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LIVE STREAM #TransformativeImmDefense #Symposium17

Our auditorium live stream of #TranformativeImmDefense is here!

Panel streaming to follow!

In 48 hours

More information regarding the Symposium.



On April 6, 2017 at 5:30 PM, the City University of New York Law Review, New York State Bar Association, and CUNY Housing Rights Project presents: A Comprehensive Safety Net: Homelessness Prevention in NYC.

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

The discussion will be moderated by Professor Stephen Loffredo and panelists include: Jonathan Cohen, Senior Staff Attorney at Mental Health Project of the Urban Justice Center; Monique (Mo) George, Executive Director at Picture the Homeless; Nadia Qurashi, Senior Staff Attorney Peter Cicchino Youth Project (PCYP) at Urban Justice Center; and Jacquelyn Simone, Policy Analyst at Coalition for the Homeless.

Please register for the event.

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.