Visiting the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Impact is running a series of posts on student reflections from their Spring Break Service Trips and experiential work last month. Find the first post here, and the second post here. These posts were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we think the messages are too important to go unshared. Today’s post is from Marija Tesla, who writes about her experience as part of BC Law’s International Human Rights Practicum visit to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Stay safe everyone, and please reach out to us at bclawimpact@bc.edu if we can do anything to help, or if you would like us to consider publishing a guest post on your own experiences during the outbreak.


When Professor Daniela Urosa chose me to be a part of the inaugural International Human Rights Practicum, to say that I was elated would be an understatement. It was a dream come true for me! She told me that it was a dream come true for her as well. Having guided instruction from her in our weekly meetings and in her seminar is the best part of my law school experience thus far. I am truly grateful to her and to Boston College Law School for making this clinic a reality. I know that it involved many years of hard work on the part of many, including Professor Judith McMorrow and Professor Daniel Kanstroom. 

My partner in the clinic is Nadia Bouquet, who is an LL.M. student from Paris, France, studying at Université Paris Nanterre. We are working on writing an amicus brief to submit to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) which relates to a case that is going to be heard by the Court in San José, Costa Rica later this year. There are six of us in the clinic, and we work in pairs of two on one amicus brief, each amicus relating to a different case and a different set of issues. Four of us are J.D. candidates and two are LL.M. candidates, which makes the conversations and the work that much richer. Most of us are also transnational thinkers, speaking multiple languages and having lived in different parts of the globe. We recognize the importance of IACtHR, which is an amalgamation of both the civil and common law, while also being its own unique regional system. It is why it is great to have students with such diverse backgrounds and different lived experiences who also come from both of the legal systems in the clinic, and who appreciate both the importance and complexity of international law and regional systems. 

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BC Law’s Spring Break Pro Bono Trips: Executing Law in Alabama

In the past few weeks the world has changed in ways most of us could never have imagined. While much remains unknown, one thing remains stable—the sense of community that both comforts and uplifts us, even in the midst of trying times.

The post below is a riveting reflection from 1L Ryan Kenney, who was among a group of BC Law students on this year’s Gulf Coast Pro-Bono Spring Break trip to Montgomery, Alabama. It was scheduled to be posted several weeks ago, but was postponed due to the emergency situation COVID-19 created. That said, we think the message is too important to go unshared. We will share several other related service trip stories this week.

Stay safe everyone, and please reach out to us at bclawimpact@bc.edu if we can do anything to help, or if you would like us to consider publishing a guest post on your own experiences during the outbreak.


When people asked us where we were from and we replied that we were on spring break from Boston College Law School, gently raised eyebrows and clarifying questions invariably followed. As if on cue, our neighbor on the puddle jumper from Charlotte, then the barista, the lobbyist in the state house elevator, and virtually everyone else we encountered who wasn’t already expecting us conferred a “Well, welcome to Alabama!” and a warm smile.

This week, we witnessed how people make, interpret, and execute laws in Alabama.

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Student Service Trips: Spring Break Update

Each spring, over 60 BC Law students spend their spring break providing pro bono legal services to underrepresented communities and individuals locally and across the country. As a 1L, this was my first experience with a spring break service trip, and I have to say it’s pretty inspiring. BC Law really does have a committed culture of giving back and delivering justice around the world.

This year, 65 students are volunteering at pro bono placements serving:

  • communities in the District of Columbia, Navajo Nation and 10 states, including AL, TX, MD, NY, GA, LA, TN & OK
  • communities in 12 cities from Harlingen, TX to Baltimore, MD
  • 23 organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Navajo Nation, ProBAR, Disability Rights Louisiana, Oxfam America, Volunteer Lawyers Project and Legal Aid of East Tennessee

Here in Montgomery, Alabama, we are spending our spring break working at governmental and nonprofit organizations across the state, and we’re planning on writing more about our experiences when we return. For now, here are some photos from Montgomery of me and my fellow students!

