When I first wrote about parenting in law school, I complained that my classmates were reading case law while I was reading Moo, Baa, La La La! Now, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s still clear that book had no educational value for me. But my daughter loved it. So, what can you do? Fortunately, in the years since then, my increasingly sophisticated daughter has brought me into contact with increasingly stimulating stories.
For instance, our new farmhouse-themed go-to is Click, Clack, Moo, a pro-labor story about the power of the pen. In it, cows gain access to a type-writer and use it to demand better working conditions from Farmer Brown. They then go on strike until their demands are met. The revolution will not be pasteurized. The movement for animal dignity spreads to the chickens. They bring in a duck to mediate as a neutral party. But he is radicalized and brings the insurgency to the other ducks. Fellow classmates going into labor law: get this book if you want to explain to children what you do.
I had Professor Brodin for Civil Procedure during 1L, and I had a great time in his class. I also ended up taking Evidence with him during my 2L year, which was actually one of my favorite law school classes. I am currently in his employment discrimination class this semester, as well. I recently had the chance to interview him and learn a bit more about his background, his BC Law story, and his hidden talent for music.
To begin, can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in the Bronx and then moved to Queens as a young child. Around age 9, we moved to Long Island, where I went to public school. I moved back to Manhattan for both college and law school at Columbia. After law school, I moved up here to Boston since I ended up clerking for a judge at the federal district court here.
BC Law students are eager for the arrival of four new professors next semester. Thomas W. Mitchell, Lisa T. Alexander, Jenna Cobb, and Felipe Ford Cole will be joining the faculty in the fall. Their scholarship ranges from property and community development reform to criminal justice and comparative legal history.
I think we are very fortunate to be welcoming these talented professors. Personally, I am particularly interested in the property angle as it relates to environmental law and justice. I polled a few other students for their thoughts:
Recently I sat down with Prof. Brian Quinn as part of the faculty spotlight series.
Prof. Quinn’s class was the first class I ever had at BC Law (at 9 am on August 31st, 2020, my first day of law school no less) and while I have yet to take other classes with him, he’s appeared on our podcast, and has been a mentor and a voice of reason for me. When I was asked to write a profile of a professor for the faculty spotlight series, I figured Prof. Quinn would be a good choice.
Tell me about yourself and your career.
I lived life by accident. If you look at my resume in reverse it begins to make sense, but I did not have much of a plan. I’m from Westfield, New Jersey and received my undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. My mom is from Spain, and I spent my summers there when I was younger. In college, I felt like I had to take up something like Latin American studies, but found it boring. I accepted an opportunity sophomore year to work at a refugee camp in the Philippines for Vietnamese refugees in the late 1980s.
I saw it as an escape, learned some Vietnamese, and upon returning to Georgetown received an offer to travel to Vietnam as the first undergraduate student from Georgetown to visit there following the Vietnam War.
When you first encounter Professor Daniel Lyons standing in front of your Property class, you may be intimidated by the impeccable three-piece suit, astonishing poise and brilliance, and, of course, the iconic fedora. His cold calls have left many trembling to this day. Yet, I can say definitively that Professor Lyons is one of the best professors on our campus. It’s no surprise that the school chose him to serve as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the next few years.
I sat down with Professor Lyons to pull back the curtain a bit and highlight a different, lighter, more familiar side of one of BC Law’s best.
“HA – I told you!” My friend shrieked smugly. I rolled my eyes, trying to conceal my annoyance. We had been bickering back and forth for a bit about something that happened a couple of years ago. She insisted that the events had gone a certain way, and I was equally certain that the story was something else. When we finally confirmed, I was irked to find that she was, in fact, right. Even though the subject matter itself was insignificant, I disliked hearing “I told you so.” I eventually forced myself to sheepishly say, “okay fine, you were right,” but I really did not want to.
No one likes to be wrong, whether it be in our personal or professional lives. Personally, we attach ourselves to our ideas and convictions, so when these ideas are challenged, it can feel like an attack on one’s self. Professionally, taking the example of litigation, the whole notion of arguing a case is that our side is the “right” one, and our job is to zealously advocate for it. But what if admitting our own shortcomings and recognizing our own fallibility could make us both better attorneys and better people?
BC Law Impact Editor’s Note: We pride ourselves at Boston College Law School on our unique community that cultivates an incredible student body with a brilliant faculty. This post is part of an ongoing faculty spotlight Q&A series to help students get to know the members of our faculty on a more personal level. It will run throughout the next year.
