Exploring Careers in Law (Online)

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
I - June 29–July 17, 2020
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.
James O'brien with Paul Vink

Course Description

In this course designed for students considering careers in law, participants acquire a realistic understanding of the legal profession and of the steps and skills necessary for success within it. In the process, they gain insight into whether a career in law would be fulfilling to them.

At the heart of the course is exposure to the real world of legal practice. Through substantive instruction related to first-year law school courses, LSAT test prep information, and information about licensing requirements, students develop an appreciation of what is required to ‘get in, get through and get out’ of an American law school.

Presentations by attorneys representing a range of practice areas impart a “real world” perspective about law as it is practiced in the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors.

Participants engage in fundamental legal research and writing assignments. They participate in debates and mock trial and moot court related tasks, enhancing public speaking skills. These various exercises are intended to provide each student with a collection of transferrable skills, helping to make them more “marketable” as they move toward college and career.

A culminating collaborative practicum project is an opportunity for students to employ their knowledge so as to develop and present a law-based solution to a specific social issue of interest to them.


James O'Brien

James P. O'Brien holds a B.A. in history and geography from the University of Albany, an M.S. in secondary school education from Hofstra University, and a J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University. Having practiced law with a general practice firm, he has a broad exposure to the myriad areas of legal practice. His work as a high school legal instructor has included work with students on advocacy projects, such as on behalf of a death row inmate, as well as a successful clemency petition on behalf of an incarcerated battered woman. Jim has served as coordinator of an interdisciplinary criminal law and forensic science program and as an LSAT instructor with Baruch College of the City University of New York; he has taught in the Columbia Summer Program since 2001. 

Paul Vink

Paul Vink holds a BA in political science from The University of Albany and a JD from Brooklyn Law School. A practicing attorney since 1987, he cut his teeth as a commercial litigator for a midsize firm in Manhattan before opening his own practice in White Plains, NY in 1996. He has extensive experience in a variety of practice areas, including contract creation and commercial litigation, landlord/tenant matters, personal injury litigation, real estate and business transactions, and appellate practice. Paul is admitted to practice in New York State, United States District Courts in New York and New Jersey, and the US Supreme Court.  He has successfully argued motions and appeals in both State and Federal Court.


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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.