The Four Best “Good News” Stories You Need Right Now

1. In twist of fate, Dallas Community Serves 1L Connie Lee’s Family Restaurant

First-year student Connie Lee’s parents run a restaurant where she grew up in Dallas, Texas. “When our state began requiring restaurants to only do take-out or delivery, and issuing stay-at-home orders, my family feared what would happen these next few weeks,” Lee said.

In addition to physically endangering essential workers and their families, COVID-19 financially strains restaurants like the Lee’s and other small businesses with each passing day.

“My family has had the restaurant for 21 years now, and most of our customers have been there since day one,” Lee said. In recent weeks, instead of serving the surrounding community as it normally would, the restaurant and the Lee family has found the community serving them.

“Multiple people called my dad and gave him a pep talk for the first few days to not give up and let him know that he would get through this. A few people had sent us a greeting card with some donations gathered by neighbors,” Lee said.

Acts of kindness and selflessness like this sharply contrast the day-to-day drone of dark news and whirlwind of public health and financial variability. Lee says that expressing gratitude and looking forward to the return to relative normalcy is her focus for now: “I really don’t know what to say but thank you to them, and eventually to give everyone a hug once we are able to meet again. It’s really amazing to see how connected we can feel even in a time of distance and uncertainty.”

2. Alum Paul Trifiletti ’10 Negotiates 5-Day Jeopardy! Run

Athens, Georgia-based attorney becomes five-day champion, wins over $100,000

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Paul Trifiletti’s success playing alongside syndicated Jeopardy! broadcasts encouraged him to try out for the real thing.

Trifiletti passed online qualifying rounds, an in-person audition, and an additional test before Sony Pictures Studios in California called, offering him a shot.

An Assistant District Attorney with the Piedmont Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, Trifiletti fought hard from start to finish. Down $1,400 heading into Final Jeopardy in his first game, Trifiletti correctly answered the ’20th Century Artists’ category to pass the leader and collect $21,000 as the new champion.

Perhaps the most notable moment came when a question drew on Trifiletti’s recollections of 1776 Philadelphia, this time beyond the world of Constitutional law. To a question asking for the nickname of Philadelphia 76’er Joel Embiid that “describes the 76’ers strategy of improving the team,” Trifiletti answered “Do a 180.’” In response, Embiid, known as “The Process,” changed his Twitter handle from “Joel ‘The Process’ Embiid” to “Joel ‘Do a 180’ Embiid???.” He has not changed it back.

Trifiletti finished his five-day run with $106,801. According to Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions Tracker, he is poised to return for the program’s 15-player tournament of the season’s top champions.

Back in Athens, a young boy approached Trifiletti upon recognizing him from the show. The Athens Banner-Herald reports that Trifiletti told him to keep studying hard in school and that one day he, too, could be on the show.

“I encourage people who want to try to take the test,” Trifiletti said. “You could end up like me, end up getting on the show, end up winning five games. You never know.”

3. Professor Chirba Invokes Krazinski, Hamilton in Pedagogical Pep Talk

Newton hometown hero John Krazinski and the cast of Hamilton brought Professor Mary Ann Chirba’s Law Practice II class “full circle.”

At the beginning of the year, nearly every student in Professor Mary Ann Chirba’s Law Practice class was completely unfamiliar with legal research, analysis, and writing. BC Law’s flagship first-year Law Practice program introduces students to the work of a lawyer through legal problem solving in a simulated law practice setting. To set the stage, Professor Chirba showed students the clip of Lin-Manuel Miranda singing the opening song from Hamilton for the first time in public. She emphasized Miranda’s masterful display of linguistic precision, cogent argument, and word economy.

Off-broadway workshops were years away for Hamilton at that point, not to mention the popular adoration and critical acclaim it continues to enjoy. Similarly distant yet attainable, Professor Chirba explained to her students, was the endgame of the Law Practice journey: becoming efficient and effective legal practitioners.

“That was then, this is now,” Professor Chirba wrote in an email to her Law Practice class earlier this month, linking to the Hamilton cast’s surprise appearance on John Krazinski’s mini-series, Some Good News. “You are working on your final memos and need to focus on precision, concision, and TONS of large and small choices” regarding the content, phrasing, sequence, emphasis, and cohesion of the final product. Parting with words of encouragement relevant not only to her class but to anyone grasping for a ray of inspiration, Professor Chriba wrote of the clip:

“It will remind you that people are good, your future is bright, and you cannot throw away your…”

4. Multigenerational Teaching, Learning Offer Lessons in Law and Levity

To give his first-year Constitutional Law students a needed boost on April Fool’s Day, Professor Daniel Farbman turned to uncommon teaching assistants.

