Editor’s Note: As the nation responds to COVID-19, NYLS alumni and students are sharing their time, talents, and resources to benefit their local communities and the School. In this series, we share their stories.
Mendel Taub 2L came to NYLS to pursue a career in public service.
Little did he know that his commitment to the field would be tested this spring. In addition to his legal studies, Taub is a part-time officer in the Spring Valley Police Department, in Rockland County. He’s also a part-time emergency medical technician.
How He’s Giving Back
In mid-March, the workload in both jobs skyrocketed.
“It was mayhem; it was chaotic,” Taub said. “I’ve never ever seen anything like this.”
He recalls one particularly tough day when the Police Department received a slew of “CPR-in-progress” calls. One victim was a young man in his 40s. Taub was tasked with notifying the family that nothing further could be done and offering what comfort he could.
“Right after that shift, I came over to volunteer with the ambulance corps,” Taub said. “I was needed because the call volume was up by 400, maybe 500 percent. The calls were nonstop.”
Later that week, during one EMT shift, his crew pronounced four deaths.
“In one instance, the family was there as we responded,” Taub said. “I sat with them and explained that we tried our best and there was nothing more we could do.”
As conditions quickly worsened and hospitals took dramatic steps to triage cases, Taub and his colleagues grappled with rapidly changing protocols.
“It got to the point where the hospital had taxicabs lined up, and anyone who didn’t meet the criteria got a ride home,” Taub recalled.
Law School Provides Inspiration
Taub is used to a hectic schedule. A Day Division student at NYLS, he was recruited to the Spring Valley Police Department early in his 2L year and spent his fall semester balancing Police Academy training with a lightened course load at NYLS. (Taking summer courses will catch him up to graduate on time.)
“My legal training has completely changed the way I look at every interaction, and the police experience complements my law school education,” he said. He regularly draws on his criminal procedure course in his daily police interactions.
“I’m always thinking, ‘Do I have a right to search? If I find something, do I have a right to claim it?’” Taub said.
The unprecedented challenges of the past few weeks have only deepened his commitment to public service.
“If anything, this has been one of the most inspiring experiences,” he said. “I’ve never felt like my work was so important. And that goes for my legal training as well. There are going to be a lot of people who will need lawyers after this. Public service is my calling, and there couldn’t have been a more important time to be part of it.”
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