The Center develops conferences and meetings related to social justice and poverty concerns. These programs frequently involve collaborations with other institutional partners and sponsors. In addition, the Center also sponsors training workshops and CLE programs.
In light of the exponential increase in the number of children fleeing violence and economic hardship in Central America to enter the United States, the Feerick Center organized a program to promote awareness of this crisis and the impact that it has and will continue to have on New York. Experts from both international and local humanitarian organizations examined the increasing insecurity in the northern triangle of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and the resulting implications for destinations areas such as New York. The Center’s co-sponsor was Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs.
Working with a planning committee of sex trafficking advocates, experts, and practitioners, the Center organized its second sex trafficking conference. The conference, which focused on panel presentations for practitioners in the field, offered presentations on New York State’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts, perspective from prosecutors and law enforcement personnel, updates from mental health professionals, and discussion from advocates engaged in legislative and other advocacy efforts.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status—an immigration benefit available to certain immigrant youth who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, or similarly mistreated by a parent—is a complex area of legal practice, requiring knowledge of both family and immigration law. On December 6, 2013, Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice and the New York County Lawyers’ Association sponsored a conference entitled Representing Immigrant Youth: Ethics and Other Emerging Topics in Special Immigrant Juvenile Practice, which explored key issues, including adolescent development and trauma, courtroom advocacy techniques, and ethical challenges in SIJS practice. The opening panel featured reflections from immigrant youth who have recently been through the legal process of seeking SIJS. The conference provided concrete training on techniques that lawyers and other legal professionals may adopt to improve legal representation of immigrant youth as well as serve as a platform for thoughtful reflection on related issues underlying child and youth immigration.
Fordham Law School’s Urban Law Center, Feerick Center for Social Justice, and Urban Law Journal sponsored the Until Civil Gideon: Expanding Access to Justice conference. Timed for the fiftieth anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainwright ruling, the conference convened national and local leaders in the access to justice movement. In particular, the conference explored emerging issues and innovations that can promote access to justice in civil proceedings in the absence of a right to counsel. While obtaining a form of civil Gideon is a long-term goal, we were seeking to identify the best strategies to provide access to justice in the meantime.
Panels explored key issues, including the role of non-lawyers; unbundled legal services; the use of technology and self-help; and court-led initiatives. The conference provided a platform for thoughtful reflection and shared insights about how to continue to make strides on access to justice—particularly during these challenging fiscal times. Additionally, the conference served as a springboard for continued information sharing and dialogue among the practitioners, experts, and scholars who attended.