Student Spotlight

Emilia Mosenson '25 awarded NYSBA President's Pro Bono Award for work with Legal Aid Society

Emilia Mosenson '25

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Emilia Mosenson ’25 went to SUNY New Paltz to study graphic design and film; when they enrolled at Albany Law School, their goal was to represent artists. While Mosenson says they still have an interest in art law, they quickly found their true passion in a clerkship with the Legal Aid Society defending tenants' rights.

"I was so focused on being a lawyer for artists, and just the minute I got into the school, the whole thing changed," Mosenson said.

For Mosenson, that change came while taking Professor Victoria Esposito's lawyering class, which focused on landlord-tenant law. Esposito—who was the first Advocacy Director of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNNY) prior to joining the faculty at Albany Law School—opened Mosenson's eyes to an opportunity to apply for a clerkship with the LASNNY. 

Emilia Mosenson

"Professor Esposito mentioned that they were looking for law clerks. And then I applied, I got in, and I've been working with them since. I've made some really great connections there, and they're really pushing me to apply full-time, and honestly, I'm very, very likely to do so," Mosenson said.

During their clerkship, Mosenson conducted meaningful work to help preserve housing for those in need.

"When people come up after and say, 'Oh my God, thank you so much.' I don't feel [the impact]in that the moment, but then half an hour, hour later, I'd be like, 'I really did something here.'" Mosenson said. "It is surreal, the effect that our work has on these people."

For Mosenson, seeing their work's positive impact on people's lives is worth the hard work. Mosenson's work has not gone unnoticed, not by a long shot, as they were recently announced as the recipient of the New York State Bar Association President's Pro Bono Award in the law student category. The honor is awarded to lawyers across New York State who have made an exceptional commitment to serving the public good. Mosenson says that while it is great to be recognized for their work, the real reward is the fulfillment they get from working with the Legal Aid Society.

"It's something that I'll have in my apartment or office, and 10, 15 years down the line, I'll look at it and remember the feeling that I've had working here, not necessarily the feeling getting the award, but remembering the memories around how I got it and the people I've worked with, the people I've helped, and just everything that I've learned from this past May to now," Mosenson said.

Meanwhile, seeing students like Mosenson grow and chase their passions is fulfilling for Prof. Esposito.

"You can't just show up for a clerkship and not put in the work and get things out of it." Prof. Esposito said. "Emilia has shown up and put in the work, dug into it, and made it their own. I am just so delighted to see that."

Emilia Mosenson received the NYSBA President's Pro Bono Award in the law student category

Mosenson was recognized at NYSBA's President's Pro Bono Service Awards ceremony on May 1, 2024. As Mosenson continues to reflect on the work they put in to earn this honor, they encourage all incoming and current Albany Law School students to keep an open mind and follow their passions.

"I came in here with a set track of, 'I am going to be an attorney for artists.' And that wildly changed, and I think you might think you know want to do with law and what you want to study, what you want to learn, and you might," Mosenson said. "You might follow through with that, but I think it's always a good idea to keep your mind open. You never know where it's going to take you.”