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This plan describes the Government Law Center Fellows program: its goals and the way the Government Law Center will implement them. The point person on the GLC's staff for the Fellows program will be the Administrative Director of the GLC.
The plan describes a three-year arc. First-year Fellows are given extracurricular opportunities to explore whether public service is right for them. Second-year Fellows take specific courses that will help prepare them for public service. And third-year Fellows undertake an experiential capstone project, either at the GLC or at an external placement, that helps prepare them directly for practice.
1. Goals of the Fellowship Program
The GLC's 2018 Strategic Plan says, "The Fellows program has three main goals: substantive preparation for public-service practice; creating a sense of community for students interested in public service; and connecting students to attorneys in public-service practice."
Anyone who graduates as a Government Law Center Fellow should have an excellent foundation of knowledge and skills for public-service practice. The Fellowship will help to build that foundation.
Anyone who graduates as a Government Law Center Fellow should also have a sense of community with their peers at Albany Law School, and strong connections to attorneys in public-service practice. The Fellowship will help to build that sense of community and those connections.
2. Selection of Fellows and Use of the Description "GLC Fellow"
First-year Government Law Center Fellows will be chosen during the first four weeks of the academic year. Applications will be due within the first two weeks of classes. Twelve to fifteen first-year Fellows will be chosen from the entering class.
Applications will be assessed by a Fellowship Committee composed of the GLC Director, GLC Administrative Director, and one upper-class GLC Fellow. The GLC Fellow will be invited to join the Committee by the Director and Administrative Director, and will play an advisory role in the selection process. All information about applicants will be kept strictly confidential.
Selection of upper-class Fellows
After students have completed the first year of their fellowship, or any subsequent year, they will be invited to reapply. The deadline will be the same as the application deadline for first-year Fellows.
Although selection as an upper-class Fellow is not automatic, students who have participated actively in the first-year programs will be given strong preference for acceptance as upper-class Fellows. If a first-year Fellow has not participated actively in Fellowship programs, they are still welcome to apply to become upper-class Fellows; whether or not those applicants receive preference will depend on the reasons for the lack of active participation. Upper-class students who have not been first-year Fellows may also apply. The overall size of the Fellows class will be no greater than fifteen students.
Students in the MSLS, LLM, and accelerated JD programs
Students pursuing a master's of science in legal studies (MSLS), master of laws (LLM), and accelerated JD programs are eligible for consideration to be Government Law Center Fellows. Because of their relatively short time at the law school, they are not subject to the same second- and third-year requirements as JD Fellows. Any student in these programs who wishes to apply to the Fellowship should contact the Director; if the student becomes a Government Law Center Fellow, their requirements will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Fellows should describe themselves
During their first year, or at any point when they are still in the Fellows program, students may describe themselves as "Government Law Center Fellows."
However, if a student leaves the program after their first year, they may describe their experience only with the phrase "first-year" in the name. In other words, a student who has left the program after the first year can refer to their "Government Law Center First-Year Fellowship," or say they were a "Government Law Center First-Year Fellow," but they may not describe themselves as a "Government Law Center Fellow."
If a Fellow from a graduate program, or the accelerated JD program, leaves the program before completing their degree, they should consult the GLC Director about how to describe their experience.
3. First-Year and Ongoing Informal Programming
The first-year Fellowship is designed as a series of optional activities for first-year students who wish to explore whether public service is right for them. Programs are designed to be both exploratory and preparatory; students who are not yet sure of their plans can use them to explore the possibility of public service while students who are firm in their plan to enter public service will benefit from the substantive exposure.
The extracurricular programming described here is the substance of the first-year Fellowship. However, each of the activities described in this section is also open to upper-class Fellows unless specifically indicated otherwise.
These extracurricular programs will fall into one of three basic categories, which correspond to the three goals of the Fellowship program: learning about public service; community-building; and making connections to attorneys in public service.
Programs that educate Fellows about public service and government law
Programs in this category may include:
- Lectures and other class-like sessions that substantively explain a specific field of practice or legal topic;
- Career mentoring, including participation in the Alumni Initiative in Mentoring program, workshops on career topics, and mentoring by GLC staff; and
- Field observations, in which groups of Fellows have the opportunity to see government lawyering in practice. Examples could include observing a Court of Appeals argument on government-law-related issues and discussing the argument with the judges; or observing a legislative or administrative hearing.
Programs that create a sense of community among students interested in public service
Through social events and other activities, GLC Fellows will develop a sense of community. The Fellows will also serve as a core group on the Albany Law School campus around which students who are not in the Fellowship program can coalesce to learn more about public service and continue to build their professional identities.
Programs that create a sense of community among students interested in public service may include:
- Social activities, such as receptions at the beginning or end of an academic year organized by members of the GLC Advisory Board's Student Engagement Committee;
- Skill-share sessions, where Fellows exchange ideas about challenges facing them in law school;
- Community-service projects; and
- Open houses, study breaks at the GLC during exam periods.
Other programs discussed above, like field observations, will also help build community.
Programs that connect students to attorneys in public service
Programs in the third category will help Fellows (and other students) develop connections to attorneys in public service. Programs of this kind may include:
- Collaborating with the Alumni office to help GLC Fellows and other students participate in the law school's mentoring program, so that mentors can help them build their understanding of public service;
- Sessions in which attorneys in public service meet with the Fellows to describe their practice and career paths;
- A in which each first-year student Fellow is assigned to meet with two of the lawyers who have signed up to be mentors, to learn about the setting in which those lawyers practice and what it's like to practice there, and to report back to the other Fellows in a roundtable session that the GLC will organize; and
- Where appropriate, involving GLC Fellows (and other students) in meetings and events organized or attended by the Center's staff-members.
