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November 14, 2008

STATE BAR ASSOCIATION AWARDS $24,000 IN GRANTS TO HELP SIX PUBLIC INTEREST LAWYERS DEFRAY COST OF STUDENT LOANS

ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association announced today that it has awarded $24,000 in grants to six lawyers working in the public interest sector to help defray the costs of their student loans.  The State Bar, through the Student Loan Assistance Program for the Public Interest, provides financial assistance to lawyers meeting specified eligibility criteria, including qualifying employment and salary limitations.

Receiving grants are Lincy Thomas of Albany (Capital District Center for Independence) and Glinnesa Gailliard of Albany (Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Inc.).  Both are 2007 graduates of Albany Law School, as well as four previous grant recipients whose grants were renewed.

They are: Corrine Lundstrum of Hempstead (Center for Family Representation, Inc.), Mary Lynne Frey of New York (New York City Police Department), Christopher Nelson of Bronx (The Administration for Children's Services), and Holly B. Graham of the Bronx (Legal Aid Society-Juvenile Rights Division).

 "During these times of economic distress, law school graduates and new attorneys are feeling pressure to find higher paying jobs in the private sector to help pay for growing student loan debt," said Association President Bernice K. Leber of New York (Arent Fox LLP). "By assisting those who are committed to working in public service, The New York State Bar Association makes modest grants to lawyers who are still - despite the economic pressures - so committed.  With these awards, our hope is that these six recipients will continue their work assisting some of our State's most vulnerable citizens."

Ms. Thomas is a staff attorney at the Capital District Center for Independence, a not-for-profit advocacy organization serving the needs of indigent individuals with disabilities.  She represents her clients in administrative hearings challenging the denial of Social Security Disability/Income benefits.

Ms. Gailliard is an Equal Justice Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.  She developed a mortgage foreclosure program at LASNNY where she works on the front lines helping low-income people either keep their homes or find alternative affordable living arrangements.

In 2001, Association Past President Steven C. Krane of New York (Proskauer Rose LLP), appointed a bar committee which recommended the creation of the Student Loan Assistance for the Public Interest Committee.  Award recipients must be employed a minimum of 35 hours per week in New York at an organization providing civil, criminal or child welfare/juvenile justice legal services to low-income persons; or by a federal, state or local government agency; or other similar organization.  

The 74,000-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, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

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