2010 Clinic News

2010 Clinic News

Fifty-two Students Sworn In by Judge to Represent Clients

Date: 1/20/2011
The Albany Law School Clinic & Justice Center held its Orientation and Induction Ceremony for 52 new law interns on Jan. 19, 2011. These students can now represent clients, including in the courtroom, under the supervision of their professors.

The Honorable Bernard J. Malone, Jr., Justice, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, led the induction ceremony.

At the Law Clinic & Justice Center, students handle hundreds of cases each year in such areas as civil rights, health law and domestic violence. To learn more, click here.


Domestic Violence Awareness Month Initiatives Announced at Albany Law
Date: 10/01/2010

 Albany County District Attorney David Soares joined with fellow members of the Albany County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (ACCADA) at Albany Law School to announce a variety of initiatives taking place through October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Representatives from local law enforcement agencies, community service organizations including Equinox Domestic Violence Services, and the Albany Law School Law Clinic and Justice Center detailed a number of domestic violence awareness-related events and activities, including a visibility campaign with 11 law enforcement agencies, a series of fundraisers and informational programming on WMHT and at Proctors Theater.

Albany Law School's Law Clinic & Justice Center, which includes the Family Violence Litigation Clinic, is currently managing its own domestic violence cases, as well as assisting agencies and attorneys on other cases.

At the press conference, student and clinic member Rita Romani detailed some of the activities that will take place on campus during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Albany Law students, faculty, staff and friends will hold an evening vigil in front of the law school in remembrance of victims of domestic violence on Oct. 18. The vigil will begin with the panel discussion "Have Domestic Violence Courts Helped Deter Domestic Violence by Keeping Victims Safe and Batterers Accountable" at 6:00 p.m., followed by the lighting of candles and illumination of the law school's historic 1928 Building with purple lights at 7:15 p.m.

Also at Albany Law, The Legal Project will provide training for first-year students on sexual assault and domestic violence on Oct. 15.


Connors to Speak to Attorneys on Domestic Violence, Impact on Children
Date: 09/28/2010

Professor Jaya Connors will present on the impact of domestic violence on custody, visitation and other family court proceedings for the Appellate Division, Third Department's Attorneys for Children. The program, called "Introduction to Effective Representation of Children," will be held in Latham, N.Y., on Dec. 3.

Professor Connors, a visiting clinical professor who started this year, is the new director of Albany Law's Family Violence Litigation Clinic. The clinic gives students the opportunity to represent victims of domestic violence in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.

Before returning to Albany Law, Professor Connors was a law guardian and 18b attorney with the Albany Family Court panel. She also served as the legal director of the Capital District Women's Bar Association's The Legal Project.

She previously worked as a staff attorney and clinical instructor at Albany Law School's Domestic Violence Clinic until joining the Albany Family Court in 1998.

A Syracuse University College of Law graduate, Professor Connors is a 1985 recipient of the Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship.


Albany Law School Receives $205,000 Federal Grant for Housing Clinic
Date: 07/28/2010

Albany Law School recently received a $205,000 grant from the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC) to fund a new Housing Clinic within the law school's Clinic & Justice Center.

In the Housing Clinic, students will work with Albany Law faculty to offer legal services, outreach, educational opportunities and housing counseling to homeowners and tenants affected by foreclosure in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.

"Funding for the new Housing Clinic is vital not only in terms of service for members of our community, but also in terms of the hands-on experience that it will afford our students," said Thomas Guernsey, Albany Law School's president and dean. "Clinic experience is an excellent way for students to cultivate the skill set they need to excel in the practice of law."

Students at the Law Clinic and Justice Center handled more than 600 cases last year, spanning such areas as civil rights, health law, unemployment litigation, tax advocacy, securities arbitration and family violence prevention. The clinic also matched more than 200 students with field placements in government agencies, nonprofits and other organizations.

Get more information on the Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center.

The grant is part of HTFC's Subprime Foreclosure Prevention Program. The HTFC was established in 1985 as a subsidiary public benefit corporation of the New York State Housing Finance Agency to create decent affordable housing for low-income families and individuals.


Shore '10 Receives National CLEA Award for Litigation Work
Date: 07/20/2010

In his second year of law school, Robert Shore '10 had seven clients and appeared in front of an administrative law judge five times. Toward the second half of his experience at Albany Law's Litigation Clinic, Shore realized he was handed increasingly more complex cases, and new Clinic students were asking for his informal advice on their clients.

This month Shore received the prestigious "Outstanding Clinical Student Award" from the national Clinical Legal Education Association, prompted by a unanimous nomination from the faculty of Albany Law's Clinic & Justice Center.

"A lot of what I learned from the work is skills needed to manage the client," Shore said. "Early on I interviewed one client for over two hours, but had to call him back another day because I lacked the facts I needed to proceed," Shore explained. "Now I understand between the balance of gathering the critical information and appreciating the need of the client to tell a story."

Shore won unemployment benefits for his clients that were initially denied to them, under the supervision of Professor Benjie Louis, where he also served as a research assistant after demonstrating early his skill and commitment to public interest work.

Last year he wrote a comprehensive outline on representing a claimant in an unemployment administrative hearing which was adapted for a manual produced by the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, titled Unemployment Law: Representing the Claimant, for private attorneys representing claimants.  

"One of the hardest things about this work is that sometimes you can't help the client," Shore said. "You read the information, you hear their story, and you know that they have no case, there's no reason to advance their cause, and you have to tell them that. "

A New York City native, Shore is looking at jobs in the Washington, D.C., area, preferably in the labor and employment law area. "This past year I interned at the NLRB resident office in Albany, and I'd like to work for them in the future," he said.

