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Hearsay: Talking about BC Law

Q&A with Siri Nilsson, JD ’11 and Steve Riden ’95, JD ’99


She’s in the Office of Technology Transfer and Licensing at Boston College. He is a litigator at Beck Reed Riden LLP. Together, they believe in BC. Their bequest intention only deepens their commitment to their alma mater.

How did your BC experience shape you?
Siri Nilsson: I began BC Law with the idea that knowledge of the law was really foundational to understanding how society operates. I graduated believing that a legal education is foundational for so many things that you want to do. I also learned what I was capable of accomplishing, because that’s what law school challenges you to do.

How did you meet?
SN: I joined Foley & Lardner LLP as a writer before I went to law school because I wanted to learn about law firm life first. Steve was already working there. The way Steve talked about the nurturing environment at BC Law is one of the reasons why I chose it.

Steve, did you always want to study law?
Steve Riden: I was on the debate team in high school, and there was a bit of pre-law training built into that experience. During my senior year at Boston College, I applied to BC Law.

Is there a professor who made a significant impact on you?
SR: [William J. Kenealy, SJ Professor] James Repetti delivered life lessons that still stick with me today: Adhere to your professional ethics and take care of your physical health, your mental well-being, and each other.

SN: I will never forget my criminal law class with Professor Emeritus Frank R. Herrmann, SJ. He was always so warm and really cared about his students.

How have you stayed in touch with BC Law over the years?
SR: For several years I served as a member of the BC Law Alumni Board. In 2020 I became president of the Boston College Law Alumni Association. Today, I frequently meet with BC Law students to talk to them about their career paths after law school. I also help Professor Ingrid Hillinger in her annual High Tea sessions and I have gone back many times to teach an ethics class for Associate Clinical Professor Alan Minuskin. I also mentor students who are struggling to find their path, just as I did.

What inspired you to make this gift?
SR: We’ve always made annual donations to BC Law, yet learning about the impact that a bequest can have prompted us to think about what the school has meant to us. Boston College gave me significant financial aid for both my undergraduate education and law school. It was a great deal of support when I needed it. Our education has allowed us to achieve a level of success that was even more than what I was hoping for when I was a student. Now I try to be that person for the next student who needs support—and we support the Law School in its efforts to make the education available to future students.

Nilsson and Riden’s decision to include BC Law in their estate plans allows us to celebrate their generosity during their lifetime through membership in the Shaw Society. To learn more, please visit or contact the Office of Gift Planning at 877-304-SHAW or