Ethan Van Vorst ’25 wanted to go to law school to grow, expand his skillset, and move his career path forward.
He grew up in Burnt Hills, attended undergrad at Siena College, and thought his next step should take him somewhere outside the Capital Region.
That all changed when he toured Albany Law School.
“I told myself in the beginning. There's no way I'm going to in Albany. I don't want to stay in the same area. But then I had a tour of the school. I had never seen the campus and I was blown away,” he said. “There's just so much opportunity for law here. There's just so many different firms. There’s the state government right around the corner. I had no idea of this opportunity that was right here all along.”
In the summer between 1L and 2L years, he worked with a firm dealing with trusts, estates, and health-related legal matters. He never planned to work on health law cases, but seeing the impact an advocate can have for people dealing with legal issues surrounding their health, he wanted to pursue it further.
This experience motivated him to apply for the Health Law Clinic within the Edward P. Swyer Justice Center.
“I thought, what better way to put what I've learned to actual practice and continue this than the clinic? Right away we were given three clients, all ranging in age, severity of issues, and type of problem,” he said.
He regularly collaborated with Kaitlin Connor ’24 and both were supported and guided by Professor Joseph Connors and Staff Attorney Elizabeth O’Reilly.
“We have a lot of one on one client interaction. We also have administrative work going on whether that's making a note on the legal server where we upload all our documents and files or making sure you send the correct email on time to an opposing counsel,” he said. “This experience delves into so many different areas. It’s really interesting because unlike in class, where you learn about one straightforward type of law at a time, we’re working with many areas. We see how health and family law intertwine. You’re not just looking at text on paper, you’re helping real people and see their raw emotion and how things impact their family.”
Van Vorst is also getting practical experience through the Anthony V. Cardona ’70 Moot Court program.
Though he doesn’t consider himself the litigator-type or one to convince a judge or jury of something, he enjoys the planning, practical, and collaborative elements of moot court.
“It’s very detailed, it’s a lot of compartmentalizing certain issues and delegating duties to people and staying on top of it. It strengthens your communication skills, whether you're talking with judges or other students and getting people involved. It's a wide range of duties. It all culminates with us, for the family law competition in the spring. It’s a one to two-day, fast paced event but once it’s all over, you feel very accomplished.”
Looking back, Van Vorst is happy he didn’t give in to his initial reluctance to leave the area for law school.
“The clinic and moot court are such a good mix. I get to work with clients in the clinic and then with moot court I do more behind-the-scenes work. Both aspects work together really well,” he said. “Both these have been, no doubt, the best two things I've done at the law school so far, especially the clinic. I recommend everyone should do it. The amount you learn in a short period of time and that connection, professional, like relationship you build with your Professor, and staff attorney is like nothing I've seen before. And there's nothing I feel that will prepare you more for the real world than something like that. They expose you to different aspects of the law that you don't necessarily see in classes, so I recommend it to everyone.”