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Contact Us
Address
Touro Law Center Campus
225 Eastview Drive/Room 302
Central Islip, NY 11722
Telephone: (631) 761-7033
Fax: (631) 761-7039

Thomas Maligno
Director of Public Interest and Executive
Director of the Public Advocacy Center
thomasm@tourolaw.edu
William Randolph Hearst 
Public Advocacy Center (PAC)

 

Touro Law Center is home to the William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center. The only one of its kind in the nation, the Center was developed to have an impact on social justice, legal training and the lives of countless individuals in and beyond the local community.
 
Housed within the law school, the Center provides furnished offices to local non-profit agencies in exchange for one thing: a promise to use Touro Law students for advocacy services, research work and client relations. Students work with these organizations to satisfy their pro-bono requirements while developing an understanding of the problems facing the local community. Due to the overwhelming response for the PAC, we have also created affiliate members. These members enjoy many of the same benefits of the PAC and are an important part of our community, but are not housed within the law school. Currently, there are approximately 20 affiliate members.
 

For additional information, contact Thomas Maligno, Executive Director of the Public Advocacy Center and Director of Public Interest at Touro Law Center via email or by phone at (631) 761-7033 or Cathy Cembrale, Administrative Assistant (631) 761-7057.

The Law Office of The Public Advocacy Center

The Law Office of the PAC is a non-profit law office, which was established by funding primarily from the New York State Court System's "Access to Justice" grant and supplemented by a grant from the Education & Assistance Corporation's (EAC), which is funded through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's (OTDA) "Just for Dads" program.  In its inaugural year, the Law Office of the PAC provided direct legal assistance to clients that positively impacted more than 250 residents of Long Island.  Despite the elimination of both funding sources from the New York State budget, Touro Law Center recognized the need for, and displayed its commitment to low income residents of Suffolk County by completely funding this law office. 

The objective of the office remains the same: to represent clients who otherwise would not be represