February 2018: Elizabeth August (’94)
Since the beginning, Elizabeth August has had a passion for working with students. Little did she know, that passion would take her on an exciting career that would land her back in the place where it all started: Syracuse University College of Law.
In 1986, Elizabeth graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. She had always wanted to be a part of education, so she accepted aposition in Boston to run youth programs for an inner-city YMCA. It was there that she got the itch to go to law school.
“I saw how social welfare programs, poverty, and violence impacted a community, and I thought I could go to law school and learn more how to positively impact communities like the one I worked in.”
So, after a few years there, Elizabeth headed off to Syracuse Law. Her most significant interests were always public policy and family law, but she kept an open mind to other opportunities that were presented to her. One of those opportunities? Syracuse Law Review.
During her time on Law Review, she served as the Lead Articles Editor, where she worked to compile articles for books. It required a lot of reading and reviewing, and it helped her to “hone [her] legal research skills[.]”
Immediately following graduation, Elizabeth entered private practice as an associate at Bond, Schoeneck & King in Syracuse, New York. There, she focused mostly on corporate clients and school districts. Whether it was business acquisitions and corporate formations, or the formulating and drafting of policies for a school district, Elizabeth was constantly researching and writing. And it didn’t end there.
Elizabeth then went on to have her own law office, where she represented individuals in real estate transactions and, again, was drafting numerous documents for business clients. Quickly thereafter, however, one of her most influential professors, Bob Rabin, got in touch.
“I had always wanted to teach, and when SUCOL revamped its legal writing program, he reached out to me.”
Before she knew it, Elizabeth was a teaching professor at her own alma mater, teaching “Legal Communication and Research” courses to students across the board.
“The most meaningful opportunity I have had is teaching at SUCOL and developing my Transactional Drafting course,” she said. “SUCOL had never offered a drafting course before. I believe that understanding contract language and organization is an essential skill for all attorneys, since you are always being asked to review or draft agreements.”
Indeed, Transactional Drafting has been a highly sought-after course by 2Ls wishing to enter the private sector upon graduation. And, like Professor Bob Rabin was an impactful professor for Elizabeth, Elizabeth is now serving in that same capacity for her students.
“To be a successful attorney, you must have strong legal research and writing skills,” she said. “Helping student hone those skills over the last 18 years has been incredibly rewarding.”
This story was written by Legal Pulse Editor Samantha Pallini and is the seventh installment of Syracuse Law Review’s monthly feature, “Alum of the Month.” Stay tuned for next month’s feature on another noteworthy Syracuse Law Review alumnus!