Skip to main content

Addressing Racism in the Legal System and Our Community

building at night

The motto of Fordham Law is “In the Service of Others.” We are committed to addressing racial injustice while responding to the needs of directly impacted individuals. Through our Public Interest Resource Center, we have 22 student-led pro bono projects dedicated to advancing social justice. Our prominent centers and institutes, many of which focus on issues relating to racial justice, include the Center on Race, Law and Justice, already a national leader in the field. These initiatives provide faculty, students, and alumni with a wide range of growing opportunities to actively engage in the struggle for racial justice. While racism intersects with all of our ongoing public service work, there is an urgent need to expand our work to specifically address racism in policing and the criminal justice system.

Action Items and Status


Augment Race and Justice Programming

  • Launched a webinar series in June 2020 through the Center on Race, Law and Justice and the Leitner Center that attracted hundreds of attendees. The series is continuing throughout the 2021-2022 academic year (learn more). 

During the 2021-2022 academic year, the Law School presented/will present the following discussions on race and the law:

Pursue Economic Justice and Educational Equity Work Through the Feerick Center for Social Justice

  • Organized, through the Feerick Center and in partnership with the Law School’s Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic, as well as with community partners at Mobilization for Justice and The Legal Aid Society, to move the New York State legislature to pass the Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act (FCJIA). The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on Dec. 31, 2021, lowers the interest rate on consumer debt judgments from 9% to 2% for unpaid amounts, both prospectively and retrospectively. The new law will have a life-changing impact for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with consumer judgments, including people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and people living in low-income communities and communities of color, who are disproportionately affected by debt collection.

  • Serve New York City residents facing debt collection in the courts through one of the Feerick Center’s signature programs, the Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO). The Center is rolling out an innovative Remote CLARO Program, which has the potential to transform limited-scope services in this area and greatly enhance access to legal services for unrepresented people with debt collection cases. 

  • Engage in advocacy to address the structural causes of racial segregation in New York City’s public schools. The Center has issued three reports, most recently in November of 2021 in light of the impact of COVID on the application process:

Focus on Racial Justice Via Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC) Student Groups

  • Focusing on anti-racism work via our vibrant student-run student groups/pro bono projects. PIRC Student Leaders have committed to an added focus on, and commitment to, racial justice. 

  • Organized a project focused on advocacy for Black women experiencing domestic violence via the Domestic Violence Action Center.

  • Continued providing Critical Race Theory programs on the 1L curriculum via the Fordham National Lawyers Guild. 

  • Many groups are engaged in a student-run diversity, equity, and inclusion survey to inform actionable next steps. 

  • Emphasizing the continual need to fight for racial justice in all of the pro bono work student groups perform.

Advocate for Economic Empowerment Through Fordham Law’s Clinics

  • Fostering collaboration between the Community Economic Development Clinic students and Law for Black Lives (L4BL), the legal arm of Movement for Black Lives, and other partner organizations, like National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA). 

  • Promoting collaboration between Entrepreneurial Law Clinic students and Start Small Think Big, which helps under-resourced entrepreneurs build wealth by creating successful businesses in underserved communities. The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic helps many entrepreneurs of color navigate challenging legal issues, get access to capital, and address COVID-19 issues.

Support and Grow the Center on Race, Law and Justice

  • Hired Zenande Booi and Dominique Bravo to lead the Center as executive director and associate director, respectively.

  • Made a commitment to supporting and growing the Center on Race, Law and Justice. In October 2020, Microsoft announced its donation of $390,000 to support the center’s efforts around policing and technology. 


In Progress

Support the Enhanced Programming from the Alumni Attorneys of Color (AAC)

  • Support efforts to build and strengthen the organization and as it continues to make its work more expansive and focus on areas that impact both student and alumni engagement, help it better serve alumni of color.. 

  • Launched a new series of webinars, “A Series for AAC by AAC: How to Survive and Advance During Challenging Times” in June 2020, focused on how attorneys of color have succeeded in their careers and overcome professional challenges. This series is ongoing and, to date, over 250 attendees have engaged in it. 

Support Career Development for Diverse Law Students Historically Underrepresented in the Legal Profession

  • Partner the Career Planning Center (CPC) with affinity groups to provide programming on career-related topics and to engage with historically underrepresented groups including Fordham First Generation students (F1GS). 

  • Participated in the New York City Bar Association Diversity Fellowship Program, in which the Law School sent two cohorts of five finalists, one in February 2021 and another in February 2022, for consideration for placement at various law firms and in-house positions. 

  • Continuing to keep students informed of diversity fellowships, scholarships, and professional-development opportunities sponsored by law firms via the CPC.

  • Made resources available through the Office of Student Affairs to BIPOC, LGBTQ, Caregiver, and First Generation students so that they can nourish theier well-being and emotional health and feel free to explore their identities, personal experiences, and beliefs.

  • Held programming tailored to the interests of underrepresented students in the job search process.