Sometimes We Have To Miss Class

BC Law professor Mike Cassidy shared the note below that he received from a student. “I ask students in Evidence to inform me in advance if they need to miss a class,” Professor Cassidy wrote. “I do this so that I can keep an eye on students who may be experiencing problems or simply falling behind. I received this email on Wednesday evening October 30, 2018. It was one of the most compelling and engaging excuses for missing class that I have received in 22 years of teaching.

“I sincerely hope that Ben becomes a litigator after graduation. He clearly has the skills of an advocate.”

We at Impact thought it was a shame that such an eloquently written plea wasn’t shared with the world–and so, with Professor Cassidy’s and Ben’s permission, we are posting it here:

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Lest We Forget: A Trip to Ellis Island

This year Boston College gifted its students and faculty an extra day of reprieve on Columbus Day weekend, creating a new, four-day “fall break.” I took advantage of the extra time by heading down to visit my father in New York City, where we decided to spend a morning visiting Ellis Island and the immigration museum there. We set out with high hopes that were, unfortunately, chastened by missed opportunities.

Stepping off the boat at Ellis Island, you walk up to the main building that houses the exhibits and the only one that the standard ticket gets you into. The museum opens with a walk through the nation’s immigration history, beginning before Jamestown and stretching to the 1890s, when Ellis Island opened. The Trail of Tears, the Slave Trade, the mix of cultures that produced the likes of Jazz are all addressed. The history is deep and serves as a proper warm up to the story of the island itself, but, as my father pointed out, they might as well just hand you a book when you step off the boat. Displaying few artifacts, the exhibit doesn’t engage its visitors. You mostly step precariously around others, trying to stay out of their line of sight. I found myself gazing at the floor, which is a beautiful white tile, and wondering if it is original (it is).

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A Necessary Look at Mental Health in Law School

This is the second in a series of posts drawing attention to Law Student Mental Health Day. You can read our first post here. If you want to share your story with us about feeling out of place, send a few lines to bclawimpact@bc.edu, or use the social media hashtag #fittingin.

It can be unbelievably daunting to ask for help. An environment where competition is paramount and the drive for success is all-encompassing makes help-seeking seem risky and shameful. Fear often paralyzes and dissuades so that many individuals don’t pursue help they need.

I was fearful my 1L year. I was fearful of imperfection and failure. I was fearful that admission of my difficulties would make them more real, would show that I was weak, and would indicate that I could not succeed in school or in my chosen career.

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Out of Place? You’re Not Alone

Today is the annual Law Student Mental Health Day. The Law Students Association (BC Law’s student government) is hosting several events throughout the day through their Student Wellness Committee. Also, in recognition of the tough times that most of us will experience over the course of our three years here, we asked some of our bloggers to share times when they felt out of place, and how they reacted. If you want to share your story about feeling out of place with us, send a few lines to bclawimpact@bc.edu, or use the social media hashtag #fittingin.

Brett

Where to begin? Parties where the music is so loud that conversation is impossible and I end up standing awkwardly against a wall. Repping purple at the recent Holy Cross – BC football game as my alma mater lost to my new law school 62-14. The first four months of undergrad, going from a small public high school in a blue-collar town to a college where the Vineyard Vines whale was practically the mascot and the parking lot looked like an Audi dealership. My lack of a social life in those early days meant I had time to read USA Today and the New York Times cover-to-cover every day. I was quite well-informed.

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A Day in the Life of a 1L

What is it like to be a 1L at BC Law? First-year law student Maria Maier leads us through a day in the life.

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Atticus Finch advises his daughter, Scout. (x)

7:00 AM: “Good Morning Sunshine” plays on your phone, welcoming you to the start of a new day. Resisting the urge to hit the snooze button, you hop out of bed. Here’s your first challenge this morning: can you brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack your bag, and get to the campus shuttle in less than 40 minutes? You’re a first-year law student at Boston College Law School, and you’re sure going to try.

7:40 AM: You reach the closest shuttle stop, only 3 minutes before the bus to Newton Campus arrives.

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3 of My Favorite Places in Boston to Get Books (not the law ones)

Contrary to popular belief, you can make a decent amount of time to pleasure read in law school. During 1L, a stereotypically time-crunched period, I saw my reading productivity sky rocket. It was a way to reclaim some sort of agency over the knowledge I was consuming. In the beginning of the first semester I read two of Woodward’s Nixon books (All the President’s Men, which left me yearning to know the ending, told in The Final Days), and over the course of winter I finished a trilogy of sorts that addresses the white, conservative discomfit with America’s direction (White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, which offers a macro, historical perspective, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, which takes a more personal look at Louisiana in particular, and, of course, Hillbilly Elegy, micro, personal perspective).

