Symposium 2017: Transformative Immigration Defense

On Friday, March 31, 2017, the City University of New York Law Review will be hosting a Symposium entitled: Transformative Immigration Defense: Law in Support of an Intersectional Movement.

Below is more detailed information regarding the Symposium.

  1. Event Information
  2. Location
  3. Panelists
  4. Keynote
  5. Program
  6. RSVP
  7. CLE Credits
  8. Social Media
  9. Co-Sponsors

If you have additional questions please email us at:

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New Board Members Announced

Congratulations to the 2017 – 2018
CUNY Law Review Board!

Jellisa Grant
Chris Kovalski
Executive Articles Editors

Anna Maria Goyzueta
Shaina Low
Public Interest Practitioner Section (PIPS) Editors

Zunira Elahi
Samara Yousif
Notes & Comments Editors

Princess Masilungan
Rafael Varela
Footnote Forum Editors

Maria Brinkmann
Special Events Editor

Randy Yang
Community Engagement Editor

Mackenzie Lew
JP Perry
Managing Articles Editors

Susannah Maltz
Managing Editor

Lovely Bonhomme

VOL. 20.1

On April 8, 2016, we hosted a Symposium entitled, Reimagining Family Defense. We are excited to publish our Symposium issue — explore the complete digital version of Volume 20.1.


Introduction by Angela Olivia Burton, Director of Quality Enhancement, Parent Representation at the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services (“ILS”)

Public Interest Practitioner Section (PIPS)

However Kindly Intentioned: Structural Racism and Volunteer CASA Programs by Amy Mulzer, Staff Attorney and Clinical Instructor of Law in the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic, Brooklyn School of Law & Tara Urs, Attorney for the Defender Association Division of the King County Department of Public Defense

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies: A Reproductive Justice Response to the “Womb-to-Foster-Care Pipeline” by Emma S. Ketteringham, Managing Director, FDP at The Bronx Defenders, Sarah Cremer, Director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies at The Bronx Defenders & Caitlin Becker, Managing Director of Social Work at The Bronx Defenders

Safeguarding the Rights of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities in Child Welfare Cases: The Convergence of Social Science and Law by Robyn M. Powell, MA, JD, Lurie Institute for Disability Policy Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate, Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

Ambivalence About Parenting: An Overview for Lawyers Representing Parents in Child Welfare Proceedings by Lisa Beneventano, Associate Director of Chances for Children-NY (CFC) & Colleen Manwell, Staff Attorney at The Family Defense Team at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS)


Family Defense and the Disappearing Problem-Solving Court by Jane M. Spinak, Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Inequity in Private Child Custody Litigation by Dale Margolin Cecka, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Jeanette Lipman Family Law Clinic, University of Richmond School of Law


Afterword by Matthew I. Fraidin, Professor of Law, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL)

Footnote Forum

A Hybrid Model for Family Defense: Combining a Public Interest Law Firm, a Legal Services Program and a Powerful Pro Bono Network to Forge Cutting-Edge Legal Advocacy for Families in the Child Welfare System by Diane L. Redleaf, Found and Executive Director, Family Defense Center, Chicago, Illinois

Family Defense in the Age of Black Lives Matter by Erin Cloud, Rebecca Oyama & Lauren Teichner, The Bronx Defenders

A Robust Defense: The Critical Components for a Reimagined Family Defense Practice by Kara R. Finck, Practice Associate Professor of Law and Director, Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School


Kara R. Finck[1]

Click here for a recommended citation and to download a paginated PDF version of this article.

