Kelly Drago Amatuzzo didn’t grow up wanting to be a lawyer, but she certainly grew into it.
“I started out (at St. Bonaventure) as a biology major,” Amatuzzo said. “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do but I really enjoyed the classes that were geared toward the pre-law program.”
After graduation, she served as an attorney in the Public Defender’s Office in Cattaraugus County, providing free legal service in family and criminal courts, and also was an Assistant District Attorney in Monroe and Albany counties.
In 2011, Amatuzzo returned home and started working as an associate for Goodell & Rankin.
“I always knew I wanted to come back home, this is where my family is,” she said. “So it was just a matter of when. I used my other jobs to get experience, but my eye was always on coming back home.”
Today, she runs her own practice specializing in family and criminal law and matrimonial actions.
“Finally getting to the point in my career where I was confident enough to start my own business has certainly been a memorable moment for me,” Amatuzzo said. “It has been a learning process, you don’t just get out of law school knowing how to be a lawyer, you learn how to be a lawyer by practicing law.”
When asked for advice for students considering a career in law, she offered the following thoughts.
“There are tons of areas of law, so if your interests lie in business or patents, everything needs a lawyer. It depends on what you’re interested in. Just make sure it’s what you want to do,” Amatuzzo said. “Also, figure out the financing before you go to law school and apply for as many scholarships as you can, every little bit helps.”
This is part of a series focusing on students who have received scholarship assistance from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. If you were a scholarship recipient and want to share your story, contact Sarah Marciniak at 661-3390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current high school seniors or college students interested in learning more about the scholarship opportunities available through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation can learn more here. Applications are now available for the 2015-2016 school- year and are due June 1.