Around the Law School

 Around the Law School
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Leaders & Icons

Women Sweep the Slate as Journal Editors-in-Chief

For the second time in Law School history, all six student-run journals were led by women editors-in-chief: Shazell Archer ’22 of the Fordham Urban Law Journal; Alexandra Bieler ’22 of the Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law; Claudia Carollo ’22 of the Fordham Environmental Law Review; Tatiana Hyman ’22 of the Fordham Law Review; Laura Rann ’22 of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal; and Magdalen Sullivan ’22 of the Fordham International Law Journal.

“It [was] so fulfilling to solicit authors … and work with them to develop informative and impactful literature,” said Archer. “I’m honored to have led my journal and to be a representation of what women can do.”

Alexandra Bieler ’22, Magdalen Sullivan ’22; Tatiana Hyman ’22, Claudia Carollo ’22, Laura Rann ’22, and Shazell Archer ’22 all standing on a set of stairs, smiling
From left: Alexandra Bieler ’22, Magdalen Sullivan ’22; Tatiana Hyman ’22, Claudia Carollo ’22, Laura Rann ’22, and Shazell Archer ’22

Ruth Whitehead Whaley, Class of 1924, Honored with Historical Plaque

In May 2022, Ruth Whitehead Whaley, the first Black woman to be admitted to Fordham University and member of the Law School Class of 1924, was honored with a historical highway marker in her hometown of Goldsboro, North Carolina. She was the first Black woman ever admitted to the bar in the state of North Carolina and among the first admitted in New York. An expert in civil service law, she was secretary of the New York City Board of Estimate from 1951 to 1973, the first president of the New York City National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women, and president of the National Council for Negro Women.

Whitehead Whaley died in 1977 at the age of 76, though her legacy has endured. Today, Fordham Law students in the top 25 percent of their class are honored as Ruth Whitehead Whaley Scholars and the Black Law Students Association bestows an annual Ruth Whitehead Whaley Trailblazing Alumnus Award to alumni who embody her “bold spirit and commitment to excellence.”

The historical plaque in North Carolina stands at the corner of Ash and John streets in Goldsboro, just half a mile from Whitehead Whaley’s childhood home. Summarizing her legacy in just a few short words, the plaque reads: “Ruth W. Whaley, (1901-1977), Pioneer Female African American Lawyer.”

Ruth W. Whaley sign


Ornela Ramaj Rudovic To Lead Alumni Relations

Ornela Ramaj Rudovic smiling and wearing a black jacket
Starting this fall, Ornela Ramaj Rudovic will lead Fordham Law’s alumni outreach as director of alumni relations. She will work closely with the FLAA Board, Recent Graduate Committee, Dean’s Planning Committee, and student groups to find new ways to engage with our community and expand our network.


David Tanen ’96 Invests in DEI at Fordham Law

David Tanen in a blue suit and white button down shirt
One of the many committed alumni who have helped aid Fordham Law’s efforts to address racism, David Tanen ’96 has made major gifts to fund the school’s diversity and inclusion programs. Tanen’s recent gifts will provide support for programs such as the IDEAL pipeline program, the REAL Scholars program, and the 1L House System.

Tanen has given back to the Law School for more than a dozen years, making philanthropic investments to enhance its educational environment and support its diversity efforts.

“Fostering a more inclusive community where people from all backgrounds feel that they are welcome is important—not just for the Law School, but for all academic institutions and professional environments,” said Tanen. “This was something that resonated with me.”


Canadian Justice Abella Returns to Fordham Law

Rosalie Silberman Abella
Following her retirement from the Canadian Supreme Court in July 2021, Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella joined Fordham Law during the spring 2022 semester as the William Hughes Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor in International Studies.

“Justice Abella has become a leading spokesperson for upholding the rule of law and democratic values that are so under siege on a global scale,” said Dean Matthew Diller. “Her own life story and career in the law is a great model for our students on how to bring one’s experiences and humanity to bear on the contributions that one can make through the law.”

Addressing Hate

Nationally Renowned Racial Justice Lawyer Addresses Anti-Asian Hate in Law School Lecture

Manjusha P. Kulkarni
Manjusha P. Kulkarni, executive director of the AAPI Equality Alliance and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, delivered the lecture “Combating Hate, Racism, and Xenophobia Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” on Feb. 24, as a part of the Feerick Center Speaker Series.

Kulkarni reported that Stop AAPI Hate, which she founded during the COVID-19 pandemic to track acts of prejudice against Asian Americans, had received more than 10,000 reports of discrimination. Kulkarni encouraged the audience to report anti-Asian hate crimes they have witnessed or experienced, share resources, and advocate for policy changes.

Paying It Forward

Outstanding Scholars Receive 2022 Hon. Deborah A. Batts Scholarships

Ferrell Littlejohn and Afrika Owes
Ferrell Littlejohn ’24 (left) and Afrika Owes ’24 were named this year’s recipients of the Hon. Deborah A. Batts Scholarship. Launched in Judge Batts’ memory in 2021, the scholarships provide support for students dedicated to using their legal education to promote social justice, civil rights, and equality. Scholarship recipients will also work with the Center on Race, Law and Justice on original research.

“It’s a privilege to be named [as a Batts Scholar], in honor of someone who had achieved so much and was a groundbreaker in her own way,” said Littlejohn. “Before I came to Fordham Law, I didn’t really know how I wanted to make a difference or impact in my community. But this was a surprise and seemed almost like a sign for me. I’m interested in tackling issues related to community and economic development and criminal law reform.”

“Judge Batts was unafraid to be herself—to have been so radical in a very conservative legal space is inspiring to me,” said Owes. “In law school, you might feel you have to shrink to fit in, but you don’t have to. Knowing I can show up as my full self, while also contributing to the Fordham community and greater legal scholarship in this role, is exciting.”

Owes is also the inaugural recipient of Fordham Law’s Bella and Irving Dubner Memorial Goldman Sachs Scholarship, created by David P. Dubner ’02, a partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs, in support of the company’s One Million Black Women initiative.


Historical Jurisprudence with a New Lens

Discussions surrounding critical race theory have dominated headlines in recent months, notably during confirmation hearings for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and Law, co-editor Professor Bennett Capers aims to explain how critical race theory could be applied to uphold and advance principles that are foundational to American democracy.

The book considers how a range of important Supreme Court and lower court cases—including Loving v. Virginia (1967) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954)—might have been reasoned differently through the lens of critical race theory, prompting readers to see the law from new perspectives.

“This book was years in the making—seven years to be precise,” Capers said. “But, in a way, it couldn’t be more timely.”

Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and Law and author

Examining Bias and Innocence

Professor Tanya Hernández’s third book on the topic of anti-Black bias among Latinos, Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality, looks at examples of discrimination based on her extensive research in the form of interviews and legal case files.

The book examines the assumed “racial innocence” of Latinos who “deny the existence of prejudice against Afro-Latinos and … African Americans,” and how those beliefs translate into discrimination at all levels of society.

“Educating both lawyers and judges about how Latinos are not only victims of discrimination, but also part of the problem … will fortify the ability of law to redress discrimination in an increasingly diverse society,” said Hernández. “It is not a cure-all, but it can certainly be part of the solution.”

Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality and author

Honoring the Mothers of the ERA

The Equal Rights Amendment took nearly 50 years to be adopted by Congress, and the required 38 states needed to ratify the amendment were only reached in 2020. However, it has still not been added to the U.S. Constitution, due to missing the ratification deadline.

Professor Julie Suk’s book, We the Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment, published in 2020 and rereleased in paperback this year, chronicles the long struggle to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of sex. Suk considers the past and the future of the amendment through the work of the women lawmakers who created it.

“I wrote We the Women not only to speak to lawyers, but to speak to the American people,” said Suk. “I hope that a wide range of people will read it and feel empowered to imagine a better future for the U.S., even if it takes another generation.”

We the Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment and author