Fordham University School of Law

Fordham University School of Law
150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

  Leah Horowitz, Esq.
  Director of Public Interest Student Engagement
  Public Interest Resource Center 
  Fordham Law School
  150 West 62nd St., Room LL-100 
  New York, NY  10023 
  (212) 636 7789 
  f: (212) 636 7189

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by Administrative Support for Student Group Projects.

Description of Programs

The Public Interest Resource Center strives to educate law students about pro bono and community service volunteer opportunities through actual experiences working with people in need. The work of the Center is based on the premise that students leading students increases opportunities.

Location of Programs

The Public Interest Resource Center


PIRC is managed by four full-time administrators: the Assistant Dean, the Director of Public Interest Student Engagement, the Director of Counseling & Public Interest Scholars and an Office Manager.

Each student-run project has officers who oversee the project. 


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Advocates for the Incarcerated (AFTI): Raise awareness and advocate on behalf of those in the prisons and jails and seek meaningful change on issues that debilitate the justice system into a seemingly endless cycle of incarceration for affected populations. 

Advocates for Sexual Health and Rights (ASHR):  Dedicated to raising awareness of the sexual health and legal rights of marginalized populations, including sex workers, LGBTQ population (with a strong emphasis on transgender rights), people with disabilities, and communities impacted by HIV/AIDS.  Activities include speaker events/panels, coordination with community advocacy groups such as Resilience Advocacy Project, and substantive projects.  

Anti-Trafficking Legal Advocacy Society (ATLAS): An advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking, through hosting and attending speaker events, trainings, and screenings.  Education and advocacy efforts include constant updates on legal efforts to combat human trafficking and opportunities for student engagement in support of attorneys and advocates working in the field.

Artist Representation Society (ARS): Artists are often exploited by the entertainment industry and suffer from mistreatment such as delayed payments, poor working conditions, tax misguidance, and predatory contracts. Legal counsel for artists is not always accessible and can be prohibitively expensive. ARS is dedicated to empowering the NYC artistic community by providing artists across all disciplines (actors, recording artists, songwriters, dancers, etc.) access to legal education and resources. Our events include informational workshops and audience-led discussions about relevant legal issues. ARS also strives to educate and encourage Fordham Law students to understand legal issues from the artists’ perspective. In order to prepare Fordham Law students to better assist artists in their future careers, ARS provides opportunities for law students to hear first-hand from artists in various disciplines about the legal issues they face.

Consumer Law Advocates (CLA): Raises awareness about the legal issues surrounding the field of consumer debt and assists attorneys at the Manhattan Consumer Legal Advice Resource Office (CLARO) project, a free, weekly walk-in clinic providing assistance to consumers being sued by creditors in civil court.

Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC): Advocacy and assistance to survivors of domestic violence seeking orders of protection (Courtroom Assistance Project), uncontested divorces (Uncontested Divorce Project), and legal information and support ( under supervision of attorneys. Education and advocacy within Law School community, and community service activities.

The Drug Policy Reform Group (DPRG): From the burgeoning opiate epidemic to the rise of legalized marijuana, drug policy in the United States faces unique challenges in the 21st century and presents complex legal questions situated at the intersection of public health, mental health, and criminal justice. DPRG seeks to foster intellectual discussion, build community relationships, and support meaningful policy reform around legal and sociopolitical issues relating to the supply and demand of illegal, addictive, and/or consciousness-altering substances; treatment options for substance users; and harm reduction efforts on an individual, community, and national scale.

Education Law Collaborative (ELC): An interdisciplinary student organization based at Fordham Law School that welcomes student members from all of Fordham’s colleges and graduate programs. ELC seeks to bring together students and practitioners from various fields to discuss and elaborate solutions to issues in education law and policy that challenge pK-12 schools and higher ed institutions. 

Environmental Law Advocates (ELA): Education and advocacy on environmental issues both on and off campus. Legal research opportunities in support of attorneys practicing in the field.

Farm to Fordham: Provides opportunities for students to work alongside community activists to make our food system more socially just, environmentally responsible, and economically sound.  Organizes both policy-oriented legal projects and hands-on grassroots activities and coordinates a CSA to deliver organic food to the law school weekly. 

Fordham Health Law Society: Aims to increase awareness of the many facets of health law by developing a pro bono project through which Fordham Law students can assist those in need with health law-related issues, and by hosting informational events on topics such as healthcare policy, careers in health law, and mental health issues facing lawyers today. 

Fordham Law Advocates for Voter Rights (FLAVR): Founded after the contested 2000 presidential election, FLAVR is a nonpartisan group dedicated to promoting political empowerment​.

Fordham Law Defenders: A community of Fordham law students who are pursuing or strongly considering careers in public defense. FLD organizes discussions, collaborates with practitioners and alumni, and shares resources and tactics. FLD supports students seeking to excel as zealous and careful defenders of indigent people who are facing accusations, court-involvement, and loss of freedom.

