Our Alumni Association Network

I’m pleased to host today’s blog from Kenneth Sanchez ’03 and Dionna F. Shear ’14, the co-chairs of the Los Angeles chapter of the BC Law Alumni Association. Our alumni network is one of the strongest in the country, and I think their post gives you a sense of our alumni’s commitment to each other and to new generations of students.

Life after law school can get very busy, very fast. After three years of law school and the associated neurosis, stress, and countless nights of no sleep, you get to do it all over again. Life as a practicing attorney can be even more stressful when balancing the needs of your clients, meeting minimum billables, and trying to maintain some kind of social life outside of work.

Who has the time to do anything else? Who wants to mingle with other lawyers after spending the entire day dealing with them? What could my law school possibly have to offer me beyond a legal education? The answer to all that is very simple. Alumni should be involved with their alumni association because besides your education, the most valuable thing your law school offers you—and the students who come after you—is a network.

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Governor O’Malley at BC Law: Restoring Integrity to Our Democracy

Governor Martin O’Malley may have taken a step back from the national stage to reflect and teach in suburban Newton, Massachusetts, but he is certainly not shying away from the issues at the heart of current American politics. In a talk entitled “Restoring Integrity to Our Democracy” at Boston College Law School on Tuesday, Gov. O’Malley contemplated the conditions that resulted in President Donald Trump’s election and urged action on a series of fronts in order to protect and revitalize our democratic system of government.

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The former Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore, who just last year shared a debate stage with Democratic Party candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, struck an ominous tone at the outset about the current state of the country. He warned of the dangers of the President’s ideology, which he called “Trumpism,” before rejecting Pope Francis’ recent suggestion that we should “wait and see” what President Trump does before judging him. “Our political institutions are in a state of crisis,” he said. “Now we must ask what each of us will do.”

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Teach, Work, Love: Professor Hillinger on BC Law

Take a few minutes to watch the following video profiling Professor Ingrid Hillinger, who is one of BC Law’s most respected professors . She is known for her demanding but rewarding teaching style and her tireless devotion to members of the BC Law community. One of her students told me she has, at times, sent emails in the wee hours of the morning, and that she is rumored to be the one who unlocks the school in the mornings.

Her reputation isn’t restricted to our campus, either—she was named one of the “26 best law teachers in the country” in the book What the Best Law Teachers Do (Schwartz, 2013). See a BC Law Magazine article here  about what makes her so good.

I have not had the privilege of taking a class with Professor Hillinger, so I turned to two of my classmates for their perspectives:

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A Time for Reflection

Note: I’m pleased to host a guest blog today from Ed Hanley, Class of 1986. Ed is tax director of a regional accounting firm in San Francisco. He started being involved as an alumnus in 1989 when he joined the Alumni Board as the young alumni representative. When he moved to Washington DC, he joined with Carroll Dubuq (Class of 1962) to co-found the BC Law Club of Washington, DC. He is active in alumni events on the West Coast and recently rejoined the board of the Alumni Association, taking partial responsibility for reunions.

Ed and his partner Bill split their time between San Francisco and Popponesset Beach, Cape Cod.

Reunion Weekend is an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends, take in the sights and sounds of a campus so similar and yet so very different from years ago, and to remember why BC Law is such a special place. This year’s Reunion brought up so many memories for me—and a few surprises, too.

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Crime Documentaries: Are They Really Helping?

I’m happy to be able to host a guest blog today from first-year student Christina Sonageri.

Technology has changed the way we do a lot of things—including the way we stream content. With the advent of platforms like Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and Hulu, society has access to movies and shows at the click of a button. The change in how we are able to watch has helped to facilitate a more efficient way for producers and writers to share their stories.

One genre that I think has really flourished as a result is the crime documentary. Now, even when I hear the word “documentary,” my mind begins to swirl with mug shots of Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s Making a Murderer series, and images of the countless other subjects whose faces define the genre. Every time a new crime story is released, it seems it’s the only thing that anyone can talk about.

However, growing up the daughter of two lawyers initially made me skeptical of anyone who was trying to fit a whole case into just a few hours of television or film. So I decided to sit down and explore whether these types of documentaries are helpful or detrimental to the people involved in the crime—and what their impact on society’s faith in the justice system might be.

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Making a Lawyer Part II: The Human Criminal Justice System

Walt_Kelly

This is Part II of a two-part series about two attorneys from the Netflix series Making a Murderer, Mr. Walt Kelly ‘68 and Mr. Dean Strang, visiting Boston College Law School on  Wednesday, February 24, 2016. For Part I, please click here.

