Unparalleled practical experience

Patrick Carroll, '15

Patrick Carroll (’15) graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Studies from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY in 2012. During his undergraduate studies, it became increasingly clear to Patrick that he wanted to pursue a legal education. By the time he graduated, Patrick had already taken the LSATs and applied to law school. In the fall of 2012, he began his legal studies at Pace.

Having always had a strong passion for environmental legal issues, Patrick primarily chose Pace Law because of its nationally recognized environmental law program. “During an admitted students visit, I spoke with Daniel Estrin, who was the supervising attorney for the Clinic at the time. While speaking with Dan about the Clinic’s accomplishments, I came to understand the opportunities afforded to the Law School’s students to receive both the classroom and practical experience I desired.”

Patrick also quickly learned that the School not only had an exceptional environmental program, but offered many other excellent opportunities as well, including the Federal Judicial Honors Program (“FJHP”). “Before I started at Pace I knew that I wanted to participate in the Environmental Litigation Clinic, but not long after I began my legal studies I realized the value of participating in the Federal Judicial Honors Program. Both programs provided unparalleled practical experiences.”

Patrick describes the FJHP as one of the highlights of his law school experience. “Through the FJHP, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the Honorable Kenneth Karas of the Southern District of New York and his exceptional law clerks. My assignments in his chambers were varied, intensive, and very fulfilling.”

He notes that between the FJHP and the Environmental Litigation Clinic, respectively, he had the opportunity to participate in substantive chambers discussions and file a lawsuit under a student practice order before ever having graduated from law school. In fact, Patrick was fortunate enough to have appeared in both New York State Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. “These were outstanding experiences, and quite complementary. The legal research and writing skills I had honed while working with Judge Karas and his law clerks enabled me to more effectively advocate on behalf of the Clinic’s clients.”

Patrick credits his experience in Judge Karas’ chambers with enabling him to comfortably transition from completing law school to fulfilling the responsibilities of an appellate court attorney for the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, where he has handled countless appeals running the gamut of civil and criminal legal issues. “My placement through the FJHP entailed a very collaborative work environment. It gave me the confidence to openly discuss cases with appellate justices and their clerks on a regular basis.”

Now, after spending the past two years in the Fourth Department, Patrick is preparing to begin his clerkship with the Honorable Elizabeth Wolford of the Western District of New York. “As I begin my new position as a law clerk for a federal judge, I am grateful to have experienced the character of the work expected of a federal chambers clerk through the FJHP.”

“Pace was full of rich and varied opportunities and I was lucky enough to pursue many of them.” In addition to his participation in the FJHP and the Environmental Litigation Clinic, Patrick also credits many of his professors with giving him the confidence to fulfill his passion for the law and complete law school, graduating first in his class. “During my 1L year, I recall questioning whether I had made the right decision to pursue a legal education. At the time, I was taking Torts and Constitutional Law under the instruction of Professor Steven Goldberg. I was inspired by how Professor Goldberg conducted each lecture with the utmost professionalism and a complete mastery of the subject matter. Each student was treated as a colleague in his classes, which was something I greatly appreciated. Any remaining doubt that I had chosen the correct path was soon erased, and to this day I strive to emulate that degree of professional character in my own work.”

When asked if he had any advice for future or current law students, Patrick stated, “Participate in as much as you can, especially hands-on programs like the Federal Judicial Honors Program and the clinics. It was through these programs that I gained practical, real-life attorney experience before ever even graduating.

Patrick currently resides in Rochester, New York, and in his spare time he enjoys cooking, hiking, running, and checking out music venues. He is a fan of exploring new cultures and believes that one of the best ways to do so is by experiencing culinary recipes and traditions. Patrick also just finished a 50-mile ultramarathon through the scenic mountains and forests of the Mohonk Preserve in May 2017.

After Patrick completes his clerkship, he would like to pursue a career as a litigator in the field of environmental law. “It has always been my aspiration to apply the law to change our world for the better. I cannot imagine a more satisfying professional accomplishment than working to preserve and protect the quality of our environment and that of our local communities.”