MICHELLE LESSER AWARDED THE NEW YORK BAR
FOUNDATION’S JUDGE BERNARD S. MEYER SCHOLARSHIP
St. John’s University School of Law Student
Honored for Excellence in Legal Writing and Advocacy
Michelle Lesser of Bayside, Queens, a student at St. John’s
University School of Law, has been chosen as the 2010 recipient of the
Judge Bernard S. Meyer Scholarship. The award, funded by the law firm
Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. of Garden City and administered
by The New York Bar Foundation, is presented annually to a student who
exhibits excellence in legal writing and advocacy skills.
Ms. Lesser is recognized for her legal scholarship for a paper she
wrote entitled, “Deportation of a Parent: How Current Immigration
Law Ignores the Best Interests of the Child.” The paper focuses
exclusively on undocumented immigrant parents of United States citizen
children and proposes integrating the best interests of these children
into our immigration system. It exposes the impact immigration law
has on the child and explores the “best interests of the
child,” its prevalence and importance in others parts of the
American legal system, and its absence in the immigration system.
Ms. Lesser argues that current immigration policy prohibits
immigration judges presiding over removal hearings from considering the
best interests of the child. She concludes with a proposal to
incorporate, “a path towards citizenship for the parent whose
children’s best interests are served by not removal but the
family’s complete integration into society.” You can access
the essay in its entirety at The Foundation’s website at www.tnybf.org.
“We are very pleased that the Judge Meyer Scholarship has been
awarded to Ms. Lesser,” said Lois Carter Schlissel, managing
attorney for Meyer, Suozzi English and Klein, P.C. “This essay
contest allows the firm to encourage excellence in legal writing and
advocacy among future members of our profession while honoring Judge
Meyer for his outstanding work and dedication to the law.”
Established in 2004, the award is available to second-year law students
attending a law school in New York. The $5,000 scholarship will be
applied to Ms. Lesser’s 2010/2011 academic year tuition at St.
M. Catherine Richardson, president of The Foundation said, “We
are pleased to award the Judge Meyer Scholarship to a student of such
distinction. Ms. Lesser’s essay discusses a hotly debated subject
that has significant relevance to all Americans, especially to the
United States citizen children living in families with one or two
undocumented immigrant parents. Her paper exemplifies the excellent
legal writing and advocacy skills that we seek in law students planning
to become members of the legal profession.”
An honors student, Ms. Lesser is an articles editor of the St.
John’s Law Review. She is a recipient of the Academic Merit
Scholarship and the 2009 Federal Scholars Award. Additionally, she has
been awarded the CALI Awards for Excellence in Civil Procedure and Torts
I at St. John’s Law School. Ms. Lesser is a graduate of Cornell
University in Ithaca where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in
Human Development in 2006. While there, she was named to the
Dean’s List in 2004, 2005 and 2006. She was a member of Psi Chi
(National Honor Society in Psychology), social chair of Alpha Chi Omega;
participated in marketing on the Pre-Law Journal; and was a research
assistant in the Psychology Laboratory.
Ms. Lesser is currently working as a summer associate at Cadwalader,
Wickersham & Taft LLP of New York City and plans to pursue a fall
externship in the New York County District Attorney’s Office in
New York. She pursued a judicial internship with Hon. Victor Marrero,
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York during summer 2009.
She also worked for two years as a legal assistant in Mergers &
Acquisitions in the Corporate Department of Cravath, Swaine & Moore
LLP in New York.
Judge Meyer was an associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals
from 1979-1986 and practiced with Meyer Suozzi from 1987 until his death
in 2005. He earned his law degree at the University of Maryland School
of Law and was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Among his notable accomplishments, he served as special deputy attorney
general of New York in charge of the Special Attica Investigation and
was a member of the Governor’s Commission on Integrity in
Andrew J. Turro, Esq., a member of Meyer, Suozzi, English &
Klein, P.C., Hon. Michael A. Ciaffa, a former member of the firm now
serving as Nassau County District Court Judge, and Foundation Board
member, Emily F. Franchina, Esq. (Franchina & Giordano, P.C., of
Garden City) comprise the scholarship selection committee and
participated in the blind judging of the essay submissions. Meyer Suozzi
will hold a reception in honor of Ms. Lesser at its offices in Garden
City this summer.
Founded in 1950, The New York Bar Foundation is
celebrating its 60th Anniversary of aiding charitable and educational
projects to meet the law-related needs of the public and the legal
profession. It provides funding through its grant making program to
facilitate the delivery of legal services; increase public understanding
of the law; improve the justice system and the law; and enhance
professional competence and ethics. For more information about the
Foundation, go to www.tnybf.org or
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official
statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary
state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs
and activities have continuously served the public and improved the
justice system for more than 130 years.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993