Why did you choose to teach at BC Law? I am a graduate. I think that it’s a great law school and that the students are fantastic. I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else.
What is your favorite thing about BC? The students–still attracting really nice people to study here, and I think that’s a real plus.
What is your favorite BC Memory? That’s a tough one. Probably my favorite memories are of Sanford Katz and Peter Donovan, two fantastic faculty members here. I had the pleasure of taking their courses when I was a student.
If you were on a baseball team what would your walkout song be? Sweet Caroline, keeping with my Boston roots.
If you weren’t a professor or a lawyer, what would you be doing? What is your dream job? Probably I would be in medicine.
What is your favorite thing about Boston? I grew up in Boston. I would say the Boston Harbor and the ocean. I spent a lot of time running around Castle Island, a park in South Boston, when I was a kid.
If someone visiting Boston asked you what is the one thing they had to do, what would you tell them? Definitely go to a Red Sox game–and do the Harbor walk.
The inaugural holder of the William J. Kenealy, S.J. Chair, Professor Repetti is co-author of the texts, Partnership Income Taxation, Introduction to United States International Taxation, Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation, Problems in Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation, and Tax Aspects of Organizing and Operating a Business. He is also a contributing author to the treatises, Comparative Income Taxation: A Structural Analysis and to The International Guide to Partnerships. For more, visit Professor Repetti’s website.
Melissa Gaglia is a second-year student at BC Law. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BC Law Impact Editor’s Note: We pride ourselves at Boston College Law School on our unique community that cultivates an incredible student body with a brilliant faculty. The BC Impact Blog is launching a faculty spotlight Q&A series to highlight the members of our faculty throughout the next year.
Easily one of my favorite 1L classes has been Law Practice. Known as “LP” to all BC Law students, Law Practice focuses on teaching students the practical skills that they will use everyday in their eventual careers as attorneys. Students spend a great deal of time mastering legal writing and research, learning the Bluebook and system of legal citations as well as how to use research tools such as Lexis and Westlaw. Writing their objective office memo (a memo offering an objective analysis of a legal issue for an internal audience) is a rite of passage for BC law students, and was easily one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my first semester. Second semester sees a pivot to advocacy skills, with students learning the basics of oral argument and shifting to writing for an external audience such as briefs for courts.
For this week’s blog I sat down with Professor Mary Ann Chirba to learn a bit more about her background and teaching at BC. Beloved by students, Professor Chirba is a full-time member of BC’s Law Practice Faculty as well as teaching other law and undergraduate courses.
One of the most interesting parts of my time at law school so far has been the opportunity to meet students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have come straight from completing their undergraduate degree while others have spent a significant amount of time in the workplace before starting at BC Law. From class discussions, it’s clear to me that everyone brings these experiences with them to law school and it’s fascinating to see the way in which people’s different perspectives inform how they intend to practise law.
As someone who isn’t from the U.S. originally, I think a lot about the ways in which my experience of growing up under a different legal system influences how I think about the law and the United States judicial system. For one thing, my ability to follow along in my constitutional law class this semester has definitely been hampered by my not knowing some of the foundational knowledge that students in the U.S. pick up either through osmosis or high school civics.
For this week’s blog post, I sat down with three international students at BC to find out a bit more about their own experiences of studying as international students and what led to them studying at a U.S. law school.
Today was the first day of my last semester of school, ever.* (*Unless I decide I want another degree down the line, but for now, after seven straight years of undergrad and grad school, I’m definitely done for the near future.) As I saw all of the “happy last first day of school” messages this morning, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of restlessness. I’m externing this semester and was working full-time for the day. I realized my anxiety was building up over being in this new externship placement. Here, I’m working in an area of law that I have no experience in, so before I began this morning, I felt incredibly nervous about this new position: What if I’m in a meeting and get asked a question I have no idea how to answer? What if I’m supposed to know about some substantive area of the law that I actually am clueless about? Until I eventually calmed down, I even started wondering how and why I landed the position in the first place. Who, me? How? Why?
This feeling of doubt and lack of confidence isn’t foreign to me. I felt similarly on my very first day of law school, my first case during my clinic experience, and throughout my 2L summer as a summer associate at a law firm. These feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty are a form of imposter syndrome, which is something I continue to struggle with as a final semester 3L. Imposter syndrome can come in various forms for various people. One HBR article defines it as “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.”