The three of us, me and my fellow Princeterns, arrived in Professor Fleming’s office at 9 am, and had a chance to hear the full account of how he came to be a Law Professor, from college to the present day. We shared our various academic interests with him, and Professor Fleming in turn set up a variety of appointments with other BU Law professors whose work overlapped with our interests. At 10 am, one of his students came in to talk about an upcoming paper on Constitutional theory, as well as to update Professor Fleming on the duties she had completed as his research assistant for his upcoming book. This meeting touched upon three of Professor Fleming’s roles at BU Law – a professor of Constitutional Law (a first year class) and Constitutional Theory (an upper level seminar), an author of esteemed academic literature (his most recent book is about to go to press, and was co-authored by his wife Linda McClain, who is also a professor at BU), and the faculty advisor for the BU Law Review. After this meeting, we got the chance to meet two professors specializing in Health Law and International Law. Finally, at 2 pm we headed to Professor Fleming’s two hour lecture on Constitutional Law.
Dr. Fleming and his Princeterns
We started the day with another meeting between Professor Fleming and oneof his students/research assistants. After this, we sat in on his meeting with the Dean of BU Law, getting the chance to see how a law school works from the administration side, such as conversations about how to give funding to professors for research, the topic for the next big colloquium Professor Fleming is organizing, maintaining a balance between a theoretical and a practical law education, and selecting new professors for tenure. We ate lunch at a faculty paper workshop where a visiting professor presented his paper on the applicability of foreign laws in the U.S., and afterwards took questions and feedback from his colleagues. We ended the day by sitting in on Professor Fleming’s second class – his upper level Constitutional Theory seminar. Thank you Professor Fleming for being such a dedicated host and giving us a fascinating two day opportunity to glimpse the life of a law professor! I really was able to put myself in the shoes of a law student and get exposure to a variety of topics within the academic branch of law.
During my two-day Princeternship experience, I shadowed Professor James Fleming, the Associate Dean for Research and Intellectual Life at Boston University Law School. Along with two other students, I sat in on Professor Fleming’s meetings with research assistants, participated in a faculty workshop, and attended two of Professor Fleming’s classes. In between these activities, Professor Fleming spent a considerable amount of time fielding our questions about both law school and law as a future profession. He was extremely open to discussing whatever topics we brought up and was excited to show us around his office.
On the first day, after going through introductory information, we met one of Professor Fleming’s research assistants who was helping to fact check his upcoming book’s footnotes. She also came to discuss a paper topic for one of the professor’s classes, Constitutional Theory. This meeting was interesting because we were able to hear about law school from the perspective of a current student. Later that day, we sat in on the professor’s other course, Constitutional Law. It was very similar to classes here at Princeton, such as Civil Liberties, and I enjoyed listening to the material from the viewpoint of a law school course. Other encounters throughout the day included conversations with faculty members who were excited to share pieces of their work with us.
On the second day, after meeting with another research assistant, we attended a faculty workshop where a visiting assistant professor presented a draft of his paper to his colleagues. Those at the workshop gave the professor helpful feedback and supported a lively discussion of his work. Later, we attended Professor Fleming’s Constitutional Theory class, a course very similar to seminars at Princeton. Later that evening, we enjoyed a dinner with Professor Fleming and his family at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts. His family was welcoming and interested in learning about our different backgrounds.
Overall, I found this Princeternship to be extremely valuable because it enabled me to see both the inner workings of a law school and the law student point of view. Everyone there was eager to share their experiences and academic interests and I found the atmosphere to be very supportive. I would recommend this shadowing opportunity to students as a great way to spend two days with other like-minded Princeton students in an interesting new environment.