Habitat for Humanity at Fordham Law School (HFH): Organizes volunteer trips--weekend trips in New York City area and week-long Spring-Break trip. Students help build homes under the supervision of skilled volunteer builders and trades people.

Housing Advocacy Project (HAP): Organizes a volunteer partnership with the housing unit of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, giving students the chance to contribute to client interviews, legal and investigative research, community meetings and local advocacy on behalf of indigent NYC tenants. On campus, HAP plans and promotes talks and events that seek to inform students about current issues in housing rights, fair housing, homeless services, land use and community development practice in NYC, while creating opportunities for students to connect with alumni and practitioners.

If/When/How Lawyering for Reproductive Justice: Trains, networks, and mobilizes law students and legal professionals to work within and beyond the legal system to champion reproductive justice.  In collaboration with communities, organizations, and movements, we work to ensure all people--especially those most likely to experience reproductive injustice--have the ability to decide if, when, and how to create and sustain a family. We hold events on topical reproductive justice issues throughout the school year and provides judicial bypass support in states that have parental consent laws. Finally, our Chapter works to improve access to reproductive health services for Fordham students.  

Immigration Advocacy Project (IAP):   IAP works towards the goal of ending family detention, and has partnered with the Feerick Center for Social Justice to coordinate and provide legal support to the CARA Pro Bono Family Detention Project, a mass-representation effort aiding refugee women and children detained at the southern U.S. border. IAP seeks to raise awareness of immigrant issues and to train law students to advocate for immigrant rights through remote appellate work. IAP also organizes panel discussions related to ongoing litigation, as well as career paths in immigration law. 

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP): IRAP organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world's most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders. Since its founding in 2008, IRAP has helped resettle over 4000 refugees and their families to 18 different countries and has trained over 2000 law students and lawyers in the process. Fordham University School of Law is one of IRAP's 30 student chapters across the United States and Canada.

Mentoring Youth Through Legal Education (MYLE): The Fordham Law branch of Legal Outreach, an organization that uses the law as a tool to foster skills and inspire vision among high school students from underserved areas around New York. MYLE helps high school students who participate in three debate competitions per year on topics that range from Search & Seizure and Freedom of Speech to Equal Protection and Miranda Rights.

Stein Scholars Program: Stein Scholars is an academic and professional program that prepares students for practicing law in the public interest. The program includes a summer externship and accompanying seminar, curriculum focused on ethics in public interest law, and project-based public interest work with outside partner organizations. Through the program, students gain exposure to practitioners in the field, and have the opportunity to engage in community service. The program encourages students to maintain and galvanize their commitment to practicing law in the service of others, and has helped launch the careers of hundreds of public interest lawyers over its 25 years of existence. 

Student Animal Legal Defense Fund of Fordham Law School (SALDF): Dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals through the legal system.

Students for the Education and Representation of Veterans (SERV): Providing veterans with an opportunity to network on campus, while also providing a space for students to dialogue about important military, veteran affairs, and national security issues.

Suspension Representation Project (SRP): Trains law students to represent public school students in superintendent's suspension hearings and help safeguard their right to education. This project was created in response to the tremendous need for increased access to quality representation for low-income students and parents facing suspension hearings.

Unemployment Action Center (UAC): Advocate on behalf individuals at unemployment insurance hearings and appeals. The Fordham Chapter is part of a citywide consortium at five New York law schools which has assisted more than 12,000 people and secured millions of dollars in owed benefits for claimants.

Universal Justice (UJ): Get hands-on human rights experience by providing assistance to human rights and non-governmental organizations in developing nations. Recent UJ delegations have included the Philippines, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.

Workers’ Rights Advocates:  We are a group committed to raising awareness and advocating for workers’ rights through organizing speaker events, off-campus volunteer activities, and supporting collective action both on campus and in the community.  We also look to support students with backgrounds in organizing, labor, and workers' rights or who have an interest in pursuing legal careers that intersect with these domains. 

YouthLaw: A group for Fordham Law students interested in exploring careers that are committed to advocating for children and juveniles involved in the Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Public Education systems. YouthLaw seeks to increase understanding of legal practice on behalf of young people, raise awareness of important policies and issues affecting youth, especially youth from underserved communities, and to collaborate with leaders in the field, organize discussions and networking, and encourage academic and service-oriented youth advocacy.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

In 1995, Fordham adopted guidelines for faculty pro bono involvement. It is suggested that members of faculty should volunteer at least 50 hours of pro bono work annually, as suggested by the ABA. The guidelines stated the law school should encourage and support pro bono work by the faculty and successful implementation of this should include recognition, administrative support, conferences and faculty colloquia, summer pro bono work and leaves of absences. Successful implementation of this policy has created new opportunities for using students in research assistance, pro bono projects, independent study, and course offerings supporting pro bono work.


