Fordham Law

Alumna Quoted in New York Times and Daily News Articles Celebrating 40 Years of NYC Urban Fellows

May 12, 2009

Andrea Berger '83 was quoted in a New York Times City Room Blog story and a New York Daily News story covering the 40th anniversary of the New York City Urban Fellows program.

The program places fellows at various city agencies and provides workshops and group trips aimed at ensuring fellows gain both hands-on experience with public policy and an understanding of "the intricacies of City, State and Federal finance and the interaction between these levels of government," according to the program web site.

Berger, who is now a senior counsel in the Law Department's division of legal counsel, was honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in December 2008 with the Law Department's Pro Bono Award, which is given to an attorney who has demonstrated distinction by providing extraordinary legal pro bono services. She credits her career path to her experiences in the Urban Fellows program, when she worked an office called the Project Management Staff, part of the Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and Budget).

Reflecting on her service as an Urban Fellow, Berger told the New York Times:

"I arrived in New York City in September 1973 with a sense of excitement and anticipation (being all of 20 years old). It was the end of the Lindsay administration and the beginning of the Beame administration, and we were 20 people from very different backgrounds from across the country. I worked on numerous interagency projects, some of which have had a permanent impact on the City's political or urban planning landscape, such as the Fulton Mall implementation project. I worked with young professionals who had M.B.A.'s or planning degrees--they all worked hard, they were all jazzed about this government work. Having been an urban studies/sociology major at Harvard, this was right up my alley. As a result, when the fellowship ended, I went into an evening graduate degree program at N.Y.U., and received a master's in public administration in 1978. Focusing on criminal justice issues in that program, I then worked in several such agencies from 1975 through 1980, including the Manhattan district attorney's office, the office of the criminal justice coordinator (Nicholas Scoppetta) and, finally, the Police Department, where I first was a project manager in the first deputy police commissioner’s officer and then the personnel officer of the Communications Division ("911")--the first female civilian to have that job.

"I then went to law school at Fordham. After a few years at private law firms, I returned to government in 1987--to the New York City Law Department. May 18 will mark my 22nd year in the Division of Legal Counsel, where I draft and review legislation, agency rules and advisory opinions. We also counsel agencies and staff at City Hall (formal and informal opinions). Much of my work is with criminal justice issues, as well as ethics, occupational safety and health, personnel and labor matters.

"My job is the perfect nexus between law and policy: the very things that interested me when I arrived in New York City almost 36 years ago. I have never been bored at this job, where I work with the smartest and most honorable people with whom one could hope to work. Simply stated: the Urban Fellowship started me on this path, for which I am forever grateful."