at receptions hosted by law firms around the country and at Preview Days here at BU Law. Next week, I will welcome admitted students at a reception at Ropes & Gray here in Boston. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting with students at receptions hosted by Gibson Dunn in New York City and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Washington, DC.

I am grateful to each of these firms for hosting our events and hiring our students! In fact, the National Law Journal ranks BU Law #16 on its list of “Go-To” Law Schools for the number of 2015 graduates working in the largest law firms.

When the future members of our law school community join us later this week for BU Law Admitted Student Preview Day, they will get to experience everything that BU Law has to offer. Before they arrive, most of them will already know that US News & World Report has just ranked us #20 among the nation’s law schools, and again rated our health law, intellectual property, and tax law program among the Top 10 in the country.

While these external rankings vary annually, our commitment to making BU Law the best place to be a law student remains constant. It’s why we continue to develop new programs, hire top faculty, and attract the best students.

I look forward to meeting the Class of 2019!

BU Law Celebrates the Start of 2016 with the Launch of a New Website

I am pleased to announce that the new BU Law website has launched. Our new homepage showcases the strongest qualities of BU Law: our exceptional faculty, broad curriculum, robust employer recruitment opportunities, vibrant student community, extensive alumni network, and our home city of Boston. The entire site now incorporates responsive design, so you can easily view it on mobile devices, as well as on your desktop computer.

I encourage you to explore the new site, especially the Alumni section, which includes reunion and alumni event updates, resources for alumni, volunteer opportunities, giving options, and news about your classmates.

  • Campaign for BU Law—Learn about our “Building on Excellence” campaign, which aims to raise $100 million by 2019 to support scholarships and financial aid, faculty, academic programs, the BU Law fund, and our beautiful new facility.
  • Reunion—For alumni who graduated in a year ending in 1 or 6, visit this site for information about your class reunion this fall.
  • Events—To see all of the events that are open to BU Law alumni, be sure to visit this page.
  • Give Back—This section of the site provides information about how you can support BU Law—both through charitable gifts and volunteer opportunities.
  • Stay Connected—Whether you are interested in joining an alumni group, finding BU Law alumni in your area, catching up on class notes, or just connecting with the Development & Alumni Relations Office, visit this area of the site.
  • Alumni News—Catch up on the latest career news about BU Law alumni.
  • Alumni Spotlights—We will be featuring alumni here and on the homepage, where we spotlight their professional and personal accomplishments.
  • Alumni Awards—If you want to nominate a classmate for an alumni award, just fill out the nomination form and submit it online.

I hope you enjoy the new site. If you have any questions or comments about it, please email them to lawcomm@bu.edu or lawalum@bu.edu.

A Message to the BU Law Community

Dear BU Law Community,

Two weeks ago I wrote to you in the midst of the terror attacks to reassure you that we were reaching out to offer assistance to our students studying abroad in Paris as well as the French nationals in our student body here. I am grateful to be able to report that all of our students were physically unharmed. Unfortunately, acts of terror, large and small, and other vile acts, including racism, occur too often to address each one by email. (We also send our sympathies to the nation of Mali on the heels of the attack that that country just experienced.)

Still, though, I thought it appropriate to write once again – this time out of a deep sense of frustration, anger, and disbelief after the events at Harvard Law School, occurring almost simultaneously with the release of the video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald, and on the heels of racist incidents at the University of Missouri. I simply just can’t wrap my mind around how these things continue to happen in the United States of America in 2015.

Doubtlessly, the causes are complex, and we will have a discussion about them. I, perhaps like some of you, however, need to figure out how to channel my anger and words into concrete action instead of expressing regret and returning to business as usual. In particular, we can work harder to make our little piece of the world here at BU Law a welcoming environment for all of our community – students, faculty and staff.

Toward that end, we are continuing critical conversations throughout the school year. During the fall semester, the EEOC coordinator for the university spoke to the faculty regarding our Title IX obligations. Additionally, the head of the Employee-Staff Assistance program spoke to the faculty about how to recognize distress (whatever its source) in our community. I am reaching out to Dean Martha Minow at Harvard Law School to express my concern and to offer any support I can give.

Next semester, our alum, Martha Coakley, will be offering a seminar on community policing, and we will be giving the faculty a presentation on multi-cultural awareness. On November 30, we will host a community gathering open to faculty, staff, and students as a starting point for a conversation about how events at home and abroad affect each one of us. It will be held from 1-2 p.m. in Barristers Hall.

Please don’t lose heart – I well understand how easy that is to do. We won’t be able to defeat racism. What we can do is educate each other and treat each other with kindness and respect. Hearts and minds change one person, one moment, at a time.

This week, I sent out an upbeat Thanksgiving greeting to our community, and tomorrow we will celebrate the holiday. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the state of the world. It does mean that I think it’s important that we all take time now and then to find joy in life, and to reflect on the many blessings that we have received. We can use that time to think about how to move forward with a renewed energy and commitment not just to the rule of law but also to standing up for what’s right.

