January 6, 2016

Cardozo School of Law Launches The Center for Rights and Justice
Professor Alexander Reinert Appointed Director


January 6, 2016, New York, NY - Dean Melanie Leslie has announced the creation of the Center for Rights and Justice, a home for more than 25 programs at Cardozo School of Law/Yeshiva University, which will work to advance justice through scholarly research, public policy reform, and advocacy. Dean Leslie has appointed Cardozo professor Alexander Reinert to become the new program’s faculty director.

 “The Center for Rights and Justice is the natural outgrowth of 35 years of pioneering Cardozo programs that have expanded access to justice and changed policy and laws in New York City and throughout the country,” said Dean Leslie. “The CRJ will coordinate all of these activities, providing leadership for the future and inspiring our students to work for social change.”

The fight for social and criminal justice reform has been a central theme at Cardozo Law School and has led to the creation of a number of renowned programs and clinics targeting change in the justice system, including The Innocence Project, which has exonerated more than 350 wrongfully convicted prisoners since being established at the law school more than 20 years ago.

Other major programs created at or affiliated with the law school include The Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights, the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic, the Public Service Law Center, The National Center for Access to Justice, and the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy. In addition, countless student-run activities such as Public Law Advocacy Week, are part of Cardozo’s long tradition of engagement with the cause of justice on multiple dimensions. By creating a central base for Cardozo’s justice activities the CRJ will improve coordination of the multitude of offerings at the law school, which include coursework, clinics, centers and events.

Alexander Reinert, the newly appointed director, has devoted his career to fighting for justice. “Alex embodies the spirit of justice at Cardozo Law School,” said Dean Leslie. “He has argued before the Supreme Court, litigated significant civil rights cases for more than a decade, and has a powerful connection with our students and alumni.”

Professor Reinert recently served as co-counsel in a prisoners’ rights class-action that brought about a historic $62 million settlement with New York State to overhaul prison practices and reduce the use of solitary confinement in one of the largest prison systems in the United States. Professor Reinert became a faculty member at Cardozo in 2007, after working as an associate at Koob & Magoolaghan for many years, where he focused on prisoners’ rights, employment discrimination, and disability rights cases. He served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and argued Ashcroft v. Iqbal before the U.S. Supreme Court. Reinert, an expert in civil rights and civil procedure, teaches constitutional law, federal courts, civil procedure, prisoner’s rights and criminal law.

Professor Reinert evoked the words of Benjamin N. Cardozo who said, “The final cause of the law is the welfare of society.” Speaking of the new center Professor Reinert said, “The law school’s commitment to justice is multidimensional and focuses on bringing about changes critical to our society’s future welfare. Our mission is to strengthen and expand those efforts to new frontiers.”

Under Professor Reinert’s leadership, the CRJ will coordinate with faculty and programs, including those listed below, on scholarly research and reports, course offerings, conferences and events, and development of joint initiatives.

  • Bet Tzedek Legal Services Clinic
  • Cardozo Law Institute for Holocaust and Human Rights
  • Civil Rights Clinic
  • Consumer Rights Field Clinic
  • Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Defense Field Clinic at the Bronx Defenders
  • Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy
  • Holocaust Claims Restitution Program
  • Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic
  • Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic
  • Innocence Project
  • National Center for Access to Justice
  • Prosecutor’s Practicum
  • Public Service Law Center
  • Public Law Advocacy Week
  • Securities and Arbitration Clinic
  • Youth Justice Clinic

For more information contact:

John DeNatale
Assistant Dean of Communications 
(212) 790-0237