Meeting Dean Rougeau
After a total of eight reminder emails, law students at Boston College finally had our formal introduction to our new dean, Vincent Rougeau. East Wing Room 115 looked more like a talk show set than anything I’ve seen at BC as Dean Rougeau responded to prompts from moderator and BC Professor Alan Wolfe as well as a handful of questions from the audience.
Dean Rougeau had one foot in the idealistic world of academia and the other planted firmly in the economic reality law students and graduates currently face as he gave us his soliloquies on the state of the legal world and how BC Law fits into it. He expressed a commitment to creating great lawyers who would serve society as a whole, saying that he wanted BC to produce advocates for the poor and marginalized, corporate attorneys, and eveything in between. He acknowledged that it’s a daunting time to enter the legal profession and asserted that law schools and students alike need to be realistic about what a legal education will bring financially. Ultimately, he stressed that a comfortable, fulfilling career is what lawyers should consider a success.
He emphasized that the Catholic tradition was at the heart of a legal education at BC but that this tradition was about social justice in addition to the religious aspect. He distinguished BC Law from his previous school, Notre Dame, in that Notre Dame more explicitly invites students into a predominantly Catholic community, while BC offers more religious diversity and the atmosphere of a dynamic, urban environment while still maintaining a strong Catholic identity. He also said that expanding BC Law’s presence in international law is a priority for him.
Dean Rougeau’s last statement concerned the U.S. News rankings which he accepted as part of the law school market but encouraged students to make more informed decisions as consumers. While Dean Rougeau is still new at his job here, students have many reasons to be optimistic about the direction he will take the school.