Equipping our Lawyers
Strengthening the educational continuum for 21st century lawyers

May 2nd, 2012

Spotlight Article: CUNY LAW's LaunchPad and Health Care Rights Initiatives: New Paths for Young LLBs

Story: Arpi Pap Photos: Vivian Todini

Editor's Note: The law school of the City University of New York, known as CUNY LAW, is the premier public interest law school in the country. Two initiatives that its students and graduates work in, LaunchPad and Health Care Rights Initiative, illustrate what can happen if Summit Recommendation #16 is implemented in law school contexts. See www.equippingourlawyers.org.

The following Spotlight article is adapted from CUNY/LAW, the magazine of the law school. For more on the programs and the law school generally, see www.law.cuny.edu. CCB

Johan Byssainthe and Fred Rooney

Johan Byssainthe and Fred Rooney

Going into court and making an argument before the judge and jury usually requires admittance to the bar - plus a thick skin and zealous commitment to clients. "I was in court every Wednesday, arguing and negotiating with other attorneys, and sometimes even getting yelled at," said Johan Byssainthe, a 2009 CUNY LAW  grad who had a unique opportunity to represent clients prior to being admitted to the bar. "I was there before the judge arguing on my client's behalf to resolve each case."

The experience for Byssainthe was revealing: "This experience definitely confirmed I want to litigate. It turns out that I'm pretty zealous." Byssainthe and 11 other 2009 CUNY LAW grads were initiated into their legal careers through LaunchPad for Justice, a first-in-the-nation program introduced in conjunction with the New York State Courts. Through CUNY LAW's LaunchPad, recent grads had the opportunity to represent clients before being admitted to the New York State Bar.

This unusual arrangement was made possible through special practice orders signed by the appellate division-Second department and appellate division-First department.


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