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Dozens of scarves and ties are lined up neatly in rows within the Law Suits Professional Closet at Albany Law School. The reds, blues, greens, pinks, purples, and yellows checker with white, grey, and black; there’s an impressive array of solids and patterns—accessories that elevate an outfit.
And that’s just one table.
“Wow, that would look really, really cute with that jacket,” Olivia Cox ‘20 said to a classmate, holding up a scarf at the Closet’s second and latest opening in the Career and Professional Development Center in mid-January.
Sponsored by the Career and Professional Development Center, the Office of Alumni Engagement, and the Albany County Bar Association, the Law Suits Professional Closet is a brand new student-led initiative that provides free, pre-loved, interview-ready clothes from the Albany Law community for the Albany Law community. Cox and Kelly Vidur ’19, both members of the law school’s Wellness Club, created, planned, and launched the Closet last October.
“There has been a lot of support for the Closet so far and I think that shows how much Albany Law School’s faculty, staff, administration, and classmates all support each other,” Vidur said.
“I’m blown away by how supportive our alumni, the local bar associations, and local practitioners have been for this endeavor,” Cox added. “Their generosity has been incredible.”
Dozens of TV dramas and movies have created the perception, for some, that bespoke outfits are the lawyer’s uniform. The reality, particularly for future attorneys, is different. A student whose finances are tied up elsewhere may not have access to professional attire. That was the genesis of Cox’s idea for the closet. The clever name came from Vidur.
“We had a student come in and pick out three gorgeous suits that probably would have cost at least $700, and she didn’t have $700 to spend,” Cox said. ”When she left, the smile on her face was worth a lot more than that. And that is just one example.”
“This initiative responds to students’ needs in a meaningful way as it helps to alleviate some of the challenges students face as they prepare for their professional careers. I am grateful to Olivia and Kelly for spearheading this project and providing a valuable resource for our students,” said Associate Dean for Student Affairs Rosemary Queenan.
With a supply of outfits and accessories and two successful openings thus far the Law Suits Professional Closet is off to a good start, but there is still a need to make sure the racks stay full.
“Our initial sets of clothes were donated by local bar association members after they heard about the program through their bar association newsletters. One of the single largest contributors so far has been [Albany Law School President and] Dean [Alicia] Ouellette. She has a very good fashion sense, incidentally,” Vidur said.
Those who wish to donate to the Law Suits Professional Closet are encouraged to reach out to the Wellness Club via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be dropped off on campus during events—such as Reunion—in the Career and Professional Development Center, or during regular business hours in the Office of Alumni Engagement.