Back to Features

Current Issue : Spring 2010

BLS: What course did you find to be the most useful, interesting, or inspiring to you?

James: One of my favorite classes was Federal Courts and the Federal System. While many of the upper-level courses focus principally on practical skills, Federal Courts addresses the very complicated relationship between the third branch and the other two branches of government. Because of the focus on constitutional law, this course requires both a high degree of critical thinking as well as an ability to express complex issues in a methodical way. I felt the most engaged in this class. I think that it will also turn out to be the most useful course as I prepare for my upcoming clerkship.

Mike: I loved my classes that were taught by actual judges: Mental Health Law, with Magistrate Judge Robert Levy, Sentencing Law, taught by Carol Amon who is a United States District Court Judge in the Eastern District, and New York Criminal Procedure Workshop with New York State Supreme Court Judge Barry Kamins. The subjects were incredibly relevant to the work I’m doing after graduation. All these judges are masters in their fields and care deeply about building relationships with BLS students. We were also able to hold many classes in the judges’ courtrooms and litigate the issues in a federal courthouse, which was an amazing experience.

Sparkle: My favorite course was the Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Colloquium. The class was helpful, interesting and inspiring! It was structured into seminar and colloquium sessions. During the colloquium weeks, we had bankruptcy scholars and professors from around the world present their papers to us for questions and comments. This was a remarkable experience. It was inspiring that such renowned and distinguished scholars were interested in our comments and questions while working on their papers. It also provided invaluable insight into the scholarship process. During the semester, we each picked a bankruptcy or commercial law topic and presented drafts of our papers to our classmates for their feedback. At the end of the semester, it was extremely rewarding to have completed a quality piece of writing and present our final papers in class.

James Hays II spent five years working in retail at Lacoste before he decided that there had to be more to life than a self-satisfied crocodile on a polo shirt. “I knew that I wanted to do something more intellectually stimulating than retail, so I applied to law school,” he said. “It has opened doors that I would never have expected. Because of Brooklyn Law School, I’ve interned for a federal judge (Judge Martin Glenn in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, S.D.N.Y), worked at a big law firm (Simpson Thatcher), and published a note in the Brooklyn Law Review (on renegotiating the terms of sovereign bonds). I was a research assistant to Professor Roberta Karmel and Professor Yane Svetiev, and I’ve interned for FINRA. This is a world I never knew existed.”

In spite of his culture shock, he certainly acclimated quickly. Hays has excelled in virtually every area of his law school career. He is the Executive Articles and Research Editor of Brooklyn Law Review and is an International Business Law Fellow. He is also at the top of his class, and has received several honors: the Dean’s Recognition Merit’s Scholarship, the Martin Besen Endowed Scholarship, and the Judge Nicholas Coffinas Endowed Scholarship.

Hays will clerk for Judge Edward R. Korman ’66 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Following his clerkship, he will become an associate at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett.