Last Friday, Fordham University School of Law, in conjunction with their Feerick Center, presented a very well attended all day symposium on; “ADR as a Tool for Achieving Social Justice: Can the Promise of ADR Deliver Justice to Those in Need?” The mission of the symposium was to “provide a forum for active discussion about current problems affecting primarily low-income individuals and others generally disenfranchised from the political and judicial process.”
The symposium certainly did not provide “active discussion,” at least among the people I spoke with. Though I engaged in some lively discussions with colleagues, the discussions were not about the “current problems affecting primarily low-income individuals and others generally disenfranchised from the political and judicial process.” With the exception of Professor Michal Alberstein, and her talk regarding therapeutic jurisprudence, the symposium principally presented glimpses of how people did business, instead of challenging ideas about curing social ills.
Still, it was very good to meet up with colleagues, and put faces to names of the major players around New York City, such as the City’s Corporate Counsel, New York City’s Chief Administrative Judge, the Executive Director of Legal Services for New York City, the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, representatives from Cardozo, John Jay, and Safe Horizon, as well Professor Feerick himself. To connect names with faces is empowering in its own way. In the end, putting a human face to bureaucracies may be the catalyst for achieving the social change the new center is actually looking for.