Jessica Zou ’16, Youth Represent

Jessica-ZouI came into Princeton knowing I wanted to study law, specifically criminal law, and that I wanted to work with juveniles. Logically then, this Princeternship with Youth Represent, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization based in Manhattan, seemed like it would be the perfect match. Youth Represent is dedicated to making sure youths who go through the criminal justice system get a second chance. They provide legal representation for criminal court as well as for housing, employment, or education issues stemming from criminal convictions. I had pretty high expectations for what I wanted to learn about working with juveniles, the New York criminal justice system, and RAP (Record of Arrest and Prosecution) sheets, but Youth Represent still far exceeded my expectations.

I met Hanna Katz’ 11 the morning of Monday, March 18, in the Youth Represent offices.  I first had to sign some confidentiality forms agreeing not to disclose the personal information of any clients that I came into contact with, but then it was off to the New York City Criminal Court to sit in on some hearings and cases. Sitting in arraignments, I realized how different the New York criminal justice system was from California’s when I heard all of these completely new acronyms. Hanna explained that “ATI” stood for “Alternatives to Incarceration” and “ACD” stood for “Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal,” but even after three days, I had difficulty keeping everything straight in my head. The difference between violations, misdemeanors, and felonies, the difference between juvenile delinquents, juvenile offenders, and youthful offenders – I had to learn an entirely new set of vocabulary.

Later that afternoon, I sat in on a meeting between Hanna and one of the Youth Represent attorneys, Mike Pope, and I was really struck by how much behind-the-scenes work there was to be done in a law office. Having interned for both a criminal defense attorney and a civil litigation attorney before, I was fully aware of the paperwork that constantly needed to be done, but shadowing Hanna at Youth Represent, I realized how much time needed to be spent on simply building relations with community partner programs. Put simply, I was surprised by how much work in a law office wasn’t legal work at all.

The next day I was able to actually visit one of these community partners with Hanna and Mike. We went to a community-based organization on the Lower East Side and I watched them give a basic presentation to about 10 kids, probably between 18 and 24 years old, on their rights, many of the legal terms that I was struggling with, and what Youth Represent could do for them. I sat in on two of these presentations and, both times, I was really shocked by how familiar these kids were with the system. They knew the difference between a juvenile delinquent and a youthful offender. They knew what made violations different from misdemeanors and felonies. They knew that it typically took them 24 hours to get a summons, see a judge, and receive a sentence. I grew up in Irvine, CA, which used to be rated the number one safest city in the United States. Coming to Princeton, I only traded the Orange County Bubble for the Orange Bubble. These kids came from such a different world that I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to grow up in their shoes. The scariest thing, though, was thinking that if they had only grown up in different circumstances surrounded by different environments, they might be where I am today.

My last day at Youth Represent was spent on mostly individual work. I got to watch Hanna process new clients who were currently in probation and help her draw up summaries for the RAP sheets that she had received from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). I was really impressed by how quickly she could draw out the important information (arrest/conviction date, crime charged with, sentencing result, etc.) from pages and pages of records, while identifying any mistakes clerks had made while inputting the data. Apparently, about 20% of RAP sheets from the Bronx, and 10-15% from the other boroughs in New York City, have errors on them. These errors are what make the difference between someone’s criminal record containing an open felony court case and a resolved violation, which is not public information. For most of these kids, these errors are what make the difference between getting a job and being turned away from one because their employer thinks they’re in the middle of a felony case.

I had an incredible time shadowing HannaZhou 1 at Youth Represent. I learned so much about the complexities of the New York criminal justice system and I am more interested than ever now in helping those who barely seem to have a voice in society. These kids are the future of America and instead of just locking them up and then throwing them back out on the street every time they make a mistake, we need to help them get on their feet so that they don’t make the same mistakes anymore. I would like to specially thank Hanna for taking the time to answer all my questions and truly showing me what it would be like to work for a legal nonprofit in the heart of New York City. I would also like to thank all of the staff at Youth Represent for maintaining such a comfortable environment the whole time I was there – I can’t imagine spending my spring break anywhere more amazing.

