Faculty Post: Real Lawyering from Day One — How Does Northeastern’s Legal Skills in Social Context (LSSC) Program Jump Start Your Professional Development?

by Susan Maze-Rothstein, Teaching Professor

A warm welcome to our incoming Class of 2018! Read on to learn a little more about what’s in store for your 1L year…

To compete in today’s rapidly evolving legal profession, law students need to know, more than ever before, how to get practice-ready and fast. The profession can no longer accommodate graduates who need their first five years of practice to really learn how to be a lawyer. In coming to NUSL, you have picked perhaps the most interesting time to go to law school because the law school business model of lecture courses is changing as it must. You are entering the ground floor of the future of lawyering. Welcome!

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Faculty Post: A Trigger Warning for Law Students

by Professor Libby Adler

Recently, students around the country in colleges, law schools, and other educational environments, have raised objections to classroom material that is “triggering”—i.e., has the potential to bring some traumatic memory to the surface during a class discussion. Many students have expressed a desire to be given “trigger warnings” before discussion of such material. Often, these requests have concerned classroom discussions of rape, though other sensitive topics such as racial violence have also been regarded as triggering, requiring a warning by the instructor.  See Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm and Trigger Happy.

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Student Post: Co-op: A Chance to Escape the Snow

by Brooke, Class of 2016

Lots of people think that they need to go to law school in the geographic area in which they plan to practice. But while I know that I want to practice immigration law in the Southwest, I did not want to go to school there. After going to undergrad in Arizona, I was ready for a change of pace, and I was committed to going to a law school with a social justice mission. Everyone chooses Northeastern for a slightly different reasons, but some of the most common reasons are 1) it is a school that promotes social justice at the front of its work, and 2) co-op!

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Faculty Post: Lessons From a Law School Clinic

by Jennifer Howard

As officers of the court, fluent in the language, creators of, or at least participants in, its local practices, lawyers sometimes forget that many would-be litigants enter the courthouse with much trepidation and misinformation. While law school on the whole seeks to prepare students for their role as knowledgeable problem solvers, clinics provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about how to use that knowledge to help real people, with real problems. Explaining the legal system is one of an attorney’s most important tasks.

The Domestic Violence Institute at Northeastern University School of Law currently offers students two opportunities to learn to advocate for survivors of domestic violence: one through the Legal Assistance to Victims Project, a new community lawyering project aimed at connecting survivors to legal services at those places they first turn to for help; the other, through the Domestic Violence Clinic, founded in 1991. While both programs strive to educate students about the unique challenges faced by survivors navigating the legal system; it is the Clinic that delivers the chance to advocate in court on their behalf. The experience of direct, in-court advocacy provides soon to be lawyers many important lessons.

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Faculty Post: The Law & Morality

by Professor David M. Phillips

Mills v. Wyman, an 1825 Massachusetts case, which is featured in one of the more popular first year casebooks, raises the question of the relationship between law and morality. Incurring various expenses, Daniel Mills cared for a 25 year old sick sailor, Levi Wyman, who then died. His father, Seth Wyman, wrote to Mills promising to pay for those expenses, but then reneged on the promise. Mills brought suit, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a lower court holding that no action lay. Consideration is required to hold liable a promisor, and according to the court, Mills had given no consideration in return for Wyman’s promise; consideration could not consist of past action. Despite their respective holdings, the lower court had termed Wyman’s conduct “a strong example of particular injustice,” and the Supreme Judicial Court stated that Wyman had a “moral obligation” to fulfill the promise. But, to the court, a violation of a “moral duty” was not equivalent to a violation of a legal one. Continue reading

From Global Law to Local Justice

by Professor Hope Lewis, who co-founded the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy

It is now a standard observation: the legal academic, activist, and employment world is globalizing. U.S. Based law schools are partnering with schools in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and East Asia. LL.M. And S.J.D. Students from around the world have arrived in the U.S. To enrich classroom discussions and practice with their perspectives about the U.S. And about their home countries. Many well-prepared “domestic” lawyers will, at one time or the other, encounter clients, adversaries, partners, and issues that raise “global law” problems (i.e., International Comparative, Foreign, National Security, Immigration/Refugee/Asylum, Trade, Business Transactions, and the like). Many of our students and colleagues take advantage of our human rights program to engage in on-the-job learning in Switzerland, India, and Colombia. In addition to the wonderful opportunities for travel and exposure to other cultures, such opportunities offer the chance to hone language skills and to learn innovative problem-solving strategies. The “Bringing Human Rights Home” movement has once again stimulated U.S. Social justice activism on issues as broad-ranging as post-Katrina housing in New Orleans, misuse of force, racial discrimination, extrajudicial killings of young minority men, and violence and trafficking against girls and women with disabilities.

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