The Making of a Lawyer Page 6
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Current Issue : Spring 2010

BLS: Let’s say you were hired by the Law School to write about the student experience and your job was to finish the sentence “Brooklyn Law School Is…”

James: Brooklyn Law School is Life-changing. I can’t emphasize this enough. You don’t know what to expect when you get here, and it has changed my life drastically. The opportunities are incredible, and there is a great support system here. There’s also a phenomenal alumni network to draw upon throughout the state and country.

Mike: Brooklyn Law School is Real. The approach of the faculty is not all theoretical, at least in the majority of the classes. Working in these internships we’re able to do so much more than write memos. We can draft and file pleadings, argue before judges, and make a real impact. I feel like that’s a difference in approach between Brooklyn Law School and a lot of other law schools that are more focused on teaching students how to be professors rather than lawyers.

Sparkle: Brooklyn Law School is Family. It’s much more than a school for me. My professors, my friends, everyone I’ve met here—it’s family. The relationships I’ve built here and the people who have helped me here will stay with me regardless of what I do.

Shannon: Brooklyn Law School is the Place to Be. We’re at the heart of everything—the state and federal courts are right here. New York is one of the largest cities in the world, and it draws so much talent. This is definitely a place for people to come that want to seize different opportunities. You come here and you get to go to that next level. You have all the brilliance of the professors that are really behind you.

Gloria: Brooklyn Law School is a Platform for Success. However you define success for yourself, I think that’s for each individual to decide, and make it their own. And I think that the resources are here for students to do just that.

Paul: I have two. The first one is Brooklyn Law School is Undervalued. If you’re not here, you don’t know how good it is. That’s the truth of it. You get here and learn very quickly that you’re going to be a quality lawyer because you’re here. Not because of who taught you or the city you’re in, but because of what they taught you and how you learned it. You get a really high-quality education. Also, Brooklyn Law School is the first place I’d look if I needed to hire a lawyer, and that’s what really counts in the end.

Michael Pope knows the key to finding happiness in law school. “It’s all about understanding why you actually came and what drove you here,” he explained. “For me, it was the work I did at the Seattle, Washington-based Innocence Project. I saw how the law could be used as a tool for social justice.” A passion for social justice is what inspired him to apply to law school—and what brought him to Brooklyn Law School in particular. “I came here because there was a strong focus on public interest, and there was financial support for those who seriously want to work in the field.”

Pope, who grew up in Bellingham, Washington stocking candy and drinking Slurpees in the 7-11s his parents managed, has had a wealth of opportunities in public interest work during law school. In addition to being a Sparer Public Interest Fellow, he worked for the BLS-Holland & Knight Community Service Team, Brooklyn Defender Services, the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division, and the Bronx Defenders Civil Action Practice. He was also a member of the Moot Court Honor Society.

Pope is the recipient of the prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowship, which will fund his upcoming position as the Director of the Community Youth Reentry Project at Youth Represent. For the next two years he will provide proactive, community-based legal representation to New York’s young people as they attempt to reenter the community after being in court or in jail. He will work with youth who are reentering the community after any sort of criminal accusation or conviction, helping with housing, employment, and education. “I’ve always wanted to public interest work,” he explained. “I want to fall asleep knowing that I’ve done something in that day or that week that has improved the life of someone else.”