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Fast Track

Emma Coffey ’20 races through school to achieve her childhood dream.

Photograph by Diana Levine

Student Snapshot

Provenance: Lived in London from ages 2 to 7, then in Chatham, New Jersey. “I loved London. We were known for our great Guy Fawkes Night fireworks.” Learning: BA in Sociology, Boston College. Pre-Law: Intern, US Court of International Trade, New York; Volunteer Victim Witness Advocate, Cambridge District Court, Medford, Mass.; Legal Intern, JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, London, UK; Legal Intern, New York County District Attorney’s Office, New York. At BC Law: Staff writer, Boston College Law Review; Secretary, Business Law Society; Co-Chair Spring 2018 2L Mock Trial Competition; Co-Chair Fall 2018 Negotiation Competition. Insight: “I’m the kind of person who does better when I’m pushed.” Guilty Pleasure: “I’m really into the TV cooking shows, the baking competitions. I’m a horrible cook, horrible baker, but I like to watch and imagine.” Next: Summer associate in litigation department at Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Coffey is the first student in the 3+3 Program that enables BC undergraduates to combine senior year with the first year of law school.

The 3+3 Program is great for people who know what they want to do. You have to be all in. Talking to other students who are considering it, I don’t sugarcoat it. Senior year in college and first year in law school are very different experiences; there’s much more of a professional atmosphere in law school.

After reading To Kill a Mockingbird at age twelve, I announced that I was going to be a lawyer and wanted to be Atticus Finch. My high school had a mock-trial program, and once I found that, I just loved it. I liked the performance aspect—I was always putting on shows as a kid—and the intellectual challenge.

I found that I enjoyed actual legal work—and not just the idea of it—as a sixteen-year-old summer intern at the US Court of International Trade, with the judge who worked with our mock-trial team. Just before I started law school he told me: “Embrace what you don’t understand right now. It’s a process, and it’s going to be difficult, but just go with it.”

My junior year abroad, I worked four days a week with a firm of solicitors in North London. I was only a year younger than the trainee solicitors, so I was treated more like a professional than an intern. On my second day, they sent me to court by myself, in a guardianship case. Of course, there was a barrister handling all the legal aspects, but it was definitely a “throw you in the water” experience.

I’ve found it very valuable to try different things. Working on a domestic violence case in the Manhattan DA’s office was a great experience, but I realized I couldn’t put the work away when I went home. It wasn’t something I could do every single day, but it’s an area I’d focus on for pro bono work.