Professor Farbman posted two “administrative” videos on the course website, titled “Class Mechanics Update Video” and “Grading Policy Update Video.” He then instructed the class to watch them in preparation for a discussion to follow.

It turns out that they were videos of his two adorable children — one giving a lecture on her bouncy ball and another reading The Pigeon Needs a Bath.

“I was having a tough week, but these videos cheered me up!” said 1L Yeram Choi.

Earlier this month, Professor Ingrid Hillinger’s Bankruptcy class unexpectedly became a continuing legal education session.

A student revealed that her father, a bankruptcy attorney at a major national firm, tuned into the virtual class to brush up on his doctrinal footing, and he said he loved the experience.

Boston College Law faculty and staff’s extra efforts to keep student learning on track with some levity along the way have made the past few weeks brighter.


Ryan Kenney is a first-year student and loves to hear from readers. Email him at ryan.kenney@bc.edu.

I Miss BC, but Mostly the Free Coffee Served During Finals

Studying for final exams in law school is stressful. The stakes are high, the hours are long, and the despair can…fester. I was generally aware of the pressure built into a grading system centered around distributive bell curves when I enrolled, but in my first week at Boston College the reality set in. Something terrible happened: I met my peers, and they were every kind of smart, impressive and terrifying. They were students coming from across the country and around the world, some from THOSE big name schools and others with remarkable professional experience. 

Naturally I compared them to myself, the dumbest person I know. That was a bad move for my self-confidence, but sometimes you just have to keep moving forward. So, that’s what I did heading into finals season. 

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10 Ideas to Help You Survive Quarantine

As soon as I heard rumors about states issuing stay-at-home orders, I jumped in my car and headed home to the DC area. On March 30, Governor Northam of Virginia issued an order mandating that people only leave their homes for food, medical care, and exercise until June 10.

The thought of spending over two more months in quarantine made me realize that I need to create a list of things to do while stuck at home. So, I’m sharing my ideas with you, Impact readers:

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Hate Law School? Try BC Law

In a recent article by the National Jurist titled “Hate Law School? You’re Not Alone,” a law school graduate delved into tips to avoid the abhorrence many feel for their programs. Citing the grading system, the unequal level of opportunity, and law students themselves, the author argued that few people actually like law school. She offered up some tips to help students who are feeling discouraged, even recommending that if all else fails and if they really hate it that much, students should drop out and save their money.

Reading this article, I couldn’t help but think of another solution—come to BC Law instead.

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day With BC Law

Happy Valentine’s Day! Beyond the brightly colored candies and vivid decor hung in honor of the holiday, Valentine’s Day is all about showing your love for the people and things that mean the most to you. We decided to ask around about what students and faculty love most about BC Law. I’ve shared their responses below, and we’ll keep adding to this during the day. BC Law students, faculty and staff: share your own photos on social media with the hashtag #loveBCLaw!
Courtney Ruggeri with friends

I love BC Law because of the friends I’ve met and the memories we’ve made—both inside and outside the classroom. -Courtney Ruggeri ’21

Magazine editor Vicki Sanders

I love BC Law Magazine. Stories about our wonderful students, faculty, alumni and community—what’s not to love? -Vicki Sanders

LLM students

I love to see LLM students from all over the world, becoming friends thanks to BC Law! -Susan Simone Kang
Pictured: Fangzheng Li and Jiaying Chen, China, Cristina Ullrich, Germany, Milena Cuadra, Costa Rica, Ankita Rath, India and Nadia Bouquet, France.

My favorite thing about BC Law is studying on the fourth floor of the library. It is very sunny and gets me through the long hours of assigned reading. -Ross Budryk ’22

What I love most about BC Law is how pretty campus is in the winter. Coming from Miami, I still get excited when I see the snow! -Stephen Millan ’22

BC has a special place in my heart since I am a Double Eagle. Spending so many years here has given me a heightened appreciation for the Law School and the community. -Jessica Loiacono ’22

I love my Criminal Law class this semester. It is entertaining and suits my interests well. -Charles Enberg ’22

I love Legal Grounds coffee shop. Stopping by for a soda, coffee, or snack is the perfect midday pick-me-up. -Maxwell Black ’22

This is a little odd, but one of the things I love most about BC Law is the lockers in the basement. After class everyone heads to the lockers to switch out their books and we all chat about class and life. -Devon Sanders ’22

Weirdly enough, my favorite thing about BC Law is the East Wing. Last semester our section had all of our classes there, so now it just feels like home! – Rekha Korlipara ’22

I love the architecture of campus. BC Law is truly the Hogwarts of law schools! – Athanasia Kouskoulas ‘22

The friendships I have made is are what I love most about BC Law. —Becky Powell ’22

