Following the Law at CSI
By: James M. Bitetzakis
On October 25th, the Legal Studies Institute (LSI) of CSI held their first ever Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser for New York renowned lawyer Yolanda Rudich.
The ultimate goal of this event was to raise funds for the LSI of CSI and to honor an amazing lawyer who graduated from CSI in 1979.
“We are about a fair shot at the American Dream,” said Professor and Pre-Law Advisor Michael Paris at the event. “We take it seriously, I take it seriously.”
Many different New York lawyers all with roots to CSI attended and donated to the LSI, including Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.
The honoree, Yolanda Rudich, was a prominent lawyer in the State and City of New York. She served in the Richmond County Special Victims Unit and was President of the Staten Island Women’s Bar Association.
Professor Paris helped establish the LSI in 2014 as a subsection of the Department of Political Science and Global Affairs, and the Department of Philosophy. The LSI has multiple aspects to it which aim to assist any students interested in law across the campus.
Before 2014, law specialization at CSI was lacking, and it put students at a disadvantage compared to other New York schools. The creation of the LSI opened the door for students interested in going to law school, and even led to the college’s Pre-Law Society Club.
At the core of the LSI is a new program of study, a 16-credit minor in legal studies. The LSI also hosts countless workshops for students interested in law school, an annual lecture in law, philosophy and public policy, and pre-law advising and career counseling for all CSI students.
One opportunity the LSI offers students is the chance to intern. There are CSI students currently interning with the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office and the Legal Aid’s Criminal Defense.
These internships provide future law students with relevant experience and even builds their rapport with other lawyers they work with.
The LSI is the parent of the Pre-Law Club, with Professor Paris as the club facilitator. The Pre-Law Club was founded last year by student Maxwell Velikodny.
“Back in my freshman year, I went to the club fair to join a Pre-Law club, but there was actually none,” said Velikodny. “I decided I had to start one, and I wanted to create a place for anyone interested in Pre-Law to come and enjoy the subject.”
The Pre-Law Club strives to be a welcoming place where any student can come to talk and learn about law. The club also works to prepare students for law school after CSI.
“As a freshman, the thought of law school and the LSAT is an overwhelming thought,” explains club member Stephanie Pisano. “But being involved in the Pre-Law Club is helping me soak this all in.”
Just recently, the Pre-Law Club went over the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT is one of the most important tests a future law school student can take, as it can make or break their admission application.
The club devoted an entire meeting to test practice and gave countless tips for handling each section.
The Pre-Law Club is fairly new compared to other clubs at the college, and everyone in the club has a desire to see it grow in the coming years.
“We are trying to recruit people on campus to join via word of mouth, email, and social media,” said Velikodny. “I am genuinely excited about the future of the club.”
The Pre-Law club meets every Tuesday at 2:30pm in Building 2N, Basement Room 005.