Four attorneys working in the public sector have received $4,000 grants to help defray the cost of their student loans, the New York State Bar Association announced today.

The State Bar's Steven C. Krane Special Committee on Student Loan Assistance for the Public Interest has awarded grants to: Michelle De Mareo of the Monroe County Legal Assistance Center in Rochester; Stacey-Ann Harris of the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association (CAMBA) Legal Services in Staten Island; and Amy E. Lowenstein and Jennifer A. Monthie, both of Disability Advocates, Inc. in Albany.

"With the high cost of law school loans, many students are discouraged from choosing careers in the public sector," said committee co-chair C. Bruce Lawrence of Rochester (Boylan Code). "These grants can help ease the burden of law school debt and allow our recipients to keep doing their vital work."

"Our grant recipients represent New York's most vulnerable citizens with fewer resources and lower salaries than their colleagues in private practice," said committee co-chair Edwina Frances Martin of Staten Island.  "We are pleased to help four dedicated public servants repay their loans."

This year's recipients are:

Michelle DeMareo has worked at the Monroe County Legal Assistance Center for nine years, first as an AmeriCorps volunteer. She represents low-income individuals and families, many of whom are disabled and at risk of homelessness, in eviction proceedings and administrative hearings to preserve their rental subsidies, such as Section 8 Housing benefits.

Stacey-Ann Harris is project director of the Staten Island Office of CAMBA Legal Services. She represents tenants in Housing Court and Supreme Court. 

Amy E. Lowenstein was the lead attorney on Joseph S. v. Hogan, a federal lawsuit against New York State that settled in September 2011. The settlement will result in the community integration of thousands of New Yorkers with mental illnesses who were inappropriately discharged to nursing homes from state psychiatric hospitals.
Jennifer Monthie provides protection and advocacy services to individuals with developmental disabilities throughout New York State. She concentrates her practice in civil rights, education and community integration, with a focus on systems change litigation.

The awards were presented January 23 during the State Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Brandon Vogel
Media Writer
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