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Albany Law School, Albany, NY
by Heather Jung
As the law school offers 14 approved concentrations, students at Albany can customize their J.D. degrees and their law school experiences. Concentration options include alternative dispute resolution, estate planning, family and elder law, and labor and employment law.
In addition to pursuing concentrations within the J.D. program, students can elect to pursue one of seven joint-degree programs. The joint-degree programs are all maintained in conjunction with other colleges in the area. There are three J.D./M.B.A. programs available, as well as a J.D./M.S.W. (Master of Social Work) program, a J.D./M.P.A. program, a J.D./M.R.P. (Master of Regional Planning) program, and a J.D./M.S. in Bioethics program.
For students who wish to study outside of the country, there are study abroad programs available. The Nairobi International Summer Institute, held in conjunction with Widener School of Law, offers students the chance to study international environmental law and trade, comparative Constitutional law, and comparative family law. The University of Paris Exchange Program lets students and faculty study in Paris for one semester to learn about international and comparative law.
Through the Lawyering Program, students are exposed to the integration of the theory and practice of law. All 1Ls are required to take the "Introduction to Lawyering" course, during which they are placed in firms and begin representing clients. The course combines classroom and practical aspects. In classes, exercises and assignments teach students to think like attorneys. Through more hands-on experiences, such as simulations, discussions, and question-and-answer sessions, students are introduced to crucial aspects of legal practice, including oral advocacy, alternative dispute resolution, client interviewing, and legal writing. Professors assign each student a hypothetical situation, and the student represents either the plaintiff or the defendant. According to the school's website, "The Lawyering Program enables students to begin the transition from layperson to lawyer by learning to be an attorney through simulations."
In his letter to prospective students, the president and dean of Albany Law School says "the knowledge and practical experiences of an Albany Law education build an exceptionally strong foundation for a career in law or in fields enriched by the study of law."
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