At its core, family defense protects the legal relationship between a parent and their child, one of the most intimate, complicated, and nuanced relationships in practice and under the law. Family defenders represent parents and caregivers accused of neglect or abuse of their children in family and dependency courts. While the process of individual representation may appear straightforward, the ideals of family defense incorporate an explicit recognition of the social determinants that bring families into the child welfare system in the first place, including poverty, substance abuse, and untreated mental health issues. Although much of the attention paid to the child welfare and family court systems is focused on children and their placement in foster care, family defenders understand that any intervention by the child welfare agency and family court system has a profound impact on children and families. Often referred to as attorneys for parents, in literal contrast to attorneys for children, family defenders advocate beyond the direct representation of an individual client. Even the act of renaming lawyers for parents in abuse and neglect proceedings as “family defenders” as opposed to “parents’ attorneys” highlights the potential impact and scope of this work. Inherently, family defense practice incorporates legal advocacy that supports, strengthens, and stabilizes the client’s family, consequently promoting better outcomes for children.

This article posits that there are three critical components which should be included in any family defense practice model designed for advocating for parents and children in the child welfare and family court systems. A robust family defense is defined not only by its commitment to the zealous defense of clients, including all of the legal tools available in litigation, but also by its recognition of the unique context of family defense, which incorporates social services, community engagement, and anti-poverty lawyering into a comprehensive response for parents in family court.

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Family Defense in the Age of Black Lives Matter

Erin Cloud, Rebecca Oyama & Lauren Teichner[1]

Click here for a recommended citation and to download a paginated PDF version of this article.

One hundred years from now, today’s child welfare system will surely be condemned as a racist institution—one that compounded the effects of discrimination on Black families by taking children from their parents, allowing them to languish in a damaging foster care system or to be adopted by more privileged people. School children will marvel that so many scholars and politicians defended this devastation of Black families in the name of protecting Black children. The color of America’s child welfare system is the reason Americans have tolerated its destructiveness.

Dorothy Roberts, Shattered Bonds (2012)

“Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)


All families have a constitutional right to be together, free from the unwarranted interference of third parties, particularly the state. This is an intrinsic human right that encompasses the right of parents to the “custody, care and nurture of [their] child[ren]”[3] and the parallel right of children to be raised by and live with their parents.[4] This fundamental right recognizes the inherent value in family ties, which provide a connection to culture and identity, and serve as a protective social bond. Of course, the government must be permitted to pursue measures to ensure the protection – and even the adoption – of children for whom it is ultimately deemed too unsafe to return home. But any such interference into the family structure, particularly the drastic step of taking children from their families, should be the exception to the rule and not the norm of child protective practices.

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Legal Community Strikes Back on #F17

Today CUNY Law Review will join New York City’s legal community at Legal Community Strikes Back at 60 Centre Street.

We hope to see you all there.

#LawStrikesBack #GeneralStrike


Image from the National Lawyers Guild Facebook Event Page.


Diane L. Redleaf[1]

Click here for a recommended citation and to download a paginated PDF version of this article.

A. Introduction to the Family Defense Center’s Model for Family Defense

This article discusses the key ingredients to the success of an unusual family defense organization, the Chicago-based Family Defense Center (the “Center”), which I founded in 2005 after a long career at both a legal services office and a public interest law firm. The Center uses a hybrid public interest law firm/legal services/pro bono network model, along with a sliding scale fee-for-service program, to fulfill its mission of advocating for justice for families in the child welfare system. The Center is devoted to addressing the needs of families, especially families who are targets of child protection investigations. By design, the Center works in a unique and highly specialized niche. But because child protection investigations arise from a wide range of allegations against family members, from domestic violence, to medically complex cases involving fractures and head injuries, to claims of sexual abuse, the practical and substantive expertise of the Center is very broad.

