Legal Fellows Spotlight
Finding Inspiration for a Legal Career
Two Siena College students spent their summer at Touro Law, learning about a legal career and being inspired to pursue a legal education
Two undergraduate students from Siena College spent the summer at Touro Law Center as Summer Legal Fellows working in the Senior Citizens Law Clinic. The program provides a glimpse at the legal world and law school for undergraduate students who are thinking about pursuing a career in the law.
Kylie Gilbride and Mark Rodriguez, both going into their senior year, felt fortunate to be able to work with AveMaria Thompson, Staff Attorney for the Senior Citizens Law Clinic. Kylie, who has already taken the LSAT, stated, “My summer experience at Touro working with Ms. Thompson has helped me to decide that law school is the next step for me. My time here has been invaluable and I do not believe it would have been as impactful as it has been without the guidance of Ms. Thompson. I feel motivated and driven to pursue a legal career.”
The Senior Citizens Law Clinic provides pro bono legal services to senior citizens, age 60 and older, residing in Suffolk County. Services are not income-based, although there is an effort to serve the needy, low-income and underserved populations. Under the supervision of the Senior Staff Attorney and the Staff Attorney, the Clinic handles several types of cases including Landlord-Tenant, Section 8 and subsidized housing matters as well as preparation of Powers of Attorney/Health Care Proxies/Living Wills, Medicaid applications and Pooled Trust applications. The Clinic also provides representation at Medicaid Fair hearings, in Town Zoning Violations matters and in Small Claims Court cases. Students learn how to interview clients, evaluate potential legal issues strategize potential legal solutions, draft correspondence, memoranda and other documents and enhance their research skills.
Mark, who plans to take the LSAT in October and enroll in law school next fall, stated, “These past eight weeks with Avemaria Thompson have been nothing short of spectacular. I have been exposed to extensive amounts of legal documents, court hearings, and trials. I have also become experienced with writing legal documents myself and performing in-depth legal research for actual cases under the supervision of Mrs. Thompson.” He continued, “I recognize that doing this work has value as it will have a lasting impact on people served.”
And, AveMaria Thompson agrees that these students are ready to take the next step and apply to law school. “I was impressed with the dedication and passion that both Kylie and Mark showed while working in the clinic this summer. Both show great potential to be compassionate and caring attorneys who will serve their clients well. I am privileged to have worked with them and wish them much success in the future. Maybe they will be back at Touro Law in the Fall!”