At the annual Public Interest Resource Center Annual Awards Dinner, Fordham gives two pro bono awards, in addition to the awards recognizing the public service of alumni and friends of Fordham and the certificates to graduating students who have completed Fordham's public interest scholars program. The pro bono awards are:

The Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award: This award is given to students in the graduating class of the Law School who have devoted 100 - 249 hours to pro bono and/or community service work during their years as Fordham law students; those who completed 250 - 499 hours will receive a cum laude Murray Award; those who completed 500 - 999 hours will receive a magna cum laude Murray award and students who completed 1000 + hours will receive a summa cum laude Murray award.  The award is named in honor of Archibald R. Murray a Fordham Class of 1960 graduate who was the Executive Director of The Legal Aid Society for over 20 years. The text of the award reads, “in grateful acknowledgment of your response to the call of public need as exemplified by Archibald R. Murray, Class of 1960, whose career embodies the highest standards of public service.” 309 members of the Class of 2019 are recipients of this award.

Student Leadership Award:  This award is presented annually to students in the graduating class who have served on the Boards of Directors of their respective organizations in the Public Interest Resource Center during their years at Fordham Law. The text of the award reads,“in recognition of your outstanding commitment and efforts on behalf of the Fordham Law School community through your dedication and service to [your student public interest organization].” 53 members of the Class of 2019 are recipients of this award.

Community Service

Many of the pro bono student groups listed above engage in various community service projects.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Leah Horowitz, Esq. 
Director of Public Interest Student Engagement
Public Interest Resource Center 
Fordham Law School
150 West 62nd St., Room LL-100 
New York, NY  10023 
(212) 636 7789 
f: (212) 636 7189 

Aisha Baruni, Esq. 
Director of Public Interest Scholars & Counseling
Public Interest Resource Center 
Fordham Law School
150 West 62nd St., Room LL-100 
New York, NY  10023 
(212) 636 7849


Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Stein Scholars Program in Public Interest Law & Ethics:

The Stein Scholars Program is a comprehensive three-year educational program for selected students who seek training and experience in the area of public interest law. The Stein Scholars are students with diverse backgrounds and interests, many of whom enter law school after significantly engaging in activities in public interest settings.

Through specialized academic coursework in public interest law and ethics, funded summer internships with public interest organizations, interaction with practitioners and academics in roundtable and informal discussions, and opportunities to engage in the work of public interest lawyers, the Stein Scholars Program prepares public interest leaders to work toward the advancement of social justice.

Crowley Program in International Human Rights

Unique among American law schools, the Crowley Program’s Annual Human Rights Fact-Finding Project provides Fordham Law School students with the opportunity to participate in an overseas human rights investigation and prepares them for a career in international human rights. At the end of their first year, a group of six to eight law students are selected to become Crowley Scholars. These Scholars enroll in an intensive academic program in human rights theory, practice, and advocacy during their second year, including a special seminar designed to prepare them for a two week fact-finding project.

Public Interest Centers

The Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC) - The Law School's hub of all public interest work. PIRC works with students, faculty/staff, centers & institutes, the clinical and externship program and all other departments to coordinate the important and diverse public interest work being done across the school. PIRC houses numerous public interest student-run organizations, most of which provide law- related pro bono service and advocacy.

Public Interest Clinics

Appellate Litigation
Community Economic Development
Consumer Litigation
Corporate Social Responsibility
Criminal Defense
Entrepreneurial Law Clinic
Family Advocacy
Federal Litigation
Federal Tax
Immigrant Rights
International Human Rights
International Law & Development in Africa
Legislative and Policy Advocacy
Queens District Attorney Prosecution
Samuelson-Glushko Intellectual Property and Information Law
Securities Litigation & Arbitration
Presidential Succession Part II


For a description of field placement programs and focused externship offerings, see

Classes with a Public Service Component

Public Interest Journals


PI Career Support Center

The Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC), complementing the services of The Career Planning Center (CPC), assists students (and alums) in exploring public service career opportunities:

  • for summer and academic year internships/externships/fellowships with non-profit organizations and governmental agencies
  • to identify funding for: internships/externships during the summer and academic year; student loan repayment assistance for postgraduate public interest careers
  • to apply for post-graduate fellowships and government honors programs
  • to secure permanent post-graduate public interest work

PIRC offers, from the perspective of a public service job search:

  • one-on-one counseling to help students identify and explore interests and practice settings
  • resume and cover letter review and critique
  • mock interviews
  • connections with alumni doing public interest work
  • public interest career fairs; internship/fellowship/employment listings and opportunities

PIRC hosts and co-sponsors events and programs throughout the school year:

  • Public interest career fairs for summer and full-time positions
  • Public interest receptions with employers for networking and information
  • Information sessions about summer and post-JD public interest fellowship opportunities
  • Programs featuring public interest attorneys, professors and students designed to support and enhance your law school experience and legal career path
  • Practice area/issue focused events to stimulate interests and ideas
  • Career counseling sessions for 1L, 2L, and 3L public interest job searches

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Public Service Fellowship Program

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded

Other Funding Sources:

New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation Fellowship at Sanctuary for Families

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Student Public Interest Groups