Feerick Center for Social Justice and Dispute Resolution Will Help Address Urban Poverty, City and State Officials SaySeptember 19, 2006
Program Launched as City Announces New Anti-Poverty Initiatives
New York, NY, Sept. 19, 2006 -Fordham Law School launched an innovative social justice program on Tuesday. Several leading city and state officials praised the program as providing an important tool for addressing the complex issues facing the poor.
The Feerick Center for Social Justice and Dispute Resolution, under the leadership of former Fordham Law School Dean John D. Feerick, will operate like a think tank and will apply alternative dispute resolution methods to social justice concerns, such as homelessness and limited access to legal services. Its opening comes the day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Commission on Economic Opportunity released recommendations for helping the roughly 1.5 million New Yorkers who live below the federal poverty level.
Linda Gibbs, New York's deputy mayor for health and human services, told an audience of about 150 people gathered at Fordham Law School that the Feerick Center will help the city address the commission's recommendations. "I feel like today New York City just became a better place," Gibbs said. "Having this center to partner with makes us all the more hopeful that we will be successful in taking on these new challenges."
Judith Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York, praised Feerick's record of public service. "If there is any good to be done, good to be accomplished, we all know who to call - John D. Feerick," she said.
Christine Quinn, speaker of the New York City Council, said the council looks forward to working with Feerick and his staff and students. "As we work to come up with solutions for the big problems in New York City this institution will be extremely helpful," Quinn said.
The Feerick Center will find solutions by bringing government and community leaders together to work through issues under Feerick's guidance. Feerick has extensive experience finding answers to tough problems through his high-profile work on issues such as family homelessness, government corruption, campaign finance reform, judicial selection and presidential succession.
"I expect our Center to be involved with areas such as homelessness and hunger; to be helpful to Mayor Bloomberg as he launches his poverty agenda - announced just yesterday - for which I applaud all those involved; and to partner with our courts as they strive to be even more responsive to the poor and disenfranchised," said Feerick, the Centerâ€™s founder and director. "I have learned after 45 years as a lawyer that it's not words that count but rather what you do. I promise on behalf of our Center a total effort to making a difference in the area of poverty."
The Center will also serve as a law school clinic that trains students in dispute resolution. By taking on this mission, Fordham Law School institutionalizes one of the largest and most creative commitments in legal education to obtain social change.
"Fordham Law excels in many areas and we are particularly proud of the national acclaim we have received for our programs in clinical legal education, alternative dispute resolution, public service, human rights, and legal ethics, all programs that reflect our common humanity, the dedication to others that is at the core of all of our history," said William Michael Treanor, the dean of the law school. "In creating the Feerick Center for Social Justice and Dispute Resolution we build on this grand tradition in a grand manner."
Edward Skyler '00, New York's deputy mayor for administration and a graduate of Fordham Law School, said John Feerick is the ideal leader for such an ambitious undertaking.
"When I came to Fordham, Dean Feerick was a larger than life figure," Skyler said. "He could tackle complicated, real life problems and make them look simple."
Joining Feerick on the Center staff are assistant dean Robert J. Reilly, faculty director Elizabeth B. Cooper and senior counsel Dora Galacatos '96.
Geraldine Ferraro '60, a former vice-presidential candidate and also a graduate of the law school, said the Center's work will affect the lives of many people in New York and throughout the country.
"I am pleased to be a supporter of the Feerick Center for Social Justice and Dispute Resolution," she said. "Today as we launch the Center we throw a stone into the lake of social issues and wait to see what the ripple affect will be for the people of our city."
Founded in 1905, Fordham Law School is nationally recognized for combining dynamic scholarship and teaching with outstanding training in the craft of lawyering through top clinical education, moot court, and law review programs. This distinctive approach to legal education makes Fordham Law a preeminent training ground for exceptional lawyers. Located in Lincoln Center, the Law School's faculty are ranked among the nation's top 20 in seven programs that span the breadth of legal education and the School attracts a student body whose academic qualifications rank 15th in American legal education.