Virtual Programs Allow Alumni to Give (and Get) Support

The Albany Law School alumni network has more than 10,000 members—many willing to lend a hand to a fellow graduate. The community’s strength has made an even bigger impact as the world weathers the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past spring, the Career and Professional Development Center introduced new programming under the title “Learn- ing to Thrive in Uncertain Times.” Through various virtual offerings, alumni have connected in new, meaningful ways with their peers and current law students.

Participants, especially those in the Class of 2020, learned lessons in resilience from alumni who felt the reverberations of the global financial crisis a decade ago. Inspiration came through Zoom sessions and virtual one-on-one meetings.

Andrea Shaw ’08, head of compliance and anti-fraud at daVinci Payments, a global payments fintech firm in Chicago, Ill., found her place in the financial services world when her first job offer after law school was held in limbo due to the financial crisis. “Trust in yourself, trust in the education you got from Albany Law, and be resilient,” Shaw said during a Zoom session. “Go in with the mindset that this is only temporary. Whatever you’re doing right now, you’re learning and are building your transferable skills.”

Under a similar umbrella, the Office of Alumni Engagement launched the Alumni Career Consultants Program, an effort that brings together a growing group of alumni with students and peers for career guidance. Alumni volunteers have contributed in several ways: through blog posts, one-on-one virtual meetings, or simply making themselves available for “on-call” outreach.

“Keep your eye on the goal—to be an attorney, one that people like and trust,” wrote Rodney Salvati ’72, who started his own firm in a tough economic environment by leveraging old-school volunteerism and networking opportunities. “You have enormous resources as your disposal—the internet, social media, phones that aren’t stuck to walls, computers—use them. … [I]f someone like me, naive, from a working-class background, without professionals in the extended family (or even college graduates), can make it, so can you.”

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