Feerick Center Awards and Benefit Reception

Feerick Center for Social Justice

The Center’s establishment reflects Fordham 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.

Save the Date

Monday, October 28, 2024

Mutual of America and Virtual

For more information, contact Molly Sullivan, Senior Director of Development, at 212-636-7467 or [email protected].

Honorees

Kimberley Chin
Kimberley Chin ’97
Deborah A. Batts Life of Commitment Award 

Kimberley Chin has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, policy analysis, and advocacy spanning the health, immigration, nutrition, economic mobility, and social justice sectors.  With her personal and professional trajectories shaped by her immigrant identity and enhanced by her legal training, Ms. Chin has devoted her career to serving children, families, and diverse communities in New York and nationwide.

She is a senior program officer with the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, where she leads grantmaking that addresses the basic needs of New Yorkers and bolsters the state’s healthcare workforce. Before her current role, Ms. Chin was Acting Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund – New York, coordinating children’s health, immigration, and tax benefits initiatives. She has also served as Director of Public/Private Partnerships at the New York City Administration for Children's Services, as an Atlantic Philanthropies Senior Visiting Fellow at Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice, and as a Programme Executive at Atlantic Philanthropies, where she promoted children’s access to health insurance coverage.

Additionally, Ms. Chin was the Founding Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center, which connects families to federal nutrition programs. In this role, she was appointed to Maryland’s W.I.C. Advisory Council and the Maryland Partnership to End Childhood Hunger. She also worked at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on children’s health and family income supports. She is an attorney whose career started in the HIV/AIDS unit at South Brooklyn Legal Services. Currently, she serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Community Service Society of New York.  Ms. Chin received an M.P.A. from New York University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Dean Matthew Diller
Dean Matthew Diller
Champion of Justice Award

Matthew Diller is dean of Fordham Law School and the Paul Fuller Professor of Law. He is one of the nation’s leading voices on access to justice issues and a prominent scholar of social welfare law and policy. Prior to being appointed dean of Fordham Law in 2015, Dean Diller served as dean of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law from 2009 to 2015. He began his teaching career at Fordham Law in 1993 and was named the Cooper Family Professor of Law and co-director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics.

From 2003 to 2008, he served as the associate dean for academic affairs. Dean Diller worked as a staff attorney in the civil appeals and law reform unit of The Legal Aid Society from 1986 to 1993 and was a law clerk to the Honorable Walter R. Mansfield of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He earned his A.B. and J.D. degrees, both magna cum laude, from Harvard University. Dean Diller has lectured and written extensively on the legal dimensions of social welfare policy, including public assistance, Social Security, and disability programs, and on disability law and policy. He has taught a range of law school classes, including Civil Procedure, Administrative Law, Social Welfare Law, and Public Interest Law.

Dean Diller is a member of the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice and is chair of the commission’s Committee on Law School Involvement. He has served on the boards of The Legal Aid Society of New York, Legal Services NYC, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, and Volunteers of Legal Service. He has also served as vice president and a member of the executive committee of the New York City Bar Association and was co-chair of the Association’s Council on the Profession. Dean Diller is a member of the New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Widely recognized by the legal community and beyond, Dean Diller has received numerous awards for his work and scholarship. In 2021, he delivered the Charles Evans Hughes Lecture at the New York County Lawyers Association. In 2014, the AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities awarded him the Deborah L. Rhode Award for his leadership in legal education and public service. In 1991, the New York City Bar Association honored him with a legal services award.

At Fordham Law School, he has been recognized with the Louis J. Lefkowitz Award for the Advancement of Urban Law from the Fordham Urban Law Journal (2000), the Eugene J. Keefe Award for outstanding contributions to the Law School (2002), and the Dean’s Medal of Achievement (2009).

John Keenan
Honorable John F. Keenan ’54
James F. Gill Spirit of Hope Award

The Honorable John F. Keenan has served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York since 1983. Judge Keenan graduated from Regis High School in 1947, was awarded a B.B.A. from Manhattan College in 1951, and received his J.D. from Fordham Law School in 1954. Judge Keenan served two years with the United States Army, where he was assigned to the Army Security Agency. Upon his return to New York, he worked with Halpin, Keogh & St. John before joining the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

Judge Keenan rose through the ranks of the district attorney’s office (including taking a leave of absence to serve as chief assistant district attorney for the Queens County District Attorney’s Office) to become deputy attorney general, special prosecutor of corruption in 1976. Judge Keenan held the position of chairman and president of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation from 1979 to 1982 and then became the criminal justice coordinator for New York City.

Judge Keenan was nominated to the federal bench on September 13, 1983, by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate a week later. Over his 33 years of service, Judge Keenan has presided over many historically significant cases, including the sentencing of high-profile terrorists and the conviction of members of the Colombo crime family for racketeering, labor extortion, loan sharking, and bribery of public officials. Judge Keenan has been a guest lecturer at Yale, Michigan, Northwestern, Columbia, St. John’s, New York University, and Fordham law schools and currently serves as a vice president for the Fordham Law Alumni Association.