4. Academic Programming
All upper-class GLC Fellows will be required to declare a concentration in Government Law and Policy. The requirements for this concentration are listed on the website, here: http://www.albanylaw.edu/academic-life/areas-of- study/Pages/governmental.aspx.
Among the requirements for this concentration are two required courses: Administrative Law and Introduction to Government. While students can satisfy the concentration requirements by taking these at any time, GLC Fellows must take them before they begin the experiential capstone discussed below. Taking these classes before satisfying the experiential-programming requirement ensures that Fellows have a solid working knowledge of the structure and law of government before beginning their third-year experiential work.
Only in extraordinary circumstances, and with the permission of the Director of the GLC, will a Fellow be permitted to delay completing the two required classes until after they have begun their experiential capstone. If Fellows believe that delaying completion of the two required classes would benefit them educationally, or have any other reason to seek a delay, they should speak to the GLC Director as early as possible.
5. Experiential Capstone
GLC Fellows will be required to do experiential work after they have completed the Introduction to Government and Administrative Law courses. They can fulfill this requirement either by interning at the GLC or with an external placement in government or government- related practice. Fellows will then make a presentation about their experiential-capstone work at a roundtable attended by other Fellows. Details on each of these aspects of the experiential capstone follow.
Internships at the GLC
Students can satisfy the experiential requirement by interning at the Government Law Center during the third year. GLC interns work at the GLC, helping with our core projects and other research. Typically, GLC interns are assigned to specific projects, such as our immigration research, our project on aging law, or our project on police oversight.
GLC internships can be done as for academic credit (as a field placement, semester in practice, or independent study) or for pay (as a research assistantships). The application schedule and commitment involved in the internship varies depending on whether it is a research assistantship, a field placement, or an independent study. But the GLC is limited in the number of interns it can accept each semester, so students should let us know as early as possible if they are considering applying for an internship.
The appropriate way to apply for an internship will depend on what form the internship takes. Students who wish to do their internship as a field placements, semester in practice, or independent study should apply through those programs, which each have their own application requirements. Students who wish to do their internship as a research assistantship should talk to the GLC Director about how to apply.
Students can also satisfy the experiential-capstone requirement by doing an internship, externship, field placement, or semester in practice under the supervision of an external attorney. The external placement should be either in government or in a government-related position.
If a student wishes to satisfy this requirement with a government- related position, they should discuss the placement with the Director of the GLC before beginning work to make sure it qualifies. Examples of qualifying external placements could include working at a lobbying firm in a role that involves focus on government activities; working for an advocacy organization to affect governmental policies; and related activities. However, the mere fact that a position involves working on law does not make it a qualifying position, even though laws are made by government.
Participation in roundtables
As part of the capstone experiential requirement, Fellows will be required to make a presentation about their work and what they have learned from it at a roundtable organized by the GLC and attended by other Fellows. These roundtables will be organized for late in the relevant semester. Details will be announced promptly.
The Fellowship's experiential capstone is different from the concentration's experiential requirement
The experiential requirement for the Government Law Center Fellowship is separate from the experiential requirement for the Government Law and Policy concentration. The concentration has its own experiential requirement, which can be satisfied by participation in a clinic, field placement, or summer/semester in practice related to the concentration—or participation in the GLC Fellowship.
Students can use the same experience to satisfy both the Fellowship's experiential requirement and the concentration's experiential requirement. For example, a student who does a field placement at the GLC in their third year would satisfy both the GLC Fellowship's experiential requirement and the Government Law and Policy concentration's experiential requirement. However, students should make sure that they satisfy each program's requirement according to the program's independent criteria.
6. The Executive Board
The Fellows will be represented by an Executive Board that helps organize events and advises the GLC staff in deciding which events will be most useful to students. Meetings of the Executive Board will be convened by the GLC Administrative Director. Members of the GLC Advisory Board's Student Engagement Committee will participate in such meetings as appropriate.
Members of the Executive Board will be chosen by election in early October of each year, and serve one-year terms. There will be two representatives from each class of Fellows, each of whom will have the title "Co-Chair." Elections will be conducted by email, with each candidate providing a brief statement about their interest in serving as a Co-Chair, which will then be circulated to all of the Fellows.
Also, the GLC Director will choose one GLC Fellow to be appointed as a member of the GLC Advisory Board. The student member of the Advisory Board need not be a Co-Chair of the Executive Board. That student will be expected to attend meetings of the Advisory Board, to serve as a member of the Advisory Board's Student Engagement Committee, and to participate in other Advisory Board activities as appropriate. The student Advisory Board member will be chosen in the late spring to serve a term that begins on the last day of classes and runs until the last day of classes the following year.
7. Alumni of the Fellowship Program
Alumni of the Government Law Center Fellowship will be encouraged to stay in contact with the Government Law Center and to continue to take advantage of the network after completing the Fellowship and throughout their careers. They will form a special hub within the larger network of Albany Law School alumni of people who are passionate and knowledgeable about public service.
By working with the law school's mentoring program, the GLC will help alumni of the Fellows program serve as mentors to future GLC Fellows and other students at the law school who wish to know more about public service. The GLC will also keep updated contact information for alumni of the Fellows program, and stay in touch with them so that we can share news of their accomplishments and host alumni events.