Class Year: 2015
Employment: Associate, Martin Clearwater & Bell
Semester-in-Practice Placement: Pfizer
Interning at Pfizer on the Worldwide Public Affairs and Policy Team as part of the Semester-in-Practice program was a unique learning experience because I was deeply immersed in the legal work of an international corporation. I worked on issue briefs about timely topics such as how the pharmaceutical industry can and cannot use social media, and drafted commentary on rules proposed by the Federal Drug Administration. These experiences enabled me to learn about the pharmaceutical industry hands on and explore the potential role of a lawyer in a non-traditional legal job.
Class Year: 2019
New York City Administration for Children's Services
The Semester-in-Practice program instantly placed me at an advantage because I did not have to compete with other law students in a manner that I would have in a summer internship. As the only legal intern in my office, I worked with several attorneys resulting in the exposure to a wealth of legal work that included research and writing, fact investigation, conducting hearings, and policy review. Furthermore, as the only intern, I received one-on-one, detailed feedback on each assignment, which strengthened my research and writing skills immensely.
The Semester-in-Practice program is such a unique opportunity because you get an inside glimpse of how the law is actually applied in practice as opposed to an academic setting. More importantly, the program affords you the opportunity to not only practice in a legal field of interest but also in the geographical setting of choice, without the long-term commitment. Ultimately, my Semester-in-Practice was truly an immeasurable experience that I wholeheartedly encourage all students to consider during their law school career.
Class Year: 2018
Court Attorney, New York Court of Appeals
Semester-in-Practice Placement: Empire Justice Center
I chose to do a Semester-in-Practice as a reminder to myself that the law we learn in the classroom has real-world applications.
Not only did working for a semester freshen my perspective but it provided an invaluable experience. Namely, I fell in love with a new field of law, I made close friends with local attorneys, the classroom component helped me pass the MPRE, and the semester became a major talking point at my interviews for post-graduate employment.
As an additional bonus, because the course is less reading intensive, and more practical, I was able to spend more quality time with my son on the weekends during this semester. Overall, taking a Semester-in-Practice course was a defining part of my legal career and I highly recommend the experience.
Class Year: 2016
Employment: Assistant County Attorney, Schenectady County Attorney's Office
Semester-in-Practice Placement: The White House
In the spring of 2015, I had the privilege of doing a Semester-in-Practice at the White House, working directly for President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. During my Semester-in-Practice, I had the unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience, build leadership skills, and strengthen my understanding of the workings of government, including but not limited to the Executive Office.
Unlike a traditional semester spent in the classroom, I, instead, was able to work every day directly in the White House and put all of the skills and information that I had learned in law school for the previous two years to use in a professional environment that had lasting impact on the American people. Anytime I needed guidance or had a question, the professor of the Albany Law Semester-in-Practice program was there to assist and provide the guidance while I was over 500 miles away–showing how much he wanted his students to succeed. I always felt connected to the law school community, but at the same time, was able to gain an experience comparable to no other.
The Albany Law Semester-in-Practice program set me up for success while preparing me for future public service opportunities. I currently work as a government law attorney in Schenectady, N.Y., and this would not have been possible without my experience gained through the Albany Law Semester-in-Practice program!
Class Year: 2016
Employment: Associate, O'Connell & Aronowitz
Semester-in-Practice Placement: Federal Defenders Services of Eastern Tennessee
In the second semester of my 2L year, I was afforded the opportunity to partake in Albany Law School's Semester-in-Practice program. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, it was the best experience I had in law school. I was placed in the Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee's office in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Immediately I was able to obtain a practice order with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which allowed me to go to court and help the other attorneys with the defense of indigent federal defendants. I was also able to work on all aspects of federal criminal defense, from intake interviews with clients, to the final sentencing memoranda and hearings. My supervisors at the Federal Defenders took great care to introduce me to the finer points of federal criminal defense and even took me to events across the state for meetings with other federal defenders. In no way did my time consist of busy work.
In addition to the work I did with the Federal Defenders, the Semester-in-Practice program consisted of weekly conversations with the Semester-in-Practice instructor and the other participants in the program. The conversations helped to clarify any questions or concerns I had with the placement or what I should be doing.
I currently practice criminal law, both state and federal, and can honestly say that my time in the Semester-in-Practice program cemented what I wanted to do with my career. I did not know I wanted to practice criminal defense before I did this program, but my time in the Semester-in-Practice program showed me my true path in the law. My experiences were incredibly helpful and informative when making decisions about my future career. I cannot recommend the Semester-in-Practice program highly enough. It is beyond valuable, and shines on a resume once you start looking for future jobs. I recommend every law student partake in this program. Its value is immeasurable.
Class Year: 2019
Employment: Cooley, Shrair P.C. (after graduation)
Semester-in-Practice Placement: City Solicitor’s Office, City of Springfield, Mass.
I worked at the City Solicitor’s Office at the City of Springfield in Massachusetts, which is my home town. This was really convenient for me in that I was able to live closer to home and start to develop my contacts with the practicing bar in the community where I want to work after graduation. While that was certainly convenient for me, my placement itself proved to be wonderful training, and ended up advancing my career. Being able to work at my Semester-in-Practice placement full time was such an invaluable experience. Working full time enabled me to attend a federal civil rights trial from start to finish and also allowed me to play a large part in preparing for the trial. At my placement, I was able to attend numerous hearings, depositions, and client meetings that I wouldn’t have been able to participate in if I was only working at my placement part time. In addition, just being in Springfield every day also helped me land my post-graduation job. I was able to rub elbows every day with practicing attorneys in the community and this ultimately led to a job interview, which then led to a job offer, and I will be starting at the firm of Cooley, Shrair P.C., as soon as I’m done studying for the bar. For these reasons, I would strongly encourage everyone at Albany Law School to take advantage of this great opportunity to get practical experience in a full-time placement.
Kesi St. Louis
Class Year: 2017
Employment: Associate, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood, & Boyer, P.A.
Semester-in-Practice Placement: State Attorney's Office, State of Florida
My Semester-in-Practice was an incredibly important semester for me, as I got a glimpse of the kind of future I might want to lead. I chose to go to Florida and work in the State Attorney's Office, which is where I planned to move and work after graduation. My experience showed me what it would be like to work as an assistant state attorney: participating in jury trials, arraignments, pre-trial conferences, motions, bench trials, violation of probation hearings and negotiating plea dispositions with opposing counsel. The Semester-in-Practice program allowed me to get my foot in the door, continually refine my legal skills and grow my professional network. This was an invaluable opportunity for personal and professional growth and development. I cannot say enough good things about my experience and although there were many classes in law school I genuinely enjoyed, my Semester-in-Practice was one of the most memorable.