File #4515: "DICTA_vol16_no1_2015.pdf"


VOL. XVI - NO. 1

Conversations with leadership:
A futuristic dean
shares his insights

Suffolk hires a lawyer to lead


argaret McKenna assumed her role as president of Suffolk University this past summer. Dicta sat down with her a week before
classes started, after a couple of months on the job,
to pick her brain about her past, her plans for the
University, and her plans for Suffolk Law School.
Dicta: What drew you to civil rights law? In what
kind of cases were you involved?
President McKenna: I grew up in a working-class,
immigrant community. My parents were public
school teachers who were involved in social justice
issues. I watched them. I always thought-as my parents did-that people deserved a fair break and did

not always get one. I witnessed discrimination, so
I grew up with a sense of “that’s just not right.” I
went to law school to become a civil rights lawyer.
I didn’t go to law school and then decide to practice as a civil rights attorney. I was a Title 7 Employment Discrimination lawyer through the Justice Department’s Honors Program in Washington,
D.C., the Civil Rights Division. The range of cases I
worked on involved police and fire departments in
Dallas, Fort Worth, Miami Dade County, and the entire city of Memphis — the issue involving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the sanitation workers. I
sued the departments for race discrimination.
Continued on page 4


President Jimmy Carter meets with his commission for the appointment of blacks to the federal judiciary in the 5th Circuit at the White House in June 1977. From left: Georgia state Sen. Horace Tate, Joe Reid; Coretta Scott King, staff
aide Margaret McKenna, President Carter; and Attorney General Griffin Bell. (Photo/Harvey Georges, AP)

he Suffolk University Law
School community need not
worry about whether or not
we will be prepared to maneuver
in, or keep up with, the changing
legal market. The school’s newest
dean, a former professor of the law
school, is nationally recognized for
his insight into the future of legal
education and law practice.
And if the furniture in his office is any indication of his tendency to keep up the latest trends
— he’s definitely at the cutting
edge: Dean Andrew Perlman’s office furniture is in line with the
latest trend — collaborative spaces that is believed to be attractive
to millennials. Even the American Bar Association has relied on
Dean Perlman’s insight concerning future trends: Dean Perlman
helped amend the Model Rules of
Professional Conduct so that they
account for changes in technology
and increased globalization.
Here at the Law School, Dean
Perlman is perhaps best known
for being the founding director of
SULS’ Institute on Law Practice
Technology and Innovation, and

Suffolk Law Dean Andrew Perlman using a Google Glass while teaching
in 2013. (Michael J. Clarke/Boston
Business Journal)
the Legal Technology and Innovation Concentration. Dean Perlman’s many accomplishments are
enumerated upon in various places on Suffolk University’s website, and in many other pages on
the World Wide Web, so Dicta sat
down with SULS’ newest Dean a
week before classes started to get
information that is not so apparent through other publications.
Continued on page 5

How to have a successBoston 2024: What went
ful social life at law school. wrong anyway? Page 7
Page 6
Toxic torts cases & HolSBA welcomes Secular
lywood films: David vs.
Legal Society. Page 3
Goliath. Page 2


Page 2

Toxic torts cases a Hollywood staple
Shakesha Coleman
Managing Editor
Rebecca De Chellis
Art Director
Gamze Yalcin
Staff Writer
Elizabeth Mollie Heintelman
Prof. Michael Rustad
Ramon Derek Brett Livingston

Dicta is the official student newspaper of the Suffolk Law School
community, existing solely to
help foster a sense of community
through communication. The goal of
Dicta is to educate, inform, enlighten, and entertain the student body
through outstanding reporting and
editorials on news, events, trends,
sports, arts, food, and popular culture.
The opinions and views expressed in Dicta are not necessarily those of the Dicta staff and are
not the opinions of Suffolk University Law School or the student body.
Suffolk Law School students control and conduct all facets of this
paper. Dicta does not discriminate
against any persons and complies
with the university policies concerning equality.
Dicta encourages students, alumni, faculty, and administrators to
submit letters to the editor and articles for publication. Submissions
should include the author’s name,
class and/or position at the university or in the community. Dicta reserves the right to edit and publish
all submissions. Anonymous submissions will not be published.
Printed by Sun Chronicle Media,
34 South Main St., Attleboro, Mass.

