At BC Law, your education does not only consist of the material you learn in your courses. BC hosts many conferences, functions, presentations, and discussions on just about every subject you can think of, from panels put on by professors addressing recent political actions to all-day events sponsored by BC’s journals and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy. Recently, the Rappaport Center sponsored an all-day conference on criminal justice reform in Massachusetts that was open to both students and practitioners. There were three panels as well as a keynote address by Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
If you are ever looking for a brutally honest opinion of yourself, swallow your pride and ask a five year old.
In the years I spent working with kids at a community non-profit, I had the pleasure of hearing such gems as, “Miss Morgan, your tummy looks like my mommy’s when there’s a baby inside!” and “Did you know you look a lot less pretty when you wear your glasses?” Though some took these remarks seriously, one look at the sweet little faces from which the comments sprang forth never failed to make me laugh out loud. The children who attended these programs, often with the help of scholarships and sliding-scale payment plans, were typically filled with a joy and sense of innocence that made me absolutely love my job. All too often, however, these amusing little observations were juxtaposed with unfettered comments about living situations that revealed just how much these kids had been through in their short lives. I cannot forget the five-year-old who told me she wanted to kill herself because she missed her father so much, or the look of shame in an eleven-year-old’s eyes when his mother arrived to pick him up while high on drugs. I often felt frustrated by my inability to help these kids beyond passing the information along to DCF. I wanted so desperately to be able to advocate for these children in a way that went beyond simply telling someone higher up than me.
I’m pleased to host today’s blog from Kenneth Sanchez ’03 and Dionna F. Shear ’14, the co-chairs of the Los Angeles chapter of the BC Law Alumni Association. Our alumni network is one of the strongest in the country, and I think their post gives you a sense of our alumni’s commitment to each other and to new generations of students.
Life after law school can get very busy, very fast. After three years of law school and the associated neurosis, stress, and countless nights of no sleep, you get to do it all over again. Life as a practicing attorney can be even more stressful when balancing the needs of your clients, meeting minimum billables, and trying to maintain some kind of social life outside of work.
Who has the time to do anything else? Who wants to mingle with other lawyers after spending the entire day dealing with them? What could my law school possibly have to offer me beyond a legal education? The answer to all that is very simple. Alumni should be involved with their alumni association because besides your education, the most valuable thing your law school offers you—and the students who come after you—is a network.
“I think you’re going to see more young people running for office for the first time in these next elections than ran for the first time inspired by President Obama’s success. … In my experience on the presidential stage — a tour that was shorter than I would have hoped — it seemed that anger and fear were the animating emotions of the entire election.
She was only seventeen when she realized she was pregnant. Having grown up in a predominantly white town in Ohio, she knew better than to bear a black man’s child, especially at that age. An adopted child herself, she decided someone else could provide her son a better life than a struggling high school student could. But my mother suddenly changed her mind seconds after holding me; by and large, my life’s greatest blessing. The struggles that would confront her may not have been clear at the moment, but she was willing to sacrifice plenty: forgoing college dreams, working multiple low wage jobs to put food on the table, being shunned by family for the color of her child’s skin, and most of all, being forced to do so alone. It was the nights that I awoke to her muffled sobs, seeing her still dressed in dirty waitressing clothes, that impacted me the most. I learned early on in life that the cards may not always be in your favor and that some people have to work harder to succeed. Yet by witnessing her struggle, I ultimately learned the value of resiliency and hard work. My mother’s perseverance instilled an insatiable hunger and an unrelenting drive, which ultimately would guide me through life. Continue reading
My first year of law school was hard for a number of reasons. I commuted from the North Shore everyday to avoid the debacle of finding an apartment, but this meant a ninety minute trip to school and back every day. To make my 9 am Torts class in the Fall, I would take the commuter rail into the city, and then an hourlong Green Line train ride to Cleveland Circle, where I would either pick up the shuttle or bum a ride from a fellow student heading to campus (thank you Colleen, and thank you Karla, you two saved me).
Imposter syndrome compounded my anxiety and I went from being someone who was hard on herself to someone who was impossible with herself. I was convinced that I wasn’t good enough, that I would fail my finals, and that graduating (or even making it to 2L year) wasn’t a given. I spent most of the year walking the ever-thinning tightrope of telling myself I deserved to be at BC, while not getting so confident that I would slip up and lose focus.
Then my dog died.
Hi everyone and happy summer! I am very pleased to be able to host a guest blog today from the BC Law Alumni Board member Ingrid Schroffner, Assistant General Counsel at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
I am passionate about—and feel fortunate to be able to work on—diversity and unconscious bias issues at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). My cross-cultural upbringing and my experience as an Asian-American lawyer contribute to my interest in this area.
My maternal grandfather immigrated from Okinawa to Hawaii in the first part of the 20th century to work in the sugarcane fields. I attended Japanese school when I was a child, and my household was filled with Japanese culture.
I also have a cross-cultural, East-West perspective. My father is a first-generation immigrant from Salzburg, Austria. I learned German from my father (and later, in school) and spent a summer living and working in Austria with my relatives. None of my grandparents spoke English. These two diverse heritages comprise my background.
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).
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
Hi everyone! I have the pleasure of hosting a guest blog from Jovalin Dedaj, BC Law ’16. Jovalin and Cristina Manzano, BC Law ’16, recently argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As a law student, I knew that my legal education would involve reading cases, outlining cases, and studying cases. I certainly did not know (nor did I expect) that as a BC law student, my legal education would also involve arguing a case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
When Professor Kari Hong joined the BC faculty in 2012, she brought with her an extensive background in immigration law and appellate work. One of her first initiatives at the law school was setting up the Ninth Circuit Appellate Project (NCAP), a clinic devoted to representing indigent clients in the Ninth Circuit who face immigration consequences for various criminal convictions. I first heard about the clinic as a first-year law student and remember thinking to myself what an intimidating experience it would be to argue a case before a U.S. circuit court of appeals without even having graduated law school! Two years later, the feeling certainly returned the morning of our oral arguments.
What do I do now?
It was the fall of 2000. Tom Ridge, who was Governor of Pennsylvania at the time, appointed me as a Court of Common Pleas Judge (the top level trial court in Pennsylvania), and I was confirmed by the State Senate. I was about to preside over many trials. What should my next step be—and what about hiring for that all-important position of law clerk?
As the president of the BC Law Alumni Association’s Philadelphia-Area chapter, I thought it would be great to have a BC law graduate serve as my clerk. Given the distance from Philadelphia to Boston, I didn’t know if that would be possible. I contacted the Director of Career Services, who was thrilled that I had reached out. She knew a recent alumnus who wanted to practice in Philadelphia. Before I knew it, I was interviewing Gabriel. He was impressive, so I hired him.