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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.

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 – Partner and Director of Public Service Project, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
  • 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
  • Gail Hollister – Murray Professor of Law, Emerita, Fordham Law School
  • Seymour James – Partner, Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP
  • Constantine N. Katsoris – Wilkinson Professor of Law, Fordham Law School
  • Mary Ellen 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.
  • Marisa M. Peterson – former General Counsel, American Arbitration Association; Adjunct Professor, Fordham Law School
  • Timothy G. Reynolds – Retired Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
  • James P. Sauter - Partner, O’Neill, DiManno & Kelly
  • Robert C. Sheehan – Retired Partner, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
  • Michael K. Stanton, Jr. – Partner, Ferguson Cohen LLP
  • Irene 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, joined the Fordham faculty in 1995. Liz teaches primarily in the Law School's clinical program (the Litigation Skills clinic, the Civil Rights Clinic, the Center’s Social Justice Clinic, and currently, the Urban Policy Clinic); she also has taught courses in Fundamental Lawyering Skills, Institutional Reform Through the Courts (with Professor Feerick), and AIDS and the Law. Her scholarship has focused on issues of autonomy, particularly in the context of bioethics, HIV/AIDS, Marriage rights, Equality and the pedagogy of clinical teaching.

    Before coming to Fordham, Liz taught at Brooklyn Law School for one year and at Rutgers-Newark Law School as an adjunct law professor. She was a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at the Newark, NJ law firm of Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione (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 (1988), 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 1983 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

    Staff

    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 for low-income individuals. 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 John Feerick. Dora also served as a law clerk to the late-Honorable Milton Pollack (1996-97) and, more recently, 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 Kaplan M. Fellow and received a Master of Science in Urban Policy (1993).

    In 2009 Dora was honored by The New York County Lawyer's 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.

    Email: galacatos@fordham.edu Tel. 212-636-7747.

     

      

    Lauren B. Kanfer 

    Lauren B. Kanfer is Associate Director of the Feerick Center. Prior to joining the Feerick Center, Lauren served as counsel to the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice since its creation by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. In this role, Lauren worked to implement the Permanent Commission’s multi-faceted agenda to enhance access to justice to all New Yorkers facing challenges to essentials of life matters, including housing, family stability, access to subsistence benefits, education and health care, and issues related to consumer credit. Under the auspices of the Statewide Law School Access to Justice Council, Lauren spearheaded a pilot Statewide Diversity Pipeline Initiative to support students from New York’s law schools in a program that instructs eighth-grade students on the educational pathway to law school and engages them in mock trial advocacy.  

    Lauren served as the Executive Director of the New York State Institute on Professionalism in the Law, coordinating convocations and focus groups to elevate discourse on professionalism in practice and law school education. 
    Lauren began her legal career in the New York State court system as a law assistant in Supreme Court, New York County. Lauren became a law clerk to Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick at the New York Court of Appeals. After a hiatus, Lauren returned to serve as a law clerk to then Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman. Following Judge Lippman’s appointment as Chief Judge, Lauren was appointed as counsel to the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York, which became the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice.
    Lauren earned her J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law and her B.A. from McGill University.

    Emai: lkanfer@law.fordham.edu. Tel. 212-636-7046

    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

    Feerick Center Ffern Sschair 240x240

      

    Fern Schair


    Fern Schair has been Chairperson of the Feerick Center Advisory Board since its inception. Her professional positions include: 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 member of the Board, Immediate Past President, and Co-Founder of the Children’s Law Center; former Chair and current Board member of the Fund for Modern Courts; Vice-Chair of the Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts (NY); Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Court Interpreters; 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; Co-Chair of the Committee on Non-lawyers and the Justice Gap; and 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.

    Feerick Center Clementine Schillings 240x240

      

    Clementine Schillings

    Clementine Schillings, the 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

    Wilma

      

    Wilma Tamayo-Abreu

     Administrative and Programmatic Assistant for the Feerick Center.

    Wilma Tamayo-Abreu. On June 30, 2015, the Bronx News recognized Wilma Tamayo-Abreu with its 25 Women of Influence Award. Wilma was recognized, in part, for her contributions in connection with the Bronx CLARO Program, one of the three limited legal advice clinics for people dealing with consumer debt that the Feerick Center helps to administer. Since its inception in June 2009, Wilma has been instrumental in developing the Program into the powerhouse that it is today. Prior to joining the Feerick Center she served as a Corporate Event Coordinator at the IBM Conference Center in Palisades, NY and as a Branch Business Manager at Banco Popular. Wilma was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to NYC with her family when she was a teenager. After receiving her high school Diploma from Dewitt Clinton HS in 1997 she moved to Vermont to attend Middlebury College. Wilma is an advocate for immigrants’ rights and access to higher education for immigrants.

