As elections approach for student organizations, I want to make a pitch to 1Ls who are on the fence about whether they can make a commitment to a student organization on top of the normal commitments of law school.
1Ls, this year has no doubt been challenging and strange. While 2Ls were able to spend half of our first year just popping into events to take food and spend time with friends, 1Ls need to make a much more concerted effort to join Zoom events to network, listen to speakers, or even socialize. That’s taxing. I understand and it makes sense why your affinity for student groups might be less than ours was.
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.
Being at BC Law as a Jewish woman pursuing public interest law can sometimes create a sense of cognitive dissonance and difficulty feeling like I belong. My background and upbringing is very Jewish and very rooted in social justice. I’ve been actively involved in Jewish communities for my entire life and that has informed my values. I attended Smith College, a progressive women’s college out in Northampton, MA. Attending a Jesuit Catholic law school initially gave me some pause, especially knowing that most future lawyers are looking to pursue careers in “Big Law.” But attending the Public Interest Law Retreat (PILR) last weekend reminded me that I don’t need to check my public interest goals and passions at the door to the law school–rather, that there are people and systems in place to support them.
The PILR is a program for 1Ls, coordinated by the Law School and the incredible 1L, 2L, and 3L Public Service Scholars. The bunch of us drove out to Dover, MA to the Boston College Connors Retreat Center. We stayed overnight in the old stone building located in a more rural part of the state with lots of green space and trees. We entered a refreshing atmosphere the instant we arrived.