Evaline Tsai ’15, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Evaline-TsaiThe first day of my Princeternship began with meeting my two Princeton hosts, Federico Baradello ’05 and Jason Thompson ’06, who both graciously showed me around the Palo Alto office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. After getting to meet many others in the office, I sat down with Mr. Baradello and Mr. Thompson, and we exchanged stories about our experiences at Princeton. It was great getting to hear how similar and different Princeton was just a few short years ago. Mr. Thompson also gave me a brief explanation of what private equity was and the role Kirkland and its lawyers play in the exchange between buyers and sellers of companies.

After this brief introduction, I was shown into my own office with my own computer, desk, whiteboard, and to top it all off, a gorgeous view of the Palo Alto neighborhood. For the rest of the morning, I focused on a reading Mr. Thompson had handed me on tort law. It was interesting to see how the reading I was given related to one of the classes I’m taking this semester, ANT 342: The Anthropology of Law. In fact, the section explaining proximate cause even mentioned a famous case that I had read about in class!

For lunch, Mr. Baradello, Mr. Thompson, and two other lawyers in the office, Lilit Voskanyan and Adam Phillips, took me out to Tamarine, which served delicious Vietnamese cuisine. While we were all eating, they talked about their experiences with the bar exam and gave me some helpful career advice. Afterwards, I returned to my office to read about asset acquisitions. I learned that there’s a lot of technical language that I still have to know!

On the second day of my Princeternship, Mr. Baradello wanted me to help him edit and read over two U Visa applications. Mr. Baradello first explained to me that U Visas were given to victims of crimes such as sexual assault and would help them and their families with temporary work eligibility. It was satisfying to realize that a law degree would not only be useful in a context as a corporate lawyer, but also to help everyday people with pro bono legal work.

After a short lunch at the office with several other associates, Tsai 3I attended an informational meeting with them on non-disclosure agreements. It was fascinating getting to see the actual paperwork that lawyers had to read and mark up (and quite a lot of paperwork there was). I learned that attention to detail is definitely a skill that lawyers need to have since many times mark ups include changing a single word in a sentence to relieve the client of less responsibility.

The Princeternship really gave me an inside look on the life of corporate lawyers and the work environment of Kirkland & Ellis. My experience definitely affirmed my decision to pursue law as a career. I want to thank all the lawyers at Kirkland for their generous hospitality and Career Services for giving me this opportunity. I especially want to thank my hosts, Mr. Baradello and Mr. Thompson, for introducing me to their firm and being so willing to talk to me and answer any questions I had. I recommend anyone who is interested in law to apply for this Princeternship.

Fiona West ’16, BP America Inc.

Fiona-WestThrough the Princeternship program, I had the amazing opportunity to spend a day with two Princeton alumni working in the Environmental Law division of BP America.  The office, located in Naperville, Illinois, was a 50-minute drive from my home in a northern suburb of Chicago.  When I arrived, I was impressed by the size of the Naperville office, which is more like a campus, with several buildings spread out among parking lots, a park, and a small lake.  After watching a short safety video, receiving an ID badge, and being escorted to the office by a welcoming office assistant, my fellow Princetern and I met with the first of our hosts, Jessica Gonzalez ’95.

Jessica gave us a tour of their recently remodeled office, which used to be a production factory but was now converted into an open and airy legal office with low-walled cubicles and wide-windowed offices.  Jessica explained that the set-up encouraged more collaboration and communication among employees.  We then talked with Jessica about the work she does and listened in on a phone call with one of her clients.  She splits her time between issues with retail sites (which are basically pumping stations) and a refinery in Toledo, Ohio, handling claims of contamination issues possibly caused by BP.  It’s her job to ensure BP is responsible in keeping the work they do as clean as possible.  Although there are many popular opinions regarding “big oil” as a menace to the environment, I was happy to see that the company is so proactive in protecting the land and communities it works in.

Jessica arranged for us to talk to another lawyer in her office, named Tom, who was just getting ready to retire after more than 30 years working for BP in both the chemistry and legal departments.  As a Chemical and Biological Engineering major, I was extremely interested in hearing his story because I was not sure how I could fit my engineering background in with a possible law degree.  Tom told us how he had received a PhD in chemistry and worked as a chemistry researcher for BP, but after a while realized that he was interested in pursuing a career in law.  He went to night school at DePaul University while still working for BP.  After receiving his degree he easily transitioned from the chemistry department to the legal department working as a patent lawyer.  Tom’s story was inspiring to me because I realized how open the possibilities for my future are, and that I will not necessarily be stuck in one career track just because of what I studied in school.