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Hate Law School? Try BC Law

In a recent article by the National Jurist titled “Hate Law School? You’re Not Alone,” a law school graduate delved into tips to avoid the abhorrence many feel for their programs. Citing the grading system, the unequal level of opportunity, and law students themselves, the author argued that few people actually like law school. She offered up some tips to help students who are feeling discouraged, even recommending that if all else fails and if they really hate it that much, students should drop out and save their money.

Reading this article, I couldn’t help but think of another solution—come to BC Law instead.

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day With BC Law

Happy Valentine’s Day! Beyond the brightly colored candies and vivid decor hung in honor of the holiday, Valentine’s Day is all about showing your love for the people and things that mean the most to you. We decided to ask around about what students and faculty love most about BC Law. I’ve shared their responses below, and we’ll keep adding to this during the day. BC Law students, faculty and staff: share your own photos on social media with the hashtag #loveBCLaw!
Courtney Ruggeri with friends

I love BC Law because of the friends I’ve met and the memories we’ve made—both inside and outside the classroom. -Courtney Ruggeri ’21

Magazine editor Vicki Sanders

I love BC Law Magazine. Stories about our wonderful students, faculty, alumni and community—what’s not to love? -Vicki Sanders

LLM students

I love to see LLM students from all over the world, becoming friends thanks to BC Law! -Susan Simone Kang
Pictured: Fangzheng Li and Jiaying Chen, China, Cristina Ullrich, Germany, Milena Cuadra, Costa Rica, Ankita Rath, India and Nadia Bouquet, France.

My favorite thing about BC Law is studying on the fourth floor of the library. It is very sunny and gets me through the long hours of assigned reading. -Ross Budryk ’22

What I love most about BC Law is how pretty campus is in the winter. Coming from Miami, I still get excited when I see the snow! -Stephen Millan ’22

BC has a special place in my heart since I am a Double Eagle. Spending so many years here has given me a heightened appreciation for the Law School and the community. -Jessica Loiacono ’22

I love my Criminal Law class this semester. It is entertaining and suits my interests well. -Charles Enberg ’22

I love Legal Grounds coffee shop. Stopping by for a soda, coffee, or snack is the perfect midday pick-me-up. -Maxwell Black ’22

This is a little odd, but one of the things I love most about BC Law is the lockers in the basement. After class everyone heads to the lockers to switch out their books and we all chat about class and life. -Devon Sanders ’22

Weirdly enough, my favorite thing about BC Law is the East Wing. Last semester our section had all of our classes there, so now it just feels like home! – Rekha Korlipara ’22

I love the architecture of campus. BC Law is truly the Hogwarts of law schools! – Athanasia Kouskoulas ‘22

The friendships I have made is are what I love most about BC Law. —Becky Powell ’22

My favorite thing about BC Law is that professors are always friendly and welcoming – my favorite is seeing Professor Bloom roam around on the 4th floor of the library, stopping by our tables to say hi! -Selin Altintas ’22

Law Admissions Team after releasing 300 decisions #loveBCLaw #IamBCLaw #guesswholovesyoumore #watchout2023

I love that BC Law has given me the opportunity to live abroad and make even more new friends in my 3L year. The Dublin Semester in Practice has allowed me to immerse myself in a new culture while doing a deep dive into Irish immigration law. I could not think of a better way to finish the best three years! -Audrey McQuade (Pictured in the photo (in Dublin!) from left to right: Audrey McQuade, 2020 Nicole Chelkowski, 2021 Madeleine Gearan, 2020)

I love that the students enjoyed Harvest Desserts, aka Pie Day! – Theresa Kachmar

I’m sure I’m not alone in loving Dorothy Commons in our Career Services Office! -Heather Hayes

What I love about BC Law: one of my favorite people in the world, Pat Parlon! -Dean Rougeau

Acknowledging Achievement: First-Year Grades Are Out

A couple of days before the semester started I went to meet some classmates for brunch. Having spent the last few weeks in our respective hometowns, the meal was filled with stories from break and conversation about the new semester.

About halfway into the reunion, an awkward pause interrupted the discussion as a notification popped up on all of our phone screens—a message from one of our classmates that the first of our final grades were out.

