Concentrations are optional courses of study, somewhat like undergraduate majors. However, unlike the typical undergraduate major, a student does not have to select a concentration. Students who fulfill the requirements for a J.D. will receive that degree regardless of whether they choose a concentration. Students who successfully earn a concentration will receive notations on their transcripts to that effect, and are entitled to represent on their resumes that they earned the J.D with a concentration in the chosen field.
Concentrations are desirable for some, but not all students. Students who have or develop a strong interest in practicing in a particular field may benefit from electing to concentrate. Students who are less certain, who want to take as broad a curriculum as possible, or who have a strong interest not matched by any concentration, may not want to concentrate.
A student who wishes to concentrate in a specialized area must complete a "concentration election" form and obtain the signature of a concentration advisor—a faculty member or other full time instructor who teaches at least one of the concentration courses. It is the student's responsibility to fulfill the concentration requirements and to inform the Registrar's Office that he or she believes that those requirements have been completed.
Grade Point Averages: All concentrations require a 2.70 grade point average within concentration courses. The Criminal Law and Procedure Concentration also requires a 3.0 average within the "Group A" courses. Students who earn a 3.50 grade point average within the concentration courses earn the concentration with honors. These minimum averages are calculated without regard to a student's overall average. For instance, a student who has a 2.48 overall cumulative average, but a 2.71 average within the concentration, and who still fulfills the other concentration requirements, earns a concentration. Conversely, a student with a 2.71 overall cumulative average, but a 2.48 average within the concentration, cannot earn a concentration.
Core and Related Courses: For many concentrations there are "core" and "related" courses. Core courses are those that the faculty members believe are the most essential to the practice area. Generally, a concentration will require that half of the credits toward the total needed for the concentration come from core courses. Related courses are important, but slightly less central offerings. Generally, the rest of the credits earned for a concentration can come from related courses.
Courses at Other Law Schools: Courses taken at other American Bar Association- (ABA-) approved law schools (e.g., as a transfer or visiting student) may be counted toward the concentration if the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs determines that the course content is substantially similar to that of the Albany Law School course.
Time of Election: Students who wish to concentrate may complete the Concentration Election Form and submit it to the Registrar's Office at any time after they complete two semesters of study and before the start of the last semester of study. However, students are encouraged to elect as early as possible to maximize the chances that they will successfully complete the concentration.
Course Availability: Although most of the "core" concentration courses are offered frequently, not all courses are available each semester, It is the student's responsibility to map out a course of study that will allow him or her to complete the concentration.
Research Paper: All concentrations require a research paper, either on a topic within the field of concentration or at least one aspect of the concentration. These papers may also be used to satisfy the writing requirement, assuming that the faculty member supervising the paper so certifies. In all cases, the faculty supervisor must be a person who teaches at least one of the concentration courses.
Below is a list of possible faculty advisors for each concentration. A concentration faculty advisor must be a full-time faculty member who teaches at least one of the required concentration courses.
Alternative Dispute Resolution: Brescia, Connors, Maurer, Ouellette, Shanks
Business Law: Chung, Hutter, Pratt, Redwood, Seita
Civil & Constitutional Rights: Brescia, Clark, Finkelman, Gottlieb, Lytton, Sundquist, Young
Civil Litigation: Clark, Connors, Hutter, Lytton, Ouellette, Shanks, Sundquist
Criminal Law: Bonventre, Breger, Farley, Hutter, Lynch
Environmental Law: Cohen, Hirokawa
Estate Planning: Bloom, Cords, Kearns, Pratt
Family & Elder Law: Breger, Clark, Kearns, Lynch, Pratt, Rogerson
Governmental Administration & Regulation: Bonventre, Hirokawa, Lytton
Health Law: Cohen, Moore, Ouellette, Tenenbaum
Intellectual Property: Heverly, Seita
International Law: Bonventre, Gottlieb, Halewood, Ota, Sundquist
Labor & Employment Law: Armstrong, Clark, Young
Tax Law: Bloom, Cords, Kearns, Pratt