Julie Nociolo | Graduated in 2009
Law Clerk, NYS Court of Appeals, Central Legal Staff
Posted on Wed, 16 Apr, 2014
I graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2009 with a degree in English Literature, a minor in Philosophy, and as a member of the Edgar Fellows Honors Program. My goal was to attend law school and I thought that an English degree would be the best training knowing that I would need to read critically and quickly as a law student. And I was right. My English major helped me develop writing skills that I later refined in law school. Constantly writing at Geneseo definitely gave me a leg up to other law students.
But majoring in English was so much more rewarding than merely training for law school. I developed a hunger for genres I never learned in my high school English classes. I explored Irish and British literature and poetry with Professor Doggett. I learned about the intersection of natural disasters (like Hurricane Katrina) and African American literature with Professor McCoy. I discussed the early works from Western Humanities with Professor Herzman. I also wrote my senior capstone thesis with Dr. Doggett as my advisor. I most appreciated how close the English Department was and how it fostered faculty and student relationships. This greatly helped me while pursuing internships, jobs, and eventually law school.
After graduating, I moved to New York City to work as a litigation paralegal at a large law firm. I wanted to understand what a lawyer did before I spent nearly a hundred thousand dollars on a degree. It was a challenging but rewarding experience and I was still persuaded to pursue law school.
I am currently a 3L at New York Law School in Manhattan and will be graduating this May. My advice about selecting a law school is that unless you get into Yale, Harvard, or NYU go to the school that gives you the most merit aid. The legal job market is not very friendly right now.
This coming summer I will serve as a Law Clerk at New York State’s highest court (the Court of Appeals) in Albany. I will be reviewing all civil motions for leave to appeal (the state equivalent of petitions for certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court) and drafting recommendations about whether the Judges should hear the particular case. After the clerkship, I hope to work on employment law and civil rights issues in the public sector.
I would be happy to speak with any Geneseo English major who is interested in pursuing law school.