New York Law School Expands Its Public Interest Profile

New York, NY (October 10, 2018) – New York Law School (NYLS) Dean Anthony W. Crowell, Associate Dean William P. LaPiana, and Professor Richard D. Marsico, Director of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law, announced significant expansions to NYLS’s public interest activities.

Executive Director of Public Service and Pro Bono Initiatives Appointed

Executive Director of Public Service and Pro Bono InitiativesNYLS has named Swati Parikh, an award-winning public interest career advisor, as its inaugural Executive Director of Public Service and Pro Bono Initiatives. In her new role, Ms. Parikh, who began her career as a housing attorney for low-income New Yorkers, will lead a new Office of Public Service and Pro Bono Initiatives, a “one-stop” resource for NYLS students on public interest-focused academic and career advising. She will also manage the operations of NYLS’s Impact Center for Public Interest Law, one of its six academic centers. And she will oversee NYLS’s new Social Justice Organization Incubator, a dedicated physical space in the heart of campus that will house her new office, the Impact Center, and leading national nonprofit organizations.

Social Justice Organization Incubator Launched

NYLS has opened its Social Justice Organization Incubator in a central part of its Tribeca campus.‎ The space, which includes six offices and collaborative meeting areas, will demonstrate the power of students working side-by-side with practicing lawyers who share a focus on social justice. It will provide dedicated space to the following leading nonprofit organizations:

  • Fair and Just Prosecution, a criminal justice reform initiative that brings together newly-elected local prosecutors as part of a network of leaders committed to promoting a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility.
  • The Fines & Fees Justice Center, a new national nonprofit that seeks to restore integrity to our justice system by eliminating the harmful and unjust impacts of fines and fees.
  • The Ethical Shareholder Initiative (coming in spring 2019), an independent, nonpartisan project that is creating a transparent and inclusive voting platform for investors focused on long-term value and sustainability, co-founded by the late Cornell Law Professor Lynn Stout and NYLS Professor Tamara Belinfanti.

The incubator will house NYLS’s new Office of Public Service and Pro Bono Initiatives, led by Ms. Parikh. It will also be home to the existing Impact Center for Public Interest Law, led by Professor Marsico, and its highly-respected programs, including the Racial Justice Project, the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families, the Impact Center Fellows Program, the Racial Justice Fellows Program, and work with the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice in the Bronx, co-founded by Professor Marsico.

Public Interest Activities Expanded

NYLS also announced these further expansions of its public interest programming:

  • More space on campus for the Safe Passage Project, a nonprofit founded by NYLS Professor Lenni Benson and already housed at NYLS. Safe Passage, which represents unaccompanied children and teenagers in immigration court, took on nearly 100 new cases in the wake of national family separation policies, and its caseload is growing.
  • A new international-focused arm of the Racial Justice Project (as of January 2019).
  • Expanded pro bono opportunities for evening students through the co-located nonprofits.
  • Enhanced support for student-led pro bono and community service projects and travel.
  • Plans for a Public Service Scholars Program to recruit high-achieving law school applicants.

NYLS also does vital public interest work through its Center for New York City Law and The Joe Plumeri Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity, home to the School’s 20-plus clinics and experiential programs serving immigrants, veterans, small-business owners, and other New Yorkers in need. Both groups will work with Ms. Parikh in her new role.

“With these initiatives, New York Law School is reaffirming its commitment to bold and powerful public interest work,” said Dean Anthony W. Crowell. “If you’re a student who aspires to join the thousands of NYLS alumni leading in areas like family law, immigration law, education law, civil rights, racial justice, or government, there is no better place than our one-stop hub, here in the center of lower Manhattan.”

“New York Law School has a long-standing commitment to public interest law, and since joining the School, it has been my dream to launch and lead an office with all of our public interest student resources in one place,” said Swati Parikh. “Bringing together the work of career and academic advising, the Impact Center for Public Interest Law, and the Social Justice Organization Incubator is an innovative way to dramatically expand our leadership in the public service community.”

“We are excited to be engaging with the NYLS community,” said Miriam Krinsky, the Executive Director of FJP. “Students and young lawyers will lead the way as we continue to bring a new vision to 21st-century prosecution and reimagine our justice system. We are looking forward to forging collaborations with NYLS’s impressive faculty, and especially its students, to help bring innovative thinking to prosecution today and develop tomorrow’s leaders and visionaries.”

“We are excited to be part of the NYLS Social Justice Organization Incubator,” said Joanna Weiss, FFJC’s Co-Director. “Collaborating with the Law School, working with committed and talented students, and interacting with other social justice organizations will undoubtedly make our work better and more impactful.”

“The Ethical Shareholder Initiative is pleased to be part of the Social Justice Organization Incubator,” said Professor Tamara Belinfanti, co-founder of ESI. “ESI’s focus on shifting shareholder voting norms as a key to creating a sustainable corporate ecosystem offers a distinct approach that blends corporate governance expertise with broader environmental, social, and ethical concerns.”