Delivering BU Law’s Educational Offerings to a Global Audience

In collaboration with BU’s Digital Learning Initiative, we have just launched our first MOOC (massive open online course) in Legal Risk Management for Multinational Enterprises. Developed and taught by Babak Boghraty (’89), an instructor in both our Executive LLM in International Business Law Program and our JD program, this course meets CLE requirements in a number of states.

I encourage our alumni and their colleagues who represent companies doing business overseas to consider registering for the course. It is designed for a wide audience of lawyers, accountants, and other professionals involved in transnational business operations to learn how to identify, analyze, and manage legal risk in the global marketplace.

At BU Law, we are increasingly using technology to offer law courses to our own students, as well as working professionals interested in legal topics. We are focusing our first MOOC on compliance because it is a fast-growing field with significant demand in the US and abroad. Additionally, our Executive LLM Program has just added a new concentration in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance offered entirely online in conjunction with the Master of Science in Administrative Studies program at BU’s Metropolitan College (MET).

With the launch of our MOOC and other online programs, we continue to find ways to use new technologies to deliver our educational offerings to an increasingly global audience of students.

In 2011, we launched a first-of-its-kind Executive LLM Program in International Business Law, where students learn in a blended format of residential and online courses. In 2012, our Graduate Tax Program launched a fully online enrollment option. We now offer 25 online tax courses, with over 80 students enrolled in the online program.

Beginning with the JD class that entered just this fall, all students are required to take or test out of an online Introduction to Business Fundamentals class. We developed this course because of feedback we heard from alumni at a 2013 retreat that stressed the importance of basic business knowledge for all new lawyers, regardless of practice area or setting.

Regardless of where you work or live, a BU Law course is now only a click away on your computer or tablet!

Dedicating Our New Law Library and Celebrating Our Alumni’s Accomplishments

Matthew Lee ('16), former BU Law Dean William Schwartz, Samuel Fineman, myself, and President Brown

Matthew Lee (’16), former BU Law Dean William Schwartz, Samuel Fineman, myself, and President Brown

Thank you to all of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends who joined us last month for a very special Reunion & Alumni Weekend. More than 100 visitors toured the newly renovated law tower, marveling at the transformation of our law school’s 50-year-old home. Fittingly, we paid homage that day to our law school’s distinguished history with the dedication of the Samuel M. Fineman Law Library in honor of former BU Law Dean William Schwartz and his wife Bernice.

At the ceremony, Samuel Fineman (JD’72, LLM ’87) recalled how he had first met Dean Schwartz (DGE’52, LAW’55, GRS’60) when he was a first-year law student, and how that first meeting turned into a lifelong friendship. As I listened to Sam express his admiration for Bill and Bernice Schwartz, I felt privileged to share the stage with the man who served BU Law as a professor for 25 years and as dean from 1980 to 1988.

Dean Schwartz speaking to the crowd

Dean Schwartz at the Fineman Library Dedication

In his remarks, Dean Schwartz recalled his days as a BU Law student and faculty member when the school was still located on Beacon Hill, and the excitement of the law school community when it first moved to BU’s Charles River campus. At the time, the tower housed both the Schools of Law and Education, with separate entrances and elevators for each. Today, we have Dean Schwartz to thank for convincing former BU President John Silber that the law school should occupy the entire tower.

Our student speaker, Matthew Lee (’16), thanked Sam Fineman for his generous gift to the law school and spoke about the importance of the new library to all of our students. BU President Robert Brown likened our law library to a crucial building tool that will help our students and faculty pursue critical legal scholarship.

President Brown, Christopher Strang ('05), Lt Col Robert Chatham ('95), Delida Costin ('95), Therese Enders, and myself

President Brown, Christopher Strang (’05), Lt Col Robert Chatham (’95), Delida Costin (’95), Therese Enders, and myself

On Saturday night, we held our Reunion Gala and Silver Shingle Awards Ceremony at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. I was honored to present the Young Lawyer’s Chair to Christopher Strang (’05), founding partner at Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, and the Gerard H. Cohen Award to Therese Enders, senior program coordinator for our Office of Clinical and Advocacy Programs. After dinner, I was delighted to present Silver Shingles to USAF Lt. Colonel Robert Chatham (’95) for Service to the Community, and to former Pandora and lynda.com General Counsel Delida Costin (’95) for Service to the Profession.

Silver Shingle Awards at the Museum of Fine Arts

Silver Shingle Awards at the Museum of Fine Arts

I was particularly grateful to be able to honor President Brown with a Silver Shingle for Service to the School. He was instrumental in planning and financing our new home, convincing Sumner Redstone to make the lead gift, and ensuring that the university provided the resources that were needed to transform the law tower into the modern law school facility that it is now.

At the moment that I thought the awards presentation was complete, I was sincerely surprised and deeply touched when President Brown announced that the law school was presenting me with a Silver Shingle for Service to the School. It is an honor for which I am very grateful, and one that I accept on behalf of every member of the BU Law community who has helped make the law school the outstanding institution that it is today.