I preemptively submitted my blog post without really comparing 1L v. 2L. Whoops. Is the stress of upcoming finals getting to me?
Speaking of finals, one jarring difference between 1L and 2L is NO READING WEEK. Northeastern has retracted the hand that held us through our first year and now expects us to manage our time in a way that forces finals-preparedness the day after classes end. And deservedly so! No reading week forces efficiency in note-taking, attentiveness in class, and regular review of the law. I think its even possible that the absence of reading week has made me a better in-class participant!
A second difference between 1L and 2L is the new 1Ls. Weird, right? I don’t remember if my friends and I were like this, but 1Ls are extremely studious and have that study group thing down! There are hordes of 1L study groups in the library discussing the prior appropriation rights of water, the “this-just-doesn’t-feel-right” feeling of the Learned Hand formula, and how to establish personal jurisdiction over a non-resident. I’m just waiting until they get to the Erie Problem. [Evil laugh] Most of the time, the students are getting it right (at least, according to my memory!). I’m impressed. I don’t remember being that smart, especially at that stage in the game.
One thing I’ve really enjoyed about 2L is working as a Research Assistant for Professor Lucy Williams, who is absolutely brilliant. I am helping her research and summarize international cases to support her work with ISERP, the International Social and Economic Rights Project. I have been reading and condensing cases from the Constitutional Court of Colombia (in Spanish!) which have promoted and effectuated human, economic, and social rights. It has been so great to work closely with a professor and learn an area of law that isn’t directly accessible through the offered curriculum.
The last difference I want to talk about is class size. With the exception of the classes tied to the LSSC program, all of my 1L classes were large lectures of roughly 60 students. This year, none of my classes have more than 25 students. This means extra attention, extra focus, and the ability to treat discussion in a seminar fashion. Small classes really support the ways in which I learn, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to the discourse more frequently.
The downside of having smaller class sizes is having a smaller class AKA half of your class is on co-op. It’s weird not to see those people in your Law Office who you spent hours and hours with by choice (and sometimes, not by choice). I miss my 1L study group, most of whom chose the opposite rotation as I did; but, it is really fun to hear the things they are doing on co-op. For instance, one of my friends is writing opinions for a Justice on the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts and another is working with the Innocence Project in New Orleans. And while they are picking classes, I’m gearing up for my next co-op. Stayed tuned for more info on that!