UAlbany MagazineUniversity at Albany

"Like Family"

By Carol Olechowski
Photos by Gary Gold, B.S.'70

ichard C. Wesley, now a judge of the United States Court of Appeals (Second Circuit), gained an extended family when he enrolled at the University at Albany in the late 1960s. This year, that family expanded when fellow graduates William Trunk and Emil Bove joined his office as law clerks.

For Wesley, who majored in history, the University was “a gateway, an exceptional opportunity. I fell in love with learning, and a career in law became a distinct possibility for me. Many of the good things that have come to me have come from the basis of Albany.”

The Hon. Richard C. Wesley, B.A.’71

Wesley recognizes that the same will hold true for Trunk and Bove. “It was a real kick for me to review their applications and see all the fabulous things they’ve accomplished,” said the judge. “I feel very strongly about the University at Albany and the opportunities it presents. These guys are an affirmation of that.”

Bove and Trunk are self-motivated and dedicated: “They work extraordinary hours – 10, 12, even 14 a day. They spend a lot of time with me, and we’ve gotten very close. They’ve become like family.”

Trunk connected with Wesley through one of the judge’s former classmates at Albany. “Norah Wylie [B.A.’70] is dean of students at Boston College. She talked about Judge Wesley and encouraged me to apply,” remembered Trunk, who decided in high school that he wanted to become a lawyer. At UAlbany, “some of the classes I took, including Constitutional Law, taught by Professor Thomas Church, influenced my predisposition to law. I learned a great deal from that course.”

Bove also met Wesley through UAlbany connections. “Judge Wesley was appointed in 2003; I found an article about him on a Web site and wanted to try to meet him. Dr. [Lee] McElroy [UAlbany’s vice president for Athletic Administration] helped me get in touch with him. Judge Wesley told me that [clerking] would be good for my work in the district court.” After graduating from UAlbany, Bove worked as a paralegal in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, then applied for a clerk’s position with Wesley while attending law school. UAlbany graduate Jeffrey Mishkin, Esq., B.A.’69, “guided me through the application process.”

The clerks, Bove noted, “prepare for oral arguments, write memos and make recommendations to the judge. I’m learning his writing style and the process of decision making. He has tremendous insights.”

For Trunk, who will work in litigation after concluding his assignment with Wesley in December, clerking has been “a unique opportunity. It’s exposed me to so many different types of law.”

William Trunk

William Trunk, B.A.’05

Emil Bove

Emil Bove, B.A.’03

Matt Laroche

Matt Laroche, B.A.’05, M.A.’07

n 2011, Wesley’s UAlbany circle will grow again when Matt Laroche begins clerking for him. Laroche, who graduated from Albany Law School last May, has taken a year off to work in the litigation department at Milbank Tweed in New York City. He looks forward to clerking with Wesley, whom he describes as “just phenomenal.”

Wesley hopes that, whatever his clerks do with their lives, they will “continue to pursue excellence.” He also wants Laroche, Trunk and Bove to become “good listeners” and learn that each controls his own destiny.

Over the years, Wesley has mentored nearly 40 law clerks; “I probably hear from four or five of them a week, asking what I think of various issues or requesting letters of reference. Every year, they come back from all over the country. They get to know one another; we meet their spouses and kids. We keep in touch.”

Just like family.