For lunch, Jessica and another lawyer, Luis, took us Princeterns out to Joy Yee Noodles and we were able to meet several other lawyers and talk about their work, the company, and their families.  Everyone there seemed happy with their lives and their jobs, and offered us genuine advice and funny stories.

After a satisfying lunch, we came back to the office and met with our second host, Doug, who had been in Chicago on business for the morning.  He and Jessica have similar jobs, but work with different parts of the country.  We listened in on a conference call concerning wording on a contract for a large real estate sale to another company, and it was fascinating to see how important individual words on an inches-thick legal contract could be.  Doug told us about his experience teaching middle school after Princeton, before he went to law school—according to him, trying to convince three classes full of preteens to learn math is good practice for becoming a lawyer!  But whether it is through teaching or something else, he encouraged us to take a break between Princeton and further education, as it allows one to truly evaluate why they want to go back to school and appreciate it once they get there.  We also discussed Doug’s meeting in Chicago earlier that day, which had been a discussion with the government’s Environmental Protection Agency and several other companies about cleaning up a potentially harmful landfill that the previous owner had abandoned.

All in all, I had a very positive time at my Princeternship and was sad to see it end.  I met with many interesting people, who all came from different backgrounds and experiences.  It reassured me that it is indeed possible to explore a career in engineering or science and then return to school for a law degree.  I would like to thank my hosts, Jessica and Doug, as well as all the lawyers and employees who we met with and talked to for making this an enlightening and encouraging experience.

MicKenzie Roberts-Lahti ’15, Pace Law School

Michenzie-Roberts-LahtiGoing into my Princeternship over Intersession with alum Professor Elizabeth Corwin ’89 of Pace Law School (White Plains, New York), I thought I had an idea of what law school might entail.  Coming out of the experience, however, I am just beginning to realize the differences in the thought process and rhetoric that go into being a law student.  Upon reflection, I would be nowhere near as driven to explore the field of law further if it were not for this awesome 3-day experience with Prof. Corwin.

Day 1 – Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 1 was spent fully immersed in the life of a law student.  I met Prof. Corwin and my fellow Princetern Anya Lewis Meeks at 9:00 to attend our first class simply called “Evidence.”  My first observation once the class had started was the professor’s difference in teaching style from anything I had experienced before.  When talking with Prof. Corwin, she explained to us that law schools use a “Socratic” teaching method that seeks to fully engage the student through active participation.  I paid attention, then, to how each professor in the classes we attended would call out students to respond to the lecture, even in the biggest class we sat in on of 50 students.  All though a challenging environment, it was successful in making sure every student was focused.

Right after “Evidence” class we made our way next door (literally – Pace is a very small school) to sit in on a Family Law class.  This class was more philosophical than the evidence class and quite a bit easier to follow.  From class, we went downstairs to eat lunch in their cafeteria and had the chance to talk with a couple of 2nd year law students.  Both of them were very enthusiastic and helpful in explaining to us the differences between undergraduate and law school.  I discovered that law writing is far less “fluffy” and more technical, forcing attorneys to use a different thought process.  They were also very helpful in giving us an idea of what we should be doing in preparation for the LSAT.  We would have loved to pick their brains for hours, but let them go study while we headed off to our next class “Sexuality, Gender, and the Law.”  Taught by the same professor who teaches the family law class, we explored in more detail the theories of feminism and how they pertain to law.  I was not expecting to hear an analysis of feminism in a law class and it was interesting to see how the professor applied them to various cases.

After a long first day filled with new information, there was much to reflect on. 

Day 2 – Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The second day provided an excellent opportunity to see some of the things weMickenzie 3 had heard in class the previous day put into practice.  We all arrived at Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains at 9:30 to spend the morning sitting in on family court.  It was fascinating to witness all the types of people there.  Some were attorneys, some were there to testify, some were from various government agencies, but everyone was there to petition solutions to family problems.  We sat in on a few different proceedings, but the majority of the morning we witnessed a case where a women, who already had a large number children taken by the state, was in the process of losing another.  The majority of that morning’s proceedings were devoted to questioning the two caseworkers from Child Protective Services.  It was interesting to see all of the technicalities of the trial, from the swearing in to the judge’s rhetoric to use of evident.  What I took away most from the morning was the length of time for these family cases with the majority of court appearances devoted to setting a date for other court appearances.  The judge was constantly checking his calendar and telling people dates and times to come back for various hearings.

