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About Us

The Law School established the Feerick Center in September 2006 as a lasting legacy of the school's Centennial Celebration. The Center’s establishment reflects the Law School’s long tradition of and commitment to legal education in the service of others and builds on Professor John D. Feerick’s contributions as Dean of the Law School (1982-2002) and currently as the Sidney C. Norris Professor of Law.


Learn About the Feerick Center for Social Justice


Feerick Center for Social Justice Mission Statement

The Feerick Center for Social Justice promotes the rights and addresses the problems facing marginalized and low-income New Yorkers and individuals seeking humanitarian relief, including asylum-seeking families and unaccompanied immigrant children. The center links the social justice community serving those in need to Fordham and engages the Fordham community in service of national and local social justice initiatives. 

The center works with non-profit, legal services, and public sector organizations, bar associations, and individuals to respond to the challenges of those in need. And through education and collaboration, the center engages with Fordham students, alumni, faculty and administrators to create and implement long-term innovative solutions critical for lasting change.

The Feerick Center’s work of providing direct assistance and working in collaboration with others reflects the motto and mission of Fordham Law School— “In the Service of Others”—as well as Fordham University’s expansive Jesuit mission and vision.
 

Advisory Board

Fern Schair serves as the chair of the Center’s advisory board. The advisory board helps guide program development at the Center. Advisory board members include the following individuals:

  • Jojo Annobil – Executive Director, Immigrant Justice Corps
  • Jennifer Jones Austin – Chief Executive Officer Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
  • Honorable Denny Chin – United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 
  • Jennifer Ching – Executive Director, North Star Fund
  • Kevin J. Curnin – Retired Partner and Public Service Director, Stroock; Chief Operating Officer, Iona University (retired)
  • Bruce A. Green (Ex Officio) – Louis Stein Professor of Law, Fordham Law School; Director, Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics, Fordham Law School
  • Peggy A. Healy – Senior Vice President, Covenant House (Retired)
  • Seymour James – Partner, Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP
  • Constantine N. Katsoris – Wilkinson Professor of Law, Fordham Law School
  • Mary Ellen L. Kris – Consultant, United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries
  • Maura Kathleen Monaghan – Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • Jacqueline Nolan-Haley (Ex Officio) – Professor of Law, Fordham School of Law; Director, Fordham ADR & Conflict Resolution Program
  • Carlos G. Ortiz – Vice President and General Counsel, Goya Foods, Inc.
  • Timothy G. Reynolds – Retired Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
  • James P. Sauter - Partner, O’Neill, DiManno & Kelly
  • Thomas J. Schwarz, Interim President, Drew University
  • Robert C. Sheehan – Retired Partner, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
  • Michael K. Stanton, Jr. – Partner, Ferguson Cohen LLP
  • Irene A. Sullivan – Retired Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
  • Susan E. Welber – Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society

Faculty

John D. Feerick

Fordham Law Professor John Feerick

John D. Feerick, the Founder and Senior Counsel of the Feerick Center for Social Justice, was the Dean of Fordham Law School from 1982-2002. He has held the Sidney C. Norris Chair of Law in Public Service since 2004 and was the Leonard F. Manning Professor of Law from 2002-2004. John began his career at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; he spent 21 years (1961-1982) there, developing and heading up their labor department.

John has been a dedicated public servant throughout his career. Most recently, he has served as a member of the three-person Special Master Panel in the McCain homeless family rights litigation (2003-2005); was appointed to a three-member Referee Panel in Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York (concerning education equity; 2003); and was the Chair of the Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections (2003). From April 2007 to February 2009, John served as Chair of the New York State Commission on Public Integrity. He is the co-chair of Chief Judge Advisory Council in the Attorney Emeritus Program. Previously, John was the President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (1992-1994); Chair of the New York State Commission on Government Integrity (1987-1990); and President of the Citizens Union Foundation (1987-1999).

Fordham Law Professor Elizabeth Cooper

Elizabeth B. Cooper

Elizabeth B. Cooper, the Faculty Director of the Feerick Center, has been a professor at the Law School for over 25 years. She currently teaches the Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic, and previously has taught litigation/civil rights clinics, the Center’s Social Justice Clinic, Institutional Reform Through the Courts (with Professor Feerick), among other offerings. Her scholarship addresses issues of dignity and autonomy in numerous contexts including bioethics (particularly HIV/AIDS policies), the rights of LGBTQ individuals (especially marriage equality), and the importance of ensuring that BIPOC, LGBTQ, and women students and attorneys do not have to conform their appearances (e.g., clothing, shoes, hairstyles) to dominant culture expectations in the workplace. She also has written about aspects of clinical teaching pedagogy.

