Opening Act II: A Twenty-Year Reunion

Hello everyone! This week, I’m hosting a guest blog from Tom Burton ‘96, the new Alumni Association President. I’m thrilled that he has agreed to write about his BC Law experience for Impact.

Tom chairs Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice, which he founded over 12 years ago. His global practice focuses on complex corporate finance matters including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, private equity, and securities transactions for energy and clean technology companies. He is ranked by Best Lawyers in America in the Corporate Law section, and he has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States as “rising to the fore” in energy technology for Venture Capital and Emerging Companies. In the community, Tom serves as President of the Boston College Law School Alumni Association, Chairman of the Board of Overseers and Trustee of the New England Aquarium and an Advisory Committee Member of the Flutie Spectrum Enterprises, LLC. Tom is also a member of the firm’s Policy Committee, its Board of Directors equivalent.

Twenty years. For quite a few of you reading this post, twenty years is nearly a lifetime. For me, and for my classmates from ’96, it marks the halfway point in our careers. Our upcoming twenty-year reunion in November has given me pause to reflect on that slightly sobering fact, and to think about my BC Law friends and classmates. What strikes me the most are their tremendous professional successes across the board.

Dr. Seuss wrote it best in Oh, the Places You’ll Go: “You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” When I began my BC Law experience with a summer letter informing me that I was coming off the wait list, I never imagined that I would be writing this today from my office at Mintz Levin overlooking the great city of Boston. But my guiding principle was the same then as it is now: apply my skills and experiences in service to others, in the hope that I might help them achieve their objectives. I’ve had the good fortune to be able to do that in ways that have allowed me to provide for my family, while also promoting a vision for energy innovation and protection of our environment.

I’m not alone. My classmates and friends from BC Law are doing great things in service to their communities as law firm partners, entrepreneurs, government and non-profit leaders. People like David Simas ’95, who served as director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach; Ingrid Schroffner ’95, working as assistant general counsel in the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services while serving as co-chair of the MassHealth Diversity Council; or Michael Mone ’96, who helped free four of the wrongly imprisoned from Guantanamo while running a successful civil litigation practice at Esdaile Barrett Jacobs & Mone.

The work we do is broad and varied. The common denominator is BC Law. The BC experience gave us the tools to succeed, from the legal skills and creative thinking to excel in our day-to-day work, to the dedication to serve our communities beyond our jobs, to the fortitude to make tough decisions and follow our convictions, to the humility to know all we are really doing is trying to make the place we are today just a bit better when we leave it than when we arrived.

During 2016, as I begin my term as president of the Alumni Association, I urge other alumni to continue sharing stories among us, to join in and participate in our BC Law community, and to help make new connections with the students graduating today. Our alumni network is one of the most involved and powerful in the country. Help us develop new leaders, connecting our students with prominent graduates in major cities to remind one another of our national presence and help our students settle in the cities where they want to work.

Great things are going on at BC Law. The school is stronger than it has ever been under the leadership of dean Vincent Rougeau, with new initiatives like the Center for Experiential Learning and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy; new faculty chairs like Cathleen Kaveny, Patria McCoy and Natalya Shnitser; and new programs like the HEAD exchange program in Paris and the “BC in DC” semester-in-practice program. Our alumni are leveraging their expertise to make these programs even more successful. Together, we all make our community even more robust, feeding on the network effects of greater and greater involvement.

Professionally and personally, I have never been so thrilled to be a part of the BC Law experience. I like to call the first twenty years Act I. As for Act II? I can’t wait for the opportunities it will bring.

–Tom Burton

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