Want to Practice in New York?

In the summer of 2016, I was faced with a dilemma: should I attend law school at BC, a school that I absolutely love, and at which I know I’ll receive a quality education? Or should I attend law school in New York – my home city, and the city where I want to eventually practice law – even though the school has a lower ranking?

After months of deliberation, speaking with lawyers and law students, and prayer, I decided to attend BC Law. I was convinced that it was the best place for me to receive the education I need to be a good lawyer, and to also enjoy the law school experience (and as a rising 3L, I can say that I was right!). However, a concern still lingered in my mind throughout my 1L year: will I be able to find a job back at home in New York City once I graduate? This blog post is for any prospective or current students who are wondering the same thing.

Although I can’t speak for all different types of legal careers, I can say that as an aspiring prosecutor, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my choice to attend BC Law. Not only have I been able to learn from some of the best law professors in the field and be part of a warm community, but I have also been able to pursue my dream of becoming an assistant district attorney in New York City. Although I haven’t graduated yet, attending BC Law has given me opportunities at every turn to take steps toward this end goal:

  • During my 1L year, I searched for a summer judicial internship in New York, sending applications to judges in every borough. That summer, I ended up working for a judge in the Brooklyn Supreme Court, who had graduated from Boston College as an undergrad. Working for her broadened my understanding of criminal laws and procedures in New York, and I also got to know some attorneys who appeared frequently before my judge.
  • During my 1L summer, I participated in BC Law’s Off-Campus Interviewing program in New York City, in which a few public interest organizations participated. I interviewed with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and was able to speak about my growing familiarity with the Brooklyn neighborhood through my judicial internship with the Brooklyn judge. I ultimately received an offer, and I am currently working at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, in its Homicide Bureau (one of the assistant district attorneys in my bureau actually graduated from BC Law!).
  • This summer, I will again be participating in the New York Off-Campus Interviewing process as a rising 3L, for full-time assistant district attorney positions. The district attorney’s offices in every borough of New York City (except Staten Island) participate in BC Law’s New York OCI program. Many of these offices hire former interns and look for individuals who have prior experience in a district attorney’s office in the city.

BC Law has an extensive network in New York City, both in the private and public sectors, as demonstrated by the alumni network and the law firms/organizations that participate in New York’s OCI. Before I entered law school, several BC Law alumni working in New York had told me that attending BC Law is definitely not a impediment to finding a job in New York, and that in fact, the high reputation of the school can only help. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you’re committed to working in New York (or another city that’s not Boston), you should make an effort to build your resume in that city and establish a network there as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you can communicate to employers why working in New York is important to you, especially if you’re not a native New Yorker!

Venus Chui is a rising 3L at BC Law, president of the Christian Legal Society, and a managing editor for the Boston College Law Review. Feel free to contact her with questions about her experiences at BC Law. Comment here or send her an e-mail at venus.chui@bc.edu.

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