Contact: Rosanne M. Van Heertum
Director of Development, The New York Bar Foundation

Contact: Nick Parrella
Manager of Media Services

January 20, 2010


University at Buffalo Law School student Marrisa Jenna Trachtenberg has been chosen as the recipient of the inaugural Elder Law Section Scholarship administered by The New York Bar Foundation. The $2,500 award is available to second- or third-year law students who are enrolled in a law school in New York and actively participating in an Elder Law Clinic at the school during the 2009/2010 academic year. Named for the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, the scholarship will be applied to Ms. Trachtenberg's law school tuition for the current academic year.

Ms. Trachtenberg is pursuing her second year of study and serves in the following capacities at the school: Buffalo Journal of Gender Law & Social Policy clerk, Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal clerk and mentor for the Buffalo Public Interest Law-Lawyers for Learning program. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Sociology (summa cum laude) from Stony Brook University on Long Island. She was awarded the 'William J. Sullivan Award for Public Service' and elected Phi Beta Kappa while pursuing her undergraduate degrees.

M. Catherine Richardson, president of The New York Bar Foundation said, "We are pleased to award the inaugural Elder Law Section Scholarship to a University at Buffalo Law School student. Her participation in the William and Mary Foster Elder Law Clinic at the school is helping Ms. Trachtenberg gain experience and a greater knowledge of the complexities involved in the practice of Elder Law. She should be well prepared for a successful career in the legal profession."

A resident of Freeport, NY, Ms. Trachtenberg was a legal intern this past summer at Franchina & Giordano, P.C., a law firm in Garden City, where she performed legal research and worked on elder law issues. Additionally, she has completed internships with Congressman Tim Bishop (Coram), the Nassau County District Attorney's Office (Hempstead), and the Nassau County Attorney's Office (Mineola). In addition to receiving the scholarship, Ms. Trachtenberg will be a guest member of the Elder Law Section and is invited to attend the Section's executive committee meetings during 2010.

Elder Law Section Chair Michael J. Amoruso (Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP, Rye Brook) said, "We are pleased to have The New York Bar Foundation confer the inaugural Elder Law Section Scholarship on Ms. Trachtenberg. We are confident her experience as the lead student attorney on her primary case in the elder law clinic will sharpen her research and legal writing skills and result in a meaningful experience while working with the elderly. The Elder Law Section was pleased to contribute a gift to the Foundation to provide funding for this important scholarship." 

The goal of the Elder Law Section Scholarship is to create a network and to cultivate relationships among lawyers practicing elder law and law students planning to practice elder law, and to encourage the practice of elder law among lawyers throughout New York. The Elder Law Section encourages law students, through an elder law clinic experience, to learn about important legislative developments, regulations, and case laws impacting the elderly and to provide representation to elderly clients struggling with a variety of legal issues and problems related to aging and incapacity. Through the scholarship, the section aspires to advance opportunities for the disabled by implementing a preference for awarding the scholarship to a student who demonstrates a present and permanent physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual. 

The Elder Law Section provides services and opportunities for involvement on issues relating to Elder Law for members of the New York State Bar Association. Among its activities, the Section presents educational programs and publishes materials on practice, procedure and developments to enhance the competence and skill of lawyers who practice in this field and improves their ability to deliver the most efficient and highest quality of services to their clients; prepares studies, analyses and recommendations to seek improvement in the law and procedure relating to elder law; and undertakes projects to increase the understanding of senior citizens, their families and the general public concerning legal issues affecting the elderly.

 Founded in 1950, The New York Bar Foundation provides funding through its grant making program to increase public understanding of the law; improve the justice system and the law; facilitate the delivery of legal services; and enhance professional competence and ethics. To learn more about The New York Bar Foundation and how you can support its charitable programs, go to, phone 518-487-5651 or email


Founded in 1876, 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. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at