A Conversation with Our Deans

The start of the new semester has brought exciting energy to campus as we welcome our new dean. Odette Lienau officially transitioned into her role following the tremendous 18 months of leadership from Interim Dean Diane Ring. Check out an interview from BC Law Magazine with both leaders as they discuss their hopes and vision for our community and the legal profession:

Diane Ring served as interim dean from June 2021 to mid January 2023. She was succeeded by Odette Lienau, who joined BC Law in January as the inaugural Marianne D. Short, Esq., Dean. During the transition period last fall, the two women became well acquainted as they prepared for the change in leadership. Theirs was a meeting of the minds, of learning, listening, and laying the groundwork for the Law School’s new era. This interview is an opportunity to hear some of their formational conversation.

Both of you are “firsts” as women in the dean’s role at BC Law. How is women’s leadership important to BC Law and the legal profession?

11 Tips for Exam Season

Ahhhhhh. Deep Breath. Exam Season is upon us yet again.

For some of us at BC Law, exams simply need to come and go so that we can get on with our Winter Break. For others – particularly you 1Ls – these few weeks will be incredibly stressful as you try to figure out how to both study for and execute on exams, which are two distinct skills that each need attention. 

As we enter reading period, the BC Impact Bloggers compiled a list of 11 of our most effective exam strategies. Note: these are not necessarily academic strategies, but rather tips for enduring and persisting through this difficult time.

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Dear Fellow Law Students: The Curve is a Lie

The forty-something having fun at law school in this meme is supposed to be me, I imagine. But the cigar-smoking golfer is John Daly. Hard-driving, hard-drinking, ‘Long John’ Daly. He’s played golf most of his life. He still plays golf. Through alcoholism, failed marriages, and personal turmoil, John Daly keeps playing golf. And he’s 56.

Funny thing, golf. Even the best player in the world is going to lose. A lot. And they’re going to lose for one very simple, very human reason. They just weren’t good enough. Maybe the greens were faster than they like, or their short game was off. I don’t know; I don’t play golf. But whatever the multitude of reasons, there’s only one that matters. On that day, in those conditions, someone else did it better. For whatever reason. 

I’ve thought about this quite a bit as we’ve plummeted towards final exams, and as I’ve watched the sick realization of competition take hold and threaten to distort friendship into rivalry. I’ve thought about losing, and law school, and what I can learn from John Daly. And what I’ve decided is…

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Casebooks, Inc.

During my 1L year of law school I spent a good amount of time helping my dad with a construction project that had me making frequent trips up and down Rt. 128 to Home Depot. I felt like I could drive the route in my sleep. One thing that stuck out to me was a particular office building perched atop the highway—one of those blocky corporate stockades that line a particular stretch of Rt. 128, from Newton to Burlington, a liminal badlands of office parks and office buildings that are largely products of the 1980s—an area that at one point was referred to as the “Silicon Valley of the East Coast.” 

On the front of the building, glaring ominously down at the highway as if it were Wayne Enterprises or ExxonMobil or Waystar Royco, is the name “Wolters Kluwer”—a Dutch information services conglomerate, better known to us all as the maker of many of our casebooks. As 1L went on, and the brand name became an omnipresent feature of our daily studies (as well as the beneficiary of hundreds of dollars spent on textbooks per student per semester), I became curious as to what exactly this racket is all about.

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Law School Essentials: What You Need… and What You Don’t

When you’re starting law school, it can be hard to figure out what exactly you should be spending your money on. And as law students, we definitely don’t have money to waste. Here are a few products that my peers and I believe are “must-haves”–and a few you can skip.

Best things we bought for law school:

  1. Desktop monitor

Being able to plug in your laptop to a desktop monitor (or better yet – a dual monitor, check this thing out) is extremely helpful. If you’re taking any finals from home or working on a research project, eliminating the constant minimizing between programs is a huge time saver.

  1. Quimbee

Quimbee is an online subscription that provides access to case briefs, study-aids, practice questions, and more. I’m not suggesting that you should rely on Quimbee in place of reading cases, but it is a great supplement. I find the videos the most helpful. 

  1. OneNote

I’ve mentioned this before, but I truly can’t say enough good things about Microsoft OneNote. You can easily organize your class notes over the semesters and even embed professor’s powerpoints. Plus, your notes will always be safely in the cloud, accessible from any computer or on the mobile app.

