Touro Law First Year Students Enter the First Portal To Practice

Office of Court Administration To Train Our First-Year Students for Pro Bono Service to Unrepresented Litigants

September 11, 2014

Touro Law Dean Patricia Salkin is pleased to announce that first-year students will participate in an Office of Court Administration (OCA) sponsored Poverty Simulation training activity, to be held on Monday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 17, 2014. These sessions will be facilitated by Tracy McNeil, Special Counsel to the Hon. Fern Fisher, the administrative judge responsible for all Access to Justice programs in New York State. Touro Law’s proven commitment to Pro Bono service and Access to Justice initiatives is what solidified OCA’s willingness to engage with our students in this manner.  

“These trainings provide students with critical knowledge in interacting with clients and helps them develop problem-solving skills while learning to work collaboratively,” said Dean Salkin. “OCA sponsored trainings that result in our students’ working with real people with real problems supports our first-year experiential learning initiatives that are part of our Portals to Practice curriculum. This is an exciting and valuable opportunity for our first-year students.”

Poverty Simulations are interactive experiences that help students begin to understand what life as a client might be like, with a shortage of money, an abundance of stress, legal problems that are incomprehensible and frightening. By assuming client roles/identities and being scripted to engage in certain activities such as visiting a jail, appearing in court, going to community-based social services agencies for assistance, students begin to understand the lives and perspectives of their clients in a way that will influence the kind of attorney they will strive to become.  

All Touro Law first year full-time day students will be participating in this program as part of a client group. Upper level students, faculty, alumni and staff will be participating as volunteers, those who play the roles of service providers, court personnel, lawyers, doctors, law enforcement, etc. After this activity, students will receive several additional hours of substantive training prior to their participation Touro Law’s First-Year Pro Bono Projects which involve Uncontested Divorces and Landlord Tenant Proceedings.  In both projects, students will have the opportunity to meet with unrepresented litigants under alumni and staff supervision.

Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center’s 185,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is located adjacent to both a state and a federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York.  Touro Law’s proximity to the courthouses, coupled with the innovative new Portals to Practice curriculum provide all students with immersive, hands-on learning opportunities in diverse fields of legal practice. Touro Law, which has a student body of approximately 650 and an alumni base of nearly 6,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs, several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system.

Portals to Practice 
Portals to Practice is Touro Law’s new five year strategic plan designed as a cutting edge program that reconceives and restructures the law school experience.  Portals to Practice expands the scope and quality of legal education by focusing on the development of legal professionals, from pre-law through post –graduation.
About the Touro College and University System 
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to:

For more info contact:
Patti Desrochers Director of Communications (631) 761-7062

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