Graduate Spotlight: Nancy Gallagher

Graduate Spotlight: Nancy Gallagher

During her time at Touro, Nancy Gallagher has served as the President of the Trial Advocacy and Practice Honor Society (TAPS), Senior Research Editor for the Touro Law Review, and a member of several other student organizations. She graduated in May and is looking forward to starting her career as a criminal prosecutor to make a difference in the lives of many.

Why did you decide to attend law school?
I was raised in a family where helping others is second nature. Between healthcare, education, military, and law enforcement, most people in my family have dedicated their careers to public service in one way or another. I wanted to do the same, and I felt drawn toward helping others within the criminal justice realm. More specifically, I knew I wanted to work toward ensuring that justice could prevail for all, while also helping and protecting the community at large. That is what led me toward criminal prosecution.

Are you involved in any student groups/clubs/activities?
Yes! I have been honored to have served as the President of the Trial Advocacy and Practice Honor Society (TAPS), Senior Research Editor of the Touro Law Review, and as a member of the Criminal Law Society, the Federal Bar Association-EDNY Student Chapter, and the Veterans Law Student Organization. In addition, I was very fortunate to be Professor Hal Abramson’s Research Assistant on his latest article.

Where did you work last summer? Last summer I worked as a Summer Honors Intern with the New York City Law Department. It was an extremely rewarding opportunity where, through a student practice order, I was able to gain firsthand experience in municipal litigation. Some of the experiences included conducting a 50-h hearing (similar to a deposition, usually held in an office rather than a courthouse), conducting multiple plaintiffs’ depositions, and even preparing to argue a motion for summary judgment in court.  

Can you tell us about your experience as President of the Trial Advocacy and Practice Honor Society (TAPS)?
Joining TAPS has been easily one of my favorite parts of law school. It’s an incredible organization tailored to preparing students to become trial attorneys. We have tremendous resources through our faculty advisor, Professor Lynne Adair Kramer, and the many coaches and judges that she brings in, all of whom are incredibly successful and experienced practitioners. TAPS not only ignited a spark in me to really pursue a career in the courtroom, but also gave me the tools and resources to do so confidently. The members, coaches, advisors, and alumni really do make the organization as great as it is, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be involved.

Can you tell us about your role as Senior Research Editor for Touro Law Review
During my time as Senior Research Editor of the Touro Law Review, I oversaw a group of Research Editors as part of the review process for professional articles. It was a very collaborative process, with each stage building upon the next. The role required a great attention to detail and provided me with the chance to constantly sharpen my research and citation skills. The Research Editors that I worked alongside were all very talented and made the process that much more enjoyable.

Can you describe a law school highlight?
This past fall semester I was able to work in the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, which was definitely a law school highlight! In this clinic, we worked with the District Court Bureau of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (SCDA). We were given real cases and were responsible for prosecuting misdemeanors from intake to disposition, if possible. Through the student practice order we were able to speak on the record, conference with defense attorneys to negotiate plea deals when applicable, and turn over discovery, among many other tasks. This Clinic essentially gave us the opportunity to do the work that a new Assistant District Attorney does on a daily basis. Professor John Buonora provided us with in-depth knowledge and insight to help us succeed during our time with the SCDA. The seminar component, when coupled with working with the great supervisors and Assistant District Attorneys at the SCDA, truly prepared our entire class for post-graduate life. In fact, all six students in our clinic this year have accepted offers to work as Assistant District Attorneys at various offices!

What advice would you give prospective or current students?
Take advantage of all of the opportunities and resources that Touro Law has to offer, especially through the many experiential programs and the Office of Career & Professional Development. Gaining as much practical experience as possible during your time in law school can not only help you figure out exactly which areas interest you most, but it can also provide you with fundamental, practical skills that you will use in your future career.

Learning the law is one thing but being able to apply it is an entirely different story. By taking skills-based courses, such as one of the many trial advocacy classes offered, or participating in an externship or clinic, you are setting yourself up to be one step ahead for when you graduate.

Personally, I’ve become significantly more comfortable and confident in pursuing my goal of being a prosecutor through the many experiential learning opportunities that I’ve had. The numerous trial practice and criminal law electives I’ve taken, coupled with my externship, internship, and clinic experience, have been invaluable to me—and quite honestly, some of my favorite moments throughout law school.

What are your plans after graduation?  
After taking the bar exam in July, I am very excited to start my career as an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County!



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