BC Law Student Makes Her Case
ebrief feature story
BC student Anusia Hirsch has done something few other lawyers or students have dared to do--blog about her client experiences.
"BC LAB Blog," started by Hirsch during her summer position at the Law School's Legal Assistance Bureau in Waltham, chronicles her first exposure to the realities of becoming a working lawyer--a challenge, she says, that was well worth taking on.
"As I went through my first year," she says in her first video blog entry, "I was wishing that someone before me had kept a journal to document their experiences so that I knew what to expect...I really didn't know what was available in my career path."
Hirsch didn't get to it during her busy first year, but she decided to do something similar while working at BC LAB.
She wanted to make the blog as personal and real as possible, in order to help students coming after her understand what it was like at LAB. As she began blogging, she realized that the more important aspects of the job often had confidentiality issues wrapped around them, and it became difficult to chronicle her experiences without running into problems. She wanted to talk about her client interactions. After talking with the school and with her LAB faculty members, and doing a lot of research, she found that to the best of her knowledge, no other law school student in the country had done what she wanted to do.
"There were so many ethical considerations to go into the decision," Hirsch says. "First and foremost, client confidentiality...and also criticisms toward me for doing this. We're testing new waters, and that can be risky business. So we had extensive conversations about how to do this in accordance with ethical guidelines."
With the assistance of her teachers, Hirsch came up with detailed and stringent guidelines to follow. She received permission from a client to tell her story, with details changed, and with the understanding that LAB and Law School staff and the client would sign off on every entry before it was posted.
Then she began to tell "Sarah's" story. The result is an often touching, personal account of a young law student learning how to be a lawyer--interacting with sensitive client meetings, learning how to interview, how to be empathetic without letting the case overwhelm you, and how to argue effectively.
The blog was quickly picked up by BC Law alumnus Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites, and then by the ABA Journal. Eagleionline, the student blog for the law school, also picked it up. Hirsch's--and Sarah's--story received a lot of attention.
Hirsch finished blogging several weeks ago, as her summer position ended, but she's been energized by the experience, and is now considering ways to integrate her interest in social media with her legal career. "There are so many ways to tell stories," she says. "We need to do a better job showing new students what law school, and lawyering, is like. I hope to remain a part of that process."