Cardozo is deeply committed to public service law, instilling in students an understanding of the critical role lawyers play in providing access to justice for those in need. The Center for Public Service Law provides guidance and support to students wishing to pursue public service. Bringing together a variety of projects and programs, the Center builds the foundation for our students and graduates to obtain meaningful public service employment opportunities. At Cardozo Law, public service is also woven into the fabric of the curriculum, including our in-house clinics, field clinics, and externship program. The Center supports a number of innovative programs that enable our students and graduates to strengthen the public service law sector.
Further details about some of our key programs are provided below, including Cardozo’s Public Service Summer Stipend Program, Public Interest Law Advocacy (P*Law) Week, Inspire Awards, Pro Bono and Volunteer Projects, David Rudenstine Post-Graduate Fellowship, Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), and more!
Cardozo’s students and graduates have the commitment, compassion, and training required to achieve justice for the most vulnerable individuals and communities. They are consistently on the front lines of providing crucial legal services and transformative results that benefit individual clients and the public interest at-large.
2021 Inspire! Awards
The 2021 Inspire! Awards took place on Tuesday, May 25, via Zoom. The Inspire! Awards celebrate students and community leaders who made strides this past year in public service. We invite you to join and celebrate the honorees and our students' achievements by reviewing the program and photos below!
We were thrilled to have been joined at the 29th Annual Inspire! Awards by Community Impact Honorees, Lawrence I. Garbuz '95, Adina Lewis '95, and Jacqueline Haberfeld '91.
Our 2021 honorees have each pursued inspiring efforts that enabled others impacted by the pandemic to find resilience.
When the pandemic began, Mr. Garbuz was one of the first patients in New York diagnosed with COVID-19. He and his family, including his wife and law partner, Adina Lewis, experienced a most tumultuous and public experience related to his illness. The resilience they have demonstrated throughout his recovery, and the support they have provided to others impacted by the pandemic, has been inspiring for the Cardozo community. They have also set an admirable example for the public at-large about how sharing your story brings healing and strength to others. Ms. Haberfeld is Global Director and Pro Bono Counsel at Kirkland & Ellis, and co-founder of the Lawyers for Good Government and New York City Bar COVID-19 Legal Clinic. The Clinic is a national model for assisting small businesses with COVID-related legal issues. The project has promoted resilience by providing pro bono services to thousands of small business owners impacted by the pandemic with questions regarding employment, real estate, insurance, bankruptcy, and contracts/force majeure. We were grateful Ms. Haberfeld shared her work with the Cardozo community last summer when she led a presentation about the project during Cardozo's COVID-19 Legal Impact Program.
2021 Inspire! Award Winners
Jacqueline Haberfeld '91, Community Impact Honoree
Adina Lewis '95, Community Impact Honoree
Lawrence I. Garbuz '95, Community Impact Honoree
Tziona Breitbart '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Steven Cohen '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Cristopher Junior '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Rajan Kambo '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Jenna Lazzaro '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Stefanos Moutafidis '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Regan Samson '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Amanda Washabaugh '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Elizabeth Zaccherio '21, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Scholar
Sarah Dhaouahira '22, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Project Leader
Gianna Zapata '22, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Project Leader
Eric Mullery '22, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Project Leader
Carsyn Costello '22, Pro Bono Promoter, Pro Bono Project Leader
Shelley Wu '23, Community Impact Award
Azalea Williams '23, Community Impact Award
Emily Margolin '22, Community Impact Award
Micaela Cisneros-Nunez '22, Community Impact Award
Lexy Merlot Ginsberg '22, Community Impact Award
Gabriella Javaheri '21, Community Impact Award
Monica Siwiec '21, Community Impact Award
Gabriel Cahn '21, Gamechanger Award
Sadie Casamenti '21, Gamechanger Award
Taylor Dumpson '21, Gamechanger Award
Isabella Pori '21, Gamechanger Award
Nathaly Ramirez '21, Gamechanger Award
Public Service Summer Stipend
Cardozo’s Public Interest Summer Stipend Program plays a key role in Cardozo’s overall commitment to preparing its graduates to become passionate advocates dedicated to improving our legal system and the lives of the people they serve. Students who pursue a wide range of unpaid public service internships with nonprofits, government agencies, and judges may be eligible to obtain a stipend through our program. For the past 16 years, every eligible student has obtained this funding.
