Four North­eastern grad­u­ating law stu­dents deliv­ered pow­erful reflec­tions on Friday at the School of Law com­mence­ment, during which they recalled their expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties, the strong bonds they’ve formed with fellow grad­u­ates, and the exciting future ahead for the Class of 2014.

Deirdre Foley, L’14, said their law edu­ca­tion enabled grad­u­ates to view the world in a com­pletely new light, with a legal lens. For example, she said, bike lanes made them think about tort fact pat­terns and clicking an iTunes update made them think about a variety of legal cases they’ve studied.

Foley noted that while working at her first co-​​op, a judi­cial intern­ship at the Juve­nile court in Lynn, Mass­a­chu­setts, she received advice from a court officer—with whom she devel­oped a tight bond—that she car­ries with her each day: “Keep your head in the books, and with you, no one is above you and no one is below you—so you’re going to do just fine.

The world is run by sys­tems of laws, and holding a legal degree, we’re impliedly tasked with improving our sur­round­ings: our city com­mu­nity, our global com­mu­nity, and every­thing in between. This degree wields power, and with that comes respon­si­bility: the duty to serve others, first and fore­most,” said Foley, who received her juris doctor.

Courtney Allessio, L'14, gives her address to fellow law graduates at commencement. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Courtney Allessio, L’14, gives her address to fellow law grad­u­ates at com­mence­ment. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

The law school’s Class of 2014—comprising more than 240 graduates—performed co-​​ops throughout the United States and in 16 other coun­tries. Eighty nine per­cent of grad­u­ates did at least one public interest co-​​op, and public interest co-​​ops com­prised half of all the co-​​ops per­formed by law grad­u­ates. What’s more, law grad­u­ates logged more than 320,000 hours of legal ser­vices while at Northeastern.

It is a won­derful facet of Northeastern’s legal edu­ca­tion that we get to dive into our pro­fes­sion and gain real-​​world expe­ri­ence before entering the real world itself,” Foley said.

Law grad­u­ates Courtney Allessio, Jen­nifer Huer, and Rafaela Ser­rano, all L’14, joined Foley in deliv­ering the stu­dent remarks at com­mence­ment. Huer and Ser­rano reflected on their expe­ri­ences as part of the second class of Northeastern’s LLM pro­gram.

Rafaela Serrano, L'14, gives her address to fellow law graduates at commencement. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Rafaela Ser­rano, L’14, gives her address to fellow law grad­u­ates at com­mence­ment. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Huer com­mended her fellow grad­u­ates’ for their col­lec­tive accom­plish­ments and deter­mi­na­tion, which she noted has strength­ened the pro­gram for future Huskies.

To that end, we formed a unique and strong alliance, an alliance that would give rise to an even stronger pres­ence within the halls of our law school,” Huer said. “You see, we were not sat­is­fied with just being stu­dents, pas­sively sit­ting in the class­room; rather, we became active par­tic­i­pants in what encour­ages and drives an insti­tu­tion to flourish. We did exactly what the study of law pre­pares us for: we observed and iden­ti­fied, we amassed knowl­edge, and along with our rea­soning skills we used that knowl­edge to empower change.”

For her part, Ser­rano, a native of Brazil, said she arrived at North­eastern focused only on excelling in the class­room and learning Amer­ican law en route to her degree. But she emo­tion­ally described how she now leaves with an even richer aca­d­emic expe­ri­ence thanks to the strong bonds she’s formed with her fellow grad­u­ates, whose diver­sity, pro­fes­sion­alism, and friend­ship have moti­vated them to embark on this journey together and achieve success.

Courtney Allessio called her fellow grad­u­ates “the leaders, the moti­va­tors, and the mobi­lizers of change.” She said that when the majority of society says change isn’t pos­sible, or that progress can’t be attained, it is upon today’s grad­u­ates to forge ahead and be a beacon of hope and guidance.

We con­trol our own des­tiny. We can effec­tuate change,” she said.

Jennifer Huer, L'14, gives her address to fellow law graduates at commencement. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Jen­nifer Huer, L’14, gives her address to fellow law grad­u­ates at com­mence­ment. Photo by Mariah Tauger.