During my two day Princernship with Professor James Fleming *88, I learned more about law school, legal careers, and academia than I ever thought possible. Our first day started at 9 a.m. in Professor Fleming’s office. Professor Fleming took the time to get to know my fellow Princeterns and me, and we got to know Professor Fleming as well. He told us about his path to becoming a law school professor, which included getting a PhD at Princeton and a JD at Harvard. Although I did not think I was interested in a life in academia before this Princeternship, after talking to Professor Fleming about his academic journey, I realized that it may be something I am interested in pursuing. We also discussed the different types of career possibilities in the field of law, from practicing corporate law to studying constitutional theory.
Next, we sat in on a meeting between the BU School of Law Dean Maureen O’Rourke and Professor Fleming, and we got to see some of the administrative, behind-the-scenes work that is necessary to make a law school run smoothly for all of its students. In addition, we attended Professor Fleming’s Constitutional Law course. He lectured on several monumental court cases in our country’s history, including Bush v. Gore, which was exciting because for me it took place in my home state of Florida.
For as much as I learned on the first day of my Princeternship, I learned even more on the second, which started off similar to the first, meeting in Professor Fleming’s office at 9 a.m. We had meetings with several other professors at BU School of Law, which Professor Fleming set up according to our specific interests. I am interested in International Law and Constitutional Law, and Professor Fleming set up meetings with Professor Rob Sloane and Professor Pnina Lahav, who are experts in those fields. Professor Fleming also met with several of his current students to discuss papers they were writing. It was incredible to see how much time Professor Fleming devoted to guiding his students and how much he genuinely loves teaching. All around his room were tokens of appreciation given to him by his students, and it was clear how much his students like and respect him.
Later in the day, we attended a faculty workshop with Professor Fleming, in which another professor presented an upcoming paper and received feedback from the rest of the staff. It was apparent that the staff had great working relationships with each other, and it was fascinating to see the different professors bounce ideas off of each other about the best way to improve an argument. We also attended another one of Professor Fleming’s courses, Constitutional Theory, and a captivating lecture on the legality of the use of drone warfare under international law.
Finally, after a fun and informative day at the office, Professor Fleming and his wife, Professor Linda McClain, graciously invited us into their home for dinner. The meal consisted of both great food and great conversation, and it was an incredible way to cap off my Princeternship experience.
After reflecting on my Princeternship, I realize how invaluable the experience truly was. Coming in, I did not have a sense of what it would be like to attend law school or what it would be like to become a professor. After spending two days shadowing Professor Fleming, I now have a much better sense of what both law school and becoming a professor would be like. Although I do not yet have to decide which path I will take after graduating from college, when the time comes, I will be able to make a much more informed decision.