A wave of nervousness fell over me, made of equal parts anticipation and dread. I had been waiting all break on these grades.  But as I looked to the other people at the table, I did not sense the quite the same reaction. They almost looked…relaxed? I mentioned the notification, and they shrugged it off. One person even said that they were not checking their grades until the upcoming weekend, not wanting to focus on school too early before the start of the new semester. I struggled to comprehend the concept of waiting days for the grade while my peers carried on, seemingly unbothered by the anxiety I felt looming over me.  

I checked my grade on the way home from brunch, but it was the reaction of my friends that I could not get out of my head, not the test score I had waited weeks to see. Why was I so astonished at their reaction?

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Capturing the First Snow Day at BC Law

When it rains it pours. Or in this case, when it snows it… you know, snows more.

Students woke up to a different view than usual this morning, as a thick blanket of snow covered our surroundings for the first time this year.  Even in the midst of dead week blues, I could not help but grin at the sight of my snow laden-neighborhood this morning.

This is the first place that I have lived that gets regular snow, so I took a moment to stop and take in my new “normal” on my morning commute, capturing the sights of the classic Boston winter weather I have heard so much about.

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Food that Reminds Us of Home–and Where You Get It

In honor of Thanksgiving, we offer our readers a few recommendations for that “home-cooked meal” feeling… 

Everyone has a dish that reminds them of home.

Whether it’s that main course from your favorite local restaurant, the dessert that only your mom can make, or even the dish your state is known for, these dishes have a special place in our hearts—and in our stomachs. They serve as a bridge from our families and friends and our childhoods, to who we are now.

As we enter the chaos that is finals season, that connection has proven to be even more important to me. I found myself yearning for a moment of simplicity, a reminder of the “good ole days” back in Texas where my concerns had nothing to do with outlines or bluebooks. So I did some research and happened upon Blue Ribbon Barbeque in West Newton.

As any Texan will tell you, we take barbeque very seriously. I was originally skeptical of the glowing reviews—one promised Blue Ribbon’s barbeque was the best they had ever eaten, even compared to what you get in the South. However, as I approached the restaurant, a familiar scent began to permeate around me, one of smoky barbeque and sweet cornbread. Yum. I ordered some classic barbeque and sides and took the next hour to savor every bite. I was immediately transported back to my childhood, feeling thousands of miles away from West Newton.

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365 of 1L: A Word On Mentors

This year, we are taking you through the biggest moments of the 1L year. The ups, the downs, and everything in between, keep checking back for the inside scoop on important events and milestones from our students.

Maybe it’s just that time of the year, but it seems like every day is getting a little bit busier at BC Law. As reading assignments seem to grow longer and longer, and due dates become closer and closer, I cannot help but feel the need to reach out to those who have been through the trials and tribulations of their first year of law school.

Lucky for us 1Ls, we have a lot of advice available to us. At the beginning of the year, LSA matched every new student with an upperclassman who helped welcome us to the school and shared their tips and tricks. Classes, moving, and just life in general, our mentors gave advice on it all. Throughout the first couple of weeks, many organizations that we had joined also began pairing us up with older members, specifically matching us with those who had similar interests. The result? A plethora of mentors to choose from, all knowing exactly what we are going through and who were eager to help.

I decided to ask around for the best advice mentors have given. Maybe it will help you too.

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Beyond BC: Faculty Leaders Testify Before Congress

Our professors are shaping legislative conversation around the world. Just last month, Renee Jones, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at BC Law, testified before the House Financial Services Committee regarding the risks of large private companies on investors, employees, consumers and society. Jones joins four (4!) other BC Law professors who have testified before the world’s highest committees in the past year.

While I remain impressed by the daily commitment our faculty shows to its students, I cannot help but add that these professors go above and beyond in showing their dedication to scholarship. Serving as leaders in their fields, the entire BC Law faculty are diligently working to educate actors and tackle pressing issues (like billion-dollar “unicorns,” donor advised funds and philanthropy, intellectual property and drug patents, broadband access, and banking regulation) well beyond the confines of the BC Law buildings–in fact, around the globe.

Pretty cool, right? You can read more about the recent testimony of Jones and BC Law Professors Olson, Lyons, McCoy and Madoff here at BC Law Magazine.