BC Law Magazine: John Kerry AND Amazing Law School Admissions Essays

For anyone thinking about law school, and BC in particular, the latest issue of the BC Law Magazine (http://lawmagazine.bc.edu/) is not to be missed. One of the things BC prides itself on is educating future lawyers who go out to serve their communities in a variety of ways. This issue of the magazine profiles a number of such leaders who got their start at BC Law, including of course Secretary of State John Kerry. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also a number of exceptional law school admissions essays reprinted which are great examples of the kind of succinct and compelling narratives which can grab a reader’s attention. Enjoy!

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Helplessness: Why this philosopher needs a law degree

Do you think the world is basically just? Do people get what they deserve most of the time? Provoked by an article in The Guardian entitled “Believing that Life is Fair Makes You a Terrible Person,” I discussed this question with one of my best law school friends on a ride home from school. Neither of us could square the idea of fairness with the world in front of us, and I think that is why we are both in law school.

The article discusses a theory– the just-world hypothesis– based on a number of studies. The theory suggests that people just can’t handle being helpless in the face of great injustice. So they find ways of imagining that the injustice is deserved. They imagine that this poor family is lazy, that black man was a criminal, or this woman was asking for it.  On the other hand, the same studies suggest that when terrible things happen and there is a concrete way to help, people tend to sympathize with the sufferer rather than blaming her.

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[Mock] Trials & [Real] Tribulations

The Mock Trial Team @ Regionals

The Mock Trial Team @ Regionals (not pictured: Jen Henricks, who was sick)

This past weekend BC Law hosted the Regional Mock Trial Competition in downtown Boston — specifically at the Suffolk Superior Court and at Suffolk Law School.  The competition lasted from Thursday – Sunday, and featured trials everyday.  BC Law took two teams, and I was on one of them.  The experience was nothing short of grueling and fantastic — it’s amazing to stand up in a courtroom like a trial attorney and match wits with law students from other schools.  At the same time, it’s incredibly nerve-racking to go against people who typically have extensive experience with mock trial (high school, college, etc.), and to really focus on all the dynamic changes that go on during a trial.

A Model of the Trial

A model of what the trial is about! (Yes, it happened in a trailer park)

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It’s All About Perspective

So…I’m not a Patriots fan.  Sorry!  That being said, I really really enjoyed Rob’s recent post about persistence and motivation.  I think it’s great advice and generally reminds us all that we need things in our lives to help us maintain perspective and keep us grounded.  It’s easy to lose yourself in studying and legal textbooks, but being well-rounded is about more than trying to get an A at the end of the semester.  I’d like to highlight some advice from the BC Law Impact group about perspective:

[The Spring Break Service Trip] was my first opportunity to do legal work since entering law school, and it was so rewarding to be able to help people! – Lucia

I realized that the ‘racial justice’ that was an ‘area of interest’ for me was a matter of life or death, of resisting daily disrespect, for other people. Real people, standing in front of me.  – Amelia

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Life at BC Law: Spring Break Service Trips

During my spring break 1L year I spent an amazing week in Miami with four of my classmates. When you hear spring break and Miami in the same sentence your mind might jump to Ultra or Miami Beach, but we were actually in Miami to spend the week working at VIDA (http://www.vidalaw.org), a legal assistance center which primarily aids immigrant women and families who have lived through domestic abuse.

My fellow volunteers pose after our everglades tour.

My fellow volunteers pose after our everglades tour.

Every spring BC Law send a number of 1L student groups to do volunteer legal work around the country. My 1L year students traveled to Arizona, Denver, New York, New Orleans, and Navajo Nation. These trips are a tradition at BC Law, and are completely student run, with 2L alumni of the trips assisting 1Ls to plan and fundraise.

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How Tom Brady Helped Get Me a Job

Disclaimer: I am a giant huge Patriots fan. My shock, euphoria and disbelief about last night’s Super Bowl finish will probably last as long as President Obama’s after Chief Justice Roberts upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional. 

For my first post on this blog, I only semi-jokingly wrote that my New Year’s resolution was to make sure my schoolwork did not force me to miss a single episode of Game of Thrones. As I wrote in that post, some of the best advice you’ll get at this law school (or possibly any other – but I really hope you come to this one!) is “don’t give up the things you can’t do without.”

While law school has a reputation of being an infinite time suck that deprives students of the ability to do anything enjoyable at all, that reputation is simply untrue. Well, maybe it’s true for some people, but not for me. My time away from my classes and my assignments is what motivates me to put forth my best effort when I am doing my work. Here, let Tom Brady explain what I mean much more effectively in this Uggs ad:

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How To Be A Lawyer While You’re Still in Law School

As future law students, I’m sure you’ve all heard the rumors and stereotypes about law schools. They run the gamut — from the terrifying and incorrect (“EVERYONE IS SO COMPETITIVE AND NO ONE IS FRIENDLY AND IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO GET AN A YOUR FIRST YEAR”), to the hilariously accurate (“Law school is high school for adults”), to the tongue-in-cheek (see, for example, Thought Catalog’s take on the 19 People You Meet in Law School). But the stereotype that most stuck out to and worried me as a prospective student was what I’d like to call the Myth of the Library Lockdown. That is, by heading off to law school, you are essentially signing yourself up for three years of good ol’ book learning, tied to a library carrel, buried under 200 pounds of Supreme Court opinions and study aids.

Don’t get me wrong. As a former English major, I can get down with the heavy reading. Chaucer, Shakespeare, and I used to be great pals; I can handle my fair share of tiny print. But that’s not why I wanted to come to law school. I taught for three years after college, came to law school with a really specific focus, and knew I wanted to get right to making an impact in real people’s lives. I was really nervous that law school was going to feel like a fruitless and frustrating gesture, a means to an end I had to just get through in order to do the work I am passionate about. But that’s because I didn’t know about clinics.

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