As one of our most active alums, we asked Amy Kellogg ‘02, an associate at Harter, Secrest & Emery, to take some time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Which living person do you most admire?"There are two. My parents. I know it sounds cliché, but they are who I admire. They are amazing people, and they helped me become who I am today. They come from a very humble background and taught me that as long as you believe in yourself, you can do anything you want. I have watched them make the most out of every twist and turn life has given them. They taught me to appreciate everything you have in life and to enjoy what you do."
What traits do you most admire in people?"Honesty and sincerity. I deal with people on a daily basis, and it is very frustrating when you are dealing with people who are being dishonest and insincere. At the end of the day, the truth will come out, and I feel it's important to just be honest and sincere up front. The truth may hurt, but it in the end it is necessary."
Which talent would you most like to have?"I would love to be able to sing. I mean, technically I can sing, but not in a way that anyone would want to hear!"
What is your greatest achievement?"My greatest achievement was graduating law school and passing the bar. I think that a lot of people take for granted how big an accomplishment finishing law school is. It is not an easy process, and I'm very proud to have completed it and be practicing law."
Why did you become a lawyer?"I became a lawyer because I always wanted to be one, even before I even really knew what a lawyer did. I just knew that lawyers solved problems in creative and innovative ways, and I wanted to be able to do that."
Is the profession of law what you expected it to be?"The profession of law is nothing like I expected it to be. I think we all watch the lawyer shows and think that we are going to be in a courtroom achieving the 'ah-ha' Perry Mason moment when the person we are cross examining contradicts everything they have been saying and admits their guilt. While the court room setting is certainly one aspect of law, there is so much more. I think the thing that shocked me the most is how much you can actually do with a law degree. It never occurred to me that I could take my love of politics and couple it with my law degree to be a government affairs attorney until the opportunity was presented to me. I definitely don't practice traditional law, but I work on a daily basis to help shape the statutes that will be used by other attorneys in the courtroom. It's amazing to realize how broad the application of a law degree has become."
What's your biggest strength as a lawyer?"I think my biggest strength as a lawyer is my ability to communicate. This is key in any area of the law, but in government affairs it is especially important. In most cases, I have a very limited time to communicate my client's positions to various elected officials, staff members and administrative individuals. These communications must be concise and accurate."
If you can fix one thing about the world of law, what would it be?"Access to attorneys for everyone regardless of income level. I see so many cases where people need a good attorney and just can't afford one. While there are some
pro bono programs out there, I would love to see an expanded program that covered people with higher income levels who don't qualify financially, but still lack the financial resources to afford an attorney."
Why do you give back to Albany Law?"I give back to Albany Law School because of the people. I made the best and dearest friends during law school and met wonderful people that I work with on many different levels. The faculty, staff and students at Albany Law are truly great people and because of them, I want others to go to Albany Law and have the same great experience that I had. When I first graduated, there were a lot of little things that irritated me about the school, but as time has passed, I have forgotten all the little things and truly value the education I received and the people that I met."
Amy Kellogg '02 represents a variety of New York State professional associations and businesses before the New York State Legislature. She is also an avid community participant, where she leads on several civic fronts. Her business and law school activities include: President, Tech Valley Business and Professional Women; Board Member, National Alumni Association of Albany Law; Board Member, SUNY Potsdam Alumni Board of Trustees; Member, New York State Bar Association, Committee on Women in the Law; Member, Albany County Democratic Committee; Class Representative, Albany Law School Class of 2002 and; Former Member, Albany Law School Board of Trustees.