My favorite thing about BC Law is that professors are always friendly and welcoming – my favorite is seeing Professor Bloom roam around on the 4th floor of the library, stopping by our tables to say hi! -Selin Altintas ’22

Law Admissions Team after releasing 300 decisions #loveBCLaw #IamBCLaw #guesswholovesyoumore #watchout2023

I love that BC Law has given me the opportunity to live abroad and make even more new friends in my 3L year. The Dublin Semester in Practice has allowed me to immerse myself in a new culture while doing a deep dive into Irish immigration law. I could not think of a better way to finish the best three years! -Audrey McQuade (Pictured in the photo (in Dublin!) from left to right: Audrey McQuade, 2020 Nicole Chelkowski, 2021 Madeleine Gearan, 2020)

I love that the students enjoyed Harvest Desserts, aka Pie Day! – Theresa Kachmar

I’m sure I’m not alone in loving Dorothy Commons in our Career Services Office! -Heather Hayes

What I love about BC Law: one of my favorite people in the world, Pat Parlon! -Dean Rougeau

My BC Bucket List

“Wow, this is it,” I thought to myself as I stepped into the Law School for the first time since winter break. “My last semester as a student.”  It’s true: I’m nearing the end of peaceful early morning library sessions, cold call induced anxiety, nights out with ambitious peers, and possibly the end of my time in Boston.

I’m looking forward to a new chapter of personal growth as a “real” adult, but before I move on I want to make the most of my remaining moments at BC Law.  With this in mind, I put together a bucket list for my race to the finish line.

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A Brand New Year, a Brand New Me: Resolutions for Law Students

Winter break is a blur in law school. Finals followed immediately by the holidays, and before you know it, you’re back at the bookstore buying books for the spring semester.

Especially during that first year – when your life virtually revolves around school – there is so little “me time” left to recharge and reflect on personal/professional goals for the New Year.

Melbourne.jpg

My resolution for 2020 is passing the bar exam on my first try. I am going to pretend that spotting a family of black swans brings good luck (because I need lots of it).

“Getting better grades” may be an obvious goal for 1L spring, but you only have so much control over that curve!

What would be some other solid “law school resolutions” for 2020? Here are a few personal goals my peers are focusing on this semester:

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What’s the Deal with Those Sleep Pods?

Nearly every time I’ve ever slept in my 22 years on this Earth, it has not been in a law school library. Enter: an email from the BC Law Library staff titled “The Sleep Pods have arrived!”

There are now sleep pods installed on the third floor of the library, a response to requests for a place to nap or zone out in order to refresh from our standard day-to-day cycle of reading cases, going to class, studying, outlining, and grubbing for the next opportunity to get free food.

We stay busy here at BC, and sure, sometimes we treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. But then, sleeping doesn’t earn you any Lexis Points.

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Food that Reminds Us of Home–and Where You Get It

In honor of Thanksgiving, we offer our readers a few recommendations for that “home-cooked meal” feeling… 

Everyone has a dish that reminds them of home.

Whether it’s that main course from your favorite local restaurant, the dessert that only your mom can make, or even the dish your state is known for, these dishes have a special place in our hearts—and in our stomachs. They serve as a bridge from our families and friends and our childhoods, to who we are now.

As we enter the chaos that is finals season, that connection has proven to be even more important to me. I found myself yearning for a moment of simplicity, a reminder of the “good ole days” back in Texas where my concerns had nothing to do with outlines or bluebooks. So I did some research and happened upon Blue Ribbon Barbeque in West Newton.

As any Texan will tell you, we take barbeque very seriously. I was originally skeptical of the glowing reviews—one promised Blue Ribbon’s barbeque was the best they had ever eaten, even compared to what you get in the South. However, as I approached the restaurant, a familiar scent began to permeate around me, one of smoky barbeque and sweet cornbread. Yum. I ordered some classic barbeque and sides and took the next hour to savor every bite. I was immediately transported back to my childhood, feeling thousands of miles away from West Newton.

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Bar Review: Frolic or Detour

There is a legal doctrine from tort law, delightfully called “frolic and detour.” Frolic and detour sets certain limits to when an employer can be held liable for an employee’s conduct. Imagine you’re a FedEx driver out on your route when you pull into a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot to grab a coffee and you accidentally hit someone’s car. The coffee run was a reasonable bit of self-care, something most employers should expect their perennially sleep-deprived workers to do. And it was a quick and slight divergence from your work-prescribed route. So the odds are that the courts would see it as just a detour and FedEx will still be liable for the accident. But what if you take a break and head south out of Boston until you get to your favorite coffee shop in Panama City? In the eyes of the law, you’re on a frolic and FedEx is off the hook if you get into a fender bender on your way through Mexico.

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