Skip to main content

About Us

Recognizing the cultural and religious differences that permeate work environments and our culture as a whole, how can one affirm one's own identity and the truth about one's own religion, and still be in open and sincere conversation with others who hold a different set of beliefs?

Amelia J. Uelmen and Russell G. Pearce

The Institute's events run along three tracks: interfaith, faith-specific, and international. Its publications focus on how religious perspectives may inform legal practice and legal education. For students, the Institute supports the development of courses that probe how religious teachings and values may be applied to various areas of legal theory and practice. For faculty, the Institute has developed a number of resources for reflection on religious values and legal education. The Institute also serves as a clearinghouse for research and resources on religious lawyering.

Religious Lawyering: Defining Our Terms

What characterizes the "religious lawyering" conversation is its focus on how religious values and perspectives may provide a completely different structural framework for an approach to professional life

Religious lawyering insists that there should be room in the profession for lawyers to integrate religious perspectives and substantive critiques to the issues which arise not just at the margins, but at the heart of ordinary day-to-day legal practice.

It suggests that this is a conversation to be held not just within the quiet of one's individual conscience, but as an open dialogue and debate in law offices, in judge's chambers, in legislatures, and even in law schools.

Selected publication:

Faculty and Staff

Russell G. Pearce

Russell G. Pearce (Faculty Moderator)

Founder and faculty moderator Professor Russell G. Pearce is widely credited as a leading animator of what is now known as "religious lawyering." Read more.

Endy Moraes

Endy Moraes (Director)

Endy Moraes, Director, Institute on Religion Law and Lawyer's Work at Fordham Law School, is a Brazilian lawyer with extensive experience in inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. At Fordham, Endy works directly with students in developing opportunities for promoting multifaith and multicultural dialogue, as well as assist them in managing their religious commitments and lives as lawyers. Endy has also an LLM, cum laude, from Fordham Law School, and is admitted to practice in New York. She is a member of the Focolare Movement of the Catholic Church, living in community.

Tsvi Blanchard

Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard (Scholar-In-Residence)

Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard the Director of Organizational Development at the Jewish think tank CLAL, as well as Meyer Struckmann Professor of Jewish Law at Humboldt Faculty of Law in Berlin. He serves as scholar in residence at the Institute for Law, Religion and Lawyer’s Work at Fordham Law School where he teaches Jewish law. Rabbi Blanchard holds PhD degrees in Philosophy and in Psychology. He has been a university professor, the director of an Orthodox High School and a practicing clinical and organizational psychologist. Tsvi has taught at Washington, Northwestern and Loyola Universities as well as the Drisha Institute for Women. His publications include the 2002 Riesman award winning “How to Think About Being Jewish in the Twenty-First Century: a New Model of Jewish Identity Construction” as well as “How Stories Heal” Tsvi coauthored a book entitled Embracing Life, Facing Death: a Jewish Guide to Palliative Care.

Ana Renata Dias

Ana Renata Dias (Assistant Director)

Ana Renata Dias is a lawyer from Portugal with extensive experience in interreligious. She comes to Fordham from the New York office of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), where she helped to coordinate staff and resources for its numerous programs to support the peoples of the Middle East, India and Northeast Africa. Prior to that, she served as an executive coordinator for the Focolare Movement's large-scale international ecumenical events such as "Together for Europe." In addition to overseeing the general program, she coordinates the Institute's international and interfaith tracks.

Zahra Takhshid

Zahra Takhshid (Fellow)

Zahra Takhshid is an Iranian lawyer who is currently pursuing her S.J.D. at Fordham Law School. She received her LL.B. and LL.M. in Private and Islamic Law from University of Tehran. She then pursued her second LLM degree at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. Her current S.J.D. work focuses on tort law and public policy. She is also a passionate advocate of youth law and has taught and worked with middle school and high school students in Washington D.C., and New York City. Zahra has been with the institute of Religion, Law, & Lawyer's Work since 2016 and has held and/or spoken at various panels and conferences both in the U.S. and abroad on issues that focus on the relationship of religion and law. She also writes Op-Eds for several Iranian newspapers on current legal issues. Zahra speaks Farsi as her native language and is fluent in English. She is proficient in French and Arabic. 

Partners

Partners of the Institute include (by alphabetical order):

  • The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
  • The Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools
  • Auburn Theological Seminary
  • Cardozo Law School's Program in Jewish Law & Interdisciplinary Studies
  • The Communion and Law International Commission
  • Center for Ethics Education, Fordham University
  • Center on Religion & Culture, Fordham University
  • The Conference on Catholic Legal Thought
  • The Guild of Catholic Lawyers of the Archdiocese of New York
  • Journal of Catholic Legal Studies
  • Journal of Law & Religion
  • Living City Magazine
  • The Louis Finkelstein Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Mirror of Justice
  • The Muslim Bar Association of New York
  • The National Association of Muslim Lawyer

The Institute is a member of the Fordham Consortium on Social Justice.