Other Stories from InBrief
bc law magazine
Muckraker in Our Midst
Author Stirs Constitutional Controversey
Supreme Court historian and former BC Law Professor Peter Irons discussed his controversial new book, War Powers: How the Imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution, at the Law School in September.
Though the book has been described as everything from “compelling and unnerving” to “a truly bad book by a member of the lunatic left who holds the ludicrous theory that the framers actually meant what they said in the Constitution,” Irons claimed it is a conservative work that simply adopts and restates the conventional wisdom in the field of constitutional law.
“The topic is very timely, but when I wrote the book I didn’t realize I was sitting on the crest of a wave, not because we are at war now, but because we have been at war every year since the Constitution was written,” he said. “But although we have been to war 125 times, there were only five occasions when we actually declared it. We are a nation with a war-like tradition, but we also profess to be a nation of law, and that is where the problem arises.”
Irons’ books on the Supreme Court and constitutional litigation include
A People’s History of the Supreme Court and Justice at War. He considers
himself a literal and figurative muckraker, not only because he spends his mornings
cleaning his horses’ stalls, but also because he has devoted three decades
to digging under the surface of how society is run. “I look at the constitutional
law in this country from the bottom up, and at all the people involved in this
process, in light of the fact that this is the way society decides the issues
that the other branches of government are unable or unwilling to resolve,”
A professor at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a practicing attorney, Irons played a prominent role in reversing the 1940s criminal convictions of Fred Korematsu and other Japanese Americans. They had challenged the World War II curfew and internment orders.
—Kristine Povilaitis ’07
Creative Career Planning
Globe-Trotting Coogan Shapes Her Own Destiny
Kathleen Coogan’s career path started like that of many Law School graduates, but thanks to an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for travel, her journey has been anything but typical.
After graduating from Boston College Law School in 1993, Coogan went to work at a large firm in Chicago. When an opportunity to teach law abroad for a year presented itself two years later, she mustered the courage to ask her boss for a sabbatical. A few months later, armed with the pedagogical skills she’d learned in Professor Zygmunt Plater’s Environmental Law Teaching course, she was brushing up on comparative law in Kaunas, Lithuania.
“I was afraid to ask for the time off because no one where I worked had done it before,” she admitted to a group of students at a recent brown-bag lunch talk at the Law School. “But everything worked out amazingly, and my boss was thrilled to see me take the initiative and set a precedent for others interested in expanding their experiences.”
Now, ten years later, Coogan’s career has taken her to Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, El Salvador, Estonia, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Slovakia, and Taiwan. Her advice to future graduates interested in unconventional careers: Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. “If you don’t see a job you like, then make one up,” she said. “Then you have to find someone to pay for it.”
The first of several brownbag speakers to be hosted by the International Law Society this semester, Coogan urged students to be creative in their career thinking.
“You can never be sure of where life will take you,” she said, “and new experiences can open the door to unexpected things.” Taking chances has been a way of life for Coogan. For example, eager to be part of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s office, she worked for free as an intern to get her foot in the door. Eventually, she was hired as legislative counsel. She also created a position for herself as a consultant for the American Bar Association (ABA), dealing with freedom of information laws in Latin America.
Coogan has served as a senior project director in the International Programs Division of the National Center for State Courts; as a regional liaison, based in Rio de Janeiro, for ABA-Latin America; and as a rule of law liaison, based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, for ABA Central and East European Law Initiative.
She currently works for herself as founder and president of International Transitions Consulting LLC in San Francisco.
—Matthew Karr ’08
2006 Event toHave 75th Anniversary Cache
BC Law will roll out thered carpet to alumni celebrating their reunion in 2006
(class years ending in 1 and 6). Why the special treatment? Because Reunion
2006 officially marks the 75th anniversary of the Law School’s first graduating
class. The event will be held on October 21 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, 15 Arlington
St., Boston, a venue selected for its own venerable place in the city’s
history. Another highlight of reunion weekend will be bar reviews on Friday
night. Edward Leahy and Robert Bloom, co-chairs of the committee for the class
of 1971, which was the last class to graduate from More Hall, are planning a
bar review in More Hall for all alumni who graduated from the Main Campus facility.
A bar review for all other classes will be held on the Newton Campus. In addition,
key alumni from the various classes will be recognized at the main event with
75th anniversary awards and other recognitions. Reunions are a vital part of
“Community is important at BC Law in many ways,” says Marianne Lord, associate dean of institutional advancement. “There’s the community of scholars. There’s the community of graduates in chapter cities across the country. There’s the community of alumni within law firms. And there’s the community formed by individual classes. “Reunions celebrate that class community and hopefully remind alumni of the reasons that brought them to the Law School in the first place. It’s a time to remember and strengthen their bonds,” she says.
Other articles from In Brief: