Fordham Law’s Feerick Center for Social Justice held its annual awards and benefit reception on October 16 at Mutual of America, where the careers of ten alumni were celebrated, including the legacy of a family with deep Fordham ties and an even deeper sense of service to the community. Over 200 guests attended the event.
The family of Denis and Irene McInerney received the Spirit of Service Award. Denis McInerney ’51, a World War II veteran, became a senior partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel and a president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association following his graduation from Fordham Law. He was a founding director of Volunteers for Legal Services. When he passed away in 2006, his surviving family carried on the torch of service and loyalty. His wife, Irene, has been active in community, educational, and church affairs for many decades while raising three children, all of whom became Fordham lawyers: Denis J. McInerney ’84, Maura McInerney ’88, and Kathleen McInerney O’Hare ’80. Kathleen’s husband, Bernard F. O’Hare ’80, and their daughter, Kathleen M. O’Hare ’15 were also honored.
“For me, when I was a young lawyer, the Fordham practicing lawyer I took as my role model was Denis McInerney,” said John Feerick ’61, founder and senior counsel at the center, before presenting the award to the McInerney family.
Hon. Irene Krumeich Duffy ’57, former judge for the New York State Supreme Court Justice, and Hon. Kevin T. Duffy ’58, former judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, received the George J. Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award.
“In recognition of how these two lives bound together have promoted the fairness, impartiality and legitimacy of our justice system for over 60 years at the local, state, federal and international levels, the Feerick Center for Social Justice humbly presents the George J. Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award to Irene Krumeich Duffy and Kevin Thomas Duffy,” said Robert J. Reilly ’75, assistant dean of the Feerick Center.
Jojo Annobil ’90 received the Champion of Justice Award. He serves as the executive director of the Immigrant Justice Corps, the country’s first fellowship program dedicated to meeting immigrants’ need for high-quality legal assistance. He has been recognized as an “indefatigable advocate for immigrants” after his 26-year tenure at the Legal Aid Society, including the last 10 years as the attorney-in-charge of the immigration law unit.
“Jojo is the paragon of a public interest lawyer and reflects the values and highest aspirations of Fordham Law School,” said Dean Matthew Diller, in presenting the award to Annobil.
The Feerick Center’s own Dora Galacatos ’96 received the Life of Commitment Award. Galacatos is the executive director of the center and oversees its initiatives to combat poverty and address common challenges faced by low-income
New Yorkers. Galacatos has held leadership positions in academia, city government, nonprofit, and legal services for low-income individuals.
“It is because of Dora that we draw numbers of prominent partners to each of our projects and why success almost invariably ensues,” said Fern Schair, chair of the center’s advisory board. “She consistently combines the readiness to volunteer for any assignment with the intelligence and ability to complete the assignment in the smartest, most nuanced way possible.”
In his welcome remarks, Dean Diller spoke about why the Feerick Center is so important not just to the legal profession but also to the greater community.
“We as a society face many challenges today, chief among them: access to justice. This crisis in our legal system obligates all of us to be informed, get involved and continue to engage. That is exactly what the Feerick Center does,” he said.