One of the great strengths of Boston College Law School is our sense of community — a sense that manifests itself in dozens of ways. Inside the classroom, it is in the way students work with their teachers and classmates to imagine new solutions to legal problems. Outside the classroom, it is in the mentoring relationships that grow out of the easy accessibility students enjoy with faculty. It is in the camaraderie of the Friday afternoon "bar review" sessions in the student lounge and the more formal social activities that pull together people of diverse backgrounds and interests. Perhaps most intensely, it is in the small, informal and self-forming groups in which students push one another in a shared passion for the power, elegance and dynamism of the law.
What is that community like for LL.M. students? That depends on how you think about it.
One way of thinking about community is the LL.M. program itself. In 2012-13, we hosted 19 students from 16 countries: business lawyers from Argentina, Colombia, France, Ghana, India, Japan and Korea, an environmental lawyer from Puerto Rico, human rights lawyers from Mexico and Nigeria, and recent law school graduates from Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Spain, and Taiwan. We work hard to help our LL.M. students engage each other, organizing social events, symposia, court visits, etc. The LL.M. program staff take the lead, but many others on the Law School faculty and staff contribute as well.
The relatively small size of our LL.M. program also puts a premium on integrating LL.M.s into the Law School community in general. A lot happens naturally, but we also help things along. From the outset, each LL.M. student is paired with one or two J.D. student “buddies” who can introduce the LL.M. student to new friends, show him or her around, and provide informal advice on things like housing, restaurants, movie theaters and the Boston area in general. In addition, we introduce each LL.M. student to faculty working in the student’s areas of interest early during their time here, in order to promote informal mentoring relationships.
There is also a vibrant community of students, faculty and visitors interested in international matters in particular. This includes several internationally-oriented student organizations within the Law School, and the Graduate International Student Association affiliated with the University’s Office of International Students and Scholars. To enhance the experience, we offer an International Legal Studies Colloquium, a periodic gathering of students, faculty and others for the discussion of ongoing work in the field.
Meanwhile, what is it like when you step outside the door? We’re physically located on 40 acres of rolling green lawns and manicured gardens in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. The beauty and serenity of our setting almost creates a sense of a world apart. Almost, but not quite — because so much is nearby. We are a quick shuttle bus ride to Boston College’s Chestnut Hill campus, the main home of a great Jesuit university. Boston, which is both New England’s most cosmopolitan city and a premier “college town,” is a few short miles away. Cambridge, home to two of the world’s great research universities, is just as close. Both are easily accessible by car, bus, train or metro.