or 25 years, I have defended America’s
common law of torts against constant
attacks and calls for “tort reform.” I
have testified before Congress twice, and
been a co-counsel for amicus parties litigating before the U.S. Supreme Court. My work
on punitive damages has been cited by both
the majority and dissent in punitive damages cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and
dozens of appeals courts.
My defense of American tort law is based
on its function as a flexible, free-market
based and cost-effective alternative to a
more rigid and costly European-style regulation system, social insurance scheme, or
some combination of the two — the most
widely employed alternatives to protect the
public and redress organizational harms.
I am skeptical that any bureaucratic construct could function as quickly and effectively as trial attorneys driven by the profit
motive (the “private attorney general”) to
alert and protect the public.
Tort law is a private law subject with a
public vision. Tort remedies have become
increasingly controversial since Ronald
Reagan employed a story about a man
telephoning from a booth near a highway
who was seriously injured by an uninsured
drunk driver. The man sued the phone
company, arguing the booth was too close
to a busy intersection and that the door of
the booth had been defective. Corporate officials strongly supported Reagan’s presidential campaign partly because they
feared that “Robin Hood juries” would assess unjustified awards out of sympathy to
the plight of injured plaintiffs.
In recent decades, trial lawyers have
been satirized in popular culture. The general public is amused, angered and perplexed by punitive damages verdicts, such
as in the McDonald’s “hot coffee” case.
While the hot coffee litigation is known by
nearly every student, few know the injuries
were severe and McDonald’s own records
demonstrated more than 700 prior complaints arising from super-heated coffee.
I use a variety of legal paradigms to help
students understand the McDonald’s coffee
case as a problem from both plaintiff and
defense perspectives. Its concrete fact pattern provides students an excellent opportunity to apply and flip a variety of creative
legal arguments. I ask students, for example, how they would use law and economics
concepts if they were representing McDonald’s Corp., which sold billions of cups of
coffee and registered only 700 complaints.
Does efficiency dictate lowering the tem-


perature to redress only 700 consumer injuries out of billions of cups of coffee?
Most law school classes have several
students with prior training in neoclassical
economics who are able to make complex
efficiency-based arguments as to whether
McDonald’s should or should not be subject
to liability and, if so, the amount of money necessary to deter future misbehavior.
A social justice approach, in contrast, employs very different logic and comes to conclusions more favorable to the plaintiff.
Hollywood filmmakers have countered
the popular view of tort law by portraying
the David vs. Goliath mismatch faced by
brave individuals suing for public safety.
My first brush with a famous case made
into a film was the plutonium contamination case in Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp.,
464 U.S. 238 (1984), which became the subject of an Academy Award winning movie.
I was a year out of law school clerking
for Judge William E. Doyle of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This tort action had been filed by Karen Silkwood’s estate against an Oklahoma nuclear facility to recover for plutonium contamination.
An Oklahoma jury awarded the plaintiff
$505,000 in compensatory damages and $10
million in punitive damages. The 10th Circuit reversed the award, arguing that it was
preempted by federal nuclear regulations.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and therefore Oklahoma, could consider a tort lawsuit arising
out of the plant’s lack of safety. The Oklahoma jury imposed punitive damages stemming from plutonium escaping Kerr-McGee’s fuel processing plant in Cimarron.
The director of the Health Physics Program at Oak Ridge National Labs testified that Kerr-McGee’s safety program
was “very weak and inadequate.” KerrMcGee’s inventory system was so lax that
18,1860 grams of plutonium could not be located — enough to place the entire country in jeopardy. (One half-gram of plutonium is enough to give 35 million people a
lifetime lung burden.) When I was clerking for Judge Doyle in the summer of 1985,
I wrote the dissenting view, opposing the
10th Circuit’s decision that the state action
was preempted by Oklahoma’s worker’s
compensation act.
I also had a slight role in the actual case
that became the basis of the film, A Civil Action, starring John Travolta as Jan
Schlictman, the plaintiff’s attorney that
litigated the toxic torts case of Anderson
v. W.R. Grace, 628 F. Supp. 1219 (D. Mass.

1986). The book and film portray the David vs. Goliath nature of a toxic tort lawsuit: the powerful corporate defense firms
against understaffed and poorly financed
plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Eight families alleged that two Fortune 500 corporations contaminated the local water supply with toxic industrial solvents. These Massachusetts families hired
a young attorney who brought civil suits
against W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods
for recovery of damages associated with
wrongful death from cancers. The companies retained the services of two leading Boston law firms. I was on the defense
side as an associate in one of those powerful firms. The jury found W.R. Grace liable
for environmental pollution, while the case
against Beatrice Foods was held in favor
of the defendant. The action against W.R.
Grace was eventually disposed of through
a settlement for approximately $8 million.
The account of this now famous case
portays the personal tragedies behind this
legal conflict. On the human side we heard
of children who died slow deaths from leukemia and the eventual bankruptcy of the
plaintiffs’ attorneys who helped the families “construct” the legal dispute. On the
legal side, we heard of the inside life of a
courtroom, the large corporate law firms,
and the financially-struggling, small firm
taking on two legal giants. This film offers
a broad, contextualized view of law and legal practice, illustrating that lawsuits and
legal claims do not simply emerge out of
thin air; but, rather, a contextualized social
process and history to all legal claims.
The film, Erin Brockovich, depicts the
true story of a young woman who helped to
launch a toxic torts lawsuit that ultimately
resulted in a $333 million class-action settlement against a California utility for polluting the local water supply. Legal crusaders like the real-life Erin Brockovich
protect the public by uncovering corporate
conduct that threatens the community. My
role is even more attenuated in this case,
as I serve on the board of the Center for
Justice and Democracy with Brockovich.
Tort law is increasingly an institution of
social control and public policy, expanding
from its traditional role of compensation
and reducing the cost of accidents. Tort
law, like sunlight, acts as a disinfectant by
exposing hidden threats to the public welfare not detected by public authorities.
MICHAEL RUSTAD is Thomas Lambert Jr. Professor
of Law & Co-Director Intellectual Property Law
Concentration, Suffolk University Law School



