Faculty Post: WHERE CAN NEW STUDENTS GET HELP IN THIS VENTURE CALLED LAW SCHOOL?

by Melinda Drew, Lawyering Skills Professor and Director of the Academic Success Program

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.

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Faculty Post: Choosing a Law School

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.

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Faculty Post: Collaborating with Students on Employment Law Issues

By Emily A. Spieler, Edwin W. Hadley Professor of Law

As an expert in labor and employment issues, I seek out NUSL students who share my interests. I am interested working collaboratively with students on projects that matter in the outside world.

Here are two examples from this past spring:

I asked one student to act as my research assistant for the quarter. She was going to graduate, and she was particularly interested in the intersections between law and policy in the labor area. As Chair of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee – a federal advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Labor – I was asked to testify before a Senate committee regarding the effectiveness of the law that forbids retaliation against workers who raise safety complaints. She and I together conducted a full literature review of the subject, read the legal cases, looked at data that was compiled by the Department of Labor, and worked together to finalize my testimony. She said it proved to her that one can combine interests in policy and in law in ways that matter. The testimony from that hearing is posted on the Senate HELP Committee website.

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Student Post: 1L Recap

by Andrew ’16

Classes are over. Actually, they have been over for a few weeks…but when you throw in Reading Week and Finals Week, it feels like school just keeps going and going. Then suddenly, the first year is over. I feel like it comes somewhat abruptly, most likely because one day I was engaging every single brain cell I have and the next day I was doing the opposite. In fact, I think that once finals were over, my brain cells just passed out.

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Faculty Post: Bringing Disability Justice to Analysis of Trans* Legal Issues

by Gabriel Arkles, Legal Research and Writing Professor

In 2006, Christina Sforza, a homeless Latina transgender woman, went to a MacDonald’s in NYC with her friends. While there, she used the women’s restroom. Trans women should always be able to use the restroom that matches their gender identity, but in this case she didn’t have an alternative anyway: the men’s room was out of order. Christina even asked an employee which restroom to use and the employee pointed her to the women’s room. Nonetheless, when she was inside it someone began pounding on the door and threatening to kill her unless she came out. When she did, a MacDonald’s manager began beating her with a lead pipe on her chest, groin, head, and arms. Employees began chanting “Kill the faggot!” Christina’s friend called the police. Christina was on the floor bleeding when the police arrived. Still, when her attacker accused her of being a “man in the women’s restroom,” the police arrested Christina rather than her attacker. While the charges against Christina were ultimately dismissed, the police threatened to arrest her again when she tried to make a complaint against her attacker.

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Faculty Post: Poverty & Children with Disabilities

by Professor Mary O’Connell

Why are poor people poor? There’s a question lawyers, law students – indeed, many in the U.S. and around the world — could chew on for many hours. The answers, one would assume, are highly complex, and vary substantially by country and over time. In fact, however, American law has shown a remarkable tendency to oscillate between two highly simplistic explanations of poverty, what we might call the “luck hypothesis” and the “work ethic” hypothesis. Under the luck hypothesis, anyone could wind up poor. Those of us who aren’t poor were/are lucky. We had gifts like competent, loving parents, good health, decent schools. Those who are poor, under this hypothesis, have been unlucky. Under the “work ethic” hypothesis, by contrast, the poor are, at least disproportionately if not entirely, individuals who lack self-discipline and good habits. Yes, people are dealt different hands in life, but those who wind up poor didn’t try very hard. They don’t plan, they don’t work hard, they don’t capitalize on what is available to them. Given these competing – and seemingly mutually exclusive – hypotheses about poverty, what makes for sensible social policy?

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Student Post: May it Please the Court

by Andrew ’16

In law school, one of the rites of passage during your first year is oral arguments. I discovered this when I started researching schools, and it has stressed me out since. I never considered myself a performer, but I have had the opportunity speak publicly through research presentations to small crowds. As a result, I do not have an issue being “on stage,” though it was never something I particularly enjoyed. I am not sure what made me so tense exactly, but some of the pressure likely came from my only exposure to oral arguments before law school.

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Faculty Post: Human Rights and Gender-Based Violence

by Katherine Schulte, Supervising Attorney, Domestic Violence Institute at Northeastern University School of Law

Monday March 10, 2014 marked the launch of the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58).  Representatives from Member States, UN agencies, and civil society have come together in New York City to address the issue of equality for women and girls.  The theme for this year’s session is “Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls.” These goals were adopted 13 years ago to promote women’s fullest enjoyment of their rights. Particular target areas include eradicating the disproportionate poverty of women and girls, increasing women’s participation in politics, and ending gender-based violence. CSW58 provides an opportunity for stakeholders to review what progress has been made in these areas, and what improvements are still necessary.

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Student Post: Another Milestone

by Andrew ’16

The Legal Skills in Social Context (LSSC) Project deadline has arrived! That means that it is time to submit the written portion of the social justice project we have been working on for the last seven months. Honestly, I think the deadline has been looming over the 1Ls for weeks. Each “law office” has had to tackle numerous challenges in preparation for the deadline. This likely included editing a document written by multiple authors for tone and cohesion. In addition, groups have been squeezing in last minute research and interviews. On top of the substantive work, some of the documents were 100 pages or more, so even simple grammatical editing was no small task. In spite of the last minute stress of the push to the deadline, it was rewarding to see the research come together.

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