Hello everyone! This week, I’m hosting a guest blog from Margie Palladino ’85, the outgoing Alumni Board Chair for Reunions. I’m thrilled that she’s agreed to write about her BC Law experience for Impact.
Margie was the recipient of the Boston College Law School’s Outstanding Reunion Volunteer Award for generating record attendance for her class’s 25th reunion. Margie is principal of Reunions Reinvented LLC, a business that generates momentum for professional school reunions. She is a former partner at the Boston law firm of Sherburne, Powers and Needham, now known as Holland and Knight.
Nearly 600 people came together in November to celebrate the BC Law School reunions. It was wonderful to witness so many alumni—young and old—reconnecting with classmates and professors and rekindling memories of their law school days. There were BC Law alumni from all walks of life: the judiciary, private firms, corporations, public service, academia, and government (including a state governor, US senator, and several congressional representatives). Equally impressive was the number of alumni present who had stepped out of the legal profession temporarily or permanently to take care of their families or pursue entrepreneurial, volunteer, and other valued interests.
Though our post-law school journeys varied, it is clear that our alumni remain connected by the common threads of our formative years at BC Law and the friendships forged there. Key to this strong connection is the value of mutual respect instilled in us by our professors and modeled by students in our everyday lives at BC Law, whether by supporting each other in a study group, honing advocacy skills on moot court and mock trial teams, developing real-life legal skills in the myriad of clinical programs, performing together in the musical Law Revue show, or enjoying Friday afternoons at the social Bar Review.
Aside from my own experience as a student at BC Law, how can I be so sure that the value of mutual respect is the inextricable link? Because I know from the alumni themselves. In their reunion class profiles, which I managed, several classes of alumni were asked, “What is the best reason to attend BC Law School?” The similarity in their responses is striking and can be summed up in one sentence: BC Law alumni are proud they were educated in a strong academic setting where community, cooperation, and camaraderie are manifest.
Without taking a scientific survey, my guess is that not many classes of lawyers would state with such resounding agreement that their law school experience embodied such qualities. Because it seems somewhat unnatural to an outsider that lawyers would describe their law school experience this way, I have spent much time contemplating why BC Law is different—what makes it so unique.
The answer, I believe, is imbedded in the law school’s mission statement, which proclaims the school’s commitment to the “highest quality education” and for “opportunities to instill in our students the moral and ethical values that underlie a rational and just application of law.” It acknowledges the school’s Jesuit roots, of which the underpinnings are “both the search for knowledge and the preparation of women and men who are moved to a constructive, responsible, and loving use of their knowledge.” Lastly, it commits itself to “train a diverse student body not merely to be good lawyers, but to be lawyers who lead good lives.”
After reflecting on the mission statement, it all makes sense to me. The mutual respect—the glue that binds our BC Law community—is present in all its facets—from the applicants it attracts because of its superior academic reputation and Jesuit traditions, to the highly selective admission process where only the top candidates exhibiting both the academic and personal traits endemic to BC Law are selected, through the law school training and education by professors adroitly executing the law school’s mission. From this foundation comes the body of alumni who are launched into the world to be good lawyers and lead good lives.
No wonder our alumni are so accomplished and are of the highest caliber, whether they serve on the bench, in the boardroom, or on a community volunteer committee. No wonder an inordinate number of alumni return for their reunions and enjoy reconnecting with each other and the law school. Finally, no wonder our alumni continue to foster the caring and supportive environment that they experienced in law school.
When I chose to attend BC Law over a top-ten law school back in the early 1980s, a major reason was because of the strong alumni network that I was advised would be there to support and guide me after law school—advice that has proved very, very true.
–Margie Palladino ’85