That afternoon we had the privilege of sitting in on a couple of activities for students and a Constitutional law class.  Our first activity was a meeting for students interested in spending time in internships abroad.  From the two students who explained a little about their experiences, working abroad is something I’ll be sure to keep on my radar.  From there we went to a Constitutional Law class (a class I was especially excited about).  It was a first year law class and a bit more what I imagined a law school class would be like.  With the use of various cases, the professor spent the class examining the uses of the commerce clause.  After class, we went next door and watched part of the film “Ghandi” and spent a few minutes discussing civil disobedience. 

All in all, it was a very eventful day full of great firsthand experiences. 

Day 3 – Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The third day opened with a “Contracts” class.  That day, the professor was analyzing the various offers and acceptances that go into forming contractual agreements.  It was quite surprising to learn how precise the timing is in determining the exact moment when a contract goes into effect.  Later that afternoon, we had the chance to talk with the Director of Law Admissions, Ms. Lisa Lancia.  She was extremely helpful in illustrating the law school application process and what we should be doing in the next couple of years in preparation for potentially going to law school.  It was encouraging to hear that law school does not need to directly follow undergraduate studies and it’s often helpful to work for a couple of years to gain real life experience. 

After our meeting with Ms. Lancia, we dropped in on our final class, a seminar on externships.  This final class was a perfect ending to our own “externship” because it covered very practical ways to behave when interning in a firm.  The students in the class were spending a few hours a week working in a law firm and would come back this seminar to report on their experiences.  I took away a lot of important tidbits on what to do when your supervisor is unclear or not helpful in giving feedback.  It was an interactive and reflective way to end a wonderful three days full of information and immersion.

Upon reflection, my Princeternship at Pace Law School enhanced my interest in investigating the various careers and uses for a law degree.  Mickenzie 2I have walked away with a greater realization of how fast my undergraduate career has and will go by and the world that lies beyond Princeton.  It is so easy to fall prey to the “Princeton bubble” that I found myself feeling the same way I did when I started to investigate undergraduate universities.  I realize now how life is full of phases that come and go quickly.      

I would like to thank Professor Corwin for her constant attention to our needs in making sure we were able to experience everything we were hoping to.  Her love of justice and excitement about learning made the Princeternship all the more enjoyable and educational.


Anya Lewis-Meeks ’15, Pace Law School

Anya-LexisThis January I spent three days with Professor Elizabeth Corwin, Esq. ’89 at the Pace Law School in White Plains, NY, and I decided I wanted to study law. My name is Anya Lewis-Meeks and I am currently a sophomore, whose interests have been fairly vague so far, pretty much only designated by the fact that I knew I didn’t want to start my life in the working world as soon as I finished college, that I wanted a few years to continue studying and to continue being a student. I decided to apply for the Princeternship at the Pace Law School to decide if law school was something I could see myself doing, and I would advise others who are feeling similarly to do the same. It was genuinely one of the most helpful experiences in terms of deciding the direction I wanted my life and my career to go.

Day 1:
I had arrived the night before by train and settled in very well with Professor Corwin and her adorable children, all of whom were extremely accommodating and kind to me. Professor Corwin herself was so engaging and interesting, she talked to me excitedly about her experiences at Princeton as an undergrad and at Pace where she decided to pursue her degree as a lawyer a few years after she completed her AB degree. We arrived at 9 am that first morning and met up with MicKenzie, the other Princetern on the program. MicKenzie and I were ushered into our first class, Evidence, with Professor Lisa Griffin, whose class was conducted in the Socratic style (lawyer-speak for in-class debate) and who managed to maintain the interest of the fifty-person class. After Evidence we went to Professor Noa Ben-Asher’s Family Law class, and we were thrust into conversation about the right of privacy within the marital bedroom and the right of the state to restrict marriage.  Again the material we were learning was so fascinating that I barely noticed that I had spent almost three hours in class.

At lunch, Professor Corwin facilitated a meeting with a couple of her students, Aisha and Mariam, who talked to us for over an hour about the different groups on campus (which were mostly divided by legal interests, such as Environmental and International Law), and about the difficulties the LSAT had provided for them and that they expected to have when studying for the Bar exam. Both students were very engaged in conversation with us, and seemed quite eager to tell us about all of the gossip associated with the School, as well as their own reasons for applying to Pace.