Page 3

SBA welcomes Secular Legal Society

nterview with Ramon Derek Brett Livingston, President, Secular Legal Society:
Dicta: Has your group tried to get SBA
recognition before?
SLS: We received a rejection and then
it was overturned on appeal. I wanted to
start an organization, so I had an inchoate
idea at the end of the year of starting a secular organization and I basically rushed to
get everything together for presentation. I
wanted to get recognition before the start
of the year for various reasons.
Dicta: If so, do you feel/believe that recognition/votes were denied because of
the nature of your group’s beliefs or people’s perception of what a “secular” group
stands for?
SLS: Looking back, I really do not know.
If you saw my second presentation, it obviously had a little sarcasm and animosity in it, so people might think that I felt
I was discriminated against at my first
presentation. There was one presentation
before us (Trust and Estates/Real Estate
Group) when we went in front of the COP.
Their presentation was good and afterwards, not many questions were posed by
the other presidents, and they were easily approved.
After we presented, Brendan (The CoPresident of the club) and I felt like a human punching bag. It just seemed like total chaos, and in addition, some of the
questions were a little baffling. A lot of
the presidents left before we finished answering questions, which we found out later was due to them having to attend class,
not out of disrespect. At the time though,

including the totality of my experiences in
life, it seemed like the same old discrimination I would get when I would tell someone that I do not believe in a deity.
But, most importantly, we have our organization right now, and we have moved
past that experience. I can say that I do
not harbor any ill feelings from that experience, and while it helped motivate my
second presentation, I am looking forward
to other things.
Dicta: What is the mission of your
SLS: I think the main mission in our
group, just like any other group, is bring
like minds together. From a legal standpoint, we believe that it is important to address secularism in our legal community.
We are a underrepresented ever growing
group, and we seek to create a community
that empowers individuals to express their
ideas without fear of prejudice. We believe
that our justice system is a place for free
rational thought, and we would like to encourage an open dialogue regarding legislation involving church/state separation,
First Amendment rights, lack of secular
involvement in the political process, and
the stigma tied to those who have secular
Dicta: What stereotypes do your group’s
members face?
SLS: Although we are an ever growing
group, there are many stereotypes pretty
much everywhere in the world minus Japan, Scandinavia, and some parts of Europe. One of the biggest stereotypes is that
atheism associated with immoral behavior.
I feel that because my morals come from
within, I feel more genuine as a person, as

Come meet Dicta staff:
Come celebrate the first publication of
Dicta, Suffolk University Law School’s student-run newspaper, for the 2015-2016 academic year! A special reception wlll be
held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 7:30
p.m. in the faculty dining room, 120 Tremont St. For more information contact Shakesha Coleman at 347-709-1327, or by email
opposed to following guidelines in a book
to base my sense of morality. I must stress
that not everyone believes this, but it is a
very prevalent stereotype.
Many people believe that atheists are
way too open with their views, when I believe it is the opposite. Many do not come
out because of fear of persecution, such
as people like my mother, who is a high
school teacher, tells me she tells others she
is agnostic when asked by other teachers
because of some backlash she received by
saying she was atheist, and that being agnostic sounds more palatable.
Another stereotype is that we want to
remove religion from everywhere. We believe that freedom of religion is fine as
long as it is not hurting others. There was
an episode this year of “What would you
do?” which shows a table of atheist people
angry at another table for praying in a restaurant. This is totally off base if you have
seen it, as we do not care about private citizens exercising their First Amendment
privileges, it is only government which we
seek to remove religion. The episode is so

off base and unrealistic, it is a complete
Also, just look at Congress. Being an
open atheist is political suicide.
Dicta: You gave a lot of good information
about your group during your presentation
at the SBA meeting. Can you repeat that
info. for the article? (I think you gave info.
re. history of secular groups in the U.S./
Int’l arena.)
SLS: I will have to think about that one.
Well, I have to say a few things to leave
you with:
̈ People with PhD’s are the most likely to be atheist.
̈ Harvard’s 2014 incoming class had
34% identify as atheist or agnostic, with
Yale at 32%.
̈ Four of the five safest countries in the
world are also in the top five in rates of
̈ In 13 countries face execution with
secular beliefs
̈ Six states have archaic laws banning
secular people from office (I think most or
all are in the South)
̈ There is only one jurisdiction (Madison, Wis.) that bans non-religious discrimination — affording them the same freedom as religious people (the protections
cover housing, public accommodations and
One last thing: Gallup polls have always shown that atheists are the more distrusted group, year after year, below gays,
Muslims, etc. This year atheists are actually 2nd place, behind, socialists! I guess
I must be a really hated person being in
the last two groups! That gave me a little