  1. Noise canceling headphones

Sometimes I like to throw on some Lofi study music, and other days I just put them on silent to cancel out distractions. They are a great investment, especially if you plan on working in common areas like the library. 

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Live, Laugh, Love Tax

Much like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, I came to law school to find love. Well, sorta… Unlike Ms. Woods, my love story is with the practice area of tax law. 

To be completely candid, I had no intention of becoming a tax attorney when I first applied to law school. I didn’t even intend to ever take a tax class. From the moment I signed up for the LSAT, my Uncle John, who is a CPA, always claimed I was going to be a tax attorney, and I always dismissed him. Tax law, for me, was like the quiet nerd the main character in a rom-com takes forever to see as more than just a friend. 

My “meet cute” with Tax was when I had the last pick time to sign up for classes for my 2L fall, and it was one of the only classes open that fit into my schedule. My Uncle John is always badgering me about becoming a tax attorney, I thought. Why don’t I take Tax I, ultimately fail it, and then never hear or speak of tax law again?

Spoiler alert: This ended up being far from the truth. 

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Welcoming Our New Professors

As we pass the midpoint of the semester, you current students may already be thinking about the courses you’ll want to take in the spring. To ensure you can weigh your options effectively, you’ll need to learn a little bit about the professors, including their backgrounds and areas of expertise.

Even if you know most of the familiar faces on campus, you may have been unable to get acquainted with some of the newcomers who joined our community this fall. It’s an impressive list! The school’s newest full-time faculty (Thomas Mitchell, Lisa Alexander, Jenna Cobb, Felipe Ford Cole, and Bijal Shah) come from a diverse range of backgrounds and have brought their experience into our classrooms, teaching everything from property and constitutional law to immigration and international investment law.

On top of these five new full-time professors, Jeffery Robinson has joined the School as the Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor this year, and Cosmas Emeziem as the 2022-2024 Drinan Visiting Assistant Professor. Finally, Aziz Rana is coming to BC Law, first as Provost’s Distinguished Fellow in 2023–2024, and then as the J. Donald Monan, SJ, Chair in Law and Government in 2024.

To learn more about our new faculty, read their bios in the BC Law Magazine, or visit BC Law’s faculty directory.

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Michael Cassidy

Take a handful of BC Law students and ask them who their favorite professor is—odds are at least one of them will say Professor Cassidy. Don’t get me wrong, we have so many great professors at BC Law, but between teaching criminal law, professional responsibility, and evidence, most students have had the pleasure of taking a class with Professor Cassidy at least once. 

That said, it isn’t just a matter of variety. Beyond the wide breadth of classes he teaches, Professor Cassidy also keeps students enthusiastically engaged with his breakdown of complex legal topics and lighthearted anecdotes. 

I sat down with Professor Cassidy to ask him about his own law school experience, career, and favorite things about BC Law. 


1) Have you always wanted to be an attorney? Growing up did you think this is where you would end up?

I decided I wanted to be an attorney in the 9th grade when I read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I was inspired by how lawyers could give voice to the voiceless in our society and be an instrument of change. I didn’t know any lawyers, except those I caddied for at the golf club. My parents were blue collar workers. 

2) What was your favorite thing about law school? Least favorite?

I pretty much hated law school. Harvard Law School in the early to mid 1980’s was not a happy place to be. Several faculty who focused on Critical Legal Studies had left for other schools or had been denied tenure. Back then HLS was nicknamed the “Beirut on the Charles” because all the faculty were at war with each other. Very few of them had a student-focused perspective on their responsibilities. 

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Faculty Spotlight: Professor Dan Farbman

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.


What do you like most about BC and why?

As hokey as it is to say, the answer is the students. I have found it to be universally true that the students are super happy to be here, kind to each other, but also really open minded in the very best sense — the sense of being able to come into class and just engage with wherever we go. So, if we’re talking about something difficult, the students are open to it and respectful with each other, but also really curious. It’s easy to create really rich academic environments because there’s sort of a low barrier of entry for the students. Compared to other teaching I’ve done at other places, I’ve just found it incredibly gratifying to be able to come into a classroom and know that, whatever you bring to the classroom, students are going to be up for it. Even if they’re sometimes surprised or off-balance, they’re not hostile, and so that means you can really do stuff in class that otherwise might be harder to do.

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On Being a Parent in Law School, Part IV: Children’s Stories for Lawyers

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.

Early on she tried out periodicals before turning to farm-based fiction.

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.

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