After lunch we attended Professor Ben-Asher’s Gender and Sexuality Class, wherein we learned about different schools of thought about feminism over the years and how different cases were introduced in response to these new arising modalities of feminism.

Completely overwhelmed yet excited, I returned home already mostly sure that law school was going to be part of my plans for the future, but it wasn’t until the second day that I really felt certain about it.

Day 2:
The second day marked one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in a professional setting. We spent the morning of the 29th at White Plains Family Court, and were able to sit in the back of Judge Kline’s court to hear the workings of a case about the Termination of Parental Rights. The woman whose parental rights were in question was in attendance, and it was supremely difficult to see her facial and physical reactions to the rigorous argument by the lawyer and the witness against her character. The main goal of Family Court is protection of the child, and we were reminded of this constantly by Professor Corwin, but it was interesting and grounding to be reminded of all the stakeholders in a law case. I think the experience helped me realize how easy it is to demonize defendants of cases, but seeing the actual court case helped me realize how important it is to think like a lawyer and subdue your feelings of sympathy or a lack thereof to focus on the best possible outcome.

After the fascinating Family Court experience we attended Constitutional Law, where we talked about Congress’ influence and involvement in issues of violence against women and equal protection in terms of the commerce clause. We talked also about the use of medicinal marijuana and its relation to state versus federal law, and congress’ stake in the matter. Again the Professor managed to maintain even an introductory class’ interest, and MicKenzie and me were, of course, impressed.

After the class we attended a screening of the movie Gandhi and engaged in conversation about the impact Gandhi has had on non-violent protest and Martin Luther King. It was a nice reminder that even in law school activities were not solely dedicated to work, and they even served pizza at the talk, just like at a Princeton event!

Day 3:
The final day we attended two more classes, starting with a supremely interesting Advanced Trial Advocacy class with Professor Lou Fazulu wherein several law students enacted the process of witness questioning in a trial-style environment, all dressed in business clothing and with an air of seriousness around them. Although many students use their law degree for occupations other than prosecuting, or even practicing law at all, the reminder that this is what the theoretical class contributed to was welcome and very much appreciated.

Before our next class of the evening we participated in a study-abroad informational session, where several students commented on their experiences in law firms abroad (especially in India and China), and how rewarding the opportunities had been for them.

After lunch we attended a Contracts law class, where we learned about the difference between return promises and performances, and the interesting cases where acceptance by silence would be pertinent. Even topics based on minutiae that I would not have considered interesting in the past came alive, and I found myself flurrying to take notes about contract law cases even though I wouldn’t need them for years to come.

The final class we experienced was not a class at all, really, but rather a sort of de-briefing session for the students participating in the Environmental Law Externship program. The students, who were all working several hours at different companies certain days of the week, met with this class to discuss the different experiences they were having at their various environmental places of employ, and once again the idea of professional work was brought into context. It’s very easy as an undergraduate to wonder about how what you are learning will be relevant to your life after school, and I think that this is the main difference between the two schools that I found appealing. Instead of vague interests that spiraled into the ether of doing something with my life someday, concrete ideas of the reconciliation of knowledge and application were beginning to form in my head.

The experience for me was extremely rewarding not necessarily because of the information I learned or the people I met (we also had a meeting with the admissions director of Pace, who was very kind but also quite intimidating with all the information about application!), but because of the consolidation of a professional future, for me. I didn’t leave only thinking I wanted to go to law school, but that I wanted to be a lawyer, with all that meant and all the difficulties that would arise along the way. The experience convinced me to change my classes and to change my major, and to seriously orient my plans for the next few years around application to law school, and I am tremendously thankful for that.

Kristina Malzbender ’15, Maryland Disability Law Center

Kristina-MalzbenderI spent my week shadowing Leslie Margolis ’82 at the Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC), which is a nonprofit legal services organization and the designated disability Protection and Advocacy agency for the State of Maryland.

Day 1
The day began with a meeting of the City Wide Special Education Advocacy Project for Baltimore City Public Schools. This group of educators, parents, administrators and legal professionals advises the school district on special education policy and practices. I was particularly impacted by the honesty and passion of the parents present at the meeting and how important their voices were in advocating for their children with disabilities.