Before coming to Fordham, Liz taught briefly at Brooklyn Law School and was an adjunct law professor at Rutgers Law School (Newark). She was a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at the Newark, NJ law firm of Gibbons, P.C. (1992-1994) and was a Skadden Fellow/Staff Counsel at the ACLU AIDS Project (1990-1992). Following graduation from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar, she clerked for the Hon. Anne E. Thompson, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court of New Jersey. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Staff

Feerick Center

  

Laura De Riggi

Laura J. A. De Riggi, is the Program Administrator for the Feerick Center. Laura has an extensive professional background that includes both educational and non for profit institutions. She is a New York City native with a degree in Art History from Lehman College, City University of New York. 

Email: lderiggi@fordham.edu. Tel. 212-636-7671. Pronouns: She, Her, Hers. 

Fordham Law Feerick Center Director Dora Galacatos

  

Dora Galacatos

Dora Galacatos, the Executive Director to the Feerick Center, is a Fordham Law alumna (1996), with experience working in city government, the not-for-profit sector, and legal services. Prior to coming to Law School, Dora worked for the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice and the New York City for Mayor's Office of Drug Abuse Policy from 1989 to 1993, where she focused on program development, program evaluation, and policy analysis. As part of a Skadden Fellowship (1997-98), Dora helped establish a family day care network at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

Dora had served as Staff Director to the New York City Family Homelessness Special Master Panel, working alongside former Fordham Law School dean, Professor John D. Feerick. Dora also served as a law clerk to the late-Honorable Milton Pollack (1996-97) and to the Honorable Paul A. Crotty (2005-2006), both District Judges in the Southern District of New York. Dora is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in History (1987), and the New School for Social Research, where she was a Jacob M. Kaplan Fellow and received a Master of Science in Urban Policy (1993).

In 2009, Dora was honored by The New York County Lawyers Association with their Public Service Award. In 2011, Manhattan Legal Services awarded her its Medal of Honor. In 2013, MFY Legal Services, Inc. recognized Dora with its Partner in Justice Award. Dora is a former chair of the New York City Bar Civil Court Committee and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Terra Firm.

Email: galacatos@fordham.edu. Tel. 212-636-7747. Pronouns: She, Her, Hers. 

Feerick Center Staff

  

Johanna Ocaña

Johanna Ocaña is the Senior Coordinating Attorney of Pro Bono Initiatives at the Feerick Center. Johanna comes to the Feerick Center from Bronx Legal Services, where she represented tenants and tenant associations organizing to better their living conditions and enforce their tenant and Fair Housing rights. Prior to law school, Johanna worked as a paralegal at the New York Legal Assistance Group focused on eviction defense and public benefits advocacy. Additionally, she organized with workers and tenants at the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops on campaigns against wage theft in New York and displacement and gentrification in the Lower East Side of New York City. Johanna received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Columbia University and her law degree from CUNY School of Law.  

Email: jocana1@fordham.edu  

Karuna Patel

  

Karuna Patel

Karuna Patel is the Deputy Director of the Feerick Center.  Karuna began her legal career at Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services, Inc.), a legal services organization where she started the Consumer Rights Project.  She has worked at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs leading a division focused on enforcing the City’s consumer protection laws and on educating consumers, and at the Center for Responsible Lending, where she represented consumers in all aspects of predatory lending impact litigation.  Before joining the Law School, Karuna spent over five years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) working on a range of issues including mandatory arbitration in consumer contracts and consumer protections for remittances.

Karuna is a Queens native and received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Columbia University and her law degree from New York University School of Law.  Karuna clerked for the Honorable John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the Honorable Theodore McKee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Email: kpatel83@fordham.edu. Tel. 212-636-6988. Pronouns: She, Her, Hers. 

Feerick Center Ffern Sschair 240x240

  

Fern Schair

Fern Schair has been Chairperson of the Feerick Center Advisory Board since its inception. Her professional positions have included: Senior Vice President of the American Arbitration Association, Chief Administrative Officer of the New York City Bar Association, Program Development Officer for Civil Justice Programs at the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation), and Director of Civil Justice Programs at the Fund for the City of New York. Her current civic positions include former Chair and current Board member of the Fund for Modern Courts; Vice-Chair of the Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts (NY); former Board Chair and current Emeritus Board member of Legal Services-NYC; Co-Chair of the Chief Judge’s Advisory Council on the Attorney Emeritus Program; and Co-Chair of the Committee on Non-lawyers and the Justice Gap. She co-founded the Children’s Law Center and has been a longtime advocate for best practices in language access in the state courts, including serving as former Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Court Interpreters. She has also served as a member of the Committee on Character and Fitness for the First Judicial Department. Ms. Schair attended Cornell University and graduated from St John’s School of Law.

Email: schair@law.fordham.edu Tel. 212-636-7746. Pronouns: She, Her, Hers. 

