“What kind of law are you going to practice?”
It’s a question every incoming law student is bombarded with from the moment they register for the LSAT, but I never felt fully prepared to answer it. I was interested in dozens of legal paths before law school, and a year at Boston College has only broadened my interests.
Over winter break I watched The Pianist. As the film opens, the main character is playing live on the radio in 1939—just as Warsaw is being bombed by Germany. With the bombs falling, the pianist rushes home. His family is Jewish, and his sister is a young lawyer.
The bombing continues for days. The family is relieved when France and Britain announce that they have declared war on Germany, but no nation comes to their rescue, and before long Warsaw is under the umbrella of one ideology. The pianist and his family, who are forced to wear blue Star of David armbands and are not allowed to work, eventually are relocated to a Warsaw ghetto. The pianist is separated from his family by a friend serving in the Jewish Ghetto Police. It is a heartbreaking moment as the rest of the family—including the pianist’s sister—are shoved into a cargo train and sent to their certain deaths.
That scene and the sister’s character arc have haunted me this entire semester. Although the movie is primarily focused on the pianist, I wanted to know more about her, what she was thinking—as an attorney, she must have agonized over the supposed legal justifications as the Jewish population lost their jobs, then their homes, until finally they were transported to the Treblinka extermination camp. What I found so frightening (and chilling) about the sister is that despite being a lawyer, she was unable to protect her family. Under the circumstances, what could she have done?
Everything was moving so fast. In a time of war, Poland’s civil society and its institutions were collapsing. The moment was bigger than one person, one attorney, or one Jewish woman.
But it still haunts me. And I have not been able to shake that feeling.
On Saturday, April 22, thousands of people in cities and towns throughout the United States and around the world will be marching to show public support for science. There will be a march on the Boston Common from 1-4 PM. I hope you will join me!
I am marching for science because I believe we need a scientifically literate society. There are profound scientific issues facing our civilization. These issues include the acceleration of automation, developments in artificial intelligence and gene-editing technology, the race to find cures to diseases, adaptation to a changing climate, and the expansion of humanity’s presence in the solar system. We need a scientifically literate society to confront these challenges and so many more. We need a scientifically literate society so that we can openly innovate and build new industries that will create the opportunities of tomorrow. And we need leaders who will enact evidence-based policies and pull us towards a higher enlightenment.
As law students and future lawyers, we know that the legal profession is a noble one that is committed to defending and searching for the truth. Science too is a noble pursuit.
The words of Ibn al-Haytham particularly resonated with me:
“Finding truth is difficult. And the road to it is rough. As seekers of the truth you will be wise to withhold judgment and not simply put your trust in the writings of the ancients. You must question and critically examine those writings from every side. You must admit only to argument and experiment, and not to the sayings of any person. For every human being is vulnerable to all kinds of imperfection. As seekers of the truth we must also suspect and question our own ideas as we perform our investigations, to avoid falling into prejudice or careless thinking. Take this course and truth will be revealed to you.” —Ibn al-Haytham, who was a scientist during the Golden Age of Science in Muslim civilization and who understood the scientific method 200 years before the Enlightenment reached Europe
Here is more information about the March for Science in Boston:
It’s almost here: the first seat deposit deadline.
Has anything ever felt so surreal? Have you ever felt less prepared? Have you ever questioned yourself or your choices more?
I get it. I really do. And it was that sentiment that drove me to try to help make this process as simple as possible for you.
I’m very pleased to host a guest blog today from 2L Vaishali Goyal. Vaishali has been a staff writer for the Law Review and served as President of the American Constitution Society. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Like many, I decided to attend BC Law for the community. But it was not just the student community I came for; I came to BC Law because of what BC did for me and for my family during my senior year of college.
Senior year, right after spring break, I had an unexpected and life threatening brain bleed. I was in the hospital for a month and a half.
Today, spring was evident in the Boston area with plenty of sunshine and gorgeous weather. With the high well into the 80’s by afternoon, students all over campus headed outdoors to take advantage of the opportunity to soak in the sun. For the first time since the beginning of Fall semester, more people opted to wear shorts rather than scarves.
I am delighted to host a guest post from the brilliant and fabulous Maria Benvenuto. Maria is a 2L from Massapequa, NY. At BC Law, she serves as the Vice President of the Woman’s Law Center, Co-President of the Native American Law Student Association, an Admissions Ambassador, a member of the LSA Admissions Committee, and a staff writer for the Journal of Law and Social Justice. This summer she will be working in New York City and she is interested in working in labor and employment law. Maria can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When you strip away all of the labels, the conversation is just about people.”
That is the sentiment that Rosie Rios, the 43rd treasurer of the United States, embedded throughout her presentation to the BC Law community on March 22nd. Ms. Rios was the longest serving treasury official, beginning her career on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. Upon resigning in 2016, Ms. Rios received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor presented in the US Department of the Treasury. She is a graduate of Harvard University, and is the first Latina to have a portrait commissioned in her honor on their campus. Most notably, Rosie Rios is known for spearheading efforts to place a picture of the first woman on US currency; the design will be revealed on August 26, 2020, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote under the 19th Amendment.
“What am I doing right now? Oh, I’m researching the necessary components for a reverse mortgage in New York. I work part time for the firm that I’ll be working for this summer. They kindly gave me the opportunity to work while I was in school. They understand that I’m a student and I have other things going on, so they’ve allocated up to 20 hours a week that I can work whenever I feel I have the time. I have a five-hour break between my morning and afternoon classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, so this is pretty perfect. Right now I’m also working on our moot court brief, but, yeah, it’s cool that I get to do both.”
Matt is a 2L at BC Law, hoping to eventually practice real estate and commercial litigation.
At BC Law, your education does not only consist of the material you learn in your courses. BC hosts many conferences, functions, presentations, and discussions on just about every subject you can think of, from panels put on by professors addressing recent political actions to all-day events sponsored by BC’s journals and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy. Recently, the Rappaport Center sponsored an all-day conference on criminal justice reform in Massachusetts that was open to both students and practitioners. There were three panels as well as a keynote address by Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
If you are ever looking for a brutally honest opinion of yourself, swallow your pride and ask a five year old.
In the years I spent working with kids at a community non-profit, I had the pleasure of hearing such gems as, “Miss Morgan, your tummy looks like my mommy’s when there’s a baby inside!” and “Did you know you look a lot less pretty when you wear your glasses?” Though some took these remarks seriously, one look at the sweet little faces from which the comments sprang forth never failed to make me laugh out loud. The children who attended these programs, often with the help of scholarships and sliding-scale payment plans, were typically filled with a joy and sense of innocence that made me absolutely love my job. All too often, however, these amusing little observations were juxtaposed with unfettered comments about living situations that revealed just how much these kids had been through in their short lives. I cannot forget the five-year-old who told me she wanted to kill herself because she missed her father so much, or the look of shame in an eleven-year-old’s eyes when his mother arrived to pick him up while high on drugs. I often felt frustrated by my inability to help these kids beyond passing the information along to DCF. I wanted so desperately to be able to advocate for these children in a way that went beyond simply telling someone higher up than me.