In the afternoon I attended a meeting of the Education Advocacy Coalition for Students with Disabilities (EAC) with the Maryland State Superintendent of Education. The EAC is comprised of approximately 30 organizations and individuals concerned with special education issues in Maryland. This was the first EAC meeting attended by the newly-appointed superintendent and addressed three issues identified by the EAC as priorities in special education for the state of Maryland. The meeting discussed the possibility of a dispute resolution process for discrimination claims in childcare, the disproportionate suspension and discipline rates for students with disabilities and the need for special education instruction as part of teacher preparation for all teachers.

At the end of the day, I assisted the intake staff on taking calls from clients requesting legal advice or assistance.

Day 2
In the morning, I attended the IEP (Individualized Education Program) IMG_2904meeting for a client of Mrs. Margolis. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that all students in the U.S. who receive special education services have an IEP created by the school in conjunction with the student and his or her parent. The IEP outlines the services and frequency of services to be provided to the student and the modifications and accommodations to be made for the student. This specific meeting focused on the student’s transition from eighth grade to high school and the changes necessary to continue the progress made at her middle school in high school. The IEP meeting showed me all the different players and perspectives that go into crafting a special education student’s education – the  student attended the meeting along with her special education teacher, paraprofessional and parents, an MDLC attorney representing the family, a school district IEP representative, a representative from the high school, and the middle school’s IEP chair.

Day 3
I attended a meeting of the Maryland Family Network and Childcare Resource Center regarding a proposed law for the state of Maryland to create a complaint and dispute resolution system for families of children with disabilities regarding complaints of discrimination. A representative from the Developmental Disabilities Council spoke about the proposed bill and answered questions from childcare providers. According to a report from the Education Advocacy Coalition, 72% of families report difficulties obtaining or maintaining childcare for their kids with disabilities. By law, childcare providers are required to provide accommodations and services to all children and cannot deny a child care due to a disability. However, many families still feel that they face discrimination by childcare providers who cannot afford the accommodations required for children with disabilities. According to the same report by the EAC, 73% of child care providers have asked a child to leave a program because of a child’s behavior, which often is related to a disability. The childcare providers present at the meeting were willing to accept children with special needs but were concerned about the additional costs without compensation, training or support. The representative of the Developmental Disabilities Council clarified that the bill specifically targets cases in which the providers deny families admission in the first place rather than cases in which the provider attempts to provide accommodations to special needs students and disputes arise.

In the afternoon, I attended a meeting of the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Board which advises the Governor of Maryland’s office regarding issues related to TBI. The primary focus of the meeting was to discuss proposed legislation to create a Brain Injury Trust Fund to provide services and supports to individuals who have had a TBI but are ineligible for state programs due to age, diagnosis or treatments. A similar bill was proposed last year but was turned down because no funds were available. This year, the proposed bill would attach a small fee to motor vehicle registrations as a funding source.

Day 4
I drove out to a meeting of an Alternative Assessments Workgroup for the Maryland State Department of Education. The workgroup was created to evaluate the issue of how to properly assess academic achievement and instruction for students with a broad range of disabilities. The workgroup is currently concerned primarily with the issue of assessing students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and how to adapt all assessments to the needs of such students while producing a meaningful assessment of educational gains. The workgroup was made up of special educators, paraprofessionals, school principals, district and state DOE representatives and legal professionals such as MDLC.

IMG_2909This Princeternship afforded me the opportunity to explore the behind-the-scenes dynamics of special education and disability services. I learned a lot about the specific environment of Maryland’s education system and the specific dynamics of the state’s distribution of services. In addition, I was fascinated by MDLC’s ability to take on cases from individual clients in order to make broad, systemic change regarding recurring issues of discrimination, treatment and services for individuals with disabilities. I would like to thank the Princeternship Program, Leslie Margolis and all of the staff at MDLC for this opportunity!

Margaret Wang ’14, Boston University School of Law

Margaret-WangDay 1:
In just one day, Professor James Fleming ’88 had shown all three of us Princeterns so much about pursuing a legal career in both practice and in academia. We started our day in the Boston University Law School in Professor Fleming’s office at 9 am, giving brief introductions about our interests in law. For example, he was able to give me some advice in my pursuit for a PhD and JD, suggesting the sequential route as a possibility to suit my interests. We were then able to hear about his path to becoming a law professor, his passion for law, and the many roles he takes on as an active scholar (writing books, teaching a class on Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, tort, etc., arranging academic conferences, inspiring intellectual vigor from being the Associate Dean of Research, and interacting with students).

