Mark Winton ’21 can remember the exact moment he was ready to pursue law school.
It was a cold day on a job site far from home. Law school was always in the back of his mind. After several hours working in the rain at the desolate work site, he checked his phone to see his wife had texted him about bar exam preparation courses.
“I took that as a sign,” he said.
He took the LSAT and enrolled in Albany Law School’s two year accelerated program. Though most of his Albany Law School experience was online, the community aspects of an Albany Law education were all there, he said.
“I love this school. [The community] is so supportive. My cohort for my program, there were only six of us, and we stuck together through online classes, bar prep, and we still stay in touch,” he said. “The fact that Albany had a specific two-year program and you have that support among others was really helpful. We all helped each other and supported each other and understood each other.”
In his final semester, he completed an internship alongside a probate attorney where he saw what a solo practice looked like.
“The exposure was incredible. I was seeing forty to sixty clients a week, and all these variations of deeds and ways to transfer and deal with their issues,” he said. “I am really appreciative of that experience.”
Now, he’s working for himself, at his own solo practice in El Paso, Texas.
Going out on his own right away was daunting, he said. But some encouragement from Professor Ray Brescia was a major confidence boost, Winton said. Brescia encouraged him to set up the firm’s business plan and assisted him through the process.
Winton’s entrepreneurial spirit is still coming in handy and he manages clients, makes referrals, and manages the practice overall. He specializes in probate, real estate, and trusts law. He also works with clients on wills and estate planning.
“The people I am helping are normal people who need help with real-life things. They are so appreciative and it feels good to have a skillset to help them,” he said. “I can set my schedule and be available to pick up my daughter from school and take her to tennis. I’m very appreciative to have this career.”
Winton has always had an entrepreneurial attitude. Prior to law school and opening his practice, spent his career building up two separate businesses. But a tradeoff of working for yourself is the constant schedule which is often demanding, he said.
“That job was on the road. It was not in town. It was living in hotels. It was driving thirty, forty thousand miles a year. I had this new baby who totally changed my life,” he said. “I saw my wife, who is a nurse practitioner, have a job that was difficult at times but consistent. I thought, I like that stability. I've been through the highs and loads of contracting, so I've made a lot of money at times. I've not made much money at times. I wanted the kind of job where I can set my schedule, work hard, and be with my family.”
Nontraditional students have support at Albany Law School