Fordham Law

Feerick Center Celebrates Five Years of Social Justice in Action

September 28, 2011

Fordham Law's Feerick Center for Social Justice celebrated its fifth anniversary with a benefit celebration at the reception area of the headquarters of Mutual of America on Park Avenue. The event took place on September 26—five years to the day of its launch in 2006.

Over 240 alumni and friends attended the glittering reception which raised almost $400,000 for the Feerick Center. The Center is focused on training law students to address issues of poverty—such as homelessness, hunger, and consumer protection—through non-litigation solutions, including consensus building, education, and pro bono counsel.

The event honored three individuals who have made a tremendous impact in the social justice arena. The first-ever George Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award was presented to Senator George J. Mitchell, a former visiting professor at the Law School, who was recognized for his work in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, and as Special Presidential Envoy for Middle East Peace. He was hailed as "the ideal of the lawyer as peacemaker."

Read George Mitchell's remarks from the celebration (PDF).

Robert C. Sheehan, the former managing partner of international law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, was recognized with the Spirit of Service Award for energizing law firms and the organized bar to meet the needs of underserved individuals and communities. He serves as a member of the Board of the Feerick Center.

David Jones, the President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York received the Life of Commitment Award. He has built one of the preeminent volunteer organizations in the nation in his 25 years of leadership. He has also inspired Fordham Law students and staff in his appearances at the Center's lunchtime speaker series.

The Center also acknowledged the foresight of former dean William M. Treanor, who encouraged the creation of the Center as a lasting legacy of the Law School's Centennial Celebration.

 L–R: Dean Michael M. Martin, John D Feerick '61, George J. Mitchell, William Michael Treanor, David R. Jones, and Robert C. Sheehan

Among the many guests at the celebration were Professor John D. Feerick, former dean of the Law School and Founder and Director of the Center; University President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J.; Fordham University Provost Dr. Stephen Freedman; Fordham Law Dean Michael M. Martin; former New York State Chief Judge Judith Kaye;  Fordham President Emeritus Rev. Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J.;  Mutual of America President Thomas Moran; Judge Denny Chin '78 of the U.S. Court of Appeals; and Chief Judge Loretta Preska '73 of the United States District Court in New York.

In the five years since its founding, the Feerick Center has held a central place in the Fordham Law community. Among the Center's many achievements and accolades are its recognition by Fordham Law students with their highest honor, the Eugene Keefe Award; its spearheading the creation of the Fordham University Consortium on Social Justice; and its recognition by the New York State Courts with their Access to Justice Award for its work with low income New Yorkers burdened by consumer debt. The Center's recent concept for Attorney Emeritus status, designed to encourage the energies of senior attorneys to volunteer their legal skills, was recognized by the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University with its Bright Idea of 2010 Award.