Student Spotlight

Johnson ’25 Enjoying Crossover of Medicine, Law in Health Law Clinic

Becky Johnson ’25

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Becky Johnson ’25 has always been drawn to help people facing a health crisis. 

Initially, she wanted to go into medicine. With an interest in forensics and inspired by her father who worked as a scientist, she earned a health science degree from Alfred State College. 

As she learned more about the medical field, she began to notice the crossover with the legal field. Particularly, how changes to the law can impact people facing health issues. She decided law school would be a good way to merge these interests. 

“I have a background in health sciences. I was initially wanting to go the medical route before law school, but then I switched it. I always wanted to figure out a way to marry my two interests. When I heard about the Health Law Clinic, specifically the work that they do with HIV positive or AIDS clients, that sounded to me like something that I wanted to take on or see what can I learn,” she said. 

During her work in the Health Law Clinic within the Edward P. Swyer Justice Center, she has assisted clients of many types and sharpened her skills while making a real impact. Working alongside Professor Joe Connors, Staff Attorney Elizabeth O’Reilly, and clinic paralegals has been a key piece of her success too, she said. 

“When it comes to legal work and client counseling, interviewing, meeting with them about their real-life issues that are often frustrating or very long-winded, it's nice to have somebody who's been around the block and explains to us, this is how you should speak to a client given this situation, or remember that these aren't hypotheticals anymore, they're real people,” she said. “They have helped us learn to be considerate about client’s emotional issues beyond just their legal problem. Look at it holistically.” 

“Working in the shared clinic space and just being around people who are going through the same things as you, like they're having client issues or something like that, is a good environment to be in,” she said. 

She has also completed a fellowship in the Government Law Center.

“It’s definitely academically oriented, but they also prepare us for the real world, or they'll have discussions about burnout and comparing yourself to other people and imposter syndrome. They of tackle the side issues that aren't often discussed past academics in law school,” she said. “I really enjoyed that fellowship and I feel like I grew as a learner and as a person too.” 

Johnson began at Albany Law School in 2020. Initially, making connections with her classmates and professors was difficult, she said. One day, while back on campus in person. Another student asked her if she was interested in joining the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).

“She went out of her way to say hello and let me know about the group. I was so happy she did that. Now I've been on E-Board of BLSA for a while. I'm pretty active in it, and that's where I've met the majority of my friends. I feel like I do better academically now that I'm socializing in law school. I think it's a night and day experience when you have those peers and friends versus when you don’t. It’s also a way to branch out with other students outside of BLSA, because there's so much crossover with the other affinity groups. You make friends that way. Now it's like, oh, you're in my class and now I have a person to study with, and all came together.”

Becky Johnson ’25