Page 4


Lawyer is hired to lead university
Continued from page 1
It was pretty amazing — that whole
Memphis suit — because you think when
you read about it that the problem had
been solved. But it hadn’t: The drivers
of the trucks were still white. The guys
picking up the garbage were still black.
In Memphis they still had, by custom, a
“black bed” rule in the fire department,
which was if you had one African-American officer you had to have three of everything so that the white officers would not
have to share the same bed and equipment
for each of the eight-hour shifts.
Dicta: How did you go from civil rights
law to education?
President McKenna: After I worked for the
Civil Rights Division, I ran the association
of all of the civil rights commissions conducting training around the country. Then
I worked in the White House. It was while
I was in the White House that I was trying
to figure out what I wanted to do when I
grew up. I was still interested in the same
issues-social justice and access. I thought
about what I could do that would have the
most impact.
That’s when I decided that being a college president would be the thing that
would have the most influence. As a lawyer, I thought you could have a lot of ripple effect on people’s lives with access issues, but I also thought as a university president you could create an environment that encourages people to be change
agents and that would have a catalytic effect on lives. So, I decided that’s what I
wanted to be.
While I was still in the White House, I
started to work on more issues surrounding education. I actually was involved in
the Bakke [Supreme Court] case. Then,
when we created the Department of Education-taking the “E” out of “H.E.W.” [referring to the former Health Education
and Welfare Department], I served on the
transition team. I was the second employee
of that department. I did it very purposefully. I spent a year there before President
Jimmy Carter lost the election. I had to decide then what I was going to do.
I came to Boston. I did talk to a couple of
(law) firms. But at that point, I knew that
I wanted to go into education. I spent one
semester teaching at Simmons [College]
and was a fellow at the Kennedy School [of
Government at Harvard University]. I took
a job as the director of the Bunting Institute and vice president of Radcliffe [College of Harvard University]. Then I start-

ed looking at college presidencies. I really preneurial Center at the Business School?
thought I wanted to run a public institution They should be connected. There are so
— because I’m committed to access — so many possibilities for creating interdisciplinary programs.
therefore you go to public institutions.
Dicta: What do you think of the changes
People asked me then what are you doing at Radcliffe. But the more I found out happening here — like those taking place
about public institutions, the more I dis- at the Law School? Were you involved in
covered that they didn’t have the flexibility any of the decision making?
President McKenna: These changes were
of private independent institutions. There
were a lot more politics and dictates from all made before I came. But I do know
legislators around line items in budgets. that law schools all over the country have
Before I could become a finalist for one shrunk. This is not news. When you’re
job, I had to interview with a state sen- graduating people and they can’t get jobs,
ator. That didn’t feel right to me. Then I you need to be responsible and make sure
thought maybe I could find a private insti- that you right-size your population. Law
tution whose mission is something differ- schools all over the country are doing this
ent. I found Lesley University which is a — and Suffolk is doing this as well — and it
private institution with a public mission — seems to make sense. If you have a smaller
population, you have to figure out what to
and that’s like Suffolk in some ways.
Dicta: When asked about what accom- do with your space. Plus, we need to support more cooperplishments as presation between the
ident of Lesley UniBusiness School and
versity you thought
‘I would like to hear from Law
the Law School.
you could transfer
Dicta: How does
to being the presiSchool students about what we
your training as
dent of Suffolk Unican do to make the Law School an attorney help
versity, you mentioned having put better, academically and in terms in your role as the
president of the Uni“Lesley on very solof other ways we can support
id financial ground
McKwith both a signifienna: Training as
cant growth in the
Suffolk President Margaret McKenna
a lawyer can help
endowment and the
you through life —
facilities.” Do you
the critical thinksee the changes at
Suffolk Law School as being an example of ing, the questioning, the arguing. It gives
you confidence to ask questions. My job is
President McKenna: No, the situation at to ask questions until I understand. Also,
Lesley was very different than the situa- it’s good not to be intimidated by lawyers
tion here at Suffolk. Lesley grew very sig- when you’re a CEO. When people say you
nificantly. When I started there, there can’t do that, I can say what do you mean
were 2,000 students. When I left, there I can’t do that? Being a lawyer is helpful
were 10,000 students — so the campus grew when you’re a CEO.
Dicta: You mentioned in a previous insignificantly.
That’s not going to happen at Suffolk. In terview that we need to ask alumni for
terms of stability here, we need to diversi- help. What are your plans for attracting
fy our revenues and raise some money. We Law School alumni?
President McKenna: First, we [referencneed to focus on the programs that distinguish us from others. I did that at Lesley, ing the dean of the Law School Andrew
too. And that’s what I’ve said many times: Perlman] should ensure that people who
“You should only do what you do as well or want to enter the law profession can. Scholarships and financial aid are very imporbetter than anyone else.”
What are the things that we do? There tant. We should also make sure that peoare a number of things we do here that are ple who enter the profession and who wish
unique — the Intellectual Property Pro- to pursue public service are able to do that
gram at the Law School, the Energy and and repay debt
There are programs at the Law School
the Environment Program, and the Housing Discrimination Clinic. What’s the con- that deserve and need to be supported —
nection between the Intellectual Property like the flagship programs — those that
Program at the Law School and the Entre- are as good as or better than anyone else’s,



