For more than a decade, Siena’s Pre-Law Program has given students the opportunity to learn legal principles as undergraduates. Students from various majors join this one-of-a-kind program, led by Len Cutler, Ph.D., to prepare for law school and successful careers.
The Pre-Law Certificate includes experiential programs:
• George ’54 and Sally Maloney Summer Legal Fellows • Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence • Pre-Law Pathways Scholars • The Honorable James P. King Moot Court/Mock Trial Program • Pre-Law Mentoring Network
Even before a formal pre-law program was established, Siena was producing lawyers and judges who would serve as models and mentors for the College’s aspiring attorneys.
Caroline Bertholf ’15
Business and Spanish Double Minor Pre-Law Certificate
Bertholf’s interest in the law has only grown stronger after spending eight weeks as a Maloney Summer Legal Fellow at American University Washington College of Law. She worked in the Law and Government program, assisting a professor with curriculum development in a white- collar crime class, and attended programs in the Health Law and Policy Institute.
“To be living through the eyes of a law student without all those extra pressures that law school brings was an extremely valuable opportunity for me,” she said.
After her Summer Legal Fellows assignment, Bertholf interned with the Surrogate’s Court Office in Sullivan County, sorting through property and estate filings and maintaining the records room.
Sonya VanBortel ’03
Corporate Counsel with Farm Family LLP
Since 2007, VanBortel has worked at a general practice firm, handling real estate, guardianship and estate planning cases.
VanBortel was a founding member of Siena’s Moot Court/ Mock Trial Team that advanced to the national tournament and won the AMTA Spirit Award in its inaugural year. That experience, combined with her classes with professor Len Cutler, Ph.D., and a summer legal fellowship at American University Washington College of Law, gave Van Bortel practical knowledge and real-world connections.
“The Pre-Law Program provides a solid foundation for students to succeed in law school,” she said.
Mae D’Agostino ’77
United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York
D’Agostino became the first woman to sit on a federal bench in Albany when she was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate in 2011.
“That was a huge moment in my life, one that I didn’t expect or anticipate but a very joyous occasion,” she said. As a federal court judge, D’Agostino presides over cases involving constitutional issues and federal crimes.
Prior to her appointment, she served as a trial lawyer for 30 years. She was a partner at D’Agostino, Krackeler, Maguire & Cardona P.C., where she tried civil cases and represented doctors, hospitals and other health professionals in malpractice suits.
D’Agostino credits Siena professors, especially Len Cutler, Ph.D., and Fr. Peter Fiore, O.F.M., for teaching her to think independently and preparing her for a successful law career.