For now he studies for the bar every day, and plans to pass it at the end of July.


Lynch to Chair NYSBA Subcommittee on Training, Promoting New Lawyers

Professor Mary Lynch was recently selected to chair a subcommittee for the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) on training and promoting new lawyers. The subcommittee is part of NYSBA's newly formed Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession, led by Stephen Younger, the association's new president.

Professor Lynch's subcommittee will explore better ways to train new lawyers to meet client demands, as well as examine different methods to promote and compensate associates to improve quality of life factors.

As director of Albany Law School's Center for Excellence in Law Teaching (CELT), which launched this past fall, Professor Lynch has been collaborating with colleagues nationwide to develop more practical approaches to preparing students for careers in law.

"A law school can't provide - in three years - everything a student needs for a life-long career as a lawyer," she said. "But law school educators across the country agree that we can and should equip students with the knowledge and skills they need for early success, as well as the reflective and theoretical tools to learn from experience."

Professor Lynch has recently made presentations on legal education reform to faculty at several law schools. She participated in a panel on "Using Critical Perspectives to Inform Change" at the American Association of Law Schools national Conference on Clinical Legal Education in May, and she delivered a presentation to Indiana University Maurer School of Law in June.

The main thrust of her efforts, Professor Lynch explained, is "better preparing students for professional practice. How do we help them connect theory with real experiences, working with concepts alongside the changeable nature of real people?"

As a long-standing proponent for legal education reform, Professor Lynch is also the editor and a frequent contributor to the Best Practices for Legal Education blog. Her goals for this blog are to create a place where those interested in the future of legal education can freely exchange ideas, concerns and opinions.

She also hopes to continue developing the CELT Web site into a more useful Web-based source of information on current reforms in legal education and a clearinghouse of resources for use by the national legal education community.

Before launching CELT, Professor Lynch was co-director of the law school's Law Clinic & Justice Center. Prior to joining the Albany Law faculty in 1989, she worked as an assistant district attorney in New York County. A Bronx native, she earned her bachelor's degree from New York University and her law degree from Harvard Law School.


Clinic Professor Receives Faculty Award at Commencement

Professor Christine Sgarlata Chung received the Albany Law School 2010 Distinguished Educator for Excellence in Service Award. Professor Chung is director of the law school's Securities Arbitration Clinic, where she works with students to represent investors in arbitration proceedings sponsored by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. As co-director of the Center for Financial Market Regulation, a joint program with the University at Albany, she also works to bridge the gap between academia and financial professionals.


Law Clinic and Justice Center Receives N.Y. Bar's Cometa Award

Read the anouncement from the New York State Bar Association's State Bar News.
(Reprinted with permission of the New York State Bar Association and the State Bar News.)
The Albany Law School Clinic and Justice Center was recently honored with the New York State Bar Association's 2010 Angelo T. Cometa Award for its significant community outreach efforts and legal services in the areas of civil rights, health law, unemployment litigation and family violence prevention. In 2009, the Law Clinic and Justice Center handled 621 different cases on behalf of 523 individuals.

The award, sponsored by the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service, annually recognizes individuals or groups in New York that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment toward advancing the goals of the State Bar's Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS), which is a program that helps coordinate a lawyer referral and information system, as well as provides the public with information about available legal services. Named after past Bar Association President Angelo T. Cometa, the award was presented on April 9 at the State Bar's House of Delegates Dinner.

The committee recognized the Law Clinic and Justice Center for its significant community outreach and the legal advice it provides through six in-house clinics: Civil Rights and Disability Law, Health Law, Securities Law, Unemployment Litigation, Low Income Taxpayer Law and Family Violence Litigation and its collaborative Family Violence Prosecution Clinic. The Law Clinic and Justice Center also offers a field placement program that has placed law students at more than 200 different government offices.

Among its most significant programs was a day-long special education conference, "Beyond the Box, Exploring the Possibilities," for parents and other individuals concerned about the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities; helping clients with cancer challenge insurance company decisions to receive due treatment; and representing survivors of domestic violence in matters related to safety, financial support and custody of children.

Past winners of the Cometa Award include: the Capital District Women's Bar Association Legal Project, Inc.; Allen J. Charne of New York (New York City Bar); and past State Bar President Angelo T. Cometa of New York. Cometa chaired the Committee on Lawyer Referral Services during the first year of LRIS operation. As committee chair, he was instrumental in establishing the LRIS and increasing public access to attorneys. The award was created in 2007 in recognition of his extraordinary service efforts.


2010 National Health Care Decision Day - April 14, 2010

Click here for a webcast of the event.


Spring 2010 Clinic Students Discuss Reflection During Orientation Ceremony
On Wednesday, January 20, 2010, the Law Clinic & Justice Center held its Orientation and Induction Ceremony for 48 new law interns. The Clinic's distinguished guest, The Honorable Bernard J. Malone, Jr., Justice, NYS Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, led the induction ceremony.

The topic of this semester's Orientation program was "Reflection" and its importance in the development of each student's professional identity as a lawyer.


Clinical Professor Retires

After nearly 30 years of service to Albany Law School, its students, and clients, Clinical Professor Joseph Baum has retired from teaching law.  Professor Baum served as the initial director of Albany Law School's Clinic from 1981 - 1990.   Professor Baum founded the clinic's field placement program which now provides over one hundred credit placements for students at Capital District agencies each semester.  Professor Baum's legacy will include his example of excellence in clinical teaching, the hundreds of students he inspired, and countless clients who were able to access the justice system through his students' efforts.  ​