Congratulations to our very own Vincent D. Rougeau, dean of Boston College Law since 2011, who is set to serve as President-elect of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) next year!
AALS is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that brings together nearly 200 law schools to advance legal education, support professional development, and promote diversity in the legal profession. The membership will officially vote on Dean Rougeau’s nomination (he is the only candidate) at their annual meeting in January 2020.
Dean Rougeau, an outspoken advocate for legal education reform, will succeed Harvard Law School Professor Vicki C. Jackson as the President of the nonprofit association. Before taking the helm at BC Law, he was a highly-regarded professor of contracts, real estate transactions, and Catholic social thought at Notre Dame Law School — where he also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
You can read more about Dean Rougeau’s nomination as President-elect of AALS on BC Law Magazine’s website.
Welcome (back) to Boston College Law! Today, I’m pleased to host a guest post from 2L Rachel Weiss, a Weinstein Scholar, on her experience joining the BC Law community.
Like most students coming into law school, I was extremely anxious. The source of my anxiety, however, did not just stem from the typical types of stressors that so many students face, such as embarking on a brand new and highly complex discipline, moving to a new city, switching careers, or making new friends. While I did share those concerns with my classmates, one of the biggest changes for me in coming to law school would be attending a Jesuit school as a Jewish student.
Growing up, I was always surrounded by others who shared my culture and religion. From an early age, I went to Hebrew School, spent summers at a Jewish overnight camp, then attended a predominantly Jewish high school, and even managed to end up at an undergraduate university with a sizable Jewish population. Knowing people who had also been raised in the Jewish tradition and having the support of my religious community were constants throughout my life.
Coming to Boston College Law School, I soon realized that things would be different. I was no longer surrounded by people with similar backgrounds and experiences to my own. As I started to navigate this adjustment, I was introduced to someone who would later become a major part of my transition to the BC Law community.
Hi folks! Today, I’m pleased to host a guest post from 2L Tess Edwards, ’20, president of Boston College Law’s Environmental Law Society.
BC Law’s Environmental Law program has been a pillar of strength for the law school since its launching in 1972 by Professor Peter Donovan, shepherded in the years since 1981 by Professor Zygmunt Plater. Professor Plater, who was recently awarded the Svitlana Kravchenko Environmental Rights Award at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon, is what we call a “big deal.” He argued a successful environmental case before the Supreme Court (and was reported to be the only appellate advocate ever to defeat a sitting Attorney-General of the United States in Supreme Court oral argument), led the legal response to the Exxon-Valdez oil spill disaster as chairman of the Alaska Oil Spill Commission’s Legal Task Force, consulted on the “Civil Action” Woburn toxic contamination case, and organized 20 student research projects used by the President’s Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He involved students mercilessly in each of those projects.
When my family moved from Boston to Seoul, South Korea (my parents’ home country), I was 10 and knew only three Korean phrases: “How are you,” “Thank you” and “I’m sorry.”
My 1L year in law school was a lot like my first year in Korea. Like Korean, law was a language that I knew existed, but never thought I would have to speak. That is, until I had to speak it, immediately – as if my life (i.e., grades) depended on it.
Boston College Law School is sometimes referred to as the “Disneyland of law schools,” a kind nod to its supportive staff, upperclassmen and alumni. In reality, the 1L experience is closer to a journey through Wonderland – where you are chasing around an illusory white rabbit, not really knowing why, in a world filled with fascinating (and occasionally frightening) beings.
“There is a place, like no place on earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger. Some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter.”
–Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll
Your first graded assignment in law school will be drafting an Office Memorandum. Mine was horrible, and I’ve been drawing paychecks as a writer for nine years.
An “Office Memo” is a lengthy analysis of a specific legal question and its most probable answer. You are given a bundle of facts and an overarching question. It’s your job to identify the legally significant information, find the applicable legal rules and explain to your reader how those rules apply to your facts.
Below are three tips, and memorable advice from my legal writing professor, to help you avoid making the same mistakes that I made.
As the second son of a poor rural family in South Korea, he moved to the city of Seoul alone to attend high school at the young age of 16. He continued his education at the nation’s most prestigious university and earned his PhD in the US (Boston) with full tuition and cost-of-living scholarships provided to him by the Korean government. While his accomplishments as a microbiologist themselves are admirable, it is his curiosity, patience and persistence that never fail to inspire me. “You will have good experiences and bad experiences, but none that are useless,” is one of the things that he said when I told him I was considering law school. Thanks, dad, and congratulations on your (upcoming) retirement!
Heads up: There is so much to read in law school. And the case materials are not written in plain English. You will have to read some cases twice or even three times to get a clear picture of what’s really going on.
Then there are a myriad of 1L events to welcome us law-newbies – and overwhelm us further – on this exciting journey into the world of jurisprudence.
You have half-a-dozen student organization meetings to attend. Socialization follows.
Of the little time you have left for yourself, you’re given the choice to sleep or…
…go rock climbing, kayaking, run, hangout at the beach, and try out kiteboarding.