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Lauren Ashley ’19 relied on an “ancient” LSAT prep book she found in the National Taipei University Library in Taiwan to prepare for the law school entrance exam. “They didn’t have Amazon there,” she said, laughing. The Troy, N.Y., native spent 10 months in Taipei teaching English to students whose first language was mainly Mandarin or Taiwanese. She also spent a few months away from her undergraduate school—Loyola University New Orleans—for a semester in Belgium.
The traveling opened her eyes on numerous levels, and she’s quick to talk about one important lesson: “Students in Taiwan studied from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 12 hours a day. Having experienced this kind of work ethic from young students, law school does not seem so daunting.”
In fact, Lauren plans to graduate in two-and-a-half years, piling on the work experience and the classes without flinching. This summer she is working at the SUNY Research Foundation, performing 30 hours a week for credit for the Rensselaer County Supreme Court as a judicial clerk as part of the Summer in Practice program, and squeezing in summer classes—9 credits—at the Law School.
“I wasn’t one of those people who always wanted to go to law school,” Lauren said, “so I can’t say precisely what I hope to do after I graduate.” A psychology major at Loyola, she enjoyed interning at the Troy firm of Martin, Shudt, Wallace, Dilorenzo & Johnson, where she worked with several divorce clients.
“I liked these cases, meeting and helping people,” she said. “It had elements similar to counseling that I liked about the psychology field. I’m fairly personable and I find people interesting.”
She also finds litigation intriguing. “I want to experience arguing in the courtroom,” she said, adding that she is hoping to complete a criminal law internship because she enjoys meeting with victims and witnesses, and being in the courtroom on a daily basis.
While this summer appears booked-up, she also serves as a research assistant for Professor Breger, for whom she is researching domestic violence case law from the Court of Appeals for the NEW YORK LAW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, third edition. She also works as a research assistant, sifting through personal injury case law, for a local attorney. “I think because many of the practicing attorneys in this area attended Albany Law, they are willing to help law students like myself gain legal experience,” Lauren said.
“The Taiwanese students I taught worked hard for 12 hours a day,” she added. “I admired their ability to stay focused, and I see no reason why I can’t do the same through law school and when I start practicing after graduation.”