Friday, October 24, 2008

Touro's Public Advocacy Center Featured
in New York Law Journal Article

The October 24 issue of the New York Law Journal has a great article on Touro Law Center's Public Advocacy Center. Here's a portion of it:

Touro's Public Advocacy Center Benefits Students, Community
By Thomas Adcock

October 24, 2008

(Picture: Thomas Maligno, director of the Touro Law Center's public advocacy center and Maria T. DeGennaro, a Touro law student who works at Long Island Housing Services, one of 16 nonprofits housed at the center.
NYLJ Photo/Rick Kopstein)

The William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center of Long Island, a warren of tiny offices on the Central Islip campus of Touro Law Center, was created for the likes of Maria T. DeGennaro.

Never mind that five years ago neither Touro Law Dean Lawrence Raful nor the Hearst Foundations had ever heard of Ms. DeGennaro, who at the time found it ethically challenging to work as she was in the mortgage loan industry with the deals and debentures she saw as portents to the current economic crisis.

"I'm not a whistleblower," said Ms. DeGennaro, today a 44-year-old 2-L evening student at Touro Law. "I found another way."

As a law student with familiarity with the questionable practices of her former line of work, Ms. DeGennaro was a natural fit for Long Island Housing Services, one of 16 public interest agencies housed on campus at the public advocacy center.

The nonprofit agencies each pay $100 monthly for office, phone and Internet service - along with access to the Touro Law library and faculty, as well as proximity to state and federal courts adjacent to the campus. In return, the agencies pledge to use the passions of Touro Law students as legal support.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony last October, Dean Raful said of the advocacy center, "This is the first of its kind in the nation. Our community and our law school will be enhanced because of this collaboration, and I believe the center will have an impact on social justice and legal training."

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