Closing Casebooks and Opening Discussions: BC Law’s Campus Speakers

Part of why I decided to come to law school was to engage in deep, complex, and nuanced discussions about the law and current events. During college I was able to take courses that challenged and engaged these questions and provoked discussion on campus outside the classroom too. The 1L curriculum doesn’t have the same freedom of course selection as an undergraduate one. We select one elective class in the spring semester, but in the fall, our course schedule is entirely up to the Law School and long-standing professional norms. That isn’t a bad thing—undoubtedly, these doctrinal classes will make us better lawyers and teach us about the law. BC Law also has excellent, engaging, and caring 1L professors. But I imagine everyone else who goes to law school, just as I do, has a desire to discuss many legal interests that extend beyond the scope of 1L courses. Simply based on how often law is in the news, we obviously have questions about topics that will not be covered in class.

Fortunately, BC Law’s administration and student organizations help fill the gap.

We have speakers and panels on campus multiple times a week. BC Law has so many of these events that it becomes hard to choose which to attend. There’s something for everyone (and almost always lunch provided.) My interests lie in social justice and jurisprudence. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the American Constitution Society speaker events so far this semester: there was a panel of professors giving a preview of this session’s Supreme Court docket and most recently, a discussion with Neil Eggleston, former White House Counsel to President Obama. I have also enjoyed this semester’s ongoing Rappaport Center event series on the intersection of race and law. I am grateful to BC Law for opening a forum for those discussions and hope we continue having larger ones in the future. Race and the law and racism on campus and in every corner of society need to be discussed. The law school does try to initiate those conversations. And there are offerings for students with many subject interests, legal practice area interests, political leanings, and affiliations. Practitioners, politicians, academics, judges, and businesses often come to BC Law to share their insights, experiences, and provoke us to think beyond the confines of the classroom.

Guest speaker events are a strong supplement to our rigorous 1L legal education and I love that student interests determine the topics of those conversations.

I’m still excited that I will have the opportunity to engage in substantive conversations in my higher-level courses once I’ve established a basic understanding of the law, but BC’s excellent speakers do help tide me over and begin to spark the conversations that need to be happening among students and faculty.

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