New York Law School Honors Public Interest Community with Celebration & Auction

Proceeds to Support Students Pursuing Summer Pro Bono Public Interest Work

New York, NY (April 19, 2013) — Last night, New York Law School celebrated students, alumni, faculty, and members of the public interest community who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to public service at the 18th Annual Public Interest Celebration and Auction.

Serving the public interest is fundamental to the mission of New York Law School and our esteemed community of students, faculty, and alumni bring us great pride in their commitment to public service. For the past 17 years, the Public Interest Auction has brought the NYLS community together to support our robust Public Interest Summer Fellowship program, which provides grants to students doing pro bono summer public interest work. This year, in addition to the annual Auction that raises money to help fund the Fellowship grants, the event celebrated the vibrant tradition of public service at NYLS and within the broader legal community.

Dean Anthony W. Crowell recognized the outstanding work of four alumni honorees who were nominated by NYLS faculty, alumni, and other members of the community, for their dedication to serving the public sector:Johanna Miller ’08, Matilde Roman ’98, Pamela Foster ’00, and Sekeena Gavagan ’05. In addition, the Law School honored two students from the 2013 graduating class: Viviane Carballo and Jeremiah Rygus; as well as The Door, as the Public Interest Organization Honoree for their sustained and outstanding work in serving the public interest.

The evening was punctuated by the Silent and Live Auctions, which featured items including VIP tickets to a taping of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, tickets to numerous local sporting events, dining and cultural opportunities, unique activities with NYLS faculty and staff, and other goods and services from around the city. All proceeds from the auction will be used to support NYLS students who pursue unpaid summer public interest work.

We thank honored alumni, students, faculty and guests for your contribution to the public interest and the New York Law School community and for your participation in one of our favorite events of the year.

More about the honorees

Honorees: Pamela Foster ’00 is the Managing Director, Grants Management and Associate General Counsel at The Rockefeller Foundation. Pamela graduated from NYLS, summa cum laude, in 2000. After working at Cleary Gottlieb for a few years she joined the Rockefeller Foundation in 2003. As Managing Director, Grants Management, and Associate General Counsel, Pamela oversees an international team responsible for the administration and management of grants, Foundation-administered projects, program-related investments and program contracts. She also administers the Foundation’s matching gifts program, and conducts the legal and tax compliance review of all grants.

Sekeena Gavagan ’05 is a Public Defender at Legal Aid Society. As a student in the NYLS Criminal Defense Clinic, she demonstrated a wonderful combination of empathy and tenacity on behalf of her clients. Since her graduation she has brought those qualities to her practice as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society in one of the busiest and most challenging jurisdictions in the country — New York County. She had helped hundreds of indigent clients during her time with Legal Aid, and they have all benefited from her skilled and dedicated advocacy.

Johanna Miller ’08 is Acting Advocacy Director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. She graduated NYLS with honors in 2008 receiving the Alexander Forger Award for Distinguished Service to the Legal Profession. She joined the NYCLU in 2008 and is presently the acting Advocacy Director for the organization. She was a founding member of the New York State Dignity for All Students Task Force and is a current member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Education and the Law. She had a leading role in the campaign to pass the Student Safety Act, signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005.

Matilde Roman ’98 is Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She is tasked with advising executive staff within the Mayor’s Office and other key government officials on policy directives and initiatives affecting immigrants residing in the City of New York. Ms. Roman also teaches immigration law and policy at CUNY. Prior to her current appointment, Deputy Commissioner Roman oversaw the Office of Immigrant Initiatives at the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, which directs funds to support services and programs offered by community-based organizations that serve the City’s newest New Yorkers.

Honored Organization: The Door 
The Door’s mission is to empower young people to reach their potential by providing comprehensive youth development services in a diverse and caring environment. Since 1972, The Door has helped a diverse and rapidly growing population of disconnected youth in New York City gain the tools they need to become successful, in school, work and in life through a wide range of services including reproductive health care and education, mental health counseling and crisis assistance, legal assistance, GED and ESOL classes, tutoring and homework help, college preparation services, career development, job training and placement, supportive housing, sports and recreational activities, arts, and nutritious meals – all for free, completely confidentially, and under one roof.

About New York Law School

Founded in 1891, New York Law School is an independent law school located in Lower Manhattan near the city’s centers of law, government, and finance. New York Law School’s renowned faculty of prolific scholars has built the School’s strength in such areas as constitutional law, civil and human rights, labor and employment law, media and information law, tax law, real estate and urban legal studies, international law, financial services and regulation, and a number of interdisciplinary fields. New York Law School has more than 13,000 graduates and currently enrolls approximately 1,500 full-time and part-time students in its J.D. program and 95 students in its five advanced degree programs in American business law, financial services law, real estate, tax, and mental disability law studies.