Convocation to Install Ellen Yaroshefsky as the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics

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Convocation to Install Ellen Yaroshefsky as the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics

From 1994-2016, Ellen Yaroshefsky was a clinical professor of law and the director of the Jacob Burns Center for Ethics in the Practice of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She taught a range of ethics courses, organized symposia, and wrote and lectured in the field of legal ethics and criminal justice. At Cardozo, she directed the Youth Justice Clinic and the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program.

After graduation from Rutgers-Newark Law School in 1975, Professor Yaroshefsky began her career by creating a legal office in Tacoma, Washington, for the Nisqually and Puyallup Native American Tribes. She became a Seattle public defender and subsequently was in private practice, specializing in battered women self-defense cases. She returned to New York in 1982 to work at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she litigated international human rights and criminal cases around the country. In 1988, she joined the Cardozo Criminal Law Clinic faculty and continued to litigate civil rights and criminal cases.

Professor Yaroshefsky serves on the New York State Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct and on ethics committees of state and local bar associations, and currently co-chairs the Ethics Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She served as a commissioner on the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics and was the co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Ethics, Gideon and Professionalism Committee of the Criminal Justice Section.

She is on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union and was formerly on the board of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Professor Yaroshefsky has received a number of awards for litigation, and received the New York State Bar Association award for “Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Law Education.”

Speaker Information

Barry C. Scheck

In his 38 years on the Cardozo Law faculty, Barry Scheck has served as the director of clinical education and co-director of the trial advocacy programs and of the Jacob Burns Center for Ethics in the Practice of Law. Earlier, he was a staff attorney for three years at The Legal Aid Society in New York.

With his colleague Peter Neufeld, Mr. Scheck co-founded and co-directs the Innocence Project, an independent nonprofit closely affiliated with Cardozo, which uses DNA evidence to exonerate the wrongly convicted. It also assists police, prosecutors and defense attorneys in trying to effect reform in the criminal justice system in areas such as eyewitness identification procedures, interrogation methods, crime laboratory administration, and forensic science research. In the Project’s 21 years, 344 people in the U.S. have been exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing.

Mr. Scheck is also a partner in the law firm Neufeld, Scheck & Brustin, specializing in civil rights and constitutional litigation. He has done extensive trial and appellate litigation in important civil rights and criminal defense cases, publishing broadly in these areas, including a book with Jim Dwyer and Mr. Neufeld, Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make It Right.

Mr. Scheck is a member of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees, run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He has served in prominent positions in many bar associations, including president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; as a commissioner on New York State’s Forensic Science Review Board; on the National Institute of Justice’s Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence; and on the American Judicature Society’s National Commission on Forensic Science and Public Policy.

In 1971, he received his B.S. from Yale University, and in 1974, his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley.

Casandra Tolentino

An alumnus of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Casandra Tolentino now serves as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice. She was a recipient of the 2015 Cardozo Inspire Award, the first recipient of the Black, Asian, Latino, Alumni Association Scholarship, and was a Floershiemer Center for Constitutional Democracy Fellow.

Ms. Tolentino’s past experience in the field of higher education is significant. She has worked in institutional advancement for numerous organizations. During her time at CUNY’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies, in addition to fundraising, working on policy papers, and representing the Center on boards such as the Museo Del Barrio’s Education Initiative, she is most proud of coordinating the Center’s role in the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, which allowed undergraduate students an opportunity to conduct meaningful research on relevant national and local Latino issues.

Ms. Tolentino has a Bachelor’s of Art in both Media Studies and Black and Puerto Rican Studies as well as a Master’s of Science in Urban Affairs (both from Hunter College).

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