Albany Law School earned an “A+” rating and is ranked 17th in America on preLaw magazine’s “Best Schools for Practical Training" list.
The magazine released its rankings in the Spring 2021 issues and each is based on key practical training offerings such as clinics, externships, simulations courses, pro bono hours, and moot court programs. Albany Law is one of just two schools in New York and 17 in the country to get the A+ rating. Albany Law School outranks schools such as Yale Law School, the University of Chicago, and Georgetown Law.
“Schools have managed to do incredible work, even during a pandemic when face-to-face clinical work and externship opportunities were disrupted,” preLaw managing editor Mike Stetz noted in the magazine story about the ratings. “Law students do the amazing, thanks to practical training. And they’ve done it this past year under the most pressing of circumstances.”
Albany Law School’s practical training offerings are primarily available through The Justice Center, the Field Placement Program, and the Anthony V. Cardona ’70 Moot Court Program.
“Through five live-client clinics within The Justice Center, robust external field placement opportunities, apprenticeship programs, Semester in Practice and City Semester programs, as well as our successful Lawyering and Moot Court programs, Albany Law School offers multiple opportunities for students to sharpen their skills beyond the textbook. All of our J.D. students learn law by practicing real life lawyering skills, whether with actual clients or in simulations. We take great pride in our commitment to graduating students who are ready to enter the profession,” said President and Dean Alicia Ouellette. “We are honored that the editors at preLaw magazine recognize this commitment.”
The Justice Center combines theory and practice through its in-house public interest law firm, providing free legal services to eligible clients in the Capital Region.
“Our team prides itself on equipping our students with the skills and tools they need to navigate the practice of law in these turbulent and difficult times. Whether they go into private practice, dedicate their spare time to pro bono, enter public service, or spend their careers in legal aid, they carry with them the competence to navigate shifting legal terrain with empathy and compassion,” said Professor Sarah Rogerson, Director of The Justice Center.
In a typical academic year, The Justice Center recruits more than 200 students for its five clinics to represent a diverse range of clients. The experiences working in the Community Economic Development Clinic, Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic, Family Violence Litigation Clinic, Health Law Clinic, or Immigration Law Clinic provide law students with opportunities to grow as skilled, compassionate, and employment-ready lawyers.
Albany Law School students also have access to more than 150 field placements in and beyond New York's capital, ranging from government agencies and advocacy groups to public interest law organizations, district attorneys' offices, and a variety of state and federal court systems.
The law school’s Pro Bono Program—housed within The Justice Center—supports students pursuing public interest and public sector careers through a deep commitment to pro bono legal work for those in need including survivors of domestic violence, people navigating landlord-tenant issues, senior citizens, veterans, immigrants, and nonprofits.
“The Justice Center at Albany Law School is a gem within national legal academia. We are excited and humbled that the editors of preLaw Magazine continue to take notice of our extraordinary and impactful clinical, pro bono, and field placement curricular and extracurricular activities,” said Professor Ted De Barbieri, director of the Community Economic Development Clinic and the Pro Bono Program within The Justice Center.
The Anthony V. Cardona '70 Moot Court Program offers access to some of the most prestigious regional, national, and international competitions, in addition to one-of-a-kind networking opportunities with judges, attorneys, and classmates. These competitions provide students experience in legal research, analysis, writing, and oral advocacy.
“It is wonderful to see the Moot Court program recognized for its contribution to our students’ practical training. Students who participate in Moot Court learn valuable skills, including communication and analytical skills, which prepare them for the transition to legal practice, regardless of the practice area they pursue,” said Rosemary Queenan, Associate Dean for Student Affairs. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Albany Law’s Moot Court Board worked diligently and creatively to continue to provide Albany Law students with opportunities to participate in a variety of local and national competitions focused on trial, appellate advocacy, negotiating, and transactional skills.”.