The start of the new semester has brought exciting energy to campus as we welcome our new dean. Odette Lienau officially transitioned into her role following the tremendous 18 months of leadership from Interim Dean Diane Ring. Check out an interview from BC Law Magazine with both leaders as they discuss their hopes and vision for our community and the legal profession:
Diane Ring served as interim dean from June 2021 to mid January 2023. She was succeeded by Odette Lienau, who joined BC Law in January as the inaugural Marianne D. Short, Esq., Dean. During the transition period last fall, the two women became well acquainted as they prepared for the change in leadership. Theirs was a meeting of the minds, of learning, listening, and laying the groundwork for the Law School’s new era. This interview is an opportunity to hear some of their formational conversation.
Both of you are “firsts” as women in the dean’s role at BC Law. How is women’s leadership important to BC Law and the legal profession?
Many of us attend law school to help our communities, whether through policy work, representing marginalized clients, or integrating pro bono work into our practice. However, it’s very easy for our doctrinal classes to feel removed from our ultimate purposes.
As a Law Practice Professor, Professor Bratt teaches students the skills they will use in practice, like conducting legal research, writing predictive memoranda, and drafting motions to a court. Professor Bratt–no surprise to those who know her–goes above and beyond her responsibilities as a Law Practice Professor. Not only is she a thoughtful, caring professor, but she also works with Lawyers Clearinghouse to give 1Ls discrete opportunities to assist marginalized clients with their legal issues. Professor Bratt creates opportunities for students to work with clients in need of legal services. This experience was the highlight of my 1L year, and it made me feel like I had more to offer the world and my new community in Boston.
I sat down with Professor Bratt to discuss the opportunities that lead her to her dream job, what brought her to teach Law Practice at BC Law and to get to know her beyond the classroom.
I had Professor Brodin for Civil Procedure during 1L, and I had a great time in his class. I also ended up taking Evidence with him during my 2L year, which was actually one of my favorite law school classes. I am currently in his employment discrimination class this semester, as well. I recently had the chance to interview him and learn a bit more about his background, his BC Law story, and his hidden talent for music.
To begin, can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in the Bronx and then moved to Queens as a young child. Around age 9, we moved to Long Island, where I went to public school. I moved back to Manhattan for both college and law school at Columbia. After law school, I moved up here to Boston since I ended up clerking for a judge at the federal district court here.
Recently I sat down with Prof. Brian Quinn as part of the faculty spotlight series.
Prof. Quinn’s class was the first class I ever had at BC Law (at 9 am on August 31st, 2020, my first day of law school no less) and while I have yet to take other classes with him, he’s appeared on our podcast, and has been a mentor and a voice of reason for me. When I was asked to write a profile of a professor for the faculty spotlight series, I figured Prof. Quinn would be a good choice.
Tell me about yourself and your career.
I lived life by accident. If you look at my resume in reverse it begins to make sense, but I did not have much of a plan. I’m from Westfield, New Jersey and received my undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. My mom is from Spain, and I spent my summers there when I was younger. In college, I felt like I had to take up something like Latin American studies, but found it boring. I accepted an opportunity sophomore year to work at a refugee camp in the Philippines for Vietnamese refugees in the late 1980s.
I saw it as an escape, learned some Vietnamese, and upon returning to Georgetown received an offer to travel to Vietnam as the first undergraduate student from Georgetown to visit there following the Vietnam War.
When you first encounter Professor Daniel Lyons standing in front of your Property class, you may be intimidated by the impeccable three-piece suit, astonishing poise and brilliance, and, of course, the iconic fedora. His cold calls have left many trembling to this day. Yet, I can say definitively that Professor Lyons is one of the best professors on our campus. It’s no surprise that the school chose him to serve as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the next few years.
I sat down with Professor Lyons to pull back the curtain a bit and highlight a different, lighter, more familiar side of one of BC Law’s best.
BC Law Impact Editor’s Note: We pride ourselves at Boston College Law School on our unique community that cultivates an incredible student body with a brilliant faculty. This post is part of an ongoing faculty spotlight Q&A series to help students get to know the members of our faculty on a more personal level. It will run throughout the next year.
Why did you choose to teach at BC Law? I am a graduate. I think that it’s a great law school and that the students are fantastic. I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else.
What is your favorite thing about BC? The students–still attracting really nice people to study here, and I think that’s a real plus.
What is your favorite BC Memory? That’s a tough one. Probably my favorite memories are of Sanford Katz and Peter Donovan, two fantastic faculty members here. I had the pleasure of taking their courses when I was a student.
If you were on a baseball team what would your walkout song be? Sweet Caroline, keeping with my Boston roots.
If you weren’t a professor or a lawyer, what would you be doing? What is your dream job? Probably I would be in medicine.
What is your favorite thing about Boston? I grew up in Boston. I would say the Boston Harbor and the ocean. I spent a lot of time running around Castle Island, a park in South Boston, when I was a kid.
If someone visiting Boston asked you what is the one thing they had to do, what would you tell them? Definitely go to a Red Sox game–and do the Harbor walk.
The inaugural holder of the William J. Kenealy, S.J. Chair, Professor Repetti is co-author of the texts, Partnership Income Taxation, Introduction to United States International Taxation, Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation, Problems in Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation, and Tax Aspects of Organizing and Operating a Business. He is also a contributing author to the treatises, Comparative Income Taxation: A Structural Analysis and to The International Guide to Partnerships. For more, visit Professor Repetti’s website.
Melissa Gaglia is a second-year student at BC Law. Contact her at email@example.com.
BC Law Impact Editor’s Note: We pride ourselves at Boston College Law School on our unique community that cultivates an incredible student body with a brilliant faculty. The BC Impact Blog is launching a faculty spotlight Q&A series to highlight the members of our faculty throughout the next year.
Easily one of my favorite 1L classes has been Law Practice. Known as “LP” to all BC Law students, Law Practice focuses on teaching students the practical skills that they will use everyday in their eventual careers as attorneys. Students spend a great deal of time mastering legal writing and research, learning the Bluebook and system of legal citations as well as how to use research tools such as Lexis and Westlaw. Writing their objective office memo (a memo offering an objective analysis of a legal issue for an internal audience) is a rite of passage for BC law students, and was easily one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my first semester. Second semester sees a pivot to advocacy skills, with students learning the basics of oral argument and shifting to writing for an external audience such as briefs for courts.
For this week’s blog I sat down with Professor Mary Ann Chirba to learn a bit more about her background and teaching at BC. Beloved by students, Professor Chirba is a full-time member of BC’s Law Practice Faculty as well as teaching other law and undergraduate courses.