Exploring Careers in Law

I - June 28–July 16, 2021
Modality, Day & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m. To accommodate field trips and guest speakers, the class is sometimes extended by 30 minutes to an hour.

James O'brien with Paul Vink

“I have gained immense legal knowledge, as well as had the chance to practice and develop written and oratory skills through participation in debate and mock trial.” – Dilia T. | London, United Kingdom

Course Description

In this experiential 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 presentations by attorneys representing a broad range of practice areas and through visits to law firms, courts (including Manhattan’s Criminal Court, inspiration for television’s Law and Order), and public interest legal organizations, participants learn first-hand about law as it is practiced in the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors.

The course teacher provides substantive instruction related to first-year law school courses as well as LSAT test prep information and gives students a clear view of the requirements for law school and attorney licensing in the United States.

Participants gain public speaking experience through debate, mock trial, and moot court exercises and engage in fundamental legal research and writing assignments, thereby developing skills which are transferable across academic disciplines.

Students engage in a number of exercises requiring application of the principles and concepts learned throughout the program. A culminating collaborative practicum project is a special opportunity for them to employ their knowledge so as to develop and present a law-based solution to a specific social issue of interest to them.

Students should bring a business casual outfit for some of the required activities.


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 in conjunction with John Jay College of Criminal Justice 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, and his current legal practice focuses on immigration law. 

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.


Back to the Course Guide

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.