WHITE PLAINS, NY (July 29, 2008) – Jennifer Friedman, a lawyer who founded and directs one of the country’s largest services providing courtroom help to women threatened by domestic violence, has been chosen to head the new Public Interest Law Center (PILC) at Pace Law School.
The school is known as a pioneer in offering its students opportunities for first-hand exposure to professional work in public interest law. The PILC was founded this year to build on that history and centralize counseling, resources, and opportunities for students and alumni interested in the area. It also will work to raise awareness of pro bono service throughout the school – and be a resource for community groups looking for legal help.
Under faculty supervision, Pace Law students currently participate in client representation through clinics and field placement externships in environmental litigation, disability law, criminal defense, investor rights, and immigration law; they also contribute to the work of the Law School’s centers in Environmental law, Land Use and Real Estate law, and Women’s Justice.
Friedman is expected to serve on and network with the Westchester County Pro Bono Local Action Committee, co-chaired by the Honorable Francis A. Nicolai, the Ninth Judicial District Administrative Judge; the Honorable Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., the Westchester County Surrogate; and Erin Noelle Guven, the Pro Bono Coordinator for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.
Wealth of experience. Dean Michelle S. Simon made the announcement today. Effective August 11, Friedman, an Irvington resident, officially will become the first Director of Pace Law School’s Public Interest Law Center, and Associate Director for Public Interest counseling and placement at the school’s Center for Career Development.
Simon said, “Ms. Friedman brings us a wealth of experience in the public sector, including years of training law students. We look forward to her leadership of this important new initiative.”
Friedman, who is not related to Pace University’s president Stephen J. Friedman, is the founder and director of the Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP), a pioneering model legal services initiative at Sanctuary for Families, the largest nonprofit in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving domestic violence victims and their children. CAP offers pro bono advocacy to domestic violence victims petitioning for orders of protection in New York City’s Family Courts and courts in 10 other New York State counties.
6,200 trainees. Since Friedman and Sanctuary launched it in 1997, CAP has recruited and trained over 6,200 law students from ten New York City-area law schools and summer associates from more than 45 city law firms. In turn they have advocated for nearly 5,500 battered women. Friedman is also a litigator, supervising a staff of attorneys who represent domestic violence victims seeking orders of protection, custody, visitation, support, and who work in matrimonial cases and appellate litigation.
Friedman is a 1993 graduate of Columbia College and a 1998 graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was a Stone and Kent Scholar and an editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.
The New York City Bar Association recently awarded her its Katherine McDonald Award for Service to the Family Courts, and in 1998 she received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship and the New York State Bar Association’s President’s pro bono award. Friedman is also the 2003 recipient of the Columbia Alumna Association’s Alumna Achievement Award.
Ethical obligation. Working for the public good (pro bono publico) is “an ethical obligation of all attorneys,” said Rachel Littman, the lawyer who is Pace Law School’s Assistant Dean for Career Development. “With her passion, depth of experience and broad awareness of the field, Ms. Friedman will pull together opportunities and programs that will benefit many students, alumni, and members of the Westchester community. We are very excited to have her join us.”
The PILC will have a consulting advisory board composed of representatives of the faculty, alumni, students and community organizations. It is housed in the offices of the Center for Career Development, with which it will share resources, counseling responsibilities, and program planning. Friedman is expected to bring in outstanding public interest law experts as speakers, and to coordinate student opportunities for relevant fellowships, internships, externships and full-time positions.
According to the American Bar Association, the nationwide demand for public interest lawyers is growing, and law students are increasingly making a difference in the public life of their communities through individual initiatives, group activities, and law school activities.
Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has nearly 6,500 alumni throughout the country and the world. It offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus. The School also offers the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law, Real Estate Law and in Comparative Legal Studies and a Doctor of Laws degree in environmental law. The School of Law is part of a comprehensive, independent, and diversified University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu.