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“I've always wanted to be a lawyer,” says Bryanne Perlanski ’16 of Little Falls, N.Y. “I don't remember how or when it started but I know that I have always had that drive and that one goal in mind — to become a lawyer. In high school I interned with an attorney who told me to major in whatever I wanted during undergrad because it wouldn't make or break my acceptance to law school. He knew that law schools are filled with students with incredibly diverse backgrounds, so I took his advice and didn't pursue a pre-law program during undergrad. Instead I went to SUNY Cortland where I majored in Sociology and minored in Social Philosophy, subjects I enjoyed.”
While Perlanski pursued her interests in these fields, she simultaneously tailored her extracurricular actives toward a career in law. “I interned at the Cortland County Public Defender's Office, the Finger Lakes Residential Center, and Cortland County Probation Department during undergrad,” she said.
After graduating in 2013, Perlanski headed straight to law school.
“I originally didn't want to stay in New York for law school. I looked across the country at different schools but then I talked to someone in the Albany Law School admissions office and they told me about all the great clinical programs available here and the abundance of government internships — I mean it is the capital of New York after all,” she said.
“Probably the most
exciting experience that I have been a part of here at Albany Law came
this past summer when I interned at the NYS Department of Corrections
and Community Supervision in its Office of Special Investigations.”
During the spring semester of her 1L year, after giving herself some time to settle into the workload, Perlanski returned to work part-time at the New York State Thruway Authority. That summer she interned with the Albany County District Attorney’s office, where she made lifelong friends and solidified her desire to become a prosecutor.
“I have always been actively involved in my community and I thought that becoming a prosecutor would be one of the best ways that I could possibly serve my community — by holding those that break the law accountable for their actions,” Perlanski said.
She obtained a student practice order and made use of it to gain experience in the courtroom. Through the Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic, Perlanski continued working at the District Attorney's office that fall where she had the opportunity to handle four sex offender registration hearings for the Special Victims Unit.
“That was when I knew for sure that I wanted to work closely with crime victims,” she said. “It was often times incredibly difficult to hear someone relating the story of these horrible things that had allegedly happened to them. I had to remind myself that this was why I came to law school, because I want to help people, and working with individuals during these very difficult times — perhaps the most difficult times of their lives — is maybe the best way that you can possibly help another human being. You don't get greater satisfaction than that.
“Probably the most exciting experience that I have been a part of here at Albany Law came this past summer when I interned at the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in its Office of Special Investigations. The internship started a week before the escape happened up at the Clinton Correctional Facility and I got to help with that a little bit, which also provided for a bit of a hectic summer. While in that office I was also helping investigate crimes that happened within the prison system, sometimes abuse or altercations with other inmates or members of staff, primarily in the sex crimes unit. I had the opportunity to visit correctional facilities across the state to interview inmates and try to figure out if their testimonies were fact-based or corroborated with any evidence. Working at DOCCS allowed me to learn how to put a case together from the other end of the law.”
“I thought that becoming a prosecutor would be one of the best ways that I could possibly serve my community — by holding those that break the law accountable for their actions.”
This year, Perlanski is working at the United States Attorney's office for the Northern District of New York handling federal crimes and participating in hearings at the federal court.
She is still working nearly every weekend at the Thruway Authority, volunteering her spare time to an organization known as Two Together, where she is a literacy tutor for at-risk youth living in the Albany city area, and is working with Bethlehem Youth Court where she volunteers to assist in teaching litigation skills to youth court participants. This program is a form of diversion for juvenile offenders where their peers play their judge, jury, and attorneys. “I wish I had a program like this when I was in high school.”
“I'm also working on an article that will be published in a book on human trafficking,” Perlanski said. “My article talks about sex trafficking that happens on the internet and the process of working with the victims of these types of crimes.”
Perlanski is interested in staying in the Albany area upon graduation and working in the public sector as a prosecutor. She advises the incoming class of 2019 to “take on as many different experiences as you can! You may have a vague idea of what you want to do at first but then you start trying things and maybe you change your mind, maybe you fall in love with something completely different from your original plan, and that's absolutely fine, but how will you know for sure unless you find out what works for you? Take on any experience that comes your way and see where it takes you.
“You won't regret it.”