168th Commencement: Watch Live
Emily Phillips ’19, Executive Director of the Anthony V. Cardona '70 Moot Court Program, has positioned herself for a rewarding career in health law. In addition to pursuing her law degree and a master's in Bioethics, Emily is interning in the health law department of a local law firm and representing area clients with chronic health conditions through Albany Law School's Health Law Clinic.
We recently caught up with Emily to learn more about her background, the origins of her interest in health law, and more:
Are you from the area?
Yes! I am originally from Niskayuna, New York, and went to Niskayuna High School. I actually still live there and I commute to Albany Law School.
Where did you earn your undergraduate degree?
I went to Fairfield University in Connecticut and studied politics with a double minor in philosophy and French.
Did you always plan to go to law school?
Yes, that was always the plan. I went straight on after I graduated from Fairfield. I wasn't sure at the time what type of law I wanted to practice but I definitely knew I wanted to go to law school. However, the one thing I did know is that I wanted to look into practicing civil law rather than criminal law.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in at Albany Law?
My biggest involvement on campus is my position as Executive Director of the Anthony V. Cardona '70 Moot Court Program. I oversee essentially everything having to do with moot court, such as intra-school competitions and travel teams, and I've really been trying to do some community outreach with other local schools. This year, 1L involvement has been a huge focus of ours and we have been very successful so far! Additionally, we have done a great job in further legitimizing our travel teams that compete at moot court events around the country.
In addition, I also work as a law clerk at O'Connell & Aronowitz in their health law department, where I help represent health care providers on issues ranging from government audits to compliance.
In addition to your J.D., you're pursuing another degree! Would you care to talk about that?
I became really fascinated once I started working in the field of health law, most specifically biomedical ethics, so I'm going to Albany Medical College to pursue an M.S. in Bioethics as well. I always loved science growing up but didn't have the classic math brain, so I didn't think I could do it. But here we are! To me, this field is always changing. And health law is a field in which there will always be new developments.
How did you become interested in health law?
I served as a research assistant for a paper by my faculty advisor, Professor Evelyn Tenenbaum, titled, "Swaps and Chains and Vouchers, Oh My!: Evaluating How Saving More Lives Impacts the Equitable Allocation of Live Donor Kidneys," which was recently published in the American Journal of Law and Medicine. Working with her definitely got me interested in this field.
Now, regarding health law, I work in the Health Law Clinic, part of the law school's Law Clinic and Justice Center, where I represent clients in the Capital Region who are in need of services such as Social Security benefits and disability benefits, standby guardianships, wills, etc. I can't say enough about the hands-on experience and making a difference in the lives of these clients has really been rewarding.
Do you have a specific plan post-graduation?
Ideally I would like to work in a private firm and practice health law, and I would love to stay in the Albany area.
Switching gears: what is one interesting thing that people might not know about you?
I really love hot air balloons. And though I have never been in one, I have been to several hot air balloon festivals in preparation for the day that I do go up!
Do you have any advice for incoming law students?
Avoid saying "no" to any opportunity you might be interested in—you'll be surprised where it takes you!