A Call for Compassion and Understanding

Today, I am hosting a guest blog post by Robert Lydon, a first-year student at BC Law.

I cannot describe the relief I felt when I received the Dean’s email about the grading policy change. Relief because I would not have to choose between my family, my health, and my academic career. Relief because I now have the flexibility to be there for those who need me. 

I am just one of the students the administration probably had in mind when they rendered this decision. As of last week, I’ve learned that my brother, father, and brother-in-law are now unemployed after construction was shut down in Boston. They are all concerned about how they are going to pay their bills. My mother is a disabled two-time cancer survivor, and I cannot express how dangerous this illness could be for her. Despite this, she continues to help care for my grandmother, who is recovering from a recent hip fracture and is also extremely vulnerable. I live at home with my parents and am worried about their health, economic well-being, and housing security. I am far from the only one in our community affected, nor am I the most adversely affected by this global upheaval.

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We Are Human Beings First And Law Students Second

Editor’s note: due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Boston College has moved all classes online and sent students home for the semester. The BC Law Impact blog has suspended its normal posting schedule, and bloggers are now focused on writing about the impact of the shutdown and the current state of the world on their academic and social experiences as law students. We are all in this together; let’s find our way through together.

I am a law student who, like everyone else at BC Law (and literally everywhere else on Earth), wishes this wasn’t happening.

I am a student attorney trying to figure out how to help my clients, since the courts have all but shut down.

I am a millennial who has grown up in endless war, and I probably have a lot of residual trauma from multiple mass shootings in my community.

I am a teacher whose first grade Hebrew students are going stir-crazy in their homes while I try to teach them on Zoom.

I am a daughter of parents whose small business has been shuttered in this crisis.

I am a sister worrying about my siblings who are suddenly out of work without a safety net to fall back on.

I am a partner of a full-time graduate student, who is also doing his learning and his part-time teaching jobs from our apartment.

But before all of those things, I am a human being living in a community that is being tested like never before, in ways large and small.

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Why the Pass/Fail Policy Matters

I’ll be honest. When I first read the email about the pass/fail policy this semester, I was upset. I have been working really hard this semester to boost my GPA, and I was looking forward to the chance to improve my performance during finals. I’ve been pretty anxious about this whole COVID-19 situation, and I felt like this was not the news I wanted to hear.

And then I took a deep breath and counted my blessings. After putting everything into perspective, I realized how much this pass/fail policy might mean to someone who is facing more difficulties than me right now. Throughout my time at law school, I have gotten involved in various diversity initiatives because I’m a woman of color and I know this puts me at a systemic disadvantage. I fight for these causes because they personally affect me. If I am so quick to stand up for causes that personally affect me, I should also be as committed to standing up even when my own interests might not be at stake.

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Moving Beyond 1L Grades: Words of Wisdom

I think we can all relate to the feeling you get when you walk out of a final thinking you nailed it, only to find out a few weeks later that your grade was not nearly what you expected. When this happens as a 1L, however, I think the stress is even worse. All you have heard about for the months leading up to finals is that only your first-year grades matter and if you fall outside of a firm’s cutoff, you have a very big uphill battle ahead of you.

Well, even if this happened to you, your fellow 2Ls and 3Ls are here to tell you that you don’t need to beat yourself up, it will all work out, and it’s now time to move on with your second semester. Below are their words of wisdom:

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Preparing for OCI (Part 2 of 3): Interviewing 101

Editor’s Note: Cara Fonseca is a rising 3L and the incoming Co-Chair of the LSA Career Mentoring Committee, which organizes the 1L Boot Camp Career Prep Series each year. For the second in our series of three posts geared to help rising 2Ls prepare for the on-campus interview process, Cara was kind enough to contribute as a guest blogger. The topic of this post is straightforward – how to interview with law firms as well as you possibly can during OCI and callbacks.

By now, a significant number of you probably have three little letters buzzing around in your head: OCI. You have worked hard all year, made it through two aggressive rounds of final exams, and now it’s summer.  You are probably working somewhere awesome, but you also know there are other new and exciting opportunities on the horizon, especially if you are interested in working for a large firm. You have also probably heard through the grapevine that working at a firm offers the opportunity to get unbelievable training and experience, not to mention to work with awesome clients on fascinating cases. (Totally true!) Ok, so OCI is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, and you’ve decided how you want to bid and sent in (or are about to send in) your resumes and writing samples. So you’re ready for interviews, right?!?!

If you’re anything like I was as a rising 2L, you probably see the interview process as equally exciting and intimidating.  I truly believe the interview is the most important part of the recruiting process. A great interview can get you an awesome summer associate offer, even if your grades are not the best in the class. Although I am by no means an expert when it comes to interview strategy and skills, I’ve provided a bit of my own advice and tidbits from interviewing attorneys, summer associates, and junior associates to compile a list of tips and tricks that I hope you will find helpful as you enter into your own interviewing process:

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