Lawyering and Breathing: Three Lessons from My Summer Experience

Today I am hosting a guest blog from my friend Melody Mathewson, a member of the Class of 2022. -DS


What am I doing this summer? Well, the law, of course. I am drafting agreements and policies, researching admissibility, and reading trial transcripts and state statutes. It’s all very glamorous and novel to you as aspiring or fellow law students, I know. 

More importantly, I am learning how to run a marathon. Not literally. Literally, I walk for an hour every day, but I do not run. What I mean is, I am learning how to endure and thrive through the marathon of being a human attorney. I am learning what I wish I had learned two years ago, both before and during the first year of law school. 

Here are three lessons from my 2L summer experience. 

Summer Experience Lesson No.1: It is perfectly acceptable to demonstrate your strong work ethic and hustling attitude from Monday through Friday, and “breaks” can coexist with “weekdays.”

I have been listening to some really thoughtful and insightful podcasts while going for my long, near-daily walks outside, and on the weekends I lie by the pool and read similar kinds of books (or completely lose myself in a perfectly curated playlist of summer bops). On a daily level, this hour-long walk is my mid-day break. It is my exercise, my fresh air, my break from a computer screen, my break from legal jargon, and most importantly it is time I am not working, not thinking about work, not worrying about work, and not pressuring myself to get back to work. 

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Born in “The Gap”

As someone born in 1995, I’ve found myself in a generational no man’s land. A few terms have been thrown around labeling those born between 1995 and 2000 as cuspers, zillenials, or born in “the gap.” Are there really significant differences between generations of lawyers, in terms of their professional and personal goals? Where and how do I fit in? In today’s blog post, I’m diving into how Millennial and Gen Z perceived characteristics are viewed in the context of the legal profession. 

According to a Major, Lindsey & Africa survey of over 200 respondents born between 1995 and 2000, Gen Z law students are seeking a balance between a flexible work arrangement while maintaining mentor-relationships and skill development. In addition to a focus on flexibility, many of the Gen Z respondents are interested in a career in government or nonprofit work. 

“They wanted to feel the work they’re doing is making an impact,” Bosker LaFebvre said. “They feel personally responsible that they needed to get involved.”

Jackie Bokser LeFebvre, managing director of MLA’s New York associate practice group

As a rising 2L interested in environmental law and cleantech, I can relate to the desire of making a positive impact through law. As the world faces widespread inequality, climate change, a healthcare crisis, and more, it’s not surprising that I’ve heard many of my classmates say the same. There also seems to be a greater emphasis on mental health. In the 2021 Deloitte Global Millennial and Gen Z survey, Millennial business leaders indicated a clear focus on well-being and mental health, yet many Millennials and Gen Zs see their employers’ efforts as inadequate.

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Prepared for Success

This past January, I remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t wait to submit my last final exam at the end of May. It was an exhilarating feeling that lasted for a day or so until I received the Writing Competition email with hundreds of pages of materials. I was eager to complete the assignment over the next two weeks, so that I could finally take a breather. I submitted my competition materials, but it was on the same day that my summer internship started. Oh yes, and then grades were released. Then, the window for OCI (on-campus interview) applications were opened. Did I mention the anxiety of class registration for next year in the middle of this?

If this all seems like a lot… it is! Yet, every first-year law student persisted through this process and thrived. Although the past year felt overwhelming for a variety of reasons, we were all able to persevere because Boston College Law School prepared us.

On my first day of my summer internship at the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, I was handed three assignments. One task was writing a memorandum that needed to be submitted five days later. Another task was assisting a supervising attorney by acting as a judge in a moot court as she prepared to argue before the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The other assignment was drafting a motion for an upcoming proceeding. All of this was in the first week.

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What The Trending Hashtag #SorryWrongAsian Means To Me

Today I am hosting a guest post from my friend and classmate, Yeram Choi. -Ian Ramsey-North


A vast majority of us have been called by an incorrect name, other than the one assigned to us at birth, for a myriad of reasons. As a Korean American, however, it is a common occurrence for me as I bear “The Cost of Being an ‘Interchangeable Asian.” The weight of this burden ranges from a quick laugh at Starbucks when I see the wrong name on my order, to a deep sense of shame when others call me by an incorrect name in the classroom or at the workplace. In every instance, I am called by the name of another Asian individual in the room.

Growing up, I heard every phonetic variation of “Yeram” you could possibly imagine, but I did not really mind. I unabashedly corrected others when they mispronounced it because I was proud of my unique name. Every day promised a new adventure as I heard yet another version of my name. But, I eventually hit a wall in high school. Fueled by teenage angst on top of years of exacerbation, I assigned myself an “English name” and vowed to live the rest of my life as “Leah.” 

Admittedly, this abrupt decision spawned a disjointed approach to my identity. On the one hand, “Yeram” desired to stay loyal to her Korean heritage. This would be the natural thing to do, since she was born and raised in South Korea. On the other hand, “Leah” simply wanted others to get her name right, without unnecessary, emotional exertion. In that moment when I decided to go by an “easier” name, however, my sense of urgency to assimilate as “Leah” trumped my desire to stay true to my cultural roots as “Yeram.” 

