Venable And NY Law School Craft COVID-19 Summer Course

By Kevin Penton
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Law360 (May 15, 2020, 5:48 PM EDT) -- New York Law School has wasted no time crafting an educational experience for students related to the novel coronavirus, announcing Friday it has partnered with Venable LLP to offer a virtual summer program that will focus on how the pandemic is affecting the field of law.

The eight-week online program will simulate legal assignments related to COVID-19, in areas of law such as employment, commercial contracts, public health, data privacy and the rights of detainees, the school said Friday.

NYLS Dean Anthony Crowell said the school pursued the concept after realizing that given the timing of the coronavirus pandemic, many students had not had an opportunity to select an activity for this summer and would stand to lose out on opportunities to learn more about the profession, make meaningful connections with others in the industry and gain valuable experience that they could showcase on their resumes.

"We think that this is a very unique model," Crowell said.

The law school created the program together with one of its alumni, Michael J. Volpe, who serves as the co-chair of Venable's labor and employment practice group. Partners and senior associates at the firm will serve as mentors for the students and provide constant feedback on their work, he said.

"When I first heard it, I knew it was a phenomenal idea," Volpe said.

Venable confirmed earlier this month that it had amended its own summer associate program because of the pandemic, deciding to operate a four-week virtual "summer boot camp" beginning on June 15 that will offer development opportunities and the chance for the firm and participants to become better acquainted.

As part of the simulated legal assignments, students will separate into either the practices of litigation, corporate law and government affairs and policy. Apart from instruction in virtual classrooms, the students will conduct staff meetings and draft documents such as memorandums, client letters, legislation, motions, client presentations and corporate transactional documents, according to the law school .

The program originally had been designed for 120 students, who were to be selected through a competitive process, according to the law school. But following strong interest from students and a desire by the school to accommodate their career needs, approximately 200 students will participate in the program, said Howard Meyers, an NYLS professor who will head the effort.

The students' program tuition and fees will be paid through a scholarship funded by alumni sponsors, according to the school.

Looking forward, the law school may look to replicate the program in future summers, Crowell said.

"If it works as well as we're planning it, it would not be something that we would want to let go of," Crowell said.

--Editing by Alanna Weissman.

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