Faculty Spotlight: Cheryl Bratt

Many of us attend law school to help our communities, whether through policy work, representing marginalized clients, or integrating pro bono work into our practice. However, it’s very easy for our doctrinal classes to feel removed from our ultimate purposes.

As a Law Practice Professor, Professor Bratt teaches students the skills they will use in practice, like conducting legal research, writing predictive memoranda, and drafting motions to a court. Professor Bratt–no surprise to those who know her–goes above and beyond her responsibilities as a Law Practice Professor. Not only is she a thoughtful, caring professor, but she also works with Lawyers Clearinghouse to give 1Ls discrete opportunities to assist marginalized clients with their legal issues. Professor Bratt creates opportunities for students to work with clients in need of legal services. This experience was the highlight of my 1L year, and it made me feel like I had more to offer the world and my new community in Boston.

I sat down with Professor Bratt to discuss the opportunities that lead her to her dream job, what brought her to teach Law Practice at BC Law and to get to know her beyond the classroom.

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The Art (and Importance) of Networking

The most helpful thing Professor Hillinger taught me during my 1L year was that networking is a critical tool during the legal job search. Although I earned my position for next summer through The Law Consortium, an OCI analog, I am thankful to my past-self for speaking to as many attorneys as I could. In hindsight, I think my networking helped me to figure out which legal practices I am interested in, which firms might be the best fit for my work style, and to become more comfortable and knowledgeable when speaking to attorneys. Just as Professor Hillinger stressed, networking should be an integral part of every 1L’s experience. 

During my first semester of 1L, I talked to as many attorneys as I could find from a breadth of experiences and practice areas. Everything in law school seemed interesting to me, and I knew it would be important to be more targeted in my internship and job search. I made sure that I reached out to speak one-on-one to at least one attorney after every negotiation competition, club panel, or CSO event I attended. In the beginning, I had no idea what to talk about, but I knew that people like talking about themselves, so my networking conversations involved a lot of personal questions: “how did you know you wanted to pursue litigation,” “what made you choose to move in-house after working in Big Law”, and “how did you decide on your specific practice areas?” Through these conversations, I realized that I did not strictly identify with the transactional or litigation camps, and decided to pursue a career more closely aligned with regulatory work, where I would have the chance to have a broader range of work.

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