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In Limine

Great Expectations

New leadership, like the new year, can energize a community and spark everyone’s imagination.

Photograph by Diana Levine

The New Year is always a time of expectation, a turning point that allows for shedding the previous year’s load and advancing into the future with a lighter step. BC Law is able to capitalize on that hopefulness in 2023 for many reasons, primary among them the arrival on January 17 of Odette Lienau, the inaugural Marianne D. Short, Esq., Dean. New leadership, like the new year, can energize a community and spark everyone’s imagination, and there’s certainly a lot of that happening here now (see Dean Lienau’s column and our Brainstorm interview).

The same can be said of the larger alumni community whose members remain steadfast in their commitment to the mission and values strengthened in them during law school and who are always advancing those principles in creative and meaningful ways.

Frank Murray ’12 is a good example. As an attorney in Florida, he brought down a fake lawyer who was tricking immigrants into paying him to obtain essential documents that he falsified, depriving them of precious funds and even the opportunity to stay in America (page 30). Murray said of that endeavor: “We don’t treat people in our society, regardless of their immigration status, as falling outside the protection of law, the Constitution, or basic human rights. They’re still people and they are entitled to the same equal protection under the law.”

And if optimism and innovation are reliable markers of law’s trusted servants, then consider the impact that BC Law graduates and faculty are having in the policy arena (page 20). Their big ideas, backed by the ingenuity to propel them into advocacy, legislation, and rulemaking, are inspiring. So is their ability to articulate how sound policy at every level of society and government can change the world. Massachusetts state senator Jamie Eldridge ’00, for one, was the lead sponsor of fifty bills in a single year. Professor Patricia McCoy was behind a federal rule protecting mortgage applicants. And 2001 graduate Kasey Suffredini’s fingerprints are all over the Respect for Marriage Act that codified rights for LGBTQ and interracial couples.

Another future-facing individual profiled is Charity Clark ’05 (page 42). A small town girl who grew up to become her state’s first woman attorney general, she has always lived by the pitch-in-and-help-out credo of rural citizenry. As a lawyer, she now defines that philosophy as problem-solving and collectively finding solutions for all Vermonters.

With lawyers like all of these in the world, 2023 could be quite a year.

Vicki Sanders, Editor