About Theresa A. Hotte

Public Interest Attorney Theresa A. Hotte, Esq., said she started to think about law school as a Sociology major at Russell Sage College. 

That’s when she began to better understand the systems that perpetuate inequality, and to learn about career paths that could make a difference. 

Theresa worked in education for a few years after she earned her Sociology degree, with law school still in the back of her mind. Then within a three-month span, she took the LSAT, applied to law school and joined Albany Law School’s Class of 2021. 

Now Theresa is an attorney at the Public Utility Law Project of New York. She works with low-income individuals and on policy to help make electricity, gas, water and other utilities affordable and accessible.

“We’ve recently helped connect dozens of individuals with historic utility debt forgiveness,” she said. “We’ve been able to call our clients and say, ‘Great news, thousands of dollars just came off of your account.’ And that’s life-changing.” 

Another recent highlight was a trip to Washington, D.C., where she spoke with congressional offices about the importance of continued funding for the Low Income Household Energy Assistance Program or HEAP. 

And she was just appointed to the policy advisory council for New York State’s Homes and Community Renewal’s Weatherization Assistance Program. The program helps individuals make their homes more efficient, so that they can reduce utility use — and bills.

“It goes hand-in-hand with my work at the Public Utility Law Project,” she says, “and ties into the state’s climate goals.”

Theresa said Sage’s Sociology program taught her to use data and research to support her positions and was great preparation for law school and her social justice career. 

“I learned how to better articulate and make academic my gut feelings about the world. I realized that statistically, we could show these things that I was seeing.”

Her experience as a Sage student has also inspired her to stay connected, as a member of the alumnae/i association’s executive board.   

“I understand how life-changing a good experience at Sage can be.”