Congratulations to the Class of 2017, Reunion Classes, and Award Recipients!

May and early June have been busy at BU Law. We celebrated Commencement in May and reunion classes from the 5th to the 50th and beyond in June. We concluded our reunion activities with a gala dinner at which we honored alumni and one staff member for their contributions to the School of Law, community, and profession.


BU Law Commencement 2017On May 21, the School of Law graduated 216 JD students and 246 LLM students at a ceremony marked by the optimism for the future that new graduates inspire each year. We owe particular thanks to our Commencement speaker, Boston Red Sox CEO/president emeritus Larry Lucchino (Hon.’08), who gave our new graduates terrific advice. Mr. Lucchino told the graduates to be versatile in their careers because their legal training would be applicable “to a wide spectrum of task, jobs, and roles,” and then pointed to himself as “Exhibit A.” Peppering his remarks with anecdotes from his student days at Yale Law School and his early years in legal practice, he encouraged the Class of 2017 to pursue their own unique paths:

No one in the history of mankind has ever had your exact set of abilities, your same attributes, your talents and tastes and urges. None occupied the identical point in time or space so none can share your particular point of view. No one sees as you see, hears as you hear, feels your emotions, and thinks your thoughts. The road your life takes has never been travelled before. 

New Graduates Begin Their Careers

Our graduates will be pursuing many different opportunities. At this time, about 70 percent of our newest JD alumni have secured their first post-graduation positions. Many of our 2017 graduates will begin their careers with law firms—in Boston, Bridgeport, Grand Rapids, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Providence, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, and Washington, DC, to name a few. Others will shortly begin work in-house at companies including Ernst & Young, General Electric (GE), KPMG, PwC, RSM, and State Street Corp.

A number of new JD graduates will be engaged in public service—joining, for example, public defenders’ offices in Los Angeles and Miami, and district attorneys’ offices in the Bronx and Santa Clara County. Other graduates have secured judicial clerkships at the state supreme courts of New Hampshire and Rhode Island, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the US Bankruptcy Court (MA).

Four graduates will begin post-graduate fellowships with the US Department of Justice, Equal Justice Works, and GE. They will be working for the Port Isabel Immigration Court in Texas, the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, Kids in Need of Defense in Boston, and GE’s Legal Counsel department. Additionally, six graduates have been awarded BU Law Public Service Fellowships to work at the Committee for Public Counsel Services (MA), Center for Reproductive Rights (NY), Asylum Access Malaysia, Health Law Advocates (MA), and CARB-X (MA).

If you have openings in your organization, please do let us know by e-mailing We have terrific new alumni who are seeking their first pathway into the profession, and there are no better mentors than our alumni!

Reunion and the Silver Shingle Awards

June 9–11 was Reunion Weekend at the School of Law. The events included tours of the school, class-specific cocktail receptions, and the Silver Shingle Awards. We were honored to present Silver Shingle Awards to Bob Butler (LLB’55), Service to the School; Annapoorni Sankaran (’95), Service to the Profession; and Veronica Serrato (88), Service to the Community. We also presented Kevin Saunders (’07) with the Young Lawyers Chair, and Alissa Leonard, our assistant dean for admissions & financial aid, with the Gerard H. Cohen Award.

BU Law's 2017 Silver Shingle Awardees

Left to right: Alissa Leonard, Annapoorni R. Sankaran (’95), Kevin M. Saunders (’07), Robert T. Butler (LLB’55), Dean Maureen O’Rourke, Veronica Serrato (’88)

Visit our website to read more about the event and browse photos from the weekend.

Congratulations again to all, and best wishes for the summer!

Preserving the History of BU Law in a Digital Gallery

For many years, portraits of BU Law alumni and faculty and historic memorabilia from the School of Law hung on the walls of the Law Tower, thanks in large part to the dedicated efforts of Margo Hagopian, who worked at BU Law from 1947 to 2006. In 2014, as we prepared for the renovation of the tower, we had to remove all of these items, returning as many of the portraits as possible to alumni and their families.


William Clarence Matthews (1908), dubbed the “Jackie Robinson of his age.”

Executive Assistant Steph Creag (CFA’15) and BU student Tami Gabriely (CAS’16) took photographs of all of the portraits and catalogued them for a digital repository, now available online in our BU Law Portrait Gallery. Alumni are grouped by graduation year, going all the way back to the 1800s, and many of our faculty, including all of the winners of the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, are included. The site also includes some interesting historical images like an 1888 reunion invitation, a 1922 photograph of the BU Law Review staff, and a drawing of Issac Rich Hall—the law school’s first home.