In the summer of 2020, nearly 200 Cardozo students received funding for their summer internships from our Public Service Summer Stipend Program. These stipends are awarded to first- and second-year Cardozo students who have secured unpaid internships with 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, government entities, or judges' chambers during the summer. One of our largest supporters of this program is the David Berg Foundation. Those fellowships are awarded to students with a demonstrated commitment to working with underserved communities.
Funding levels for Summer 2020 were $4,200 for most placements, and $5,000 for students who earned certain public service fellowship distinctions.
P*Law: Public Interest Law Advocacy Week
Cardozo's commitment to public service is highlighted every January during Public Interest Law Advocacy Week (P*LAW), a weeklong event that includes daily panels and workshops featuring inspiring conversations about the practice of public interest law.
During this student-led program, the school buzzes with panelists, including legal practitioners and community advocates and organizers, who are invited by students to address important issues such as domestic violence, LGBTQ+ rights, prisoners' rights, immigration, education reform, youth representation, and environmental law.
P*Law 2021 was held January 19-22, 2021 via Zoom. Our 2021 program contained an array of exciting events, ranging from discussions about progressive prosecution to abolishing the police, veterans' affairs, protecting students' rights during COVID-19, the value of diversity in ADR, LGBTQIA+ policy and activism, a skills building workshop for interviewing low-income clients, and more! We are thrilled that so many renowned panelists from the legal community participated, including many Cardozo alumni, faculty, and staff.
Highlights from P*LAW 2021
Urban Land Use Through the Lens of Environmental Law - all speakers and moderator
Juvenile Prison: Abolition and Alternatives - Assemblywoman Latrice Walker
Juvenile Prison: Abolition and Alternatives - Gladys Carrion
LGBTQIA+ Public Policy and Activism on the State and Local Level in post-2020 America - Marti Allen-Cummings
LGBTQIA+ Public Policy and Activism on the State and Local Level in post-2020 America - Jason L. Walker
Pro Bono and Volunteer Projects
Law school programs that promote public service are important not only for supporting and training students interested in pursuing careers in the public sector but also for reinforcing the notion that every law student and every lawyer in this country must play a role in achieving justice for all. Moreover, these programs help students understand and explore ways in which they can personally contribute their time and talent to this mission.
Cardozo offers numerous opportunities within our experiential learning programs (clinics, externships and field clinics) and summer public service programs for current students to meet the requirement. In addition to those programs, Cardozo offers a number of project-based opportunities for students to provide access to legal services for those who desperately need legal assistance. Through these projects, students benefit from gaining essential lawyering skills while providing access to justice to countless people who otherwise would have not received legal assistance. Below are descriptions of the current projects available to students. More information about the New York State bar pro bono requirement and ways to fulfill it are available here.
Search for pro bono opportunities throughout New York here.
Click here for further details about the pro bono projects, including the Uncontested Divorce Project and Courtroom Advocates Project and volunteer projects, including Suspension Representation Project and Unemployment Action Center.
David Rudenstine Postgraduate Fellowship
Cardozo's David Rudenstine Postgraduate Fellowship provides one student from each year's graduating class funding to pursue work in public interest law for one year. The Fellowship term generally begins the fall after graduation. Made possible by a generous grant from Susan Halpern, the Fellowship gives recent graduates support to begin careers in public service.
Employers interested in hosting a fellow and students interested in applying, please reach out to Alissa Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hallelujah Lewis-Flannory ’20 is the recipient of the 2020 David Rudenstine Postgraduate Fellowship and is pursuing her fellowship year working at the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR). Click here to read more about Ms. Lewis-Flannory's fellowship.
Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)
The Laurie M. Tisch Loan Repayment Assistance Program is a program at Cardozo that benefits Cardozo graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in public service. The program provides “forgivable loans” to assist with overcoming educational debt and the financial support necessary for our outstanding young lawyers to pursue their passion for public service.
In 2019 a total of $305,700 was awarded to 92 alumni who graduated in the prior 6 years. They were provided awards ranging from $1,000 - $9,000.
For information regarding eligibility and the application process please click here.
Cardozo gave me a practical grounding in the area of public interest law that I couldn’t have found elsewhere.