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What Almost Wasn’t: For Career Changer, Doors Now Wide Open

Torey Soracco

WHEN VICTORIA “TOREY” SORACCO ’20 RECEIVED THE JUDGE R. WALDRON HERZBERG ’33 AND RUTH MILLER HERZBERG MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP, it sealed the deal for her. “This is the truth: I would not be in law school without that scholarship,” Soracco said. She started law school at age 42, after a career managing retail businesses and then running her own in rural Dutchess County. She already had a mortgage. When she looked at the cost of law school, she questioned whether it was financially possible for her. “Reality started to settle in as I began receiving acceptance letters,” she said. “I had to consider that I might not be able to do this after all.” Then she got the scholarship.

“That made the difference,” she said. She declined her other offers and moved to Albany, ready to chase her dream. During her first year, she also received the Joseph H. Gellert Dutchess County Bar Association Scholarship, which came with an invitation to an award ceremony. “It was fantastic for me to be able to connect with people there,” she said. “The attorneys I met at that luncheon weren’t asking about my grades or rank. They were interested in who I was.

They were saying, ‘We’d love to have you back in Dutchess County.’” That had a powerful effect. Prior to that ceremony, Soracco hadn’t considered a return home after law school. “There has certainly been a shift in momentum,” she said.

Soracco’s second year of law school brought with it a newfound fascination with trusts and estates, and the Ayco–Albany Law School Alumni Scholarship. This scholarship provided not only financial support, but the opportunity for an internship with the company. She jumped at the chance and has no regrets. “It’s not just the money that makes these scholarships so important. Each of these scholar- ships has expanded my vision in terms of the possibilities I see in my future.”

Though still a student, she has already started to give back. She donated to the Class of 2020 Legacy Fund and serves as a member of the Women’s Law Caucus. Last year, she was the WLC’s event coordinator and contacted many alumni for panels and other programs. Every time, the alumni said yes—and showed up.

“I think the Albany Law alumni network is beyond generous,” she said. “They’re just unbelievable role models. I don’t know how else to thank them other than to do my best to help others the way they have helped me.”

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