Fordham Law alumna Jessica Rose ’01 has been named executive director of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A after a distinguished 15-year career at the public interest nonprofit.
Rose joined Brooklyn A’s Community & Economic Development Program in 2004 as a staff attorney and became the director of the CED Program in 2008. This summer, she will become the first woman to lead Brooklyn A in its 50-year history, when she succeeds Martin S. Needelman, the current executive director and chief counsel, and Paul J. Acinapura, who retired in 2017. Needelman and Acinapura served as co-executive directors for more than 30 years.
“It’s a real honor and a tremendous affirmation of the work that I’ve done at the organization and of my career to date,” Rose said of being named executive director. “To step into Marty’s and Paul’s shoes represents an exciting but also large moment for me personally and for the organization.”
In recent years, Brooklyn A, which advocates on behalf and alongside low-income residents, community organizations and small businesses, has grown to a 62-person staff, with offices in Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Bedford Stuyvesant. The organization advances social and economic justice by empowering individuals and communities via a host of collaborative and innovative programs designed to preserve affordable housing, protect against foreclosure, provide consumer and economic advocacy, and foment and support community and economic development, among other services.
As incoming executive director, Rose noted that three of her main goals would be to nurture Brooklyn A’s work environment so that staff can continue to do impactful work serving low-income communities; to partner with Brooklyn A’s board, which has historically been representative of both the communities served by Brooklyn A and leaders in the city’s private legal sector, so that it can continue to actively engage in the oversight and strategic planning for the organization; and to raise the organization’s profile among various allied stakeholders to continue its growth for years to come.
Rose credited Fordham Law, via its Stein Scholars Program, for being “incredibly supportive” of students pursuing public interest careers, and for providing students the tools to succeed in this area of the law. She praised the Community Economic Development Clinic, directed by Professor Brian Glick, for providing hands-on client work that helped students build their resumes.
In turn, Rose has remained an active presence within the Fordham Law community throughout her career. Notably, she received the “In the Service of Others” Award from the Stein Center for Law and Ethics in 2015 for her exceptional leadership and significant public service contributions. She also sits on the Fordham Urban Law Center’s advisory committee and regularly speaks to students through the Law School’s externship program, the CED clinic, and the Stein Scholars program.
When news of her Brooklyn A promotion became public, Rose received a flood of congratulatory emails from various faculty, administrators, associate deans, and fellow classmates.
“The Fordham Law community’s strong response affirmed the support it has shown me throughout my public interest career, and more globally the support it shows alumni as a whole,” Rose said.