such as the Intellectual Property Program.
That program has a rich history and there
is a dramatic need in the commonwealth
for [what Suffolk Law School grads have to
offer]. There is a demand for the skills our
graduates have and we need to make sure
we have the solution to that demand.
Dicta: How can current law students
help you?
President McKenna: I would like to hear
from Law School students about what we
can do to make the Law School better, academically and in terms of other ways we
can support students. What would make
the Law School a better experience than
it is today? What is it missing? What is it
we’re doing that could be done in a different way? The best people to give you advice are the people receiving the services
we provide-and those are our students.
Dicta: What’s your vision for the Law
School? What advice do you have for us?
President McKenna: I would say the same
things I’ve said to the other schools [in the
University], which is, “Focus — you can’t
be all things to all people.” You need to
be known for a few things and what are
those things. When you’re known for a few
things, your rankings go up; it’s cause and
effect. You don’t think about how to raise
your rankings; you think about how do we
get better — then you get known for those
things, and your rankings go up.
Dicta: Some, students in particular, are
not very happy about some of the changes taking place at the Law School. What
are your thoughts about the concern that
the Law School is losing its identity/exclusivity?
President McKenna: Sometimes people make assumptions [about the reason
things were done]. The number one issue
in universities is communication. One of
the things I did [concerning some of the
changes taking place at the University]
was put up a website, put up Q & As, and
put out weekly communications.
e discussed the changes to the Law
School’s bookstore. President McKenna noted that the bookstores are on her
list of issues to look at and encouraged students to be vocal about their desires concerning the bookstore.
Dicta: In an interview, you described
yourself as having grown up in a working
class community. Do you believe that your
background put you at a disadvantage as a
law student?
Continued on page 6



Page 5

Futuristic dean shares his insights
Continued from page 1
Dicta: You partnered to create the Legal Technology Audit. What would you like
the Suffolk Law School community to know
about it?
Dean Perlman: The Legal Technology Audit was created because so many lawyers
don’t know how to use basic software, like
Word, Excel, and Acrobat, despite its importance to everyday practice. The Audit
is designed to ensure that lawyers are using the basic tools at their disposal as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Dicta: Does an attorney or firm get access to the Legal Tech Audit through the
Dean Perlman: The website just gives information about the Audit itself. The Audit
is not on that website. A law school or professor [or corporate entity or anyone else]
wanting access to the Audit fills out a form
that is available through the site and gets
access that way.
Dicta: You were one of 10,000 people chosen to sample Google Glass — the futuristic specs outfitted with a small computer
screen over the right eye, a camera and
an Internet connection. Can you talk about
that experience? What are your thoughts
on this tool being widely used by attorneys,
given your interest in legal compliance and
Dean Perlman: Being a part of the Google Glass Project was a lot of fun. I enjoyed
getting my hands on a cutting edge piece
of technology, and I used it in my classroom on a few occasions. Quite frankly, I don’t view it as something that will
change the landscape in terms of how lawyers practice. I think it’s a very niche device that’s going to have limited use, but
there are other emerging technologies that
I do think have the potential to change not
just how legal services are delivered but
change the economy more generally.
Dicta: How long was the trial?
Dean Perlman: It wasn’t really a trial. I
got my hands on it, and still have it. I’m
happy to allow students to give it a try.
Dicta: You commented that the Google Glass could be useful to the shy student
that would prefer to text a question. Did
any students text questions to you while
you were wearing the Google Glass?
Dean Perlman: Yes! I got lots of text messages, and many times it was from students who were not ordinarily participating in class-so it did seem to have that
effect. It did have a purpose. I just don’t
think it’s going to change the way we do

