Boston was one of the biggest surprises for me. From the pre-trip itinerary, it seemed like New York would be the highlight of the our visit, but similarly to most of my cohort, I enjoyed Boston more. In the UK, you are not really exposed to American History, but the visit to The Boston Tea Party Museum gave me a real insight into America’s struggle for independence. Roleplaying as one of Boston’s Sons of Liberty was also great fun! The tours of Boston were all taken by people in old American attire which really added to the historic experience. Learning about the history of the US was a hugely enjoyable part of our visit.
We also had the pleasure of visiting the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Justice Courts, all of which were beautiful buildings. We watched a disbarment case, as well as an illegal immigration case. It was interesting to see how the judge gave out sentences, and how they might differ to our own preferences, as the testimonies we heard were quite profound. We had time to speak to the judges about differences and similarities between our common law systems and their opinions on current affairs, such as the ongoing gun ownership issue in the US. It was compelling to see how fair and balanced many of their opinions were and the importance of due process flowed through their arguments.
As we moved on to visit New York, we moved away from learning about the criminal and federal side of law to focus on corporate law. To see and hear about the success of Lancaster alumni working in New York was hugely inspiring. We visited a large corporate law firm, which gave us insights into different aspects of litigation, as well as the process of practising law in the US with a UK LLB degree. This broadened my ideas around potential future careers.
In New York there were plenty of sights to see, some of my favourites being Central park and Broadway. I watched Chicago on Broadway, a play about a criminal lawyer defending in murder cases, utilising the media to create a romanticised narrative. One of the main songs was called “Razzle Dazzle”, meaning to make something ‘flashy or big’. This would be a pretty apt description of America where everything is that much bigger and that much more epic. That includes the food, which was another highlight of the trip, not least because there were so many different options to choose from!
Overall, the trip to the US was incredible in terms of education, broadening my career horizons, and the opportunity to enjoy some amazing tourist attractions. I would recommend this trip to anyone, you’re in for a great treat!