Boston University School of Law Wants to Help You Step it Up This Summer

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Boston University School of Law has an important message for law students: it’s time to get ahead of the pack with some new skills. If you’re a law student wondering how you could possibly add new skills to your already packed resume, busy work schedule, and mounting course load, that’s ok, because BU Law has the answer to that question–an innovative new summer program that makes it easy for law students to gain essential practice experience through two summer course offerings: Contract Drafting and Negotiation. If you’re a student pursuing an MBA, medical degree, or other applicable graduate degree, the Negotiation class is open to you too.

So, what’s so special about these two classes? Practicality is key, from start to finish, as BU Law attempts to provide more accessible and relevant legal education not only to its own students, but the legal community as a whole.

Experts in their Field

BU Law’s faculty draws from some of the best and brightest legal minds in Boston for its exemplary transactional law program. The two instructors teaching the summer courses are no exception.


The “Contract Drafting” course will be taught by Thomas P. Harrison, who has been teaching the course at Boston University School of Law during the regular academic year since 2012. Mr. Harrison is Of Counsel at WaltersLacey LLP. His practice focuses on sales and acquisitions of real estate and businesses, commercial loan transactions and leasing, and general business matters. He is an alum of BU Law, having received a LLM from the School in Banking and Commercial Law. He holds a JD from Suffolk University School of Law.

Mark E. Bamford will teach “Negotiation,” another practical course aimed at teaching students essential tactics, skills, and strategies that can be applied to virtually any career path. Mr. Bamford has taught at BU Law since 2010 and has taught Negotiation during the regular academic year since 2012. He is an alum of both BU Law and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Skills-Based Learning

For its inaugural summer program, BU Law has chosen to feature two skills-based courses, recognizing that young people soon to embark on professional careers are seeking the substantive knowledge and practical skills and experience that will set them apart from the crowd.

Take the Contract Drafting class for example. When I spoke to Professor Kent Coit, director of the Transactional Law Program, he explained how the skills taught in the class are essential for all young lawyers. Listen to what he had to say about the critical importance in legal practice of understanding and drafting contracts:

Working with contracts is a skill that…if you’re going to be a practicing attorney, it’s really hard to get away from. Almost irrespective of what your practice is, you’re going to be almost certainly dealing with contracts.

The same concept of transferable and practical skills holds true for the Negotiation course. BU Law pushes the envelope by inviting non-law school grad students to take the course as well, whether they are enrolled in medical, MBA, public policy, or other degree programs. Mr. Bamford explained that no matter what you do as an attorney your performance will turn in large part on your ability to negotiate effectively. It’s no surprise that the same principles can be applied to virtually any profession.

Location, Location, Location

 Students inside the new LAW Redstone building. Image courtesy of Tim Llewellyn for Boston University Photography

Students outside the new LAW Redstone building.

The classes will be located at BU Law’s state-of-the-art and newly-renovated facility in the heart of Boston. Opening up these courses to students from other institutions is a service to the law school community, as Boston is a major legal hub and consistently ranked among the best cities for young lawyers. Boston is home to many attractive work opportunities for law students–whether they want to gain experience at one of the many prestigious law firms in Boston or in the bustling public sector. The same holds true for grad students in other disciplines who are in Boston for the summer and are interested in improving their negotiation skills while gaining work experience. BU Law’s summer courses provide the best of both worlds.

Why We Need this Kind of Innovation

The world we live in doesn’t stand still, and neither does the evolution of legal education. While it’s always been important for law and other graduate school students to gain as many skills during their formal education as possible, in today’s economy, BU Law’s summer courses could be the extra bump that a new graduate needs to land their dream gig. Recovery from the Great Recession has prompted law schools to make changes to how they educate students–the law schools that are able to adapt and change to these new demands in legal education will be the ones that thrive. BU Law’s recognition of the changing needs of law students and the universality of skills that law school can impart fits the bill perfectly.

Here are the Details

Students who are living and/or working in Boston this summer will have the opportunity to take two essential coursesContract Drafting will be offered during the Summer 1 term: 5/17/2016–6/30/2016, and Negotiation will be offered during the Summer 2 term: 7/12/2016–8/25/2016. Both will be held in the evenings, to allow students who are working in Boston to take the classes at a time that fits their schedules. These classes aren’t just open to BU Law students, but to any law students enrolled at accredited institutions. Rising 2Ls and 3Ls can both apply, as well as students in joint degree programs. The Negotiation course is also open to other graduate students, including business school and medical school students.

In-text images courtesy of [Tim Llewellyn for Boston University Photography]

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for clarity. 

Boston University School of Law
Boston University School of Law is a top-tier law school with a faculty recognized nationally for exceptional teaching and preeminent scholarship. At BU Law, you can explore virtually any area of the law in 200+ classes and seminars, 21 clinics, externships, and practicums, 21 foreign study opportunities, and 17 dual degrees. You’ll also be part of a supportive, collegial law school community while experiencing the professional, social, and cultural opportunities that the city of Boston has to offer. Boston University School of Law is a partner of Law Street Creative. The opinions expressed in this author’s articles do not necessarily reflect the views of Law Street.



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