An Evening Celebrating Cardozo Public Interest Alumni

Current recipients of the Laurie M. Tisch Loan Repayment Assistance Program at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law were invited for a reception at the Illumination Fund’s office on February 3, 2015. The program benefits Cardozo graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in public service by providing “forgivable loans” to assist them in overcoming their education debt. Several recipients in attendance conveyed to the room that the program helped mitigate the stress of loans and instead redirected their focus on defending New Yorkers with limited resources. One particular Cardozo graduate, Amy Cross, wrote a thank you letter to Laurie describing the program’s impact on her work at the Legal Aid Society:

“It’s thanks to your generosity that I have been able to defend over 600 New Yorkers in their criminal cases, who otherwise would not have been able to afford counsel. Many of my clients have mental disabilities, many are still in high school, many have suffered severe beating by the police, many cannot afford bail, none of them are there by choice and all of them are deserving of top quality legal representation.  It’s thanks to loan repayment assistance that I am able to do this work that I love and provide a much-needed service. In 2014 I was able to help a gentleman wrongly-accused of driving while intoxicated achieve a full acquittal by a jury; last month I resolved a case for a man who had been coming back and forth to court for five years to fight the charges against him. Several times a month I help people get out of jail at arraignments and avoid bail amounts that are almost always beyond my clients’ means. I work in a system where the odds are almost insurmountable for poor people of color, and where public defenders are notoriously overworked and underpaid. But thanks to your financial support I am able to work towards challenging it, to learn invaluable trial and negotiation skills, and to do service on a daily basis.”

CSL Laurie Tisch Illumination Fund Event