Late one afternoon, a few years into my legal career, I heard Partner X mention the “2400-hour years I worked as an associate….” He said this as he was assigning me and another associate a research and drafting project with a next-day deadline. I tossed off his “2400-hour” comment as hyperbole, but nevertheless, we stayed past midnight to finish the work. Not long after that, I happened to pull open a stuck drawer on the built-in file cabinet in my office, and behind the drawer was a sheaf of associate annual billing records from past years. (My office had previously been occupied by a member of the accounting staff.) Unable to resist, I scanned through the list of associates and the hours they had billed. Some of the names were unfamiliar, but others I recognized because they were now partners or “of counsel.” Sure enough, when I looked at the billings for (then) Associate X, there were several years at or just over 2400 hours. In my short career to that point, I had once billed a 200-hour month and it was excruciating. I could not imagine twelve of them in a row, and then repeat for several years.
by Jennifer Howard, Supervising Attorney of the Domestic Violence Institute
A man chases his partner through the house with a kitchen knife. Their three children cry in a bedroom down the hall. The victim needs help, but what is the cost of reaching out? This is the central question each and every victim and survivor of domestic violence has to ask herself or himself, each and every day. Life is full of trade-offs, we all know this. Yet for some reason, our society has managed to oversimplify the dilemma that faces victims of domestic violence: if she wanted to end the violence, she would leave. Many brilliant minds have proffered thousands of reasons disproving this assertion; pointing to everything from fear of retribution to being manipulated back into a relationship by flowers set in a vase of apologies. The factors involved in deciding to stay or attempting to go are complex and very personal, but there is one universal truth under it all: it is a decision only the person affected should or can make. The validity of one’s decisions, even in the face of horrific abuse, is not for outsiders to judge or evaluate. The cost for reaching out: loss of one’s right to make private decisions, privately.
Law school can seem like a pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie. If your diet of coursework, research, and writing leaves you hungry for more, consider working as a teaching or research assistant for a professor during your 2L and 3L years. The pay is not great, usually only $15 per hour max, but it’s a good resume-builder, and you get a close-up view of the teaching or research side of law. Plus, you will probably become better acquainted with the professor than if your only interaction were as a student in her/his class. This can be a good resource at bar admission or letter of recommendation time.
by Susan Maze-Rothstein, Senior Academic Specialist
To compete in today’s rapidly evolving legal profession, law students need to know how, more than ever before, to get practice-ready and fast. The profession can no longer accommodate graduates who need the first five years of practice to really learn how to be a lawyer. Our enrolling students have picked perhaps the most interesting time to go to law school because the law school business model of lecture courses is and must undergo change. They are getting in on the ground floor of the future of lawyering.
Law school orientation is coming up soon. Many students want to know what they should do to get ready. My advice is to take care of the things that would otherwise be a distraction for you during the first few weeks. In no particular order, here are some possibilities to consider…
Often new law students want to know what kind of help is available to them as they begin law school. After all, students are learning a new language, new concepts, and a new way of thinking. Added to that, students will have five classes in the first semester: Civil Procedure, Property, Torts, Legal Research & Writing and Social Justice (Legal Research & Writing and Social Justice are two parts of a course called Legal Skills in Social Context (LSSC)). That is a lot of work but, as one of the student bloggers on this site has said, it is doable.
by Roger Abrams, Richardson Professor of Law
This fall I start my 41st year in legal education, teaching Torts, exactly as I did in 1974. Over that period of time, I have taught at five law schools and served as dean at three of those schools, including Northeastern. I thought it might be useful to share with you my experiences at those various schools.