ue to have the tools, knowledge, and skills
things in a fundamental way.
Dicta: Do you think a tool like Google they need to be successful. This includes
Glass could potentially be counterproduc- an appreciation for innovation and having
tive concerning use in the law school class- a better understanding of business and firoom, as lawyers need to be able and will- nance. That’s one of the reasons I’m very
ing to speak up. Do you think Google Glass excited that the Sawyer Business School —
the graduate school — will have a presence
could be a crutch for some students?
Dean Perlman: I wouldn’t want it to have on the 5th floor of Sargent Hall. The phys[the effect of encouraging students to just ical proximity of that type of knowledge
sit back]. But it does give students the op- and expertise will allow students to take
portunity to ask questions they might not better advantage of it. The bottom line is
otherwise ask. I don’t think it makes stu- that there is a whole range of new knowldents less willing to participate. I think it edge and skills that students need to have
today that they didn’t need to have 20 or 30
gives them another avenue to participate.
Dicta: What were some takeaways from years ago.
Dicta: Speaking of the changes takthe Legal Tech Show in Chicago, where
you spoke at the plenary session, that you ing place at the Law School, can you talk
would like implemented/followed through about the changes happening to the 5th
with here at SULS, maybe through the Ac- floor? Some, students in particular, are not
celerator Clinic or the legal tech program very happy about some of the changes taking place at the law
here? (Have you alschool.
ready seen the takeDean Perlman: Saraways implemented
‘I view my role as helping
gent Hall was crehere?)
ated for a student
Dean Perlman: The
students, not the other way
body of 1,600. Startbig picture point
from a legal tech- around. I guess the way that you ing this fall, we will
nology perspective
all can help me is by telling me be a school of 1,200.
It makes no sense
is that the legal inwhat you need.’
for us to pay all of
dustry is undergoing
the expenses associsignificant change.
Suffolk Law Dean Andrew Perlman
ated with a building
Just like every othintended to house
er part of the econo1,600 students with
my, there are changes being driven by technology. If you’re go- only 1,200 students. It wouldn’t make sense
ing to be a modern legal professional, you for me to take your tuition money to pay
need to understand how technology is used for a building that’s larger than we need.
in the industry. The big takeaway mes- We need to be smaller for a variety of reasage is that lawyers of tomorrow need to sons: The number of students applying to
embrace technological change and inno- law school has shrunk by half over the last
vation and understand how they can use it six or seven years, and the number of jobs
to their advantage to deliver legal services available for graduates has also declined.
more efficiently and effectively. If Suffolk So, it’s been a very concerted and intentionLaw students are able to do that, they will al effort to become smaller.
Now to become smaller in a building
be better positioned to succeed in the 21st
that was created for a larger class size,
century legal marketplace.
Dicta: What’s your vision for the law we necessarily need to share it with other
parts of the university. There was a very
Dean Perlman: Traditionally, Suffolk Law careful study done to figure out what would
School has been focused on training practi- be the appropriate part of the university to
cally-oriented professionals — people who include in Sargent Hall. And the graduate
hit the ground running. We’ve been known school of business is the perfect match, befor that for a very long time. We need to cause lawyers today — legal professionals
make sure that we keep our curriculum of all kinds — really need to have a good
up to date so that we ensure that contin- understanding of business and finance if
ues to be the case in the 21st century. That they’re going to be successful.
Whether you’re representing large comincludes making sure we have an understanding of technology and the new ways panies, or individuals with trusts and estates needs, or small businesses — you
legal services are being delivered today.
I want to make sure our students contin- need to have a good sense of business and



finance. If you run your own small practice, that’s a business. So understanding
business is really a big part of what lawyers need to be able to do. The law school
needs to be smaller, and sharing the space
with a natural partner in our educational
efforts makes a lot of sense.
Dicta: Do you have any specific plans for
collaboration between the Law and Business Schools?
Dean Perlman: I want us to look at our
curriculum to figure out how we might incorporate more business and financial education. The specifics of that would be up
to our curriculum committee. Another possibility is to find synergies between the entrepreneurship offerings of the business
school, and our programming. More crossteaching-perhaps some business school
faculty teaching more law-related courses
and vice versa — might be helpful to both
schools’ students.
One thing I want to make sure that students understand — because I’ve heard this
misunderstanding come up in a number
of different contexts — is that there is no
merging of the schools. There is a Sawyer
Business School. There is a Suffolk Law
School. Those are two different entities
with two different deans and two different
faculties. I’ve heard people say things like
“the Business School is taking over the Law
School” and misinformation of that sort. Of
course, I hope we’ll be able to work more
closely with each other, but at the end of the
day, we are still two different schools that
are part of a single university.
Dicta: Have any faculty or students
shared any of their concerns about the
changes with you?
Dean Perlman: When I’ve heard concerns,
it’s usually been based on some kind of
misinformation — like when people have
raised the concerns about the Business
School taking over the Law School. I have
heard that as a concern, but it’s based on
something that’s not accurate.
Dicta: Some students are unhappy about
the Law School bookstore selling very few
items with the Suffolk Law School logo on
it. What are your thoughts on this concernthat some students feel that we’re losing
our identity and exclusivity behind some of
the changes?
Dean Perlman: I haven’t heard any concerns along those lines, but students certainly should be able to buy Suffolk Law
sweatshirts [and other items] that say
“Suffolk Law” on them.
Continued on page 6

Page 6

Futuristic dean
Continued from page 5
If that’s not the case, let me know and
I will look into it! {We then discussed that
the Suffolk Law School bookstore is now a
spirit store-a store that sells items mostly
with the Suffolk University logo, and that
this location was chosen for a spirit store
due to the prominence of its location.}
Dicta: How can current law students
help you?
Dean Perlman: I think the better question is how I can help you. I really want
to hear from students about the concerns
they have and the issues they want to see
addressed. I view my role as helping students, not the other way around. I guess
the way that you all can help me is by telling me what you need.
Dicta: Do you have any particular plans
for engaging alumni?
Dean Perlman: I want to engage alumni at every turn — in every aspect of the
Law School’s work — such as speaking
with prospective students as well as students who are looking for jobs. We need
alumni to help support a lot of the Law
School’s initiatives. I want to keep alums
involved in the life of the Law School.
Dicta: You obtained an LLM. Many
people think the LLM is for attorneys who
went to law school in other countries that