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Top 10 Things You Should Know Before Starting Your 1L Semester

1-Take Advice with a Grain of Salt

First-year law students love looking for advice and seasoned law students love giving it. It reminds us that we are no longer the new kids on the block and it makes us feel better about our overzealous course loads, far too many extracurriculars, and that interview we did two weeks ago that we’re still obsessing over. You want some advice, we’ve got it! The catch; that advice may not always be right for you.

Now, before you decide to purchase a garlic necklace to repel your friendly 2L and 3L mentors, hear me out. I am not saying the advice you get will be bad. We’ve all gone through 1L, most of us have passed all of our subjects, a few select unicorns have gotten A’s on those subjects, and most of us really do know what we’re doing. You should hear us out and try some of the study tips we give you–just make sure not to double down on them if they aren’t working. When a 2L approaches you and says, “this is the best way to study,” what they are really saying is “this is how I studied, and I did well, so it must be the best way.” Insert biggest eye roll here!

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What Are We Up To This Summer?

Exams are wrapping up, we’re finishing those last spot checks of final papers, and most importantly, getting ready for our summer jobs. Here’s what some of the Impact bloggers are up to this summer.

Brianna: I will be working this summer at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) in Washington, D.C. PEER is a national nonprofit that fills the unique niche of serving the public employees who protect our environment. PEER works with government agency employees to address environmental wrongs while protecting their identities and also provides free legal help for those who suffer retaliation from their supervisors after blowing the whistle themselves. PEER advocates for strong scientific integrity policies and procedures and has an array of ongoing policy and public education campaigns. As a Legal Intern, I will assist the Senior Counsel, Executive Director, Staff Attorney, and Field Directors in litigation, working on tasks that could range from complaint drafting to discovery to settlement negotiations or trial prep. PEER’s cases often involve federal legislation such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the Freedom of Information Act. I will also conduct initial intake interviews with public employees who contact PEER and legal research to explore any potential environmental law and ethics violations that these callers raise.

Marcus: This summer I’m going to be at Ropes & Gray, a stronghold law firm, splitting my time between their Boston and NYC offices. I’ll be doing corporate work, rotating between their various corporate departments.

Christina: I will be doing a judicial internship at Riverhead Justice Court on Long Island, New York, for Judge Allen Smith.

Erika: I am interning at Hurwitz, Richard & Sencabaugh LLP this summer. They are a small firm that does some licensing and business law. I’ll be doing research and perfecting my memo writing.

Jae: I am joining the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force as a summer legal intern. The Strike Force (a division of the Office’s Energy and Environment Bureau) investigates/prosecutes polluters that harm or pose a significant threat to the state’s environment, natural resources, or the health and safety of the public. I came to law school to study environmental law, and could not be happier.

Jorge: This summer I’ll be working as a Legal Intern at TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best prices. The sites operate in 47 countries worldwide, reaching 350 million unique monthly visitors and 290 million reviews and opinions covering more than 5.3 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The in-house team handles a majority of TripAdvisor’s legal matters including: Contracts, SEC Reporting, Compliance, Corporate Governance, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Mergers and Acquisitions, Employment Law and International Matters. As a legal intern, I will be assigned projects across these diverse legal areas to maximize my exposure. This business setting provides a unique outlook on the implications of the law because, in a sense, we are the client.

Alex: This summer I’ll be at the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, LA, working on death penalty appeals. CAP is a non-profit contracted by the state of Louisiana to handle all indigent death penalty appellate cases. I’m excited to be in a new (albeit humid) city and to explore the South on weekends.

The Dreaded Curve

The strength of my urges to go for a run, take a nap, and drink wine indicate that I feel the stress of finals. Like every law student, I have always lusted for academic success, but the stress associated with law school finals is different than the other exams and competitions I have experienced. Since most law school courses are graded on a curve, I am uncomfortable estimating how I will perform on exams.

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The Admitted Students Guidebook, Vol. 3

The application process is quickly coming to a close—you’ve already taken the LSAT, visited some schools, and put your first seat deposit down (woooo!). You’ve made a huge decision in choosing the right school for you, but now you face another challenge of navigating this new arena.

Questions popped up for me like, “What do I need to do before classes start?” and “Where is the best place to live?”  and “Do I need a car to get around?” It is undeniably an overwhelming process, but BC Law is here to help!

A couple of years ago, the Law Student Association partnered with BC Law’s Admissions Office to produce the Admitted Students Guidebook, which is meant to help answer all the questions you may have about BC Law.

We’ve just updated the guidebook for the Class of 2021! So without further ado, here it is: Volume 3 of the Admitted Students Guidebook