Student Spotlight

Connor ’24 on Clinical Experience, Working on a Student Journal

Kaitlyn Connor ’24

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Kaitlyn Connor ’24 always had an answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question. The answer was always “a lawyer” though the area of practice was to be determine. 

She’s working on learning about several practice areas, and unexpectedly found a passion or health law.

She initially chose the Health Law Clinic within The Edward P. Swyer Justice Center at Albany Law School, to build on her 2L summer internship in trusts and estate law and has been surprised by the intersections among them. Particularly in the Health Law Clinic, where she and other students are helping clients through issues related to their health, which frequently overlap with issues with their homes, estates, families, and more.

“It's interesting to see how areas that you don't have any experience in, that you weren't expecting to come upon, now suddenly you're taking the driver's wheel on it. It's a little crazy. And this is normal for lawyers, but just the fact that there's going to be areas that you're not familiar with and you're going to have to learn efficiently and quickly,” she said. “You never really know what's going to be thrown your way. Also, just clients might have other prevailing legal issues and maybe you're not their attorney, but you can give them some basic advice on it. So that part has been nice, just to learn new things stretched my brain a little.”

Kaitlyn Connor ’24

Clients, especially those dealing with convoluted and often difficult issues that arise with health and healthcare, can sometimes be dealing with one of the most difficult situations of their lives. Lawyers need to know the law to assist them, but there’s also a human element required to act with compassion.
“[Working with Health Law Clinic clients] it's my job to take control of the conversation and talk about these hard topics because there are a lot of hard topics. These aren't easy things that these people are dealing with, and they need help. So definitely learning a lot on that front. And it's been new, because you could talk about it all you want, but then experiencing it is just something totally different,” she said.

The Capital Region has served as an ideal backdrop for her legal education. Connor already knew she liked the area from her undergraduate studies at Union College. But having access to the state government and associated agencies and resources from the legal perspective has made her appreciate grow. 

“I liked the opportunities that I had to be able to work with the state government a bit. That's not something that I would've gotten if I went to school in likely many areas of this state, because we are in the capital, so there's a lot of government jobs. A past field placement I did was with the New York State Division of Veteran Services, another example of something that I'd never thought I'd be working on, but it just worked out and I learned a lot about veterans laws, but I really liked the opportunity that I was able to directly compare and contrast. So, it's just the multitude of opportunities to just do different things and compare them. And I just don't think I would've had that same state opportunity anywhere else,” she said.

Connor has also gained practical experience through her role as lead article editor of the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology.

“This is a weird thing to some, but, genuinely, I think I'm good at citations and I like citations, and so it also helped me learn a lot. It was really interesting learning so much about the legal research aspect of it, writing and researching. Now I'm on the E-board, and I really appreciate the opportunity to do this leadership role,” she said. “I like my job, I like being a part of producing something that gets cited in cases and other law reviews, it makes me very proud to be part of producing that issue and to have a direct role it makes me feel like I'm making a genuine difference. My work product is ending up in the final version of it, so I've liked doing that a lot.”