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A Student's Perspective: Pre-Law Panel Discussion

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

By Mara Afzali '14

Siena’s Pre-Law Society hosted "A Panel Discussion on Law and Justice" with two dynamic guest speakers: Albany County Assistant District Attorney David Rossi, and Siena’s Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence Hon. Patrick Monserrate, a retired Supreme Court Justice of New York and former Broome County District Attorney.

As a senior political science major, Pre-Law Society President and Co-Captain of the Moot Court/Mock Trial team, I worked closely with Pre-Law Advisor and Chair of the Political Science Department Len Cutler, Ph.D. to coordinate the speakers and select topics of interest. I also acted as the event’s moderator. Along with introducing the speakers, I fielded questions from the students, which were plentiful and well thought out. The event’s atmosphere was relaxed and the students were engaged with the stories our panelists shared.

One of the most interesting parts of the discussion was when the two speakers shared stories about their time as criminal prosecutors. Monserrate was a District Attorney in the 1960s and 1970s. Rossi’s experiences are in the present. Together, they were able to paint a rich picture of the evolution of social norms, penal codes and technological developments, all of which greatly impact how crimes are prosecuted.

They shared many personal experiences to exemplify these points, including telling about their most disappointing losses and satisfying wins, what it is like to work on high-profile cases, pressures from the media and public and how to decide whether to go forward with a trial or offer a plea bargain. The wealth of specific cases they used to illustrate each point made the talk really quite fascinating.

This event, like so many other Pre-Law programs, is a testament to the caliber of education and preparation we are provided with at Siena. There seems to be an endless pool of outstanding legal professionals, many of them Siena graduates, willing to come to campus and share what they have learned with us. Having the shared experiences, advice and wisdom of these individuals tucked in my back pocket will be a significant asset to me as I matriculate to law school next year.

--Mara Afzali '14
 


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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