Not only did Professor Fleming talk about his career path of getting a PhD in Political Science from Princeton University and a JD from Harvard Law School, he showed us how much he loved being a law professor. Little things such as the funny gifts his students gave him showed so much about his personality and his role as not just a professor, but a mentor and a friend to all the students. He made law school seem less  daunting than other people portrayed it to be.

We briefly met a few of his colleagues as we sat in the lounge including his wife Professor Linda McClain, Professor Khiara Bridges, and Professor Robert D. Sloane. We also had the opportunity to meet with Dean Maureen O’Rourke.

Lastly, from 2:10-4:10 pm, we sat in on Professor Fleming’s class regarding Constitutional Law. He was a wonderful lecturer, exploring the right to vote in Reynolds v. Sims, Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, and Bush v. Gore.

Day 2:
Again, we started our day in his office at 9 am, discussing more about the various roles he undertakes in legal academia. It was interesting to see him talk about his role as the Faculty Advisor of Boston Law Review, which led to discussions on how student articles are selected.M Wang 2 The student with the top grade automatically gets an article published, while the other spots are selected through writing competitions. He also talked about his role as the Vice President of Law for the American Society of Political Legal Philosophy. Moreover, we learned about what a summer for a law professor looked like. It was relieving to see how much time he is able to spend with his family while getting his work done. For example, while vacationing in Europe, he and his wife would wake up at 5:45 am and get three hours of work in before their children would wake up! He really depicted a holistic perspective of his life.

At 10:40 am, we went to Professor Linda McClain’sclass of Feminist Jurisprudence. I loved this class because I am more used to a seminar-like setting. I loved the way each student had to write reaction papers, which the professor read beforehand, since it allowed the class to be focused around discussion.

For lunch, we attended a Faculty Workshop, in which Professor Faulhaber elaborated on “Tax Expenditures, Charitable Giving, and the Fiscal Future of the European Union.” She gave such an impressive 20-minute overview of a paper she is currently working on, while the remaining 40 minutes included questions and critiques from the faculty. I really enjoyed the genuine devotion each faculty took in making her paper even better.

From 2:10-4:10 pm, we attended Professor Fleming’s Constitutional Theory class, which was again, a seminar class. I enjoyed the seminar class as they explored judicial deference vs. judicial reinforcement of representative democracy.

Lastly, we ended the busy day with a talk from Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley on “Taking a Break from Feminism.” I loved hearing about her path to legal academia through humanities and her inclusion of literature with law. She had such an unique and modernist approach to feminism which included queer theory to eradicate the male vs. female model. Of course, her talk was met with lots of criticisms and comments, but I loved the academic discussions that evolved from this discussion.

Unfortunately, I had to leave right after this talk! But a lot was done in this day. I felt like I was able to really get an insight of what law school AND legal academia was like. This Princeternship really inspired me to get more involved in legal academia, read more, and work just as efficiently as Professor Fleming! I am now even more convinced and motivated that I can combine my interests in humanities with legal academia.

Yahui Liang ’15, Boston University School of Law

Ellis-LiangDay 1: Law School 101

To be honest, before this Princeternship, the only exposure I’d had to law school was from Legally Blonde. But after spending a day shadowing Professor James Fleming ’88, Associate Dean of Intellectual Life and professor of constitutional law at Boston University Law School, I learned that going to law school is not much different from going to undergrad. The professors don’t cold-call you by your last name or try to humiliate you. On the contrary, they’re extremely patient and willing to help, and I saw many students milling about professors’ offices asking for advice and clarification. In addition to letting us meet his colleagues and the dean of the law school, Professor Fleming also had us sit in on his Constitutional Law class, in which students evaluated the application of the Equal Protection clause to voting in elections and touched upon cases like Reynolds v. Sims (one person one vote), Harper v. Virginia (invalidating the poll tax), and Bush v. Gore. Having never been in a small, 40-student lecture before, I enjoyed how our mentor not only lectured but rather asked students how a certain case could be interpreted in different ways and encouraged them to push back as he played Devil’s Advocate. I think the smaller class sizes and wiggle room given the topic makes law school more intellectually stimulating than undergrad, but also a lot more difficult. (The American Constitutional Interpretation textbook is the width of my hand, heavy as a boulder, and probably just as dense. Just ask people who’ve taken Robbie George’s class.)

