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College News

Student Publishes Article After Internship


Student Publishes Article After Internship

Hillary Panek, a junior Political Science and Legal Studies major, completed an internship with the Honorable Richard Dollinger this fall and had an opportunity to submit an article for consideration to The Daily Record, a local newspaper covering legal, real estate, and business news. Her article, co-written with Judge Dollinger, was published on January 24.

“Commentary: A Practitioner’s 15-Step Primer on the SUNY Cap,” addresses the implementation of the "SUNY cap" in regards to tuition payments for students with divorced parents. The "SUNY cap" allows a party to pay the cost of a SUNY school's tuition for their child rather than the cost of the private school their child wants to attend or is attending. The party must show that they cannot afford the private school tuition, and must also show that their child is getting a better education at a private institution versus a state school. Panek and Dollinger’s article touches on issues that arise from the "SUNY cap," including what happens if the student transfers to a different school, takes a semester off, studies abroad, and whether or not the party is still responsible for paying their child's college tuition once the child turns 21 years old.

Panek said that throughout her internship, she and another Fisher intern, Mike Maiorana, were tasked with reading cases provided by Dollinger each week, and briefing them for Special Terms Court each Friday. They were responsible for finding useful case law to provide insight for judgment. The cases the two were working on involved a wide variety of issues that stemmed from divorces, including monetary distribution, marital property disagreements, and child custody.

“The experience I had interning for Judge Dollinger was phenomenal. There really is no replicating hands-on experience; it simply cannot be taught in a classroom. I learned an incredible amount from Judge Dollinger, whether it was observing in the courtroom, sitting in on conferences he had with attorneys, or doing legal research,” said Panek.

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