New York’s Pro Bono Scholars Program Gives Seth Goldstein ‘24 a Head Start

St. John's Law alumnus Seth Goldstein wearing a red graduation gown with black detailing and a black tam.
June 6, 2024

Reviewing the federal district court’s written decision, Seth Goldstein got to the final footnote and smiled as he read: 

The Court thanks counsel for the exceptional vigor, skill, and professionalism with which they litigated this challenging, important, and affecting case.  . . . The Court specifically wishes to acknowledge . . . Professor Jennifer Baum, assisted by law students Seth Goldstein and Arthur Rohman, who, at the Court's request, represented S.B.S. The lawyering in this case was first-rate and a credit to the profession.

The judge’s acknowledgement of his hard work on the Hague Convention case—which concerned alleged international parental child abduction—was a highlight of Seth’s experience in the Law School’s in-house Child Advocacy Clinic, where he gained practical knowledge and skills hands on as a Pro Bono Scholar.

Established by the New York State Unified Court System in 2014, open to all New York law schools, and managed at St. John’s Law through the Public Interest Center, the Pro Bono Scholars Program allows students to devote the last semester of their 3L year to performing pro bono service for underserved and marginalized individuals and communities. St. John’s Pro Bono Scholars work full time in approved placements while completing companion coursework at the Law School. As an added benefit, they can take the February New York bar exam to get a head start on their legal career.

“There are a lot of skills that you’re taught in law school but don’t get to practice in matters for clients,” Seth says. “It was critical for me to be able to connect what I learned at St. John’s Law to real-world dealings with counsel, clients, and court officials. Through my placement in the Child Advocacy Clinic, and with Professor Baum’s impactful supervision, the Pro Bono Scholars Program helped me make those important connections.” 

Over his 12-week clinic placement, Seth helped Professor Baum prepare for the Hague Convention case and observed as she and co-counsel presented the position of the child at a bench trial. In addition to sitting in on the trial, Seth reviewed extensive discovery documents, drafted letters and motions submitted to courts, and had frequent communication with clients in other clinic matters. “I feel much more prepared to go into practice and communicate with clients, opposing counsel, and the courts now than I otherwise would have,” he says. 

Having taken and passed the February 2024 bar exam, Seth now looks forward to a relaxing summer and to starting as a full-time associate at Skadden this fall. “I’m very grateful that St. John’s provided the opportunity for me to participate in the Pro Bono Scholars Program,” he shares. “It gave me unrivaled real world and real client experience that I can draw on as I start my legal career and that I’ll continue to build on in the years ahead.” 

Endnote: Seth is one of four St. John’s Law Pro Bono Scholars from the Class of 2024. All passed the bar exam and are now preparing to practice in the field. Congratulations to Samantha Felix ‘24, Yuna Park ’24, and Arthur Rohman ‘24 on their Program participation. For more information about the Pro Bono Scholars Program at St. John’s Law, please visit the Public Interest Center website.