Luce Pierre-Russon '14 Selected as Finalist for 2013 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award
PSJD, an initiative of the National Association for Law Placement, recently named Luce Pierre-Russon ‘14 a finalist for its 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award. Presented to one law student annually, the award recognizes the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, to the public interest community, and to legal education by performing pro bono work.
A practicing lawyer in Haiti, Luce came to St. John’s Law with a unique perspective gained from growing up in a community where access to justice was a significant challenge, and where many citizens lacked the resources and knowledge needed to navigate a complex legal system. As a law student volunteer with the Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program - Consumer Debt in Queens Civil Court — part of the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program — she performed client intakes and, working under a supervising attorney, represented clients in conferences before the court. Eager to take her experience out of the courtroom and into the community, Luce also volunteered to organize, and assist at, a Law School-sponsored Community Legal Education Program on consumer debt held at the SNAP Senior Center in Middle Village, Queens.
“Luce’s commitment to pro bono work and to service in the public interest is what guides her legal career both as a lawyer in Haiti and a law student in New York City,” said Rachel D. Andron, Director of the Law School’s Public Interest Center. “She approaches her lawyering with a fierce dedication to help the less fortunate members of the community, and to use her knowledge of the law to fight exploitation and manipulation of those who do not have opportunities or access to justice. I am thrilled that PSJD recognized her outstanding work and zealous advocacy by selecting her as a finalist.”
Luce’s commitment to pro bono and to public service continues this semester as a student in the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic, where she represents low-income, elderly Queens residents in cases involving deed theft, foreclosure defense and predatory lending, home improvement contractor fraud, debt collection, and other consumer matters.
“My experience serving the public interest through St. John’s programs and initiatives has been invaluable,” Luce said. “It has helped solidify what I would like to do with my law degree: help the less fortunate people of my community and use my knowledge of the law to assist those who do not have opportunities that we often take for granted.“