Like many other law schools around the country, UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt) reconvened on Monday, August 21, and I was among the 304 new 1L students, 64% of which are women and 42% of which are people of color (part of the reason I chose to attend Boalt). Though I’m exhausted, I feel inspired and humbled by my classmates and professors, and I am filled with excitement for the next two years and nine months.
As a 1L, I am assigned to a “module” of about 30 other students with whom I share all my classes. Although the classes 1Ls take each semester vary from module to module, every student will take Torts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Property, and Contracts throughout their first year. Additionally, all 1Ls take Legal Research & Writing in the fall and Oral Advocacy in the Spring. My “mod” convenes for Torts, and we take Property and Civil Procedure with two other modules to comprise one “super-mod.” Additionally, our Legal Research & Writing classes comprise students from all three mods in our super-mod.
The workload, as expected, has been immense. We have already completed several writing assignments and dozens of case briefs. For Civil Procedure, my class was assigned an entire book to read this week, in addition to our typical amount of weekly reading. That being said, it has been incredibly interesting, valuable, and fulfilling to apply what I’m learning inside the classroom to the work I had the opportunity to be involved with at the Civil Rights Justice Center. While many of my classmates have lamented that their experiences as legal assistants did not prepare them for law school, I have applied the knowledge I gained at the CRJC to my classwork every single day. Moreover, my professors have done a remarkable job of applying course themes to current events and legal activism. As someone whose interest in becoming an attorney stems from my belief in the law as a tool of social justice, I have loved it.
One way that I believe Boalt is special is the collegial sense of community at the law school. This week, our new Dean hosted four dinners at his home—one for each super-mod and one for faculty. At our super-mod dinner, I spoke with professors and classmates about the ways past Boalt students have bolstered each other, and the ways we can do so in the coming months and years. This collaborative, kindhearted culture is what is deeply needed in the legal profession, and I am so glad to be attending a school that values compassion as much as it values hard work. As I take my next steps towards advancing my career in social justice and civil rights, I know I am doing so at a school and amongst peers that want to see me succeed.
If you would like to learn more about your rights or believe that you have been discriminated against please visit the Civil Rights Justice Center located at 2150 N. 107th Street in Seattle Washington or visit our website at civilrightsjusticecenter.com