Headshot

  

Clementine Schillings

Clementine Schillings, Senior Project Researcher and Assistant to Dean Feerick, has a background in Human Rights Law and International Law having completed a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of the West of England, Bristol and a Master’s Degree at Queen Mary University of London. Since graduating she has interned at various institutions, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime working in their New York office, Eurojust (the European Agency on Judicial Cooperation), and VluchtelingenWerk Nederland (The Dutch Refugee Council). 

Email: cschillings@fordham.edu. Tel. 646-346-5169. Pronouns: She, Her, Hers. 

Fellows

2019-2020

Ellen McCormick, Class of 2019

2018-2019

Shirin Dhanani, Class of 2018 
Elizabeth Snyder Wood, Class of 2018

2017-2018

Elizabeth Perez, Class of 2017

2016-2017

Sara Purvin, Class of 2016

2015-2016

Justin Brown, Class of 2015
Sofia Linarte, Class of 2015

2014 - 2015

Michelle Lee, Class of 2014

2013-2014

Anna Stallmann, Class of 2013

2012-2013

Deena Schwartz, Class of 2012
Andrea Vazquez, Class of 2012

2011-2012

Marcie Kobak, Class of 2011
Anitoshia Johnson, Class of 2011
Damian Treffs, Class of 2011

2010-2011

Tamara Alexander, Class of 2010
Joe Costello, Class of 2010
Gerrald Ellis, Class of 2010
Paolo Meireles, Class of 2010
Lynda Tooker, Class of 2010
Scott Wagner, Class of 2010

2009-2010

Shireen Ahmed, Class of 2009
Mary Cox, Class of 2009
David Friedman, Class of 2009
Brandon Gershowitz Class of 2009
Yelena Kozlova, Class of 2009
Kathryn Newman, Class of 2009

2008-2009

Suzana Carlos, Class of 2008
Michael Higgins, Class of 2008
Emilio Justiniano, Class of 2008
Jessica Selman, Class of 2008

2007-2008

Nyssa Fajardo, Class of 2007
Gerard Haskins, Class of 2007
William Lim, Class of 2007
Erynne Novetsky, Class of 2007
Elisabeth Prael, Class of 2007
Leigh Tuccio, Class of 2007

2006-2007

Jonathan Benovitz, Class of 2006
Adonaid Casado, Class of 2006
Stephen Cincotta, Class of 2006
Carrie Loewenthal, Class of 2006

AmeriCorps Members

Feerick Center Vista, coppler

Isabela Coppler 

2022-2023 AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator

Isabela Coppler (she/her) is a 2022-2023 AmeriCorps VISTA and Remote Consumer Project Coordinator at Fordham Law School's Feerick Center for Social Justice. She graduated from the University of New Mexico where she received a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish. Her prior involvement working with nonprofits and interning for a New Mexico senator spiked her interest in working with underrepresented communities. Post-graduation, she pursued work in Spain and Panama in the sectors of education, community development, and cultural exchange. Ultimately, she plans to attend law school as a means of continuing to assist and help represent marginalized groups and communities.

Headshot, Feerick Center

Jordan Eady-Lee

2022-2023 AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator

Jordan Eady-Lee has worked in the non profit sector 6 years. She graduated from Georgia’s oldest public HBCU, Savannah State University, with a B.A. in English Literature and communications. Jordan has worked in development and fundraising with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc, and the Georgia NAACP. She is passionate about being a voice for marginalized groups in America and women’s rights. Her goals are to educate people on social and economic systems and how injustices within these systems are beneficial to some and harmful to others. In the future, she hopes to create a program geared towards developing entrepreneurship for young black and brown girls entering the workforce. Jordan is currently working on a M.S. in Non-Profit Management at Columbia University. 

Headshot, Porter, Shannon

Shannon Porter

2022-2023 AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

Shannon Porter is the 2022-2023 AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, serving with the Feerick Center for Social Justice. In 2022, she completed the AmeriCorps NCCC program as a Team Leader with the Southern Region Campus. In this role, she led a team of up to 11 corps members, serving nine organizations in seven states. Her team’s work covered natural disaster relief, environmental conservation, infrastructure improvement, and urban and rural development. She has a Bachelors in Psychology from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and hopes to one day continue her studies by concentrating on career, personal, and professional development.

Sean Tan_Feerick Center

Sean Tan 

2022-2023 AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator

Sean is originally from Livingston, NJ and graduated from Williams College in 2022 with a degree in Economics. He is humbled and honored to be selected as a VISTA and is looking forward to making a difference. After his year of service, Sean plans on attending law school to continue advocating for social justice.

