Preparing for Law School Series: Choosing the “Right” Classes

Course registration just began at BC, and we thought it would be helpful to dive into our next topic of the Preparing for Law School series—choosing the “right” classes. When your college doesn’t have a pre-law major or track, you might be feeling a little lost. And even if your school does offer guidance, you might be torn between taking classes that interest you and those that you think will look best on your transcript to an admissions committee.

Whether you’re planning for next semester or the years ahead, we hope you find our below insights helpful.

Brett

As a political science major, I spent four years saying I wasn’t going to law school. As a 1L, I’m probably more confused now than I was in August. (But at least I’m confused about the right things!) Keeping my less-than-stellar credentials in mind, my advice is to take the classes you want to take.  

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The Path to the Bar: Step 1, MPRE

Last Spring, we published the first of a series of posts about the bar. That post talked about course selection with the bar in mind; you can read it here. Today we are looking at the MPRE, which is a first step on the path to passing the bar.

In most states, before you can sit for the bar, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). It’s two hours long, and contains sixty multiple choice questions testing knowledge of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which most states have adopted in some version. The MPRE does not test your personal ethics; it tests how well you know the Model Rules and how you apply them to factual hypotheticals. Continue reading

Preparing for Law School Series: The LSAT

1L year is well underway, but it feels like just yesterday I was studying for the LSAT, drafting emails to former professors inquiring about recommendation letters, and deciding on a topic for my personal statement. Whether you’re thinking about law school or in the middle of the application process, the Impact Blog writers wanted to share advice on these topics and more which will hopefully address some questions you may have. Welcome to the launch of Preparing for Law School: A Series Providing Tips and Tricks from BC Law Students 

Because the LSAT is, for most, the first step in the application process, we thought it made sense to tackle this topic first. How do you balance school/work and studying? Should you drink coffee the day of the exam even though you’ve never been a coffee drinker? Is it strange that logic games seem fun to you? Well, here’s our take:  

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Is It Too Early To Start Thinking About The Bar?

I love to plan ahead. Predictable structure gives me a sense of peace unachievable even through the best vinyasa practice. But during my first couple years of law school, an important part of why I’m here has been mostly absent from my obsessive planning. For those of us hoping to practice at some point after graduation, we have to pass the bar.

It’s been easy to push thoughts of the notoriously difficult test aside with classes, exams, papers, law review, externships and clinics taking up so much time and mental space. But whether we are consciously aware of it or not, the bar is there, hanging over everything else that we do in law school. Are there things I should have been doing to prepare, even during my 1L year?

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And May It Please The Court…

I’m pleased to host a guest blog from 3L Jenny Moore, one of the winners of last year’s Grimes Moot Court Competition, describing her experience in the competition and on a moot court team.

Around BC Law, the dawn of Spring means the annual Grimes Moot Court Competition is reaching its conclusion: two teams vying to be champion in front of three distinguished judges. Grimes is BC Law’s internal moot court competition. Pairs of 2Ls spend a month writing a brief on a hypothetical appellate dispute, and over a month facing off once a week at oral arguments. Last year, my partner, Brooke Hartley, and I took it all home.

Participating in Grimes was one of my favorite parts of law school. Preparing for argument and arguing in front of the judges was unlike anything I had ever done before. I had always enjoyed public speaking but never felt the nerves beforehand until Grimes. Each week I was incredibly nervous right before my argument, but as soon as I got going and received questions from the judges, my nerves would turn into straight adrenaline. I enjoyed the challenge of being on my toes and trying to answer difficult questions in the most effective way possible to win the argument.

Brooke and I were pretty surprised each week when we would advance, and it was always exciting to see how the next round of judges would put us to the test. The day of the finals was one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life, but it will always be a special memory that we got to argue in front of such a distinguished panel, especially Merrick Garland.

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Exploring the BC Law Environment

When I first started at BC Law as a bright-eyed, fresh-faced 1L, I was enthusiastic, but, honestly, utterly clueless about what I wanted out of law school. While diverse in backgrounds and experiences, it’s a safe assumption that, to some degree, BC Law students are cut from the same cloth. We are ambitious, friendly, and intellectually curious. And while that’s what I loved about our student body from Day 1, admittedly, having so many high achievers in one place can make forging an individual path somewhat challenging.

I waited patiently throughout 1L year, hoping to connect with a certain class or professor that would set me on my path. I struggled to make sense of what my past could mean for my future. As an undergraduate science major with work experience in communications, my interests have always been vast and varied. Without a clear-cut direction, I was determined that during my first months as a law student, I would expand my perspective on what it means to practice law in as many ways as possible. I joined student organizations, attended campus events, and most importantly, I continued to engage in all that I had learned prior to law school.

Finally, in the spring of my 1L year, something clicked.

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Can We Agree to Disagree?

We live in an age in which it seems increasingly difficult for people to agree. From topics like politics and morality, to food and movies, there seems to be constant debating over what is good and right in this world.

So how do we address this growing polarization? How do we respond in everyday interactions with people who have various viewpoints? Those of us in the Christian Legal Society (CLS) at BC Law have been grappling with these questions, and wondering how we can be better classmates, colleagues, and neighbors in the midst of our country’s chaos. We want to learn how to embody a Christianity that is genuine and true to scripture, and distinct from the one that is so often portrayed in the media. We also wanted to invite others on the BC Law campus to explore these questions with us.

So, to learn more and dig deeper, CLS decided to host a discussion entitled “How to Disagree Well in an Age of Ideological Chaos,” which took place on March 27. We invited Kasey Leander and Matthew Mittelberg, two Fellows from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries to come and share their insights. Having studied at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, the primary focus of Kasey and Matthew’s work is to engage in conversations about faith and help others understand God in light of today’s moral, philosophical, and cultural issues.

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Tips for Your First Graded Assignment

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.

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Guess Who is Teaching My Class?

A couple weeks into my 1L year, on my drive into school, I heard a report on public radio about a recent Supreme Judicial Court (the Massachusetts state supreme court) decision. The court had found that black men might have a reason, even if they were not guilty of a crime, to run from the police. Even as a greenhorn law student, I could tell that this sort of decision was radical. When I got to school, I printed the opinion, pushed Torts, Contracts, and CivPro to the side, and raced through it.

Citing to a study conducted by the Boston Police Department, which found that black men are more likely to be stopped and questioned by police officers, and repeatedly so, the court noted that a black male, “when approached by the police, might just as easily be motivated by the desire to avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled as by the desire to hide criminal activity.” This was the outcome I hoped to (but did not often) see in judicial decisions. I looked at the opinion’s author, Justice Geraldine Hines. The first black woman to serve on the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court, she had worked in civil rights and defense before joining the bench. It seemed like the coolest career possible, and controverted the typical image of a judge as a stuffy old white man. Maybe if I was lucky, I thought, one day I would get to meet her.

That day would come sooner than I thought.

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