For Jane, the practice of law is personal. She grew up in a large family where the concept of justice sometimes had to take a back seat to the practical realities of trying to hold together body and soul for a family of 11. She is no stranger to poverty.
A graduate of SUNY Brockport, Jane married and lived in a small mobile home park in Clarkson, NY. It was quickly obvious that the park was fraught with lots of health-threatening problems—raw sewage from the inadequate waste disposal system and wildly overburdened water lines made life unsafe for the residents.
It was during this time that Jane came to learn the real challenges faced by the poor and underemployed that resided in the park. Working in partnership with a small group of residents, she and her husband engaged with the attorneys at Monroe County Legal Assistance Corp. (now LAWNY) to address these problems. By the time MCLAC were done, the attorneys had gotten the problems fixed, achieved a rent abatement and established the park as resident-owned.
In awe of their skills, Jane started volunteering at MCLAC. She transitioned over to volunteer with Empire Justice Center (formerly Public Interest Law Offices of Rochester) when her youngest of four sons started school. All the lessons Jane learned as a client informed the practice of law for her. For her, the public interest world is her home and those committed to the work are her friends.
Jane’s volunteer days ended 9 years ago when funding became available at Empire Justice Center. Building on the lessons of her earlier life, she brings passion and commitment to her representation of families. Nothing makes her happier than knowing that students with disabilities and their families have a voice in their education and assistance in achieving a life that meets their potential. Jane commits herself to the idea that one’s own ethical journey begins when one assumes another’s problem as her own. That was what the public interest world had given her family and she loves that her job gives her the opportunity to pay that gift forward.
“It would be difficult to ever measure the impact Jane Gabriele has had in her career. She has singlehandedly altered the course of thousands of young people’s lives. It shouldn’t take a lawyer to get a child’s needs met in 2020 America, but as long as it does, we need more lawyers like Jane.” – Kristin Small, Senior Attorney
“Jane has “lived experiences” that inform her work. Suffice it to say, that she has prevailed over impossible odds and never given up. She has served her clients with a love and ferocity for their rights, that are rare to sustain over decades. Jane is a very special attorney.” – Ruhi Maker, Senior Attorney
“Jane and I have worked together (in one capacity or another) for over 20 years. Her commitment to clients and advocacy are legendary.” – Jonathan Feldman, Legal Director