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.
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.
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.
by Ayla ’15
Network! Network! Network! It is arguably the mantra of our generation and a word we hear so often it has almost started to lose its meaning. But no matter how desensitized we may be to the word, the concept—relationship building—remains of paramount importance. At Northeastern School of Law (NUSL), we are lucky and wise. We get four substantial opportunities to the leave the cradle that is law school and strike out into the world, gathering skills and experience much sooner than many of our cohorts from other schools. That is not to say we have it easy, we live in a constant cycle of planning, applying, and interviewing; however, this allows us to hone important job seeking skills, and repeatedly highlights the importance of strong relationships in securing our ideal co-op positions and eventually jobs.
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.
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.
by Cory ’16
Ah, we’re at the point in the semester, or the year rather, when everyone is stressed, classes are at their peak of conceptual difficulty, and the weather is less than ideal (this morning was the first in months in which I did not need to wear a hat to cover my ears from the cold). It’s no one’s fondest time period, but it’s a necessary one. We just returned from spring break – yes, we get a glorious, much-needed spring break at NUSL – and everyone is now biting at the bit for summer to be here. But first, we have to earn it.
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 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?