Over winter break I watched The Pianist. As the film opens, the main character is playing live on the radio in 1939—just as Warsaw is being bombed by Germany. With the bombs falling, the pianist rushes home. His family is Jewish, and his sister is a young lawyer.
The bombing continues for days. The family is relieved when France and Britain announce that they have declared war on Germany, but no nation comes to their rescue, and before long Warsaw is under the umbrella of one ideology. The pianist and his family, who are forced to wear blue Star of David armbands and are not allowed to work, eventually are relocated to a Warsaw ghetto. The pianist is separated from his family by a friend serving in the Jewish Ghetto Police. It is a heartbreaking moment as the rest of the family—including the pianist’s sister—are shoved into a cargo train and sent to their certain deaths.
That scene and the sister’s character arc have haunted me this entire semester. Although the movie is primarily focused on the pianist, I wanted to know more about her, what she was thinking—as an attorney, she must have agonized over the supposed legal justifications as the Jewish population lost their jobs, then their homes, until finally they were transported to the Treblinka extermination camp. What I found so frightening (and chilling) about the sister is that despite being a lawyer, she was unable to protect her family. Under the circumstances, what could she have done?
Everything was moving so fast. In a time of war, Poland’s civil society and its institutions were collapsing. The moment was bigger than one person, one attorney, or one Jewish woman.
But it still haunts me. And I have not been able to shake that feeling.
It’s almost here: the first seat deposit deadline.
Has anything ever felt so surreal? Have you ever felt less prepared? Have you ever questioned yourself or your choices more?
I get it. I really do. And it was that sentiment that drove me to try to help make this process as simple as possible for you.
I’m very pleased to host a guest blog today from 2L Vaishali Goyal. Vaishali has been a staff writer for the Law Review and served as President of the American Constitution Society. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Like many, I decided to attend BC Law for the community. But it was not just the student community I came for; I came to BC Law because of what BC did for me and for my family during my senior year of college.
Senior year, right after spring break, I had an unexpected and life threatening brain bleed. I was in the hospital for a month and a half.
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.
The BC Law Student Ambassadors program launched last year. It is designed to enhance the on-campus experience for every prospective student who visits BC Law. The Ambassadors lead campus tours, help out at Admitted Students Day, and serve as a resource for applicants and admitted students who are considering enrolling at BC Law.
I’ll be profiling the dozen or so new Ambassadors during the next few months. Here are the first two! You can read through our archives to see previous profiles. If you are a prospective student and notice something about any of our Ambassadors that you’d like to discuss with him or her – whether it’s a shared alma mater, an interesting extracurricular, or an appealing summer job – do not hesitate to reach out. After all, that’s what we’re here for!
Name: Hanna Lipman
Undergraduate institution: Tulane
Experiences between college and law school: Worked in luxury fashion marketing in Dallas, CSR marketing in NYC, at Equinox in NYC, and helped open an Orangetheory in Brooklyn.
Even though I was not able to attend the Women’s March in D.C., I’ve been able to live vicariously through the experiences of several classmates, like my friend Molly McGrath. Molly is a 2L at Boston College Law School and originally from western New York. At BC, she is involved in LAMBDA and the Environmental Affairs Law Review. Although she doesn’t know exactly where her legal career will take her, she is grateful to attend an institution like BC Law and use its resources to navigate a rapidly changing legal and political climate.
A classmate and I sat in a law library study room several days after the election. We’d originally reserved the room to cram for our Admin Law final, but found ourselves brainstorming ways to act with more intention and become more politically involved. My friend agreed to stop buying clothes online from retailers with supply chains reaching deep into the third world. I decided to schedule more time to read about the origins of the social justice movement. We both agreed to attend the Women’s March on Washington.
It’s the second week of the semester and, more importantly, the week of the first Bar Review. It is conveniently, if confusingly, named “Bar Review” so that it sounds like you may be spending your Thursday evening studying for the Bar. Thankfully, it is really a night that the BC Law community takes over a local bar.
Bar Review is the perfect time to take a break and talk to some of your friends about something other than class. Unlike school-sponsored events in college that may have been sparsely attended, Bar Review is very well attended at BC Law.
Bar Review at Tavern in the Square 1L Year (2014)
Take a few minutes to watch the following video profiling Professor Ingrid Hillinger, who is one of BC Law’s most respected professors . She is known for her demanding but rewarding teaching style and her tireless devotion to members of the BC Law community. One of her students told me she has, at times, sent emails in the wee hours of the morning, and that she is rumored to be the one who unlocks the school in the mornings.
Her reputation isn’t restricted to our campus, either—she was named one of the “26 best law teachers in the country” in the book What the Best Law Teachers Do (Schwartz, 2013). See a BC Law Magazine article here about what makes her so good.
I have not had the privilege of taking a class with Professor Hillinger, so I turned to two of my classmates for their perspectives:
My recent trip with friends to Germany illustrates a larger truth about our BC Law community and the bonds we form here. The experience reinforced how a friendship born in law school can transcend the BC Law bubble—and reminded me of the importance of expanding our hearts and minds and getting away from the stress of studying for a while.
Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany offers an exchange program in International and Comparative Business Law to students all over the world. BC Law usually sends at least one student to the program. This year that student is Stephanie Ragland. She is a double eagle (she went to BC for undergrad as well). She is also a close friend of mine.