Kathleen DiMartino is a senore of Sachem East High School 

By Kathleen DiMartino

The Greene Team

Lawrence Raful will never forget about his mother’s experience when Nazis forced her from her home and cast her into a concentration camp in Budapest. Having his mother’s rights violated led Lawrence to become interested in due process law and legal ethics.

 “I think my career certainly starts with her,” Raful told Long Island Business News.

Raful, dean of Touro Law Center in Central Islip was appointed after serving a 10-year stint as a dean in Creighton Law School.

He said the best part of his job is being in charge of the brand new building as well as the education, a position that has led him to take on various responsibilities.

Touro draws to its campus students who come from all over but who share a common interest: their religion. Although only a quarter of the students are Jewish, Raful feels right at home because he can relate to their faith.

His perception about Touro is that it excels above the other college’s facilities, education, professors, and students in several respects. Why he thinks so is simple--he says the school simply has “ a different feel.”

He said that its location across from the federal and state courthouses puts pupils at an advantage for being able to interact with attorneys, judges, and litigants and practice real life situations. The proximity gives students practical experiences before they are finished with their schooling and enter into the real world.

Raful compares Touro’s hands-on learning and teaching techniques to the resources of a medical school.

“It’s getting the chance to work on a cadaver before you have to work on a real person that’s alive,” he said.

During their first year, Raful said, students take part in mock trials, while examining witnesses and addressing a judge. They get help from professors during their first two years and, by their last year, they begin interacting with the public, increasing and improving their skills to use in the real world.

Touro Law Center has full time and part time programs, a feature that Raful said is convenient for everyone, catering to personal needs.

This work eventually prepares them for the New York State Bar Exam, which assesses if one is prepared to become a lawyer. By passing the challenging test, pupils can be on the way t do what they love best: practice law.

As many as 750 students attend the school, and Lawrence said he is concerned about each one, adding that he enjoys when he can take part in the small things to improve someone’s life, such as making improvements in the building.

He recently approved the installation of an oven that makes pizza, for example, an addition that was a big hit on campus.

“Everybody likes pizza,” he said.

When asked why the students are important to him, he cites his concern with civil liberties, saying that young lawyers should be trained o protect the rights of people.

“I think about training new lawyers, the next generation,” he said.




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