2024 Symposium - With People Struggling and the Law Failing, What are the Solutions to the Access to Justice Crisis in America?

Friday, February 9, 2024

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. | check-in
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. | program 
Fordham Law School
Skadden Conference Center, Second Floor
150 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023

Register Here

About the Program

Everyday, the civil legal system fails to deliver justice for all. Debt collection actions threaten people’s financial stability and liberty, evictions threaten their security in their homes, and neglect prosecutions threaten the rupture of their family bonds. In fact, millions of people annually face complex legal obstacles and powerful opponents without legal assistance of any kind. The consequences often fall hardest on communities of color and pose a special burden in metropolitan centers where the density of people and volume of disputes affect millions. With people struggling and the law failing, the Fordham Urban Law Journal is devoting the 2024 Symposium to bringing together scholars and activists to consider civil legal system responses. The first panel will discuss policy solutions that are abolitionist with their promise of sharply reducing the footprint of the civil legal system in people’s lives. A second will focus on the tenants’ civil right to counsel, considering its advance into four states and 17 cities, its benefits for tenants and for communities, and its challenges in the course of implementation. A third will examine approaches that are authorizing people to obtain legal help from trained advocates who do not have law degrees. The final panel will zoom in on additional policy solutions – new laws, procedures, technologies, and programs – that are increasing access to justice. Join us as we face the justice gap, learn what’s being tried, how it’s working, and whether to scale it up.


Confirmed Speakers

Larisa G. Bowman, Court Innovation Fellow, Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford Law School
Raymond H. Brescia, Associate Dean for Research and Intellectual Life, Hon. Harold R. Tyler Chair in Law and Technology, Albany Law School
Norrinda Brown, Associate Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
Matthew Burnett, Senior Program Officer, American Bar Foundation; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center; Co-Founder, Frontline Justice
Tehra Coles, Executive Director, Center for Family Representation
Bob Glaves, Executive Director, the Chicago Bar Foundation
Honorable Glenn A. Grant, Administrative Director of the Courts
Bruce Green, Louis Stein Chair of Law, Director, Stein Center, Fordham University School of Law
Lauren Jones, Legal & Policy Director, National Center for Access to Justice
Tom Lininger, Orlando John and Marian H. Hollis Professor, University of Oregon School of Law 
Alyx Mark, Assistant Professor of Government, Wesleyan University 
Sateesh Nori, Clinical Adjunct Professor, New York University School of Law
Rasheedah Phillips, Director of Housing, PolicyLink
Michele R. Pistone, Professor of Law, Founder & Faculty Director for the Strategic Initiative for Migrants + Refugees, Founder & Faculty Director for Villanova Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates (VIISTA), Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
John Pollock, Attorney & Coordinator, the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel
Tanina Rostain, Agnes Williams Sesquicentennial Professor of Justice Innovation, Georgetown University Law Center
Janet Sabel, Director, Access to Justice Initiative, Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law; Adjunct Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Rebecca L. Sandefur, Professor & Director, School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University; Faculty Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Co-Founder, Frontline Justice
Andrew Scherer, Professor of Law, New York Law School; Policy Director, the Wilf Impact Center for Public Interest Law; Director, the Right to Counsel Project; Co-Director, the Housing Justice Leadership Institute
Radhika Singh, Vice President, Civil Legal Services & Strategic Policy Initiatives, National Legal Aid & Defender Association
Neil Steinkamp, Managing Director, Stout
Lauren Sudeall, Professor & Director, Vanderbilt Access to Justice Initiative, Vanderbilt Law School
David Udell, Founder & Executive Director, National Center for Access to Justice

2023 Symposium – Building a Greener Future Through Urban Sustainability


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About the Program

Climate change has been, and will continue to be, one of the greatest global challenges we face. Cities hold a unique position in climate change. The impacts of climate change affect all areas of urban life, including infrastructure, city waterfronts, housing, and human health, and these impacts fall disproportionately on low-income communities and people of color. At the same time, urban areas are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Cities therefore play an integral role in fighting climate change – both as advocates and as targets of reform. It is imperative for cities to take the lead in finding equitable solutions to protect all of their communities and to prevent further damage to the rural and suburban environments that urban activities have negatively impacted.

The second event of the Fordham Urban Law Journal’s 50th year of publication provides a forum for this discussion at its 2023 Symposium, Building a Greener Future Through Urban Sustainability. Alongside scholars, government and agency appointees, technical experts, and advocates, the Symposium will explore a range of topics on urban climate adaptation and resilience, including flood prevention, electrification of the transportation and buildings sectors, efforts to equitably transition to clean energy, and the important environmental justice considerations central to all climate initiatives and policies.

