Halfway Through BBQ

by Brian Focarino, Class of 2015

brianfocarinophotoThursday night of the first week of classes in the spring term, the Alumni and Development Office, alongside Dean Douglas, hosted the “Halfway Through BBQ” for the 2Ls. Standing around, talking with close friends in the now-extremely-familiar Law School lobby, my initial impression is that it’s hard to believe we’ve already made our way through half of law school. Law School is of course a long-term investment, but its successful navigation requires a lot of day-to-day thinking: the next reading assignment, trial team competition, organizational meeting, speaker series, journal cite check, or externship deadline. With so much going on, especially during second year, it’s easy to miss the halfway marker unless someone points it out to you in passing. Tonight, the lobby swelled with 2Ls taking an hour out of their otherwise busy weekday evenings to catch up, celebrate being halfway there, and enjoy good food alongside great company.

More shocking than how quickly time passes, though, is the difference it’s made. Two Augusts ago, the Law School lobby filled with exactly the same people, then strangers both to each other and to the study of law. Tonight had me thinking about just how much three semesters changes things. Tonight, those same people, almost all friends or close friends at this point, gathered to discuss their latest classes, externships, internships, student groups, competitive teams, journals, research, and other commitments. Our 2Ls have at this point become fully immersed in the study of law. They’ve competed in national competitions, interned locally, nationally, and globally, worked for district attorneys, local, state, and federal judges, 1-person law firms and 1,000-person law firms, start-ups and Fortune 50 corporations. They’ve worked across government, the judiciary, corporate America, for local, national and global non-profits, and for firms, in almost every area of the law. They’ve written briefs, argued motions, reviewed contracts, completed research and joined journals. They’ve followed their passions and completed 1L summer internships, many have secured 2L summer internships, and some have completed other internships or externships in between. They’ve woven themselves into the fabric of the Law School itself – many of them leading active student organizations dedicated to particular areas of the law they’re passionate about, and many more serving as members of one of the Law School’s prestigious student-led journals.

It’s the sign of a fine education when, looking back, none of us standing in the lobby tonight could probably have imagined all of the things we’d have accomplished, experiences we’d have had, things we’d have learned, friends that we’d make or passions we’d discover or further explore just a year and a half ago. Viewed in that context, to think that we’re only halfway done seems crazy – I can’t imagine how much more impressive and qualified the same 2Ls around me will be as 3Ls graduating into the legal profession a year and a half from now.

In a lot of ways, the BBQ felt like a vindication that the training wheels have finally been taken off. The rest of our Law School experience is, in large part, shaped by ourselves. The Law School’s 2Ls are a passionate, committed, and talented group of future lawyers. Tonight, as they chat amongst themselves and with the many professors wandering from group to group amongst them, it’s hard not to be thankful for the opportunity to live and learn in this legal community.

The 2Ls are halfway through, but in many ways we’re just getting started.

Read more from Brian:

Thanks, posted November 20, 2012

Meet a Member of the Class of 2015, posted March 15, 2012