Of course, I have my own favorites! A photo of William Clarence Matthews (Class of 1908), dubbed the “Jackie Robinson of his age,” hangs in my office. He was a Harvard baseball star who played pro ball in Vermont for one season in 1905, becoming the only African American in the professional baseball leagues at that time. Portraits of other notable BU Law alumni including Emanuel Hewlett, Takeo Kikcuhi, Lelia Robinson, and Clara Burrill Bruce are on display throughout the Redstone building and law tower.

Over the coming year, we will continue to add artwork to the School. I hope you will visit us on campus or take a virtual tour of our online gallery.

Support BU Giving Day

Support BU Law on Giving Day 2017I encourage you to join your fellow BU Law alumni in making a gift to the Law School Annual Fund on BU Giving Day, Wednesday, April 5. During two of the past three years, the School of Law has raised more money on Giving Day than any other school or college at BU, so let’s make it happen again in 2017!

This year, your gift to BU Law will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the BU Law Alumni Association’s Executive Committee.* For those of you who will be celebrating your class reunion in two months, consider making a reunion gift on Giving Day. Your financial support will benefit law student scholarships and many other important initiatives.

I hope you will make a gift to the School of Law on BU Giving Day. You can also encourage your fellow alumni to get involved by becoming a “Rhett Rallier” on social media!

*Maximum of $80,000 available for match.

Meeting the Class of 2020

At this time of year, I have the opportunity to meet many of our admitted students and alumni at receptions hosted by law firms and companies around the country. In the past few weeks, I’ve joined with our alumni to welcome admitted students at receptions hosted by Choate Hall & Stewart LLP here in Boston, as well as Coach, Inc. in New York City. Later this week, I’ll be in Los Angeles to meet with students and alumni at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

I am grateful to each of these organizations for hosting our events and hiring our students. When the future members of our law school community join us later this month for BU Law Admitted Student Preview Days, they will have an opportunity to experience everything that BU Law has to offer.

Before they arrive, most of them will already know that The Princeton Review has again ranked our faculty #1 on its list of “Best Professors.” 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 introduce new programs like our Lawyering Skills Program, in which first-year students will take courses that simulate real-world legal disputes in order to gain hands-on training in legal research and writing, oral advocacy, contract drafting, negotiation, and client counseling. It’s also why we hire top faculty like Associate Professor Ahmed Ghappour, a cybersecurity expert and visiting assistant professor at UC-Hastings Law, who will be joining us in the fall.

Last year, we welcomed a first-year class of 257 students from a pool of more than 4,800 applicants. At this point, we are on pace to exceed last year’s number of applicants. Thank you for all you do to help us recruit the students who will one day join the outstanding community of BU Law alumni!

Welcoming the World’s Intellectual Property Scholars to BU Law

Boston University School of Law has long been known for its excellence in intellectual property law. We have some of the country’s most respected IP scholars on our faculty, a program that is regularly ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News & World Report, and two clinics with MIT in our Entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property & Cyberlaw Program.

This year, we will award the first Michael Fricklas and Donna Astion Prize in Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law to one or more deserving students with a research interest in either or both of these fields. We are grateful to Michael Fricklas (LAW ’84) and his wife Donna Astion (SAR ’82) for endowing this prize.


Professors of Law Michael Meurer and Paul Gugliuzza

On February 10–11, BU Law will host the Works in Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium. This conference features more than 80 presentations by scholars from around the world on all facets of IP law, ranging from product design protection to the patent/health law intersection to the scope and limits of software copyright. WIPIP was co-founded by Professor Michael Meurer, and Professor Paul Gugliuzza is chair-elect of the Organizing Board.

On February 24, the Journal of Science & Technology Law will hold its symposium, “Bridging the Gap Between the Federal Courts and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.” This day-long event will explore the impact of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) on the relationship between the federal courts and the administrative bodies tasked with implementing the AIA.

In March, BU Law will kick off its 2017 Intellectual Property Speaker Series. We will hear presentations from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law Professor Peter DiCola, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology Co-Directors Molly von Houweling and Peter Menell, Burns & Levinson LLP Partner Stephen Chow, and Northwestern University JD-PhD fellow Erik Hovenkamp.

We are honored to welcome many of the world’s top intellectual property scholars to BU Law this semester. And we look forward to hearing their thoughts on legal developments in the IP field.