Panel Topics

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. | Check-in and Breakfast

9:30 – 9:45 a.m. | Welcome Remarks

  • Matthew Diller, Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
  • Nestor Davidson, Albert A. Walsh Chair in Real Estate, Land Use, and Property Law; Faculty Director, Urban Law Center, Fordham University School of Law

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. | Panel 1: The Clean Energy Transition

  • Genevieve Cullen, President, Electric Drive Transportation Association
  • Fred Zalcman, Director, New York Offshore Wind Alliance
  • Rachel Spector, Senior Attorney, Earthjustice Northeast Regional Office
  • Kim Diamond, Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
  • Moderator: Peter Angelica, Editor-in-Chief, Fordham Urban Law Journal, Fordham University School of Law 2023

11:00 – 11:10 a.m. | Break

11:10 a.m. – 12:25 p.m. | Panel 2: Green Buildings 

  • Ben Furnas, Executive Director, The 2030 Project: A Cornell Climate Initiative
  • Hillary Aidun, Associate Attorney, Earthjustice Northeast Regional Office
  • Laura Popa, Deputy Commissioner of Sustainability, New York City Department of Buildings
  • Christopher Halfnight, Senior Director, Policy and Research, Urban Green Council
  • Moderator: Nestor Davidson, Albert A. Walsh Chair in Real Estate, Land Use, and Property Law; Faculty Director, Urban Law Center, Fordham University School of Law

12:25 – 1:10 p.m. | Lunch Break

1:10 – 1:50 p.m. | Keynote Address

  • Vicki Arroyo, Associate Administrator for Policy, United States Environmental Protection Agency

1:50 – 1:55 p.m. | Short Break

1:55 – 3:10 p.m. | Panel 3: Water, Flood Prevention, and Flood Mitigation

  • Rob Rogers, FAIA, Partner, Rogers Architects + Urban Designers
  • Sara Hughes, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning; Associate Director of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, University of Michigan
  • Dan Tarlock, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Illinois Tech, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Joseph Seebode, Deputy District Engineer and Chief of Programs and Project Management, New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Moderator: Eric Schaaf, Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law

3:10 – 3:20 p.m. | Break

3:20 – 4:35 p.m. | Panel 4: Urban Climate Policy

  • Danielle Spiegel-Feld, Executive Director, Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy & Land Use Law, NYU School of Law
  • Amy Turner, Senior Fellow for the Cities Climate Law Initiative, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
  • Dalindyebo Shabalala, Professor of Law, University of Dayton Law School; Director, Program In Law and Technology
  • Arielle King, Director of Programming, Black Girl Environmentalist
  • Moderator: Sheila Foster, Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy; Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University

4:35 – 4:40 p.m. | Closing Remarks



2022 Symposium

Register Here

About the Program

Over the past several years, specialized public high schools in major urban centers have faced scrutiny over their admissions practices. In the courts and in the media, critics have raised challenges over the racial composition of student populations at schools that admit students solely on the basis of an academic examination. In response, policymakers have begun considering legislation to alter these schools’ admissions practices. Underlying the debate over whether admission by test is an appropriate or desirable policy for urban public schools are deeper questions about merit and equity in the education context.

The future of admission by test in U.S. cities remains an open question. The Fordham Urban Law Journal provides a forum for this discussion at its 2022 Symposium, “Testing the Limits: Admissions Exams in Urban Public Schools”. Alongside professors, attorneys, scholars, economists, parents, and advocates, the Symposium will explore potential legal challenges to and defenses of admissions tests, representation in exam schools, the finances associated with admissions tests, and psychometric questions about who should make admissions exams and what they should test.

Panel Topics

Panel 1: Representation in Exam Schools

Robert Garda, Jr., Fanny Edith Winn Distinguished Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Janel George, Associate Professor of Law; Director of the Racial Equity in Education Law and Policy Clinic, Georgetown Law
Osamudia James, Professor of Law, UNC School of Law
Ian Rowe, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
ModeratorTanya Hernández, Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law

Panel 2: The Socioeconomics of Admission by Test

Ray Domanico, Senior Fellow and Director, Education Policy, Manhattan Institute
Chris Kwok, Board Director, Asian American Bar Association of New York; Adjunct Faculty in Asian American Studies, CUNY Hunter
Lucas Liu, Co-President, Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education
Raquel Muñiz, Assistant Professor, Boston College, Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development & School of Law
Charles Russo, Director, Ph.D. Program in Educational Leadership; Research Professor of Law, University of Dayton
Moderator: Karuna Patel, Deputy Director, Feerick Center for Social Justice, Fordham University School of Law

Panel 3: Defining and Measuring Merit in Urban Public Schools

LaToya Baldwin Clark, Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA Law
Preston Green III, John and Maria Neag Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Educational Leadership and Law, University of Connecticut
Richard Kahlenberg, Director of K–12 Equity and Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
Kevin Welner, Professor, University of Colorado Boulder, School of Education; Director, National Education Policy Center
Moderator: Aaron Saiger, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law

Panel 4: Lessons from Higher Education for K-12 Admissions

Jonathan Glater, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Chris Kieser, Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation
Rachel Moran, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Maimon Schwarzschild, Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law
Moderator: Tracy Higgins, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law