Lawyer to lead
Continued from page 4
President McKenna: It’s interesting. I
went to Emmanuel College, which is a
pretty middle class place. I think the first
time I experienced a class difference was
my first year at Radcliffe, at Harvard. I
had already been in Washington. I had already been in the White House. But there
were certain cultural experiences that
others at Radcliffe and Harvard had and
assumed that I had that I did not, and certain language that was new to me even
though I had done all these things.
That’s the first time I recognized that I
was truly from a different kind of environment, that I was not upper middle class,
and that I had come from a much more
working class background. There were
words that I had never heard before.
I remember going to a meeting of the
Seven Sister Schools [when they existed]
and this guy said, you know I really miss
the old days when our students came and
they appreciated the opera, and museums, and they understood the importance
of culture and they had been to Europe,
and they understand the Renaissance.

just want to learn about American legal
system. Do you agree? What is the value of an LLM? Why did you pursue one?
When you went to law school, why did attorneys pursue the LLM?
Dean Perlman: Yes, there are a lot of foreign students who pursue an LLM in this
country. That’s one use. They also can be
useful to people who already have a JD
and are looking for additional education
in a specific field. The most common one
is an LLM in tax. So people who want to
focus on tax often get an LLM for that
purpose.. But there are other types as
well. The one that I pursued was a general LLM that I got while pursuing a career
in academia. It was the kind of LLM one
would get only if you wanted to get into legal education. There are different kinds
of LLMs, and they serve different purposes. They aren’t for everyone. The vast majority of lawyers don’t need LLMs.
Dicta: Is there anything you want to say
to the SULS community.
Dean Perlman: It is a deep honor to be
dean of this law school, where I have been
on the faculty for 14 years. I love the students here. I want to help them in any
way I can. My door is always open. If people have questions or concerns, or want
me to attend a particular event, please
reach out to me. I really want to stay in
touch with students even though I won’t
be teaching my normal courses anymore.
He went on and on and on: and now
they come — they don’t understand any
of this. We have to expose them to everything. I thought, isn’t that what college is
about? Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that
exciting for you? I’m one of those people
who had not experienced opera, and museums, and that kind of culture. I thought:
Okay, I get it. I’m not one of you.
Dicta: Is there anything you want to
add? Anything you want to tell the Law
School community? Anything we should
know about our new president?
President McKenna: The University is
stronger if all three parts of the University work together. So, one, one, and one
don’t make three; they make five. And
the bridges and the programs that we can
create will strengthen this place.
I’m anxious and excited to see that
happen. I’m looking forward to working
with the Law School to see what kind of
emphasis the Law School will have with
its new dean. I’m interested in working
with the faculty. I’m interested in working with the Law School, and the Business
School, and the College of Arts & Sciences
to see what we can create as a university
that uses the strengths of all of our programs and schools.

Pursuing a successful
social life in law school


ou’ve probably heard that law school
is a lot like high school. That seems
to be especially true here at Suffolk,
where many are insecure about the School’s
ranking-or lack thereof. It seems that the
competition is heightened here because students believe that coming from a Tier 4
school, it is especially important that they
“beat out” others for the top spot-as only the
top students have a chance at “Big Law.”
This false belief is probably why many
students go to bed wondering “how other
people are doing,” why many students are
frustrated by students who keep to themselves and do not share information about
themselves, and the reason some of the relationships formed in law school are superficial and the source of a lot of confusion.
Insecurity is a funny thing. Some law
students need so badly to size up their competition, that when students do not readily
share information about themselves, they
get “investigated” by others. This can include the insecure student attempting to
gain access to another’s grades, or making
up information about others to make themselves feel better about the unkown.
And of course: This is “school.” There
seems to be something about putting people together in a room with one person that
holds the balance of their fate that provokes competition and gossip-yes gossip.
Yet, lawyers are supposed to represent the
epitome of critical thought! What is critical
about jumping to conclusions about people
you do not know, and repeating-and believing-information, the source of which you
are unsure-and information that is none of
your business in the first place?!
So, for those of us who are committed to
staying sane, here is some advice for navigating law school social life.
1. T.H.I.N.K. I wish I could take credit for
this, but can’t. It’s good advice for lawyers
and life. THINK before you speak. Ask:
T — Is it true? This should be a nobrainer for lawyers. Why say or repeat a
statement that you cannot verify?
H — Is it helpful? What you’re about to
say about someone may be true, but will it
add value to anyone’s existence?
I — Is it inspiring? Are the words you
are uttering going to build someone up or
tear someone down. (And what’s your motive for saying it?)
N — Is it necessary? Every fact you
know and opinion you have does not need

