by David M. Phillips, Professor of Law
“What will I learn in the first year of law school?,” is a frequently asked question directed at a law professor. There are many answers to this question. Without pretending to be exhaustive, let me tender a partial answer, one focusing upon a changing conception of what we mean by law and one related to a skill that the first year of law school enhances.
by Andrew ’16
Everyone knows that law school is a considerable amount of work. I wish I could say that everyone was wrong. Aside from the obvious requirements of classes and endless amounts of reading, NUSL really keeps you busy. From the outside, it may sound onerous. However, if you are someone that enjoys being busy, then it works out well. That does not mean that a break is not helpful. With Spring Break starting tomorrow, it seems appropriate to reflect on the semester so far.
by Luke Bierman, Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Law
The Northeastern University School of Law Class of 2014 will graduate at the end of May, leaving the members of this class with just one more quarter to spend as students at the law school. Some of these students are completing their last classes as they prepare to head off to co-op. The rest of these students are starting to appear in the Dockser Commons as they return from co-op for their last classes before graduation.
by Andrew ’16
I started law school having a great support system. I am lucky enough to have an incredible spouse at home, as well as supportive friends and family. They have been a source of constant encouragement, especially in my decision to go to law school. That being said, the kind of support I have found since being at NUSL has changed my whole school experience.
I think it started before I even stepped foot on campus. Once I knew I would be attending NUSL, I reached out to an NUSL Admissions Ambassador. I asked him numerous questions and he helped calm some of the initial apprehension I had about going into 1L year. Once on campus, I signed up for an upper level mentor through the Student Bar Association (SBA). As a 3L, she has served as an endless source of information throughout the first semester. She gave me the scoop on professors, classes, exams, and just about everything else under the sun. She even looked over a couple of assignments that were particularly troublesome and gave me recommendations. Honestly, in-school support has been a life-saver, if even just to answer some of the unknowns.
Outside of NUSL, there are even more resources for support. For instance, I signed up for a mentor program with a local bar association. They matched me with an attorney who has practiced law in Boston for over a decade. Over lunch last week, he was able to give me some career and interest focused direction as well as insight into what it is like to practice law in the area. There are dozens of bar associations in Boston and beyond with similar programs for students, so it is possible to have several opportunities to meet people in the field. Of course, I am also excited to establish connections with co-op employers and other practitioners in the future. Working professionals are able to give a unique view completely removed from school and help keep in perspective the reason why I came to law school in the first place.
I guess the bottom line is that it never hurts to have friends and confidants. The difference that comes with having a legal mentor is that each of them understands what it means to be a law student. They remember what it was like to have been in my shoes. Without their insight, this experience would have been much different. And really, why go it alone when you don’t have to?
Spring is coming.
by Cory L. ’16
I may be from Colorado, but I am not good at enduring the cold. When people ask me which I preferred, snow-skiing or snowboarding, I always responded with “neither.” The follow-up, time and time again, was a question of why. I always responded with “Why would I ever be cold on purpose?”
by Katherine Schulte, Supervising Attorney, Domestic Violence Institute at Northeastern University School of Law
This week, the Law School hosted a series of events to recognize Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The events were co-sponsored by the Law School’s own Program on Human Rights in the Global Economy and Domestic Violence Institute, along with several partners within Northeastern University: the College of Social Sciences and Humanities’ Human Services Program; the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; Bouvé College of Health Sciences’ Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice; University Health and Counseling Services’ ViSION program; and student groups Not For Sale and UNICEF. The fact that these diverse partners share an interest in raising awareness around this issue speaks to the important and cross-cutting nature of human trafficking.
by Andrew ’16
I find myself spending more time thinking about what happens next. This is a departure from my usual frame of mind since starting law school in August. Beginning on the first day of classes, my intent and focus has been solely on studying, reading, and desperately trying to absorb the information put in front of me. Even during breaks from school, I have become accustomed to my thoughts wandering back to NUSL. There was even a point right around exams that I would have a nightly dream about specific concept or phrase learned in class. I am not sure what changed over the last few weeks, if anything really. I just know that I have recognized a shift.
by Cory ’16
Northeastern University School of Law is founded on experiential education and social justice. Those two components intersect in a unique element of the NUSL curriculum: the Legal Skills in Social Context first-year course (LSSC). The LSSC is a required component for graduation and largely influences student experience at Northeastern.
by Professor Daniel S. Medwed
The famous phrase “with great power comes great responsibility” is associated not only with Spiderman, but also with American prosecutors, who possess the discretion to charge people with crimes and are therefore arguably the most powerful players in the criminal justice system. One significant check on that power is the Brady doctrine, which stems from a 1963 Supreme Court case holding that, prior to trial, prosecutors must disclose all information to the defense that is “favorable” to the defendant and “material” to guilt or punishment.
by Emily Spieler, Hadley Professor of Law
Edward Snowden caused an international debate about whistleblowers when he turned secret national security information over to the media. The conversation that has ensued about our privacy has been deeply important – both to our sense of our own democratic principles and to our understanding of the needs for secrecy in national intelligence.
But while Snowden may not be the typical whistleblower, he nevertheless represents a class of people who decide that they must step forward and raise concerns about activities they believe to be illegal or unsafe. Sometimes, these concerns involve suspected evasion of laws. Often they raise issues that affect the well-being of others.