“It’s O.K. to follow a hunch,” Mr. Dean Strang told the audience of more than 300 students and faculty. “But if you’re shaping every bit of new information around that hunch, and discarding information that doesn’t square away with your hunch or hypothesis, you can wind up with the wrong guy.”

That is the essence of what Mr. Strang and Mr. Jerry Buting argued to the jury during Mr. Steven Avery’s murder trial. Part of their theory of the case, as explained in the Netflix series Making a Murderer, was that the local police acted on a hunch that Mr. Avery killed Teresa Halbach, and may have done everything in their power, including plant evidence, to ensure his conviction.

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Making a Lawyer Part I: Steven Avery’s Attorneys Visit BC Law

Dean Walt

This is Part I of a two-part series about two attorneys from the Netflix series Making a Murderer, Mr. Walt Kelly ‘68 and Mr. Dean Strang, visiting Boston College Law School on  Wednesday, February 24, 2016.  Check back tomorrow for Part II.

“How many of you have seen Making a Murderer?” Mr. Walt Kelly, genuinely curious, asked the crowd of more than 300 students and faculty. When nearly every hand shot up, the room erupted with laughter. Mr. Kelly seemed to have underestimated the show’s  popularity, especially among law students.

The Netflix series Making a Murderer was released in December to rave reviews, and quickly became binge-watching fodder for students on Winter Break across the country. The show, which was filmed over a ten-year period in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, highlights the story of Mr. Steven Avery, who was exonerated after serving eighteen years in prison for sexual assault and attempted murder, only to be charged with murder just two years after his release. Mr. Avery’s main criminal defense raised questions about conflicts of interest during the murder investigation and implied foul play among the ranks of the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department.

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Yes, We Go to School Sponsored Social Events: Ski Trip

Each February, members of the BC law community leave their busy academic lives behind and venture into the mountains for a weekend away. Destination: Killington, Vermont.

They pile into condos – air mattresses and all – and spend the days on the slopes or about the town and the nights at Killington’s finest watering holes. We hoped to capture the spirit of the weekend with our second Instagram contest of the year.

We received a wide array of submissions, starting with some frame-worthy mountain shots…

#SkiTrip2016 #killington #vermont #iambclaw

A post shared by Caryn Sigurdson (@caryn_alys) on

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Opening Act II: A Twenty-Year Reunion

Hello everyone! This week, I’m hosting a guest blog from Tom Burton ‘96, the new Alumni Association President. I’m thrilled that he has agreed to write about his BC Law experience for Impact.

Tom chairs Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice, which he founded over 12 years ago. His global practice focuses on complex corporate finance matters including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, private equity, and securities transactions for energy and clean technology companies. He is ranked by Best Lawyers in America in the Corporate Law section, and he has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States as “rising to the fore” in energy technology for Venture Capital and Emerging Companies. In the community, Tom serves as President of the Boston College Law School Alumni Association, Chairman of the Board of Overseers and Trustee of the New England Aquarium and an Advisory Committee Member of the Flutie Spectrum Enterprises, LLC. Tom is also a member of the firm’s Policy Committee, its Board of Directors equivalent.

Twenty years. For quite a few of you reading this post, twenty years is nearly a lifetime. For me, and for my classmates from ’96, it marks the halfway point in our careers. Our upcoming twenty-year reunion in November has given me pause to reflect on that slightly sobering fact, and to think about my BC Law friends and classmates. What strikes me the most are their tremendous professional successes across the board.

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Thoughts from a Double Eagle: We Are BC

2Ls (from left) Maria Colella, Ashley Gambone, and Margaret Capp ran the Red Bandanna Run with me on October 24th.

2Ls (from left) Maria Colella, Ryan Murphy, Ashley Gambone, and Margaret Capp, pictured with BC mascot Baldwin, ran the Red Bandanna Run on October 24th.

As I introduced myself to classmates, professors and administrators during orientation and throughout the first few weeks of 1L year, many of them asked where I attended college, or why I chose BC Law. I told them that I went to Boston College, and had such a great experience that I thought it would have been crazy, if given the chance to come back to BC, to go to law school anywhere else. I couldn’t even picture it. Their response was, more times than not, “oh, so you’re a double eagle!”

I had heard the phrase “double eagle” tossed around in college from time to time. For those of you who haven’t, members of the BC community affectionately call people with two BC degrees (including diplomas from BC High) “double eagles.” Similarly, the more exclusive “triple eagle” title signifies three BC degrees.

Being from New York, and not knowing many BC alumni, the term “double eagle” never seemed like more than a catchphrase used in the community. But as I get closer to attaining my second degree, it has become much more than that for me.

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