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Legal Economic and Educational Advancement Project


In 2012, the Corporation for National and Community Service awarded Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center a three-year AmeriCorps VISTA grant to launch the Legal Economic and Educational Advancement Project (LEEAP). LEEAP seeks to direct the energy, skills, and experience of lawyers and other community members to volunteering activities in three discrete focus areas:

  • Credit-related education and identity theft assistance;
  • Consumer debt defense;
  • Veteran's assistance and
  • Assistance accessing high-quality secondary and higher education.

LEEAP builds on the Feerick Center’s involvement with the Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO) Programs, which operate clinics in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, staffed by volunteer attorneys who provide limited legal advice to low-income New Yorkers being sued by debt collectors. In continuing to recruit, train, and place senior volunteer attorneys in a pro bono capacity, LEEAP will further strengthen the Feerick Center’s partnership with the Attorney Emeritus Program.

In 2019-2020, the Feerick Center is delighted to have VISTA members: Katherine AlonzoDilon Goncalves, Kaitlyn Filzer, Maris Moon and Daniella Torres.

Assistance Accessing High Quality Secondary and Higher Education



Assistance Accessing Higher-Quality Secondary Education

The LEEAP Ed. Project was born out of the recognition that students from families with low incomes attend quality secondary schools at much lower rates than their more affluent peers.  This fact likely contributes to lower college attendance rates amongst students with lower incomes.  To work against this inequity, LEEAP volunteers assist students and families with New York City’s complex high school admissions process in middle schools and at community-based organizations in underserved neighborhoods.

Volunteer Opportunity

Providing one-on-one or small group high school application assistance to middle school students and families.

Please contact Azalea Capers, 2018-2019 AmeriCorps VISTA member and LEEAP Ed. Program Coordinator, at [email protected] for information on volunteer opportunities in your area.

The LEEAP Ed. Project is supported through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and the AmeriCorps VISTA Program.

Consumer Debt Defense

This portion of the project aims to recruit experienced volunteer attorneys for placement at CLARO programs, as well as legal service organizations with a focus on consumer debt defense practices. Placement opportunities may include both limited legal advice and full service representation. Judgements from consumer debt collection cases impair credit and can prevent individuals and families from obtaining and maintaining housing, employment and economic stability.

Additionally, LEEAP seeks to provide specialized assistance to victims of identity theft. Having a volunteer lawyer as an advocate in navigating these processes can make the difference in removing errors and resolving fraud.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Limited scope or full service representation of defendants in consumer debt cases;
  • Staffing a hotline to provide limited scope advice on consumer debt matters;
  • Assisting indigent individuals with filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions as appropriate; and
  • Assisting identity theft victims at the Bronx or Manhattan CLARO Programs or the City Bars? Monday Night Law Program.

Credit-related Assistance

This portion of the project offers experienced attorneys non-legal service opportunities to provide financial education and assistance, especially credit-related assistance. Volunteer attorneys will be given the opportunity to help financially distressed clients work towards improving security in their financial lives by assisting clients with obtaining and reviewing their credit reports and writing dispute letters. Errors on credit reports often adversely affect credit, creating barriers to employment, housing, exiting shelter, and affordable credit.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Financial coaching in the areas of banking, savings, credit, and debt.

Please contact  Julia Cummings at [email protected] with any questions pertaining to consumer debt defense and credit-related assistance volunteer opportunities.

**Please note that consumer debt defense volunteer opportunities may qualify for pro bono credit under New York State's Attorney Emeritus Program.

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: [email protected]