Opportunities for Student Distinction
Opportunities for Student Distinction (OSD) is a program for NUSL students that provides internal and external ways for students to gain valuable experience and distinguishing credentials at the same time!
OSD maintains a database with information on a vast number of external opportunities, including moot court, mock trial, client counseling, mediation, and writing competitions as well as awards and scholarships for work students have already completed.
Upper-level students may apply to be Lawyering Fellows for the Legal Skills in Social Context Program (LSSC). Each fellow is responsible for working with a first-year group of students, called a "law office," which plans and executes a social justice project — an extensive real-world legal research project on behalf of a community-based or public service organization. Lawyering Fellows hone their skills to communicate effectively, support student needs and responsibilities, and to foster exceptional student law office work product for real-life organizational clients. They also gain practice in advanced strategic lawyering, legal research and writing, oral, management, team lawyering, teaching and facilitation skills.
Now entering its sixth year, the Northeastern University Law Journal is a student-run, student-edited publication for scholars, practitioners and students to publish forward-looking, practice-oriented articles with a social justice consciousness. Student editors make all editorial and organizational decisions and staffers assist in carrying out day-to-day operations throughout the year. The Journal publishes twice a year and begins each publication cycle with a symposium on a specific topic chosen by the staff and editors. The annual symposium, featuring speeches, presentations and panel discussions, is open to the Northeastern community, legal community and general public. The Journal has also expanded its web presence by launching Extra Legal, an online publication featuring short, student-written topical pieces drawn from a wide variety of legal fields.
The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) offers four fellowship co-ops each quarter at leading human rights organizations in the USA and overseas. Fellows receive a stipend while working full time at these organizations over the three-month period. Fellowships for the next quarter are at OXFAM-America, Physicians for Human Rights, the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty, all in the USA, and Human Rights Law Network in India.
For those upper-level students interested in supporting first-year students in writing and research, there are ample opportunities to apply for Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions. TAs work both in individual classes and with the Legal Skills in Social Context Program. Research Assistants typically work individually with faculty on specific projects.
Third-year students with excellent academic and co-op evaluations are invited to apply to be Teaching Assistants for the Academic Success Program. Responsibilities include working with first-year students to help them acquire study skills related to case reading, briefing, outlining and examination preparation.
Students act as attorneys to interview a client and explain legal options, while paying attention to a client's legal and non-legal goals. This competition fosters the effective advising of clients while remaining committed to legal professionalism and ethics. Participants obtain direct feedback from judges participating in the competition.
A team of three people and a faculty advisor develop basic mediation and advocacy skills needed for an annual competition. Each student acts a mediator, client and counsel, learning important alternative dispute resolution skill. Preparation is fun, interesting and not overly time-consuming. NUSL is able to financially sponsor one team annually.
A mock trial is an extracurricular activity in which participants take part in simulated court proceedings, usually to include drafting briefs and participating in oral argument. Cases are argued by teams of "attorneys" and "witnesses." Participants hone skills in examining witnesses, entering evidence, arguing persuasively before a jury and polishing oral advocacy skills in general. Strong academic standing and completion of Trial Practice and Evidence courses required.
Teams develop a persuasive analysis of a legal problem and prepare a written brief and argue before an appellate panel. Faculty advisors offer assistance in developing arguments while students focus on appellate advocacy and understanding of an area of law. Select competitions are financially sponsored by NUSL.
Writing competitions are free and cover a vast array of legally significant topics. This is a great opportunity to showcase an area of deep legal interest, enhancing resume-based marketability. Competitions in more than 100 areas of strength or interest are available and graduate coaches help students develop publishable-quality papers. Final papers may be submitted to a faculty member, who may grant ABA upper-level writing requirement approval.