What do you find most rewarding about being an attorney?
Working with law students. Experiential learning is how students not only gain skills, but also gain confidence. Watching a student who has struggled develop this confidence is quite a privilege. I have encountered students who were truly questioning whether they should practice law in the traditional sense whose entire view of the profession - and more important, their own skills - was changed by an externship.
What or who inspired you to become a lawyer?
Inspiration comes from many places, but I would say my mother, Jean Wolf. When I was a kid, the school board placed our little elementary school in Utica, N.Y., on a possible closure list. My mom became active, organized people - and then ran for a school board seat, and won! She showed me that if we want things to change, we have to get to work. I saw a law degree as a tool to effect change, big or small.
If you could dine with any lawyer - real or fictional - from any time in history, who would it be and what would you discuss?
I am going to take some liberties with this dining question. I am looking forward to dinner with my husband, Fred Price (member, Bond Schoeneck & King), in 20 years to reminisce about our sons, our life and our careers.
What do you think that most people misunderstand about lawyers and the legal system?
There is a perception that a lawyer's most important skill is talking and oral advocacy. But quite often, our most important skill is listening.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
I am not only the first person in my family to earn a Juris Doctor, I am also the first person in my extended family to earn a Bachelor's Degree. This is why chairing the Youth Law Day subcommittee for NYSBA's Diversity and Inclusion Committee is so meaningful to me. I was a kid who didn't know lawyers. Now I can help students realize a professional degree is possible for them - no matter what their background.
Lawyers should join the New York State Bar Association because…
Membership in the bar association provides a plethora of opportunities to learn, partner and network with other attorneys. Through NYSBA, I have had the chance to organize interesting programs, support legislative comments and discuss what may lie ahead for our profession.
My work with the Women in Law Section, Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and Committee on Lawyers in Transition has certainly provided me with an ever-growing network of colleagues and friends. It has been professionally rewarding and provided me with amazing opportunities to develop relationships with attorneys from a variety of practice areas and markets. It keeps me engaged in our profession.
For example, I co-chair Women on the Move, a program of the Women in Law Section. At the end of this year's program, I had the chance to sit back during the networking reception and watch the room for a minute. It was filled with incredibly smart, talented attorneys who were sharing ideas, laughing and making connections. It was truly energizing.
As I tell my students, membership in NYSBA is good, but true involvement in the bar association has tremendous rewards.
Wolf Price is director of Externship Programs at Syracuse University College of Law and Faculty Advisor for Pro Bono Initiatives and of counsel to Bottar Law PLLC. She lives in Manlius, N.Y.