Tomorrow, we’ll be sitting in on another constitutional law class as well as a feminist legal theory class taught by Professor Fleming’s wife. Professor Fleming has also been extremely kind in arranging a meeting with an immigration lawyer who specializes in asylum and clinics for law students, since I’m interested in immigration and refugee law. In the evening, we’ll also be attending a talk by Janet Halley, a Harvard Law professor and provocateur—and Princeton grad! For example, she argues against same sex marriage because the rhetoric in same sex marriage cases has been proving how gay couples are just like straight couples when gays should really be embracing their unique queerness.

Probably the most important thing I realized today is that I’ve got a lot more to learn about law. One of the other Princeterns was up to date on all the Supreme Court cases, famous legal theorists, innovations in legal education, you name it, and I felt pretty ignorant. But a humbling experience is also a learning experience, and I asked him for a list of legal blogs to better inform myself. Today was also a little over my head in terms of the slew of constitutional terms and legal theories that I was unfamiliar with, and I hope our mentor doesn’t think I’m disinterested. But I’m optimistic about tomorrow and will challenge myself to ask more questions, even the dumb ones.

Day 2: Law from Other Lenses

“People told me to go to law school to ‘Keep my options open,’ but once you get out of law school, the only thing you can be is a lawyer,” said a lawyer at my Princeternship at WNYC last year. And while I can see her point—some lawyers I know joke that you’ll need to sell your soul to Big Law for a few years to pay off the debt—this Princeternship has taught me that law, or at least the study of law, is very interdisciplinary

Today we sat in on a feminist jurisprudence class taught by Professor Fleming’s wife, Professor Linda McClain, and it was fascinating to analyze law from a feminist lens. If you’re wondering what feminist jurisprudence entails, basically it tries to explain what this law or the rhetoric of this statute implies about the perceived status of women and society’s conception of gender equality. It’s really interesting to pick apart seemingly sterilized legal text and analyze how it both affects and is affected by contemporary social mores and standards.

When we sat in on a workshop for a research paper by a tax law professor, we again saw different disciplines engage in the common arena of law. Over lunch, the tax law professor presented her paper on how the cross-subsidization of charitable giving in the European Union reflects greater fiscal challenges in the EU. To parse it down in simpler terms, a few years ago there was a series of court cases in which residents of one EU member state tried to claim tax deductions for donations made to charities of other member states. The central court upheld that the EU member states had to give tax deductions for non-domestic charities, which as you can imagine led to many problems. (The last thing Germany wants is to subsidize charities in Greece or Italy.) The professor argues that this is just one of the problems of economic coordination within the EU.

What really impressed me about the workshop was that there were all these other law professors present to give feedback on the paper, and these professors ranged from other tax law professors to international law to constitutional law to anthropology/law to feminist jurisprudence, what have you. It was awesome to see how academics from different fields had different perspectives on the paper and all bounced ideas off of each other.

My biggest regret with this Princeternship is that we didn’t get to see more of the disciplines. Unfortunately, the immigration law professor had to go to a clinic in South Boston and couldn’t speak with us, but I wish perhaps we’d been able to talk to a clinical professor as well as more professors from different fields (such as human rights). But I know it being two days, it’s a bit unrealistic, and I can always email the professors who specialize in the areas I’m interested in.

For me, the biggest take away from this experience is that though law school will be grueling, more grueling than undergrad even, I think I’ll enjoy it and find it intellectually interesting. I really like how law professors push students to consider each issue from many different angles and that in law school classes, students argue against the text and against the professors in a way I’ve never witnessed before in my precepts.

I also like how the legal profession is a profession that requires you to use your brain 100% of the time. For some people, that might be a bad thing, but after the mind-numbing jobs I’ve had during high school, being challenged and stimulated mentally is refreshing, or at least it seems desirable from my naive never-held-a-real-job standpoint.

Coming into this Princeternship, I was unsure if I wanted to go to law school or become a lawyer. But after seeing that law is interdisciplinary and intellectually stimulating, I’m leaning more and more toward heading to law school after graduation, even with the slew of pessimistic, “there isn’t a market for lawyers” articles published recently. Professor Fleming’s career is proof that law can be a very rewarding field, and I’m amazed at the amount of books and journal articles he’s published and conferences he’s organized—while still having time to host a few Princeton students every year. Thank you, Professor Fleming, for your patience and for sharing your passion for law.

P.S. Future Princeterns of Professor Fleming: wear purple.