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Jocelyn McGrath '15 spent her semester at
the District Attorney’s office in Berkshire County, Mass., in the Appeals unit, where she encountered a specific moment that brought her legal lessons to life.
"The brief I was responding to seemed
very well-written and the arguments were very persuasive," McGrath said, "and I was very
concerned about how to come up with counter-arguments until I went to the law
that was being cited. I realized that the language was being taken out of
context. It was an ‘aha’ moment about how important it is to stay neutral about
the merits of a case at first impression.”
placement, McGrath wanted to go into Health Law.
“I knew that I wanted to do a
placement for Berkshire County," she said. "I had not considered myself as someone
interested in criminal law. I had done criminal law in the appellate competitions
that I had done, and I had enjoyed it quite a bit, but I had always assumed
that it was for someone else.”
An important part of field placement to McGrath is the
opportunity to gain more experience and to try new things. “I think that’s why
I had such a great experience, because I was encouraged to try something that
I had never imagined for myself.”
She also said that her placement has showed her that she’s
ready for the world outside of Albany Law. “It highlighted my strengths and
made me look at my work differently. It gave me a lot of confidence that I have
progressed as a law student and a professional.”
McGrath suggests for future students that they take
advantage of the great opportunities that Albany Law has to offer.
placement provided me with my first connection for possible employment. I wish
I had started my placements earlier. Experiential learning takes time and it
helps you to find out what works for you best.”
McGrath has a job lined up for after graduation as an
appellate court attorney at the State of New York Supreme Courte, Appellate
Division, Third Judicial Department.
By Elyse Oosterman