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Dean Rougeau and the Ideal of Truth

Dean Rougeau was among the first people to speak to my class during orientation. He welcomed us to BC and to the legal profession. Then he talked about truth. This was the summer of 2019 and then, as now, there were concerns that the very notion of truth was being degraded beyond redemption. At the time, an iconoclastic media personality-turned-politician had unsettled what many thought were enduring, if only partial, methods of verifying truth.

We don’t need to dwell on the politics of it. Dean Rougeau didn’t. He just took the opportunity to center truth in legal education and practice. He talked about how our profession’s procedures, norms, and expertise offered one important solution to the challenge our society faced. I was skeptical. But less than two years later, completely unsubstantiated claims of election fraud ran rampant through the public square until they crashed into the brick wall of the courts’ evidentiary standards. He may have been onto something.

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Musings on a Still Virtual Summer

I am sitting at my desk in my childhood bedroom, in the home where I grew up, starting my summer internship virtually and feeling admittedly silly as I pour a cup of coffee and don professional clothing while I am surrounded by mementos of my youth. Though the coloring books and childhood photographs on my desk have now been replaced by my laptop and a Bluebook, things still feel eerily similar to what I remember growing up.

It makes me think back to this time last year. Coming home last March as the pandemic shutdown hit was almost incomprehensible: sitting in the home that felt so familiar to me, I was also painfully aware of how foreign just about everything else around me really was. I watched my professors (and later my summer employer) scramble to get a handle of how best to continue on in a world that was suddenly unfamiliar. I adapted to virtual meetings, technical difficulties, and Zoom hangouts. I took on the unfamiliarity with an open mind, trying to adjust to the temporary surroundings I believed I was in.

But now it has been a year, and the unfamiliarity has transformed into the ordinary. What was once a few weeks at most is now over a year of remote school and work. Summer internships, clinics, classes, and virtual events have come and gone. Countless in-person events and programs have been transformed to account for the virtual world we remain in. I and most other rising 3Ls (ouch), are entering into another remote summer internship.

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A Conversation with Just Law Podcast and APALSA

As AAPI Heritage Month comes to an end, we reflect on the tragedies of the past year and the surge of anti-Asian violence and racism that many Americans have faced.  

At the same time, we celebrate Asian American pride and Asian American joy. We acknowledge the collective and diverse Asian American experience. We commemorate all the different ways we identify as Asian American.

Throughout the past semester, APALSA has put on a number of events to educate and engage the community in these discussions, here at BC Law and beyond. Some highlights include a book giveaway for BC Law students, a Minari movie watch party, the Instagram Story Project (which can still be found on @bc_apalsa), and America’s Anti-Asian Racism: Looking Back and Moving Forward — a joint collaboration event with Boston University APALSA featuring panelists Dr. Sherry Wang and Professor Andrew Leong. 

This past month, APALSA has been working on another collaboration event. BC Law’s Just Law podcast invited APALSA to be featured in one of their episodes, and some members share their stories and provide insight on what it’s like to be an Asian person in America. In this episode, they address their personal experiences with the Model Minority Myth, the notion of the Perpetual Foreigner, and struggles with self-identity and sense of belonging. They discuss Asian American empowerment, cultural barriers and cultural reconciliation, and the various ways that racial trauma has been embedded in their lives and in our society. 

In their conversation, they find that many of their experiences have been similar, and they can find a sense of camaraderie and validity in their lived experiences. However, they also find differences in their lived experiences and viewpoints — a testament to the multifaceted nature of Asian American identity, and dispelling the notion that Asian Americans are a monolith. Just Law and APALSA invite the BC Law community to tune in on this episode as they create space for an open and honest conversation highlighting the challenges and experiences that are uniquely Asian American.

You can listen to the podcast below. A video Zoom recording of the episode can also be found at the bottom of this post. 

