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November 3, 2008: The Pace of Law School

Howard (Man-I) Beckford

November 3, 2008

The Pace of Law School

My journey to law school began on the Caribbean island known best for its sunshine, Rastafari and reggae music. I grew up in rural Jamaica in a parish of farmers and fishermen who lived the ancient proverb "spare the rod and spoil the child." At a young age we were all encouraged to study hard in school, be respectful and bring joy to both parents and community. After a few more years of studying, I am now a third year law student at Pace Law School.

Like my fellow classmates, I received an email from the registrar last week, informing the class of '09 it was now time to sign up for our last semester. Where did the time go? It seems like just the other day we were learning mens rea, and now it is almost time to make a "good faith" effort at passing the Bar. The past three years have been a fantastic experience; I have been taught objective analysis by great teachers, traveled to the motherland of Africa and participated in an immigration clinic that truly touches the lives of those most in need. 

During the first year of law school you develop camaraderie with people from your class. You are all similarly situated, learning the intricacies of constitutional law while forming good friendships. As a 2L, you occasionally see friends, but it seems as though everyone is ten times busier than ever before. By third year, classmates are swamped with part-time jobs and interviews. The entire thing goes so fast, it is important to catch up from time to time with friends from the days of Whose Monet. Come to think of it, whose Monet was it anyway?

After almost three years of learning how decisions are made, class selection is still not an easy choice. Like being a child in a legal candy store, the choices are immense. This is even more true for third-year students, as this may be the final opportunity to take an intellectually rewarding class that covers an area of special interest. I am very excited about the course in comparative environmental law. This class brings together international and environmental law, giving students the opportunity to travel to Brazil and strengthen their knowledge on the environment and the world. 

Finally, by third year one learns that it is very important to maintain a calm and steady outlook. A visibly stressed lawyer is analogous to a surgeon with shaky hands. So with the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination), lengthy papers and finals on the horizon I take solace knowing it could be worse; I could be a 1L.


Photos of when I interned at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SC-SL).

Standing in front of the Special Court for Sierra Leon.

Me with the grounds crew staff at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Posing with a few local friends on their Okata (bikes used as taxis).




Howard (Man-I) Beckford

4L Day (Class of 2009)

International Law; criminal law and immigration law

May Pen, Jamaica

Undergraduate degree:
B.A. in History and Sociology from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, USA

Human Rights In Action (HRIA) selection committee member; Secretary, Black Law Student Association (BLSA)