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Through a field placement at the Office of the Albany County Attorney, Elise Friello '15 learned firsthand about mental hygiene law, working to protect the personal and financial needs of people who are alleged to be incapacitated.
Friello explained how getting hands-on-experience increases her confidence, and also adds a component to her legal skillset that she would not normally get in a classroom.
“One advantage is that I get to do actual motions," she said.
The department serves as the law office for the county. Assignments include work in the areas of tort litigation, tax enforcements, bankruptcy, labor negotiations and arbitrations, consumer transactions, health code violations, real property, construction, purchasing, public finance, environmental pollution, poor persons applications, juvenile delinquency, zoning, highways, sewers and many others.
Friello, who is also involved in the Elder Law Pro Bono Project, plans to pursue a career in the public sector of law, possibly working for a state or local agency.
Friello also noted that the classroom component of her field placement helps her to see the bigger picture of what she is doing at her internship.
"In the classroom it is a mix of students in different fields, we always share our experiences and what we are individually learning," she said. "Everyone has completely different views or practices, and it gives us all a better understanding of the full scope of the law.”
Second- and third-year students who participate in the Field Placement Clinic can earn credit while enhancing their law practice, interning with attorneys in a wide variety of capacities.
By Megan Lounsbury