BY AARON HAAS
Kati Graves and Rick Coe have been elected the new President and Vice President, respectively, of the Board of Student Advisors, the student organization that administers the First-Year Lawyering Program and the Ames Moot Court Competition. Graves and Coe will take over from this year’s President, Erin Hoffmann, and Vice President, David Ware.
In a joint statement, the new officers said: “We have both enjoyed working with the other members of BSA and are impressed with their professionalism and enthusiasm.”
The Board of Student Advisors, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, is the oldest service organization at Harvard Law School. Even though its founding mission — “to educate and assist students” — continues to be its goal today, BSA has seen many changes during its history. In the 1920s, concerned that the law clubs that participated in the Ames competition had become too elitist, Dean Roscoe Pound encouraged BSA to expand that opportunity to all interested students. In the 1960s and 1970s, BSA turned its focus toward teaching students the fundamentals of legal research, and expanded to include educational programs and advice to first-year students making the often difficult adjustment to law school. Its most recent innovation is overseeing changes to the Legal Reasoning and Argument course, which has changed its name to the First-Year Lawyering Program.
Graves and Coe promised continued support for the First-Year Lawyering Program. Like LRA, FYL trains first-year students in legal research and writing skills, as well as oral argumentation through the Ames competition. It continues the practices of teaching students in small workshops of 12 to 14 students and giving 1Ls practical advice on course selection, summer experience and other issues of interest to new law students.
But FYL is substantially different from LRA. FYL adds modules on negotiating skills, analytical methods used by lawyers and the legal profession. Also, FYL continues past the spring Ames competition, to cover topics such as motions practice, client counseling and dispute resolution. Compared to LRA, FYL is trying to give more feedback to students throughout the year-long course. The FYL curriculum also goes beyond research and argumentation to cover more of the diversity of skills used by lawyers today. The grading system has also changed from pass/fail to high pass/pass/low pass/fail.
Graves and Coe also reiterated their commitment to advising first-year students and overseeing the First-Year and Upper-Round Ames Competitions. BSA also administers the Williston Contracts Competition for first-year students, compiles the Course Evaluation Guide and edits and publishes the Introduction to Advocacy manual on brief writing and oral advocacy.
Despite the many changes afoot, Graves and Coe seem undaunted by the challenge.
“We are looking forward to a successful year,” they said in their statement.