Celebrating Judge Alice Schlesinger: 2024 Pillars of Change Honoree

Judge Schlesinger’s unwavering commitment to aiding those in need shines through her extensive professional experience as both a Legal Aid Criminal Defense attorney and later as a pro bono attorney for incarcerated women.

Judge Schlesinger shared,

I believe my legal expertise as a former defense attorney helped obtain positive results in every case I handled as a pro bono parole attorney, including the one where volunteers from Sanctuary were also assisting the inmate. The resources, expertise, and commitment of the other Sanctuary volunteers was very rewarding and resulted in the positive outcome”.

After retiring from the bench, her deep dedication to justice led her to volunteer her time and skills with Sanctuary for Families. In this role, she focuses primarily on preparing inmates for their parole hearings with Sanctuary’s Incarcerated Gender Violence Survivors Initiative (IGVSI). With meticulous attention to detail, Judge Schlesinger assembles comprehensive “packages” of supportive information for the Parole Board. Additionally, she plays a crucial role in coaching her clients, providing them with the guidance and confidence needed to navigate their hearings effectively.

Isabelle Demenge, Pro Bono Counsel with Sanctuary’s IGVSI, speaks highly of Judge Schlesinger’s contributions noting that her involvement in a case was desired for some time. In collaboration with IGVSI, Judge Schlesinger worked on a particularly challenging parole case for a client who had been incarcerated for nearly 25 years after surviving an unimaginable abusive childhood that included sex trafficking by her father. Judge Schlesinger’s relentless dedication was pivotal in securing the client’s release on parole in November 2023. Her work for Sanctuary spanned countless hours of consultation, both in person and virtually. She not only provided legal counsel but also acted as a trusted confidant to the client, helping her navigate the trauma and anxiety associated with her impending difficult parole hearing.

Judge Schlesinger’s impact on Sanctuary’s staff, clients, and the agency as a whole is undeniable. Her wealth of legal expertise, coupled with her compassionate approach, has been invaluable to the work of the IGSVI team. Isabelle Demenge emphasizes that Judge Schlesinger also serves as an exemplary mentor to younger attorneys, inspiring them with her dedication and skill.

The multitude of ways Judge Schlesinger has shared her time, thoughtfulness, and endless knowledge are evident and make her an obvious choice as a 2024 Pillars of Change honoree.

A huge thank you to Judge Schlesinger for her hard work and dedication to Sanctuary for Families and survivors of gender-based violence.

To learn more about Judge Schlesinger and her work, please join us on April 18th from 6:00-8:00 PM at Pillars of Change.