During my spring break 1L year I spent an amazing week in Miami with four of my classmates. When you hear spring break and Miami in the same sentence your mind might jump to Ultra or Miami Beach, but we were actually in Miami to spend the week working at VIDA (http://www.vidalaw.org), a legal assistance center which primarily aids immigrant women and families who have lived through domestic abuse.
My fellow volunteers pose after our everglades tour.
Every spring BC Law send a number of 1L student groups to do volunteer legal work around the country. My 1L year students traveled to Arizona, Denver, New York, New Orleans, and Navajo Nation. These trips are a tradition at BC Law, and are completely student run, with 2L alumni of the trips assisting 1Ls to plan and fundraise.
As future law students, I’m sure you’ve all heard the rumors and stereotypes about law schools. They run the gamut — from the terrifying and incorrect (“EVERYONE IS SO COMPETITIVE AND NO ONE IS FRIENDLY AND IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO GET AN A YOUR FIRST YEAR”), to the hilariously accurate (“Law school is high school for adults”), to the tongue-in-cheek (see, for example, Thought Catalog’s take on the 19 People You Meet in Law School). But the stereotype that most stuck out to and worried me as a prospective student was what I’d like to call the Myth of the Library Lockdown. That is, by heading off to law school, you are essentially signing yourself up for three years of good ol’ book learning, tied to a library carrel, buried under 200 pounds of Supreme Court opinions and study aids.
Don’t get me wrong. As a former English major, I can get down with the heavy reading. Chaucer, Shakespeare, and I used to be great pals; I can handle my fair share of tiny print. But that’s not why I wanted to come to law school. I taught for three years after college, came to law school with a really specific focus, and knew I wanted to get right to making an impact in real people’s lives. I was really nervous that law school was going to feel like a fruitless and frustrating gesture, a means to an end I had to just get through in order to do the work I am passionate about. But that’s because I didn’t know about clinics.
“No single event can awaken within us a stranger whose existence we had never suspected. To live is to be slowly born.” — Antoine de Saint Exupéry
It started with an itch. From the tips of my toes, up the small of my back; it danced on my shoulders before taking root in my heart. And there it stayed, impatiently waiting. I can still remember that day, sitting at the office: apartment lettings and advertisements on my left screen, the name of a UK partner of my firm on the right.
The caret cursor bounced tauntingly in the message box, his address already entered into the appropriate field. To this day I’m not sure where I muddled up the gall. Minutes later I realized I’d sent him a meeting request. Two days later I applied to BC Law’s Global Practice Program. A week later I was suddenly booked on a January flight from JFK to London, Heathrow. I was headed abroad, once more…
Many of you are just beginning your law school journey. Be it as prospective or admitted students; you’ve begun a search, a quest of sorts. It is my sincere hope that these posts might demonstrate to each of you that choosing BC Law as your guide through that journey is not simply a wise choice, but the best choice.