The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School

There is a critical need for serious discussion and study of law and public policy issues.  The Rappaport Center represents an extraordinary opportunity for Boston College and the Rappaport Foundation to work together to elevate our public discourse and to produce thoughtful, ethical, and innovative public servants for the commonwealth and the nation.

Vincent Rougeau

Dean, Boston College Law School

The acclaimed public policy law center — which began its work in 2000 at Suffolk University Law School before moving to Boston College in 2014 — provides educational programs, career mentoring and financial support to law students interested in government and public policy.  The center focuses on issues affecting Greater Boston and Massachusetts, and houses the popular Rappaport Fellows Program in Law and Public Policy, which provides 12 paid summer internships to talented law students from the Greater Boston schools who are interested in public policy.   It is also home to the Rappaport Distinguished Public Policy Series at BC Law, which conducts scholarly research and hosts lectures, debates and roundtable discussions on public policy issues with the region’s leading policy makers and thought leaders.  The center works in close collaboration with the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard University.

Rappaport Fellows Program in Law and Public Policy

In 2000 The Rappaport Foundation created a unique and first-in-the-nation fellowship program through which gifted students from Boston-area law schools could work with top state and local public policy makers on key issues affecting Greater Boston and Massachusetts. The experience was designed to promote early leadership involvement in state and city government. At its core, the Rappaport Fellowship is a bold attempt to attract, train, inspire, and connect the next generation of civic leaders and policy shapers.

Conducting research, collecting data, and interviewing constituents, the 180 Rappaport Law and Public Policy Fellows selected since 2001 have moved far beyond the walls of the law library and into the lives of concerned residents, advocacy groups, labor unions, media sources, and business owners. In short, Fellows receive an intense, up-close, first-hand look at the life of the public policy lawyer and share the influence these legal professionals have on the quality of life in our community, state, and region.  In addition to their work experience, Rappaport Fellows participate in evening seminars and guest lectures, exposing them to some of the top policy minds in the nation. These weekly lectures also afford Fellows an opportunity to reconvene and share work experiences on an on-going basis.

The Rappaport Fellows Program promotes civic mindedness by encouraging its fellows to work directly on policy issues while embracing social consciousness both inside and outside of their daily work … Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport instilled in us the importance of public policy and committing ourselves through our research and public policy work to making life more meaningful for those we serve. I loved the program, and it remains a huge part of my law school experience long after the fellowship ended.

Alaina Sullivan

President, BC Law Student Association, 2012 Law and Public Policy Fellow

Rappaport Distinguished Public Policy Series at BC Law

In addition to the Fellows program, the Rappaport Distinguished Public Policy Series at BC Law engages leading academics and public servants to discuss the commonwealth’s most critical public policy issues. The public discussions include election-year debates as well as forums and symposia to address pressing societal issues with leaders from government, business, academe and the non-profit world.

Jerome Lyle Rappaport Visiting Professorship in Law and Public Policy

While the first visiting professor has yet to be appointed, future incumbents may include local,state, or national public officials emeritus; highly accomplished leaders in business, public health, urban planning, or education policy; academics; and prominent figures in global public policy issues particularly relevant to Greater Boston, all of whose work will have a strong connection to law and public policy. Programming during the professor’s appointment will be designed to take advantage of his/her prominence and expertise.  The professor will work with Boston College Law students and students enrolled in the university’s other graduate programs on research and publication projects, and may also be a partner for programming and other activities at the Rappaport Institute at Harvard University.  Incumbents of the professorship will be appointed for a set term, generally ranging from six months to two years.