168th Commencement: Watch Live
The journey to Albany Law School began the day that Elizabeth Murad '19, then a Union College sophomore, met Professor Mary Lynch at a domestic violence information session and heard about the advocacy work by Albany Law students on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
Elizabeth spoke with Professor Lynch after the information session. Following their conversation about the Law School's Law Clinic and Justice Center—which works with domestic violence victims and also with D.A. offices to prosecute offenders—Elizabeth walked away knowing she wanted to attend Albany Law School. She was also certain she wanted to learn all she could from Professor Lynch about how best to advocate for domestic violence survivors.
Elizabeth's participation in the Family Violence Litigation Clinic during her second year of law school gave her the opportunity to experience advocating for a client. During her semester working under the supervision of Professor Jaya Connors, Elizabeth regularly attended Family Courts throughout the Capital Region, where she advocated for her clients in child custody, spousal, and child support appearances and hearings.
In her freshman year of college, Elizabeth's close childhood friend Alexandra Kogut was murdered by Kogut's then-boyfriend in her college dorm. This, she said, was an incredibly painful and sad time in her life but one that informed her decision to want to represent clients who are survivors.
This year Elizabeth received the 2018 Katheryn Katz Memorial Fellowship, an award provided through Albany Law School in memory of Professor Katheryn Katz, a pioneer in the advocacy of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault during a time when their voices were not heard and their unique needs were not met. The award is given to an Albany Law student who exemplifies the spirit of Professor Katz and has demonstrated a record of advocacy for survivors.
"You will never know
what opportunities open up for you if you just introduce yourself to
someone," she said, adding that she is keeping her career options open.
In this role, Elizabeth works full time at The Legal Project, an organization that provides free civil legal representation to indigent clients. The Legal Project's services include representing clients involved in family law matters, immigration proceedings, and many other areas of civil law. Elizabeth believes the Legal Project is exactly the right place for her; she feels empowered to go into work every day to help her clients.
"It's a very close, supportive team of experienced and passionate lawyers who tirelessly advocate for their clients," Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth also stays busy on campus. She is the President of the Class of 2019, Co-Chair of the Women's Law Caucus, and will be participating again in the Family Violence Litigation Clinic in the fall.
Elizabeth's expectations of law school were well-grounded due to having several lawyers in her family. It was the work load that, she said, proved the most challenging part of adjusting to law school life.
She emphasized networking as an important skill that incoming 1Ls, as well as enrolled students, need to learn early on.
"You will never know what opportunities open up for you if you just introduce yourself to someone," she said, adding that she is keeping her career options open.
Elizabeth is also serving as the Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Competition Chair, an annual moot court appellate advocacy competition held during the spring semester in which over two dozen teams from around the country come to Albany Law School to compete against one another. Elizabeth is currently working on this year's legal problem presented to all the teams.
"Lawyering is not all about the law. Often lawyering is serving as an effective counselor for clients," Elizabeth said. "Being a good attorney includes being aware of the psychological and emotional elements our clients' experience. That is is why we must always work hard to ensure their needs are met."