In addition to representing family members in 400 to 600 individual direct service cases each year, the Center has been counsel in over a dozen federal civil rights cases and has won many precedential appellate cases.[2] Center-created precedents have tightened vague definitions of child neglect, set limits on the removal of children based on constitutional grounds, limited presumptions of abuse in medically complex cases, created strong due process rights limiting child abuse and neglect findings against parents and family members, and protected people who work with children from the blacklisting that follows from a wrongful child abuse or neglect finding.[3] Thousands of families have benefited from the Center’s systemic reform work, including the direct exoneration of over 26,000 people from the Illinois Child Abuse Registry through a 2013 Illinois Supreme Court decision and a class action suit that followed it.[4] The Center’s overall individual hearing win rate is approximately 80%.[5]

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Transformative Immigration Defense: Law in Support of an Intersectional Movement

This spring, the CUNY Law Review will host a Symposium exploring the role of legal practitioners at the intersection of aggressive federal immigration enforcement and emerging people’s movements for racial, economic, and social justice. Responding to a dramatic expansion of the deportation and criminal enforcement infrastructure in the United States in recent decades, multiracial movements from #BlackLivesMatter to #Not1More continue to organize, march, and build toward a more just future.

Organizing and legal action have reached a fever pitch following executive actions by the Trump administration. As thousands of Americans take to the streets to combat these racist and xenophobic policies, this Symposium asks how members of the legal community can be part of an alternative vision for the future in which we can all be free.

By bringing together legal practitioners and organizers working on the front lines of multiple justice movements, this Symposium will explore what works (and what does not work) in past and current legal interventions. We will also ask how legal practitioners can best work in collaboration with intersectional movements for racial, gender, economic, and social justice towards a transformative and expansive vision for immigrant defense.

The Symposium is free and open to the public. Lunch and a concluding reception will be provided. Please RSVP here.

CLE credit available.




Join CUNY Law Review for some exciting spring events!

Welcome Back Happy Hour

We invite the whole CUNY School of Law community to join us for a welcome back happy hour!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | 6:00pm
12-23 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City, NY

Bluebook Training

Join us for our semiannual Bluebook Training! We’ll review common errors, oft-forgotten rules, and correct some sample law review citations together. Please bring your Bluebooks, any office supplies you use to mark important pages, and your computers!

Thursday, January 18  | 1:45-2:45pm
Room 1/202

CUNITY Conversation

Join us for a discussion with Cassie Veach, CUNY School of Law 2017, and Shailly Agnihotri, Founder and Executive Director of The Restorative Center (TRC), about their article Reclaiming Restorative Justice: An Alternative Paradigm for Justice that will be published in CUNY Law Review’s 20th volume, issue 2.

Wednesday, February 8  | 6:00 – 7:30pm
Room 1/202
Dinner & refreshments provided.


CUNY Law Review will host a symposium exploring the role of legal practitioners at the intersection of aggressive federal immigration enforcement and emerging people’s movements for racial, economic, and social justice.

More information to follow.

Friday, March 31 | Half Day
CUNY School of Law
CLE Credit Available

A Comprehensive Safety Net: Homeless Prevention in NYC

Join us for a discussion with focus on the nuances of providing services to those at risk of homeless, barriers to accessing services, and larger scale policy reforms geared directly or indirectly at homeless prevention.

Thursday, April 6  | 5:30 – 8:00pm
Community Room
Dinner & refreshments provided.

Getting Published

Join us to find out more about the process of writing, submitting, and publishing with the CUNY Law Review.

Thursday, April 13  | 6:00 – 7:00pm
Community Room

First Toast

Join current staffers, the incoming and outgoing boards for a toast!

Monday, April 24  | 5:00 – 9:00pm
The Beast Next Door
42-51 27th St
Long Island City, NY 11101

Medical Marijuana Post-McIntosh

Robert L. Greenberg[1]

Click here for a recommended citation and to download a paginated PDF version of this article.


On August 16, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision on a series of cases relating to businesses and individuals in the state-legal cannabis business. In United States v. McIntosh,[2] the Court heard ten cases challenging the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution of medical marijuana patients. These cases involved criminal defendants who were charged with violations of federal narcotics laws while ostensibly in compliance with the laws of their respective states.[3] The court determined that federal law prohibits the prosecution of these cases when the defendants are otherwise in compliance with state law. The impact of this decision is discussed infra.

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