The Center develops conferences and meetings related to social justice and poverty concerns. These convenings frequently involve collaborations with other institutional partners and sponsors. In addition, the Center also sponsors training workshops and CLE programs. Fordham Law School's Feerick Center for Social Justice utilizes a problem-solving approach to urban poverty. Key programmatic areas include access to justice; unaccompanied immigrant children; consumer debt and credit reporting; child welfare; and the New York State Attorney Emeritus Program. The Center works to create innovative pilot programs that help meet the needs of New Yorkers with low incomes and engages in efforts to improve local and state practice and policy affecting vulnerable New Yorkers. The Center's methods include convening, fact finding, program development, and legal and policy research. The Center works in partnership with a broad array of stakeholders, including advocacy organizations, community-based service providers, courts, government agencies, and the organized bar. To carry out its work, the Center engages law students in service activities and through clinical courses; recruits and trains volunteer attorneys; and collaborates with law school faculty.
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.
This program will examined New York State’s response to sex trafficking, including its successes and challenges, in the context of the real-life cases that advocates, prosecutors, defense attorneys, counselors and other service providers encounter. Organizers of this program have invited practitioners and experts with experience as prosecutors, defense attorneys, and service providers to explore sex trafficking from the perspective of “The Buyers”—individuals who purchase sex on the street, in a brothel or online, “The Bought”—individuals who are prostituted, and “The Business”— the criminals and the criminal organizations, both domestic and international, engaging in sex trafficking.
Every year, the federal government releases an estimated 650 to 700 unaccompanied immigrant children (“UICs”) to community sponsors in New York State, primarily in the New York City metropolitan area. Community sponsors are individuals in the community, typically relatives or family friends, who agree to assume responsibility for UICs who are in removal proceedings. An unknown number of UICs live in the shadows—undetected by immigration enforcement agencies. Of the UICs placed in federal custody, a relatively small number stay in detention or other residential settings for the entire length of their immigration removal proceedings.
This Convening is primarily focused on children released to community sponsors. Unaccompanied immigrant children come from all over the world and are of varying
For over a decade, a national network of experts and services providers have advocated on behalf of UICs. These practitioners have made tremendous strides in reforming
This Convening brought together a broad array of stakeholders, primarily from New York City, around issues concerning UICs. Participants included representatives from:
- What discrete objectives, achievable in the medium-term, can locally-oriented stakeholders take on to improve practice and policy related to UICs in the New York City
- Are there opportunities for a broader array of New York City stakeholders to engage in issues related to unaccompanied immigrant children?