One of the things I was most looking forward to as a 2L was being able to select my own classes. Unlike my undergraduate experience where it felt like the list of required courses was never-ending and took up most of my schedule, BC Law gives students a ton of flexibility when it comes to deciding their courses of study.
My strategy to picking classes falls into three categories: classes that will prepare me for the bar, classes that I think will be helpful in practice, and classes that I simply find interesting. Last semester I tended to focus on bar classes (including Evidence and Corporations), but my spring course load is filled with classes that I thought sounded interesting.
Below I provide a brief overview of my spring semester, including why I chose to take the classes I did:
- Governing in the Facebook Era. Prior to law school, I worked at a law firm in DC doing public relations. Many of the practice groups with which I worked were public policy-related, so this class seemed to combine my interests in policy, marketing/advertising, and social media. The added bonus, however, is that the course is being taught by former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift. Therefore, I knew this would be an extremely unique law school class and an invaluable opportunity.
After having my first class with Governor Swift, I can already tell this class will be different from others I have taken in law school so far. There is not a casebook, the class will be driven by participation, and the course requirements include attending outside events and a final presentation/paper. Furthermore, the topics being covered, including political communications and protecting the integrity of elections, are areas that I haven’t previously explored, which should make for an interesting seminar.
- Feminist Legal Theory. Gender studies have always been of interest to me, so Feminist Legal Theory seemed to be a class that was right up my alley. In college, I took the Psychology of Gender, Gender and Economics, and Sexuality, Gender & the Law. These courses introduced me to the role of gender in various disciplines, and I wanted to learn about gender’s place in the law in particular. As a woman entering the profession, I thought it was important for me to discuss gender issues and reflect on the ways in which gender has entered legal conversations. For example, even if a law on its face is gender-neutral, does it disadvantage women in practice?
Again, this class does not follow the traditional law school structure where your final grade is determined by one exam. Rather, we have weekly reflection papers, a group presentation, outside event requirements, and a final paper. The assignment I am most looking forward to is a book review on She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement. Needless to say, both the subject matter and structure of the class is a nice change from most other law school classes.
- The First Amendment. An interesting opportunity with which BC Law provides its students is the ability to take classes at another Boston-area law school if it fits your academic needs. I am in the middle of writing my Law Review Note on a First Amendment issue and therefore wanted to take a course this semester that would help with my topic as much as possible.
My Note topic involves the Michelle Carter case where a teenager was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after her boyfriend committed suicide. The prosecution based this charge largely on Carter’s conversations with her boyfriend, which many critics argued was criminalizing free speech in violation of the First Amendment. Therefore, I knew taking a course that really focused on speech in particular would be beneficial and interesting to me, and this off-campus class was the best fit this semester.
- Mediation. One thing I appreciate most about BC Law is the number of experiential classes it offers. I am one of those people who learns a lot better through hands-on practice, so these offerings have been especially important to me. Not only will we be learning the strategies employed by mediators and methods to resolve disputes, we will also have the opportunity to practice these strategies and receive feedback from actual mediators. The added bonus of this class is that you have the option to obtain a Mediation Certificate, which is often needed if you want to become a mediator after law school.
In summary, BC Law provides students with many unique learning opportunities, no matter where your interests or goals lie. Whether you want to become a better researcher, learn about trial practice, or anything in between (like me), this semester has taught me that BC Law truly has you covered.
If you are looking to learn more about the BC Law curriculum, be sure to visit the school’s website.
Courtney Ruggeri is a second-year BC Law student who loves to hear from readers. Email her at email@example.com.