Judge Keenan received the Fordham-Stein Prize in 2009 and the Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Award in 2006, among many other accolades. Most recently, he received the Leon Silverman Award from the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Nitza Milagros Escalera

Nitza Escalera
Gail D. Hollister Dedication to Excellence Award

Nitza Milagros Escalera is an Afro-Latina from Santurce, Puerto Rico. After completing academic studies in Syracuse, New York, Dean Escalera returned to New York City where she worked with the New York State Division for Youth and later served as the Executive Director of the East Harlem College and Career Counseling Program, Inc. During this period, Dean Escalera was selected as one of the first four fellows of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institutes and the Coro Foundation’s Fellowship in Public Affairs for Latinas.

Dean Escalera’s dedication to education and social justice led her to Columbia University School of Law and to work with the New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Community Service Society, Inc. In 1994, Dean Escalera became the first Afro-Latina assistant dean for student affairs at Fordham Law School. In 2016, Dean Escalera’s portfolio was expanded to include the position of assistant dean of diversity initiatives. During her tenure at Fordham Law School, Dean Escalera served generations of law school students as a trusted, highly accessible administrator who connected with them with integrity and compassion.

Dean Escalera also championed diversity, equity, and inclusion and was deeply involved in numerous pipeline initiatives to help diversify the profession. Through her efforts, students from underrepresented groups gained access, exposure, and ultimately admission to law school. In 2019, Dean Escalera received the EDGE Diversity Award from the Council on Legal Education Opportunity in recognition of her work. Dean Escalera also served as a trustee at Le Moyne College. Since retiring from Fordham Law School, Dean Escalera has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Linda Young
Linda Young
(awarded posthumously)
Gail D. Hollister Dedication to Excellence Award

Linda Young began Fordham Law School in 1975, fourteen years after graduating from Manhattanville College, having married and raised four children. Following graduation, she practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she worked with Steve Axxin on antitrust and Sheila Birnbaum on product-liability matters.

In 1981, the firm selected Ms. Young to pioneer a project Joseph Flom and Former Mayor Ed[fill in] Koch created to give Skadden lawyers trial experience and to ease the Corporation Counsel’s Tort Division backlog. Working alongside the City’s staff lawyers for six months, Ms. Young took depositions, filed motions, selected juries, and tried cases, five to verdict. In 1983, Ms. Young returned to Fordham Law School as assistant dean of student affairs.

Ms. Young enjoyed working with and for every student, enlarged the Student Affairs portfolio, and taught Legal Writing sections. In 1987, Ms. Young returned to law practice and joined the New York Corporation Counsel’s Appeals Division until her retirement in 2002. Ms. Young received the Fordham Law School’s Dean’s Medal of Recognition in 1987 and The Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Alumni Award in 1993.

John Callagy
John Callagy
(awarded posthumously)
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Spirit of Service Award

John Callagy distinguished himself in the legal profession throughout his career. He was renowned for his public and civic service and was a leader of the private bar. He started his law practice at Townley Updike Carter & Rogers and spent 46 years at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP. Mr. Callagy served as a member of the firm’s executive committee and became its first chairman in 1992.

He served in this capacity for nearly two decades, during which time the firm grew in stature and impact. Mr. Callagy handled extensive pro bono matters, including those on behalf of the Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A and Lambda Lega, among other organizations. He also had extensive civic engagements, including serving as a trustee and on the executive committee of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund and on the board of regentes of Georgetown University.

He received the prestigious Saint Thomas More award from the Archdiocese of New York and was named a Knight of Malta. Mr. Callagy graduated from Georgetown University and NYU Law School, where he was a Root Tilden Scholar.

Michael Lynch
Michael Lynch '96
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Spirit of Service Award

Michael Lynch is the Chair of Kelley Drye’s Litigation Practice and a member of its Executive Committee. Mr. Lynch’s trial experience is extensive and diverse, with advocacy skills he forged and honed as a prosecutor in New York City under the tutelage of the legendary Robert Morgenthau. The insights he gained during this formative time became the foundation of his consistent record of success in his over two decades of trial practice at Kelley Drye.

Some of the most prominent national and global brands have relied on Mr. Lynch to parry multimillion-dollar threats to their market shares, reputations, and bottom lines. He has the hands-on experience needed to litigate all aspects of single and multi-plaintiff claims and large-scale class actions involving commercial and consumer-oriented claims, including complex contract disputes, trademark and copyright, fraud, consumer fraud, privacy and data security, false advertising, and other business-related issues, as well as white-collar defense and investigations.

