Brooklyn Law School congratulates Jane Li ’12 on her first place essay in the Michael Oshima Diversity Law Student Essay Competition of the New York City Bar Committee on Minorities in the Profession.
In her essay, entitled, “Civility and Public Discourse,” she argues that “Civility is a starting point at which we acknowledge the humanity and good intentions of others.” Li notes, that “it is important that we do not confuse civility with a lack of passion or an unwillingness to challenge ideas at a practical and theoretical level.”
Li, a graduate of Georgetown University with a background of international human rights work and constitutional rights, came to BLS to pursue a career in public interest law. She previously worked with organizations such as Global Justice and the Open Society Institute and this work fueled her passion for public interest work. At BLS, she has been active in the Safe Harbor Clinic and is interning at New York’s HIV Law Project.
In her essay, she explores the effects of civility in public discourse, and the consequences when civility is lacking. “Civility is even more necessary in the United States today as our country is faced with many complex problems that lack easy answers. When possible, we should seek compromise. When the adoption of certain solutions rule out other options, we must refrain from vilifying each other and recognize that most people are well-intentioned.”
“A commitment to cooperation and to confront issues in a civil manner is the first step in advancing our common interests,” she wrote.
The competition’s namesake, Michael Oshima, was an individual who dedicated much of his legal career to ensuring that the legal profession remains diverse and open to all people no matter their race, ethnic or national origin, sex or sexual orientation.