to be uttered. Like when you’re writing a
legal memo: Make every word count. Every word should have a positive purpose.
K — Is it kind? If you’re saying something about someone that you would not
like said about you, you probably should
not say it — even if it is true.
2. Decide what type of winner you want to
be. Do you want to win because others are
not as good as you, or because you are excellent even when not being compared to
anyone? If you are excellent — irrespective
of your surroundings — others’ grades and
accomplishments won’t matter to you. You
will focus on yourself and your goals, and
not worry about what “your competition”
is doing. It’s natural to wonder why people
are all dressed up: “Is there an interview
going on today that I don’t know about?”
“Where’s that person going?” Get over it:
If you’ve done what you’re supposed to do,
you’ll know what interviews are scheduled
and when you need to be dressed up.
3. Don’t hang around people who provoke
panic. That person in your study group who
spends the first 15 minutes whining about
being stressed out will probably transfer
that stress to you. Maybe you should just
peek at each other’s notes every once in a
while, and study by yourself — or with people who handle stress a little better.
4. Stay away from negativity. People tell
who they are by their actions. That classmate that (thinks) telling someone’s business is cute, is really probably just lonely
and insecure and thinks that you will find
him or her more interesting if they seem
to “know” others. And newsflash: This person will potentially talk about you at some
point, too. Nice people do nice things. And
since law school is largely about networking, don’t get caught with the wrong crowd.
Further: Law school is stressful enough.
5. Get to know people for yourself. As a law
student, you are being trained to get the
facts for yourself. Don’t rely on others’ perceptions or interpretations. Feel your own
emotions. Remember that people provide
descriptions and characterizations based
upon their own experiences, background
and understanding — which may not be
accurate. It’s tempting to follow the crowd
and have common enemies, but you might
miss out on important relationships and
networking opportunities when you pass
up interacting with someone based upon
another’s (probably) false perception.


Page 7

What went wrong with Boston 2024
By Elizabeth Mollie Heintzelman
n January 2015, during the beginnings
of an epic Boston winter, the city was
granted the U.S. bid for the Summer
2024 Olympics. On Feb. 6, 2015, Suffolk Law
School held the first public meeting on Boston 2024. However, six months later, Mayor
Marty Walsh informed Bostonians that the
dream for a Boston Olympics was dead. So,
what was wrong with Boston 2024?
With mistakes upon mistakes mounting,
Boston 2024 was doomed from the start.
Lack of public support and a brutal winter, which affected the city’s already ailing public transportation system, were only the beginning of issues for the Olympic
bid. While architectural plans were magnificent, ideas such as having beach volleyball in Boston Common, and having
Harvard be the host of multiple events did
not garner much support.
Also, people involved in Boston 2024 cited money as an issue with the bid, and individuals running the Olympic Commit-


tee lacked experience in orchestrating an
event of this magnitude. On the other hand,
supporters thought Boston 2024 would be
positive for the city by improving infrastructure and promoting tourism; but their
voices were muted by opposition. With all
these issues looming and citizens’ taxes inevitably increasing, it was hard for anyone
to get excited for such an undertaking.
As public support dwindled, the negatives overshadowed the positives, and Suffolk Law students agreed with the public’s
dislike for Boston 2024. Second year law
student John Wilton has lived in the Boston
area all his life.
Although he thought Boston 2024 would

have been great for the city and its infrastructure, he said, “I think the drama surrounding the bid and its ensuing failure
was an embarrassment to the city, and
many of the people involved.” While Wilton sided with the majority that the bid
was going to fail, he cited a Lord Byron
quote stating that “the road to hell is paved
with good intentions” and that the people
involved were not to blame.
Also, 2L Jen King, who lives on the
South Shore, an hour from downtown Boston, had similar opinions on Boston 2024 to
Wilton. King said, “I don’t think it would
have been wise for Boston to participate
in the 2024 Olympics [because] construction jobs, especially such urban large scale
ones as this, are difficult to budget for, thus
the final cost is unclear and not transparent to taxpayers and city residents.” While
increasing jobs in the city would be great,
King makes an excellent point that taxpayers would be burdened by the question of
the final budget. Without a concrete num-

ber for the Olympic budget, it was difficult
for Bostonians to support this venture.
If Boston would have the opportunity to
host again, Suffolk Law students remain
apprehensive. As Wilton said, “the 2024 bid
left a bad enough taste in the International
Olympic Committee mouth that they will
likely not offer another opportunity for a
while.” This statement could not be more
true, as the city deals with transportation,
education and housing issues.
“Our city’s residents can barely rely on
the MBTA to get them to work or school
— why should we promise upgrades for the
sole benefit of tourists that will be here for
less than three weeks?” exclaims King.
As Suffolk students weigh in, they agree
with the general consensus: Boston 2024
was doomed from the start. While new arenas and exciting fanfare would have been
great for the city, there are desperate improvements needed to restore Boston’s infrastructure as a modern American city.
Boston should focus on 2015, not 2024.

Page 8