2022-2023 AmeriCorps VISTA Members 
Isabela Coppler, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator
Christopher Deleon, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Veterans Rights Project (VRP) Coordinator and COVID Response Project (CRP) Coordinator
Jordan Eady-Lee,  AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator
Shannon Porter, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Tamara Starr, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator
Sean Tan, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator

2021-2022 AmeriCorps VISTA Members 
Kelsey Benjamin, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator
John Kauffman,  AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Feerick Center Veterans Rights Project (FCVRP) and the COVID Response Project (CRP) Project Coordinator
Kimberly Martinez, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator
Theresa Mahoney, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator
Ashley Ramsay, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator
Alero Simon, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

2020-2021 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Kelsey Benjamin, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator
Patrice A. Bryan, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Molly Miller, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator
Matty Motylenski, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Feerick Center Veterans Rights Project (FCVRP) and the COVID Response Project (CRP) Project Coordinator
Ella Shlonsky, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Coordinator
Jordan Williams, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator

2019-2020 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Katherine Alonzo, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Consumer Debt Program Coordinator
Taylor Bessinger, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans Program, Project Coordinator
Dilon Goncalves, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Maris Moon, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Daniella Torres, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Greater NYC Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator

2018-2019 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Julia Cummings, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Consumer Debt Program Coordinator
Azalea Capers, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Kaitlyn Filzer, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans Program, Project Coordinator
Camilla Leonard, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Veteran's Program Coordinator
Evan Mullen, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Cora Vasserman, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator

2017-2018 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Azalea Capers, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Naama Hod, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
Camilla Leonard, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Veteran's Program Coordinator
Cora Vasserman, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator

2016-2017 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Luigi Bonifacio, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Brian Bowen, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
Shannon Litvin, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Consumer Debt Program Coordinator

2015-2016 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Christine Brathwaite, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Yolanda Garcia, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Consumer Debt Program Coordinator
Donita Krasniqi, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator

2014-2015 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Liza Carroll, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Matthew Q. English IV, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Attorney Emeritus & LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Kyle Giller, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Consumer Debt Program Coordinator

2013 -2014 AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Priscilla Alabi, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Katie McConnell, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
Sara Trongone, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Consumer Debt Program Coordinator

NYC Civic Corps Members

2014-2015 NYC Civic Corps Members
Donita Krasniqi, NYC Civic Corps Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
Chelsea Wilson, NYC Civic Corps Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator

2013-2014 NYC Civic Corps Members
Nicholas Macri, NYC Civic Corps Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
Samantha Varn, NYC Civic Corps Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator

2012-2013 NYC Civic Corps Members
Laura Backus, NYC Civic Corps Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
Brandon Ruben, NYC Civic Corps Member, LEEAP Education Program Coordinator
Anting Wang, NYC Civic Corps Member, LEEAP Consumer Debt Program Coordinator

2011- 2012 NYC Civic Corps Members
Ayanthi Gunawardana, NYC Civic Corps Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
Joanna Laine, NYC Civic Corps Member, Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator.

New York Women's Bar Association Foundation Fellows

New York Women's Bar Association Foundation Fellows

As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Center, we note with gratitude that thanks to a historic gift to the Feerick Center by the New York Women's Bar Association (NYWBA) Foundation, from 2010 to 2016, an extraordinary group of Fordham Law School women students served as NYWBA Foundation Fellows and provided instrumental support to the Center's work.

Fellows for the Year 2015-2016
Karen Ansong '16
Virginia Brown Anderson '16
Tzipora Zeines '18

Fellows for the Year 2014-2015
Laura Wooley ‘16
Razeem Zaman ‘16

Fellows for the Year 2013-2014
Lauren Irby ‘15
Sofia Linarte ‘15

Fellows for the Year 2012-2013
Chrissie Cahill ‘13
Jennifer Puchalski ‘14

Fellows for the Year 2011 -2012
Zohra Ahmed ‘13
Marisa Menna ‘13

Fellows for the Year 2010 -2011
Donella Green ‘12
Andrea Vazquez ‘12

Feerick Center Biennial Reports

These reports highlight the work of the Feerick Center to advance social, economic, and racial justice. The communities that we serve and the issues that drive our work are increasingly challenging and have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our reports detail the Center's work with students, staff, alumni, volunteers, and other stakeholders to address inequality in education; the expansion of access to justice; the rights of immigrant women and children; the needs of veterans; and the abuse of consumers in economically difficult times.

Feerick Center Biannual Report

 

 

View Report [online version]

 

 

 

2016 2018 Biannual FC

 

 

 

 

View Report [print version]

Contact Us

Feerick Center for Social Justice of Fordham School of Law
150 West 62nd Street, 7 Floor, New York, NY 10023

Tel: 212-636-7747

Email: feerickcenter@fordham.edu