Law school sets $100K goal for clinic programs
By MATT CHANDLER
[email protected] | 716-541-1654
The Women, Children and Social Justice Clinic at SUNY Buffalo Law School, and specifically two awards it presents, stands to benefit from a major fundraising initiative recently launched by the law school. It was announced last month and UB officials are optimistic they will reach the $100,000 goal.
The first award, The Suzanne E. Tomkins Women, Children and Social Justice Fellowship, is named for a clinical professor who co-directs the Program for Excellence in Family Law. She co-founded the clinic in 1992.
According to UB, the fellowship will "fund a law student to work on a specialized project that will promote the mission of the clinic, provide education and training to the student and provide a service to people who are in need."
The clinic works to prevent domestic violence and promote the legal rights of victims of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence. Students and faculty of the clinic provide legal resources for the homeless, the impoverished and economically disadvantaged, immigrants and disabled individuals.
Tomkins has spent much of her career creating, implementing and evaluating multidisciplinary responses to violence between intimates. She has developed countywide protocols and recently was keynote speaker at the International Domestic Violence Conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
She also serves as faculty adviser to the law school's Domestic Violence Task Force, a volunteer student group that promotes awareness of domestic violence through presentations and training; provides lay advocacy in family court for victims of domestic violence; and offers a legal clinic for battered women in collaboration with Haven House and the Volunteer Lawyers Project.
The second award, the Catherine Cerulli Women, Children and Social Justice Research Award, will assist a student in directing research to advance the work of the Women, Children and Social Justice Clinic. The award is named after the director of the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at the University of Rochester.
Cerulli is a former assistant district attorney in Monroe County, where she created a special misdemeanor domestic violence unit. She is a consultant, as well, and conducted statewide training for criminal justice practitioners that focused on advocacy and domestic violence legislative issues.
Mia Markello, a former student of Tomkins and Cerulli, is co-chair with Paige Rizzo Mecca of the committee leading the fundraising. She said the two women's efforts in the area of domestic violence is "groundbreaking" and she is excited to be part of the initiative to raise funds for ongoing work at the clinic.
"This is such a fitting way to mark the 20th anniversary of the clinic that these two women started," she said. "It's amazing to me the amount of work they have done in this area. They have truly changed the way our community responds to domestic violence."
For more information or to make a donation, contact Lucy Dadd at (716) 645-2113 or [email protected].
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