Mr. Lynch is the seasoned advocate, trusted advisor, and steadfast ally that businesses and colleagues call upon when important investments, time, and other interests are on the line. Mr. Lynch is recognized as a local litigation star in Benchmark Litigation 2018, 2019 and 2023. He is also recommended in U.S. Legal 500 for his work in the areas of Product Liability, Mass Tort, and Class Action: Consumer Products, 2017-2023; IP-Trademarks Litigation, 2018; and Marketing and Advertising Litigation, 2017 and 2023. Mr. Lynch received a B.A. from the University of Richmond and a J.D. from Fordham Law School.

Lauren Aguiar
Lauren E. Aguiar
Skadden Public Interest Programs
Spirit of Service Award

Lauren E. Aguiar is a Partner in the Complex Litigation and Trials group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she represents clients in federal and state court litigation. Her diverse practice focuses on high-profile cases and trials involving a wide range of commercial matters including breach of contract, M&A, employment, fraud, fiduciary, trust & estate, copyright, false advertising, trade secret, and class action litigation. Ms. Aguiar is the Chairperson of the Skadden Foundation, which runs the Skadden Fellowship Program. She serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

She is also a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Covenant House International, a shelter in the U.S. and Central America for homeless and trafficked youth. She serves on the advisory board of the Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School. Ms. Aguiar received her B.A. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Connecticut College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was the Managing Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law. 

She is recognized as a stand-out in her field, including as a leading practitioner in general commercial litigation by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business; Legal 500 (Leading Lawyer for General Commercial Disputes); LawDragon’s inaugural list of 500 Leading Global Litigators and 500 Leading Litigators in America 2023; Best Lawyers (2018-2023); Latin America Corporate Counsel Association (as a leading practitioner); a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America (a peer-selected group); and was honored as one of Crain's Notable Women in Law (2021). She speaks and writes frequently on civil litigation and trial practice issues.

Brenna DeVaney
Brenna K. DeVaney
Skadden Public Interest Programs
Spirit of Service Award

Brenna DeVaney directs Skadden’s global pro bono practice and is responsible for the firm’s relationships with legal services organizations and nonprofits. She ensures that the firm’s resources match the needs of the community and provides opportunities for Skadden’s attorneys and professional staff to do pro bono work in a safe, responsible, and meaningful way.

Ms. DeVaney focuses the firm’s pro bono efforts on delivering client-centered direct services and creating positive systemic change. Her own practice focuses on representing low-income individuals, including women in family law matters who have been the victims of domestic violence. She enjoys helping in-house legal departments and companies develop pro bono and professional skills-based volunteering programs. Ms. DeVaney serves as founding Co-President of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.

She also works as an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. She is a frequent lecturer and presenter at national and international convenings focused on access to justice. Before her role leading the firm’s pro bono program, Ms. DeVaney was a member of the Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime Group, where she represented individual and corporate clients in federal and state criminal and regulatory matters and conducted internal corporate investigations.

Susan Plum
Susan Plum
Skadden Public Interest Programs
Spirit of Service Award

Susan Plum was the founding director of the Skadden Foundation, which awards two-year grants to 28 public interest attorneys annually. She is currently the senior advisor and trustee of the foundation, which was established in April 1988 and has made grants to 990 attorneys who provide civil legal services to people experiencing poverty. Before joining Skadden, Ms. Butler Plum was the director of the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Foundation and the Booth Ferris Foundation program director. She was also the associate director of the Environmental Defense Fund. She is a graduate of the University of Miami. Among her board affiliations are trusteeships of the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation (where she was president and is a continuing trustee), the Community Opportunity Fund, and the Amadou Diallo Foundation.

She is also a board member of Deaf Legal Advocacy World­wide, which a former Skadden Fellow founded. She also is a member of the Foundation Board of Stella and Charles Guttman Community College of CUNY; the International Advisory Council of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative; the New York Weill Cornell Council; and the Columbia Law School Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program Advisory Board. In 2008, she received the annual North Star Award, Honoring New Yorkers Committed to Social Justice.

In 2013, she received a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Law Journal, shared with the Skadden Fellowship Foundation. In 2015, Ms. Butler Plum was selected as one of 50 Inspiring Change Makers worldwide by the Harvard Law and International Development Society and the Harvard Women’s Law Association. In 2017, Ms. Butler Plum was honored by the Center for Popular Democracy.

Kathleen Rubenstein
Kathleen Rubenstein
Skadden Public Interest Programs
Spirit of Service Award

Kathleen Rubenstein is the executive director of the Skadden Foundation, which awards two-year grants to 28 public interest attorneys per year. The foundation was established in April 1988 and has made grants to 990 attorneys who provide civil legal services to people living in poverty in the U.S. Before joining the Skadden Foundation, Ms. Rubenstein held several positions in New York City government, including serving as deputy chief of staff and senior counsel for government policy for the New York City Law Department and as deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Appointments.

