Albany Law School will be closed today until 4pm due to the weather.
As the oldest of its kind in the United States, the Government Law Center (GLC) at Albany Law School has traditionally offered
top-notch opportunities to second- and third-year law students. These experiences have helped name Albany Law
No. 1 in the nation by
preLaw magazine for preparing students for careers in government.
Now, first-year students are in the mix.
This academic year, 15 students from the classes of 2018 and ‘19 were selected as inaugural Government Law Center Fellows. The GLC Fellowship program has granted the 1Ls — who were eligible to apply after being accepted to Albany Law — exclusive access to movers and shakers in government and other highly regarded legal professionals.
GLC Fellows have been paired with government attorneys or
Government Law Center Advisory Board members who include senior partners in high-profile law firms, judges, lobbyists, nonprofit leaders, and lawyers for New York state agencies, Attorney General’s offices, and unions. They have been invited as special guests to Government Law Center Advisory Board meetings and subcommittees, and can “shadow” board members and staff, who serve as informal mentors, at their offices and in high-level meetings.
“It’s a privilege to work alongside seasoned professionals in the field of law that I plan on working in, in the future.”
“My mentor — he’s so nice. He has a lot of resources that he’s willing to help me use,” said University at Albany grad Racquel Saddler, whose experience as a GLC Fellow has reinforced her goal of pursuing a career in legislative advocacy. “We’re going to meet for coffee and talk about what it is that I want to do. He said that I can sit in with him on lobbying meetings, and meetings with elected officials and staffers, just to get that experience.”
“I knew that when I came to law school I wanted to hone in on the skills I learned as an undergrad and as an intern,” she added. “I felt like getting involved with the GLC would be a really good way to enhance my skills and align myself with the key players.”
Florida State University graduate Benjamin Gold applied to become a Fellow after corresponding with
GLC Director Ray Brescia, who touted the program’s many hands-on opportunities. It was a no-brainer, given that the Government Law Center is what drew Gold to Albany Law in the first place.
“Working with the GLC’s staff and Advisory Board — which is comprised of sophisticated attorneys with both academic and practical experience on a variety of issues — has allowed me to look forward to becoming involved in state government field placements and internships next year,” Gold said. “It’s a privilege to work alongside seasoned professionals in the field of law that I plan on working in, in the future.”
The experience is serving the Fellows well. Not only are they networking with influencers that they may not otherwise have had access to as first-year students, they are producing noteworthy scholarship under the supervision of GLC staff.
“If government is your passion, if being a voice to the voiceless is your passion, if you are empowered by helping others in a government capacity, definitely apply to the Fellowship program.”
“I’m producing an analysis on voter turnout for the annual
Warren Anderson Legislative Breakfast Series, which will be held at the Assembly Parlor in the Capitol building,” Gold said. “This analysis will be read to a crowd of about 150 to 200 legislators, attorneys, lobbyists, and academics.”
The Fellows are involved with planning the Warren Anderson series, with multiple dates during the NYS Legislative Session.
“I’m writing a piece with two other people on raising the age of criminal responsibility for the Anderson breakfast,” Saddler said. “It’s basically a document detailing what the proposal is, what it does, what it hopes to do if it gets passed in the Legislature.”
Fellows are also given opportunities to engage in informal settings with exceptional legal minds who participate in GLC programs
— individuals such as judges and high-placed attorneys
— and can accompany Professor Brescia and senior GLC legal staff to meetings with legislative leaders, agency heads, potential event sponsors, business leaders, and elected officials.
Gold said the Fellowship has helped narrow his focus as he nears the end of his 1L year.
“I’ve recognized that I would like to practice private-sector government law,” he said, “so using the knowledge that I’ve learned about the ins and outs of government, at every level, will allow me to serve clients across multiple industries.”
As for Saddler, she said Albany Law is “the perfect place to be and get involved” as a GLC Fellow.
“If government is your passion, if being a voice to the voiceless is your passion, if you are empowered by helping others in a government capacity, definitely apply to the Fellowship program,” Saddler said. “Because being in Albany, it’s the premier place to experience all that government has to offer from the state level.”