April 15, 2012
Andrew Lisko (’10) had been pulling some late hours at the Law Office of Andrew Lisko, working on a client’s felony DWI case, when the judge declared a mistrial. The arresting officer had to take bereavement leave because his mother had died.
“It was unexpected but understandable, given the circumstances,” Lisko said. “Still, it was disappointing because we felt the case was going our way.”
Handling setbacks is part and parcel of Lisko’s new criminal law practice, started with the help of the Incubator for Justice in August 2011.
After graduating from CUNY Law, Bronx-born Lisko looked at becoming a public defender or union organizer in New York. H e also interviewed with the Legal Aid Society.
“I didn’t get the job, but I knew I had to do work that aligned with my values,” said Lisko, who learned about the incubator and decided to give it a try. The incubator allowed him to take the risk, start a practice, and learn to manage the practice and his money.
“You’re taking on a whole new level of responsibility,” he said in reference to being his own boss. One of the perks? Being able to help clients in need.
“I had a client who paid on time and never complained about the cost, but I got the feeling [the family] didn’t have a lot of extra cash lying around. So I told them, ‘Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay me the rest,’” said Lisko.
Even though Lisko is solo, he’s pleased to be sharing office space with CUNY alumni.
“I’m part of a team,” Lisko said. “You have the ability to go to the person across the hall and say, ‘Hey—do you know anything about this?’”
F or coaching on criminal law, Lisko has been able to tap into the Community Legal Resource Network, finding mentors in immigration attorney Mercedes Cano (’99) and trial lawyer Gabriel R. Munson (’03), who has invited Lisko to courtroom hearings.
“They have helped me grow as an attorney. Those are the times when I get experience and education beyond anything [a classroom] could teach me,” said Lisko.
A s for community counseling, Lisko is working with seniors and youth in Jamaica and Flushing, New York.
When Lisko’s time with the incubator ends in February 2013, he plans to keep focusing on criminal law and to stay involved in low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx. That would help him reinforce what brought him to CUNY Law in the first place: a commitment to public service.
– Paul Lin