Ms. Rubenstein graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she received the Edwin F. Mandel Award for exceptional contributions to the school’s clinics. Ms. Rubenstein was selected as a Skadden Fellow and completed her Fellowship at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. After her Fellowship, she served as a federal judicial law clerk in the Northern District of Illinois. Ms. Rubenstein is admitted to practice law in New York State.

Ms. Rubenstein is a 2021 graduate of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s Core Program, from which she received a certificate in Social Impact Management and Leadership. She is a member of the New York City Women’s Leadership Council, a consortium of female-identified non-profit executives. Ms. Rubenstein serves as secretary of the board of directors of the Advocacy Institute, an organization that supports social justice organizations to build the advocacy skills necessary to shape government policy in New York.


 

The annual benefit reception provides crucial funding for the Feerick Center, and we celebrated these incredible honorees for their commitment to service and social justice.

For more information, contact Dora Galacatos, Executive Director, at 212-636-7747 or send a message to [email protected]

  • Professor Maria L. Marcus
    (awarded posthumously)
    Gail D. Hollister Dedication to Excellence Award

    Kim Koopersmith ’84
    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
    Spirit of Service Award

    Jennifer A. White-Reid ’98
    Honorable Deborah A. Batts Life of Commitment Award

    Patrick J. Foye ’81
    James F. Gill Spirit of Hope Award

    William P. Harrington ’82
    Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP
    Spirit of Service Award

    William F. (BJ) Harrington ’59
    (awarded posthumously)
    Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP
    Spirit of Service Award

    Frederick J. Martin Jr.
    (awarded posthumously)
    Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP
    Spirit of Service Award

    Eleanor Acer ’88
    Human Rights First
    Champion of Justice Award

    Kennji Kizuka
    Champion of Justice Award

  • Jennifer Jones Austin ’93
    Honorable Deborah A. Batts Life of Commitment Award

    Bradley J. Butwin ’85
    O'Melveny & Myers LLP
    Spirit of Service Award

    Rafal Gawlowski ’00
    Latham & Watkins LLP
    Spirit of Service Award

    Professor Gail D. Hollister ’70
    (awarded posthumously)
    Dedication to Excellence Award

    Edward G. Williams
    Gail D. Hollister Dedication to Excellence Award

    Gregory P. Williams
    Gail D. Hollister Dedication to Excellence Award

    Organizational Honoree

    New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation, Inc.
    Champion of Justice Award

  • Laura A. Coruzzi Ph.D. ’79, J.D. ’85
    Spirit of Service Award

    Rhonda Cunningham Holmes ’97
    Honorable Deborah A. Batts Life of Commitment Award

    A. Stephen LaSala ’40 and Helen A. LaSala
    Spirit of Service Award
    Awarded posthumously

    Stephen R. LaSala ’70
    Spirit of Service Award

    Thomas E. LaSala ’78
    Spirit of Service Award

    Maura K. Monaghan ’96
    James F. Gill Spirit of Hope Award

    Organizational Honorees

    Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
    Champion of Justice Award

    Artemis Anninos ’96
    Champion of Justice Award

    William M. Hartnett ’79
    Champion of Justice Award

  • Robert A. Ferris '66
    George J. Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award

    Evelyn Jarvis Ferris
    George J. Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award

    Hon. Deborah A. Batts
    Life of Commitment Award
    Awarded posthumously

    Sylvia Fung Chin ’77
    Spirit of Service Award

    Mary Ellen L. Kris ’76
    James F. Gill Spirit of Hope Award

    Charles K. O’Neill ’72
    Spirit of Service Award

    Organizational Honorees

    Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP
    Champion of Justice Award

    Scott J. FitzGerald ’92
    Champion of Justice Award

    Michael F. Turansick ’82
    Champion of Justice Award

  • Denis F. Cronin ’72
    James F. Gill Spirit of Hope Award

    Nancy E. Delaney ’88
    Spirit of Service Award

    Sharon L. McCarthy ’89 and Antonio X. Molestina ’89
    Spirit of Service Award

    Stacey J. Rappaport ’96
    Champion of Justice Award

    Organizational Honorees

    Mutual of America
    Thomas J. Moran and William J. Flynn GSAS ’51
    (awarded posthumously)
    George J. Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award

    Terra Firma: Healthcare and Justice for Immigrant Children
    Dr. Cristina Muñiz de la Peña, Dr. Alan Shapiro, and Brett Stark
    Life of Commitment Award

  • Robert J. Reilly ’75
    George J. Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award

    Rita M. Glavin ’96
    Spirit of Service Award

    J. Gregory ’75 and Laura Milmoe
    Spirit of Service Award

    Daniel P. O’Toole ’92
    James F. Gill Spirit of Hope Award

    Cesar A. Perales ’65
    Life of Commitment Award