|English Alumna Darci Frinquelli at the 2010 Commencement on the Ellipse|
First of all, a huge chunk of law school is simply getting the reading done and due to my time at GW I am certainly used to do doing a lot of reading outside of class. In addition to the reading, we do have a few writing assignments, including a 30-page “substantial writing” paper, and all of them include a great deal of research. I am more accustomed to writing these kinds of papers than classmates who majored in finance or the sciences. After writing a 70-page thesis, I am luckily not too daunted by the prospect of a 30-page paper.
Lastly, almost every second-year law student works on a law journal and we spend most of our time proofreading articles and fixing footnotes so that they conform to the legal style guide. I have always been a bit of a grammar nerd and I can definitely say that this work is made substantially easier by all of the years I spent writing and editing both for my classes at GW and with the GW Review, which I can objectively say is the greatest literary journal this country has ever seen.
What is the most valuable skill/concept that you’ve learned from your undergraduate studies?
Definitely the ability to bring together a group of disparate works and find a common theme between them. The whole point of every law school course is to make connections between prior cases and the situation at hand. My courses at GW taught me to find parallels and analogies between texts as well as to explore a work’s context to see how the author’s place in history affected his writing. Cases, just like novels, are shaped by the era from which they emerge and are colored by the judges’ private opinions. For instance the Supreme Court determined both Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education by looking to the Constitution, but the Court’s interpretations of that document were greatly affected by the eras in which they were determined. How else has your English degree helped you since graduating?
But ultimately I like to think that all of the reading I did in college has stayed with me now to make me a more well rounded person. All of those wonderful books I studied at GW have helped me to hone my own value set, see situations from a great deal of perspectives, explore contemporary texts with some background knowledge of the Western canon, and analogize to a Wharton novel when giving relationship advice or watching Downton Abbey.
What’s next for you?