Fordham Law School was the first to be profiled in an article in the spring 2019 issue of PreLaw Magazine. It identifies 10 law schools that are at the forefront of the access to justice movement through their work to provide legal help to those who cannot afford it.
We start with Fordham Law School in New York City because it is home to the National Center for Access to Justice. Fordham’s own Access to Justice Initiative includes a teaching component that offers students classes in poverty law, consumer protection law, disability law and more.
Fordham Law has 15 clinics that give students opportunities to provide hands on legal services to people in need. For example, the school’s Lincoln Square Legal Services represents low-income clients in immigration, family law, consumer protection and other matters. The Public Interest Resource Center helps student groups complete public service hours, planting the passion for access-to-justice work. The initiative also supports scholarly research and advocacy and hosts a national conference of access-to-justice leaders.
Jonathan Lippman, a co-chair of Fordham’s Access to Justice Institute, said that law students have completed a tremendous amount of pro bono work and that he hopes they’ll continue to do so throughout their careers.
“If the people of our city, state and country aren’t able to access the courts, then everything we do really lacks meaning,” said Lippman, former chief judge of the state of New York and a current of counsel with Latham & Watkins. “The bottom line is: There can’t be two systems of justice, one for those with resources and one for those who don’t have resources.”