Epic Games v. Apple and the Future of Big Tech Just Law

In this episode Tom Blakely talks with BC Law Prof. David Olson, who was interviewed recently on the blockbuster case Epic Games v. Apple in the Wall Street Journal–a case that has the potential to shape the direction of Big Tech and antitrust law as we know it. Professor Olson joined Boston College Law School in 2007. He teaches Patent Law, Intellectual Property Law, Antitrust Law, and various seminars. Professor Olson also serves as the Faculty Director for the Program on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Professor Olson researches and writes primarily in the areas of patents, copyrights, antitrust, and incentives for innovation and competition. He has published scholarly articles on patent law, copyright law, antitrust, music licensing, and first amendment copyright issues. His writing has been cited in Supreme Court and other legal opinions, and he has testified before the U.S. Congress on matters of drug patents, FDA regulation, and antitrust.  Professor Olson is interested in international IP and competition law, as well as comparative law in intellectual property and antitrust. For one semester in 2015, he was Visiting Professor of Law at Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (PUC-Rio), where he conducted research and taught a course on intellectual property. The media frequently seeks Professor Olson’s insights and opinions. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, and Reuters, among others. He has appeared as a guest panelist on WBUR’s Radio Boston, WAMU's Kojo Namdi Show, and on Public Radio Canada. His op-eds have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Times, and The Hill. Professor Olson came to Boston College from Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, where he researched in patent law and litigated copyright fair use impact cases. Before entering academia, Professor Olson practiced law as a patent litigator. Professor Olson clerked for Judge Jerry Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Professor Olson has been recognized for his teaching excellence and contributions to Boston College Law School. In 2011, he received the Business & Law Society Faculty Award for Achievement in Business & Law. In 2012, he received the Professor Emil Slizewski Award for Faculty Excellence.
  1. Epic Games v. Apple and the Future of Big Tech
  2. President Biden Withdrawing US Troops from Afghanistan
  3. A Necessary Conversation with APALSA
  4. Free For All
  5. COVID-19: Analyzing the Legal and Policy Implications of the Pandemic

Finally, BC Law has been working with the Yellow Whistle Project this past month to distribute yellow whistles to members of our community. The Project’s mission statement is as follows: 

“In nature, yellow is the color of daffodils and sunflowers, signaling the advent of spring, bringing hope, optimism, and enlightenment. In America, yellow has been weaponized against Asians as the color of xenophobia. The Yellow Whistle™ is a symbol of self-protection and solidarity in our common fight against historical discrimination and anti-Asian violence. The whistle is a simple gadget with a universal purpose — to signal alarm and call for help — for all Americans. We shall not remain silent, because we belong.” 

A shipment of one hundred and fifty whistles have arrived at BC Law and will be distributed on campus (distribution details to follow). Members of our community are encouraged to pick up a whistle to show support in our collective fight against anti-Asian hate and to stand in solidarity with the Asian American community, as members of our community have so done during these past few months.

AAPI Heritage Month may be over, but this conversation is not. Anti-Asian violence is not. Our efforts to continue striving to be anti-racist cannot be over. We are still learning — all of us. We continue to expand our understanding and knowledge. We check our own privileges and biases. We reflect on our own complicity to racist systems and recognize the ways in which we uphold white supremacy. We show each other compassion as we learn and unlearn. 

We celebrate being Asian American. We delight in it. We take pride in it. 


Rosa Kim is a rising third-year law student at BC Law. Contact her at kimeot@bc.edu.

BC Law Class of ’21 Celebrates 3L Week!

Four days from graduation, I think it’s safe to say that the 3L class has really been through it this year. Somehow we’ve persevered through crashed and lagging zoom meetings, sneezing into our own faces under masks in socially distanced classrooms, and not one, not two, but three rounds of remote exams taken in all corners of the globe.

So this week, we celebrate. Because we have freaking earned it! The 3L Week Committee–comprised of LSA President Kayla Snyder and Vice President Morgan Lam, 3L Reps Julianna Hernandez and Rachel Taylor, and me (Chair of the 3L Week/Gift Committee)–wanted to seize the opportunity for the first time in a long time to actually be together. We wanted to give our class the party it deserves! It was tough to plan, adjust, and re-plan and re-adjust around COVID guidelines, but the Committee put together a fantastic schedule.

Kicking it off last Friday night, we celebrated with the first bar review in a hot minute at BC After Dark at the Hillside Café, where graduating students enjoyed lots of drinks and delicious food at their very own outdoor on campus bar!

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Ten Things “Legally Blonde” Gets Wrong About Law School

My semester ended over a week ago, so of course I already miss BC Law desperately. Final exams really just leave you wanting more. Hindered by my inability to time travel forward to the fall semester, I’ve decided to instead live vicariously through Elle Woods so that I can get back to the law school experience.

Thusly, while viewing the lauded documentary film “Legally Blonde” for the first time, I engaged in a critical analysis to see just how well it actually captures the genuine law school experience. In its totality, I would say the film is 99% accurate to what incoming students can expect from their 1L year at BC Law. However, there are a few minor inaccuracies worth mentioning. Just ten, as a matter of fact. Here they are:

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Miles Away & Worlds Apart

As everyone keeping up with the media lately will be aware, the current situation in India is dire. At the beginning of the pandemic, India was doing relatively well, with rising cases under control and recovery rates relatively stable. India was scheduled to send millions of doses of vaccines to countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In fact, approximately ⅓ of the population in the world’s poorest countries was relying on India to deliver their vaccines.1 Now, India itself is in calamity, with over 300,000 cases being reported daily – and many experts believe this number is a significant undercount. There is a shortage of oxygen, ventilators, and hospital space, to the extent where parking lots are now being used as mass cremation sites.2 Reading this news and seeing these photos is, of course, troublesome to everyone. Watching all of this unfold as an Indian-American immigrant, though, has been especially taxing.

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