    Email: wtamayoabreu@law.fordham.edu Tel. 212-636-7671.

    Fellows

    Ellen McCormick is a 2019-2020 Dean’s Fellow with the Feerick Center for Social Justice. Ellen is a recent graduate of Fordham University School of Law and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Colorado College. During law school, she interned with Queens Legal Services in their Homeowner and Consumer Rights Project, Mobilization for Justice in their Mental Health Law Project, and in Fordham Law’s Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic. She also served as a student volunteer in the Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO) Program, assisting volunteer attorneys in providing limited legal advice to pro se litigants in consumer debt proceedings in Manhattan and Bronx Civil Courts; the Dilley Pro Bono Project, providing limited-scope legal representation to asylum-seeking families detained in the South Texas Family Residential Center, in Dilley, Texas; and Fordham Law’s chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), assisting asylum-seekers in their resettlement processes and serving as chapter Case Manager. In 2019, she received Fordham Law’s Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award, summa cum laude, and the Student Leadership Award. She looks forward to serving as the 2019-2020 Dean’s Fellow where she will work to support the Center’s social justice initiatives and increase access to justice for some of New York’s most vulnerable communities.

    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

    Katherine Alonzo 240 x 240

    Katherine Alonzo

    AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator 2019-2020

    Katherine Alonzo is a 2019-2020 AmeriCorps VISTA Member and Consumer Assistance Project Coordinator. This year she will support the Feerick Center in addressing the problems facing marginalized New Yorkers. Specifically, Katherine will be building on the Feerick Center's commitment to assisting low-income and economically distressed individuals facing consumer debt issues through its work with the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island CLARO Programs. Katherine graduated from Binghamton University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics. Following her VISTA service, Katherine would like to pursue a law degree while continuing to fight for social justice reform.

    Kelsey Benjamin

    Kelsey Benjamin

    AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator 2020-2021.

    Kelsey Benjamin is a 2020-2021 AmeriCorps VISTA and serves as the Greater New York City Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator. In 2018, Kelsey graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Ramapo College of New Jersey and obtained her NJ Social Work License.  Kelsey has spent the past three years working as a social worker in rural New Jersey with individuals and families living in poverty.  She is a strong advocate for social and economic justice.  Her passion lies in creating opportunities for communities to succeed.  Kelsey plans to pursue a law degree and a public interest career in line with her social work background and passion for serving those in need.

     

    Taylor Bessinger 

    AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans Program, Project Coordinator 2019-2020

    Taylor Bessinger is a 2019-2020 AmeriCorps VISTA member and Project Coordinator for the Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans Program. Taylor is a 2019 graduate of Grand Valley State University in Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with minors in Human Rights and International Relations. Taylor looks forward to working with the underserved veteran population in New York City. Upon completion of service, he hopes to attend law school in pursuit of a public interest career with a focus on human rights.

     

    Maris Moon

    Maris Moon

    AmeriCorps Vista Leader LEEAP 2019-2020

    Maris Moon is the 2019-2020 AmeriCorps VISTA Leader who is helping to expand the capacity of the Feerick Center and partner organizations that are funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service. Maris graduated in 2018 from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and European Studies. Maris spent her first year out of college as an AmeriCorps State and National member at Great Oaks Charter School in the Lower East Side as a 6th grade English tutor. She is eager that her year at the Feerick Center will allow her to explore and continue to push for social justice in underserved and marginalized communities through pursuing a law degree and eventually getting into international human rights law.

    2020-2021 AmeriCorps VISTA Members

    Kelsey Benjamin, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, LEEAP Attorney Emeritus Program 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Donita Krasniqi, NYC Civic Corps Member – Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator
    Chelsea Wilson, NYC Civic Corps Member – Attorney Emeritus Program Coordinator

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

    2012-2013
    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
    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

    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

    Contact Us

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

    Tel: 212-636-7671

    Fax: 646-312-8238

    Email: feerickcenter@law.fordham.edu