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Cover Story - CUNY Law Impact: From New York City to Haiti

Fall 2013 cover

On the Cover: Pavita Krishnaswamy ('02)
Fall 2013 pdf download imagePDF

CUNY Law is a place like no other. It was founded 30 years ago with a bold mandate: to provide a legal education to solve real-world problems, or, as we have come to think of it, Law in the Service of Human Needs. An unwavering commitment to social justice continues to infuse all that we do.

In this premier issue of Public Square, we highlight some of the stories of our students, faculty, and alumni and the positive impact they are having on people and communities around the world.Whether protecting women in Haiti from sexual violence or addressing the legal needs of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian individuals here in New York who are affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices, members of the CUNY Law community are at the forefront of social justice.

We will continue to share our story in future issues of Public Square and on our website. We invite you to share your story with us through e-mail at or on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.


Advocating for People Affected by HIV/AIDS

hiv-thumb.jpg Read interviews with 15 CUNY Law graduates who are advocating, working in policy, providing direct legal services, or making an impact in the HIV/AIDS community throughout New York City.

Fighting Surveillance of American Muslims: The CLEAR Project

clear-thumb.jpg Imagine you're about to walk out of your home to head to work. But as you open the door, you see someone waiting for you who claims to be a law enforcement agent. He says he just wants to ask some questions about your background, the mosque you attend, and your views about current world events. Do you comply?

Strengthening Women's Rights In Haiti

haiti-thumb.jpg Catching up with globe-trotting CUNY Law Professor Lisa Davis ('08) can be a challenge, especially when she's tracking the progress of long-term projects taken on by the International Women's Human Rights Clinic (IWHR) and her students.


Righting Wrongs at CUNY Law: New Approaches to Student Recruitment

recruitment-thumb.jpg Nationwide, law school applications are down almost 40 percent since 2010, according to the Law School Admission Council, in part because of the criticism of law schools.

Accolades for Teaching

robson-thumb.jpg When the authors of What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013) selected CUNY School of Law's own Distinguished Professor Ruthann Robson for inclusion in their new book, they had to do their homework.

From the Public Square

Making a Mark in Housing Court

launchpad-thumb.jpg This fall's newest group of LaunchPad for Justice fellows are already beginning to leave their mark in New York's housing court.

Live in the Public Square

ps-thumb.jpg This fall CUNY Law launched Public Square Live, a new series of public programs that explore the intersection of law and social justice.

Bratspies Awarded National Fellowship

bratspies-thumb.jpg Professor Rebecca Bratspies has been named an Audubon and Toyota TogetherGreen Fellow for 2013–2014. As a fellow, she will receive a $10,000 grant to help support an innovative community-based conservation project and an opportunity to network with other committed leaders.

Giving Thanks

thanks-thumb.jpg The CUNY Law family had the opportunity recently to publicly honor a number of loyal donors by naming spaces within its home at 2 Court Square in recognition of philanthropy that is furthering the Law School's mission.

Nilliasca Wins Pro Bono Award

nilliasca-thumb.jpg Terri Nilliasca ('11) was presented with the Legal Aid Society's 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award.

Samuel Named Thurgood Marshall Fellow

samuel-thumb.jpg Somalia Samuel ('14) has been selected as a Thurgood Marshall Fellow at the New York City Bar Association.

David Everett Elected Judge

everett-thumb.jpg Longtime CUNY Law Board of Visitors member and donor David F. Everett was elected county court judge in Westchester County, New York.

On the Move

Read about our new faculty members and other administration updates.

Nermeen Arastu

arastu-thumb.jpg Nermeen Arastu has joined CUNY Law's Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic (INRC) as a clinical law professor and supervising attorney.

Ann Cammett

cammett-thumb.jpg Ann Cammett ('00) joined the faculty this fall and leads the third-year Family Law Concentration.

Sofia Yakren

yakren-thumb.jpg Sofia Yakren joined the faculty this fall as an associate professor and teaches lawyering, torts, and disability law.

Of note: Joseph Rosenberg ('86) was appointed senior associate dean for clinical programs. • Glenn Kaufhold was named senior associate dean for institutional advancement. • Cheryl Howard was appointed associate dean for student affairs. • Allie Robbins ('09) has been appointed assistant dean for academic affairs. • Helena Quon has been named assistant dean for admissions. • C.J. Ortuno joined the Law School as executive director of development.

Dean's Letter

anderson-thumb.jpg Over the past year, we've settled into our new home at Court Square. We've come to understand its capabilities, its limitations, and even its quirks. Alumni and friends who visit marvel at its beauty.

Final Word

Rebecca Seawright: There's Work to Do

seawright-thumb.jpg Moving through New York's legal and social justice communities, we see the impact of CUNY School of Law everywhere.