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An interview with Kaitlyn Wilson, Class of 2019:
Where are you from originally? What made you choose Albany Law School?
I’m actually from the Albany area, I went to Bethlehem High School and then went away to Manhattan College for my undergrad. While there, I studied International Relations with minors in Spanish and Arabic. Then, after I came home, I realized that a law degree would help further my plans to work in international relations.
As far as choosing Albany Law School, I did apply to some places in the city, but essentially, my whole life is in this area. I have so many good relationships and family members that are based here, and I think Albany is a great location to study government and public interest law.
Did you know you wanted to go to law school when you were getting your undergraduate degree? Was there any type of “ah-hah!” moment that made you realize you wanted to study law?
Well, I always assumed that I would do something with international relations or other cultures because of my degree from Manhattan, I really figured that a law degree would be really specific and make me more marketable. This degree essentially helps me further the goals I already had.
I also feel that my undergrad did prepare me for law school. Since I was studying international relations and languages, I look at law like it’s a whole other language of its own. I guess at the core of it all, that’s what I’m looking to do, is to be able to translate the law for people that need help understanding it.
How are you involved on campus?
I’m on Law Review, working with the traditional three-year path. I pursued this because I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading a lot. In addition, I figured it would be a good opportunity to better understand citations. Law review also requires a lot of weekly subediting, and in general, challenges you to manage your time more.
I was also accepted into the Pro-Bono Honors Program. This fall semester will be my last semester taking regular classes, then I take the bar in February, and then will work for a public interest organization for the remainder of the spring semester, and that will be full time. The real appeal of this program is that you can get admitted to the bar earlier and devote the remainder of the semester to helping indigent clients full time.
Lastly, I am particularly excited about working in the immigration clinic next semester. I shadowed in this clinic before even going to law school, and have always wanted to work in it, and now I finally get to!
Have you completed any internships you’d like to highlight?
Well, I just finished working in the New York State Assembly for the summer, which is more the legislative side of the law. While there, I went to committee meetings and wrote memos for bills that were being proposed to further aid in the assembly members’ opinion of the bill and how they would potentially vote on it.
Do you know what type of law you’re looking to practice?
At this point, I am wide open. Government and public interest law interest me, but really anything that allows me to help others navigate the law. With something like immigration law, there are a lot of client meetings, helping people submit complicated paperwork, assisting them with applying for citizenship, etc. People that come here from other countries to live often need a lot of help with that, and I hope to be part of that process.
Any place you’d really love to live or practice law in particular?
I’m open to anything at this point. That’s why I think it’s so great to take the bar in New York, because it’s the UBE, the Uniform Bar Exam. That gives you a good amount of freedom if you want to practice law elsewhere.
What advice do you have for people looking to go to law school?
I think that sometimes a mistake people make is upon entering law school, they go into it from a very specific angle, to practice a very specific type of law. I think that people should come in with an open mind, and be open to more experiences, because if you only prepare for one type of law, then you are limiting yourself.
What is one fun fact about you that people might not know?
I can order at McDonald’s in Mandarin. I took it in high school and had a whole section on McDonald's.