Humans of BC Law: Matthew Rapkowski

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“What am I doing right now? Oh, I’m researching the necessary components for a reverse mortgage in New York. I work part time for the firm that I’ll be working for this summer. They kindly gave me the opportunity to work while I was in school. They understand that I’m a student and I have other things going on, so they’ve allocated up to 20 hours a week that I can work whenever I feel I have the time. I have a five-hour break between my morning and afternoon classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, so this is pretty perfect. Right now I’m also working on our moot court brief, but, yeah, it’s cool that I get to do both.”


Matt is a 2L at BC Law, hoping to eventually practice real estate and commercial litigation. 

Law Journals 101

People often ask me what’s different about 2L year compared to 1L year. Among other things, like more challenging classes and having a better handle on the way law school works, there’s one thing in particular that has made my 2L experience a whole lot different from my 1L year: being on a journal.

What’s a journal? At the end of their 1L year, BC Law students have the opportunity to participate in a writing competition in order to be on the staff of one of BC Law’s nationally-recognized law journals. Currently, there are five journals at BC Law: the Boston College Law Review (BCLR), the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, the Boston College Journal of Law and Social Justice, and the U.C.C. Reporter-Digest (note: with the exception of the U.C.C. Reporter-Digest, at the end of this academic year all the journals will be consolidated into the Boston College Law Review, and each subject area will be given appropriate space for articles within BCLR). All 2Ls hold staff writer positions in the journal to which they belong, while the 3Ls hold different editorial positions.

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Dream Big: The Forbes’ Under 30 Summit

I’m pleased to be able to host a guest blog today by second-year student Leah Herscovici, who attended the recent Under 30 Summit event in Boston.

Boston is known for many things: it’s the city that helped spark a revolution, that holds the sound of Paul Revere’s mighty cry, that is the birth place of political upheaval. It is also the home of thousands upon thousands of Millennials (otherwise known as those who will one day take over the world).

Currently populating colleges and businesses across the nation, Millennials are the people who are holding the latest iPhone, know the difference between Uber and Lyft, and can sometimes repeat stories in 120 characters or less. These people are the driving force behind new ideas and innovations that are constantly appearing online, offline, and on platforms we have yet to even imagine.

For a weekend and one day, I was able to submerge myself among these amazing professionals during Forbes’ Under 30 Summit held in the tech-savvy center of Boston from October 16-19. More than 5,000 young professionals flocked to the massive event to join the many panels and discussions revolving around new media, professionalism in the 21st century, and how to make the next coolest gadget.

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A Reflection on Race and Policing in America

As an Asian-American, I admit that I often feel distanced from the recent events arising between the black community and the police. However, I’m becoming increasingly aware that these issues of race, policing, and discrimination should be a priority for me too. As a Christian, I’m called to seek justice, to be a peacemaker, to love my neighbor – and I know part of that calling is identifying with and advocating alongside my black friends and neighbors in these troubling times.

Although I don’t always know what my role looks like, attending last month’s panel on race and policing reminded me that it starts with compassion – to listen to and understand the stories of those who are hurting.

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My Summer with a Judge

What’s it like to be a judge?

It’s my sixth week of working for Judge Dineen Riviezzo of the Kings County (Brooklyn) Supreme Court. Judge Riviezzo hears felony cases and Article 10 civil confinement cases. Also, every Friday, she’s in charge of the juvenile offender part, where she hears cases involving 14, 15, and 16-year-olds who would normally be heard in Family Court, but because they commit certain serious crimes, are heard in Supreme Court (but are often afforded youthful offender treatment).

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View of Brooklyn from the Judge’s chambers

So far, I can say that being a judge requires three major qualities.

First, it requires patience. Whether it’s dealing with an attorney’s mistake, sorting out a disagreement between the parties, or waiting for a defendant to be produced or parties to show up, I’ve learned that for judges, every day is a test of patience. Continue reading

These are a few of my favorite things

Yesterday was a day of celebration for me and my fellow 1Ls. It was the day that the writing competition was due. It was the day that we could finally embrace summer.

While all of us are understandably eager to have a break from school, I always like to leave a little room for nostalgia. Below are a few anecdotes that I gathered from my 1L friends about their favorite memories from this year, to remind us of what made our first year of law school so special. Enjoy!

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A Seed of Passion, Planted in Law School

Many of us have probably read a number of articles or heard various talks on immigration issues. However, it’s not every day that we hear from the man who oversees our nation’s immigration procedures and policies.

Two weeks ago, the director of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), Leon Rodriguez, came to BC Law to deliver the annual Owen M. Kupferschmid Holocaust/ Human Rights Project (HHRP) lecture. Rodriguez is a BC Law alum (Class of ‘88) and was involved in the HHRP himself when he was a student. Rodriguez attributed his passion for immigration work to his experiences at BC Law. He was particularly inspired by the HHRP and by fellow classmates who were passionate about human rights. Rodriguez has since dedicated his entire career to public service, working in various capacities such as assistant district attorney and assistant attorney general before joining the USCIS. His story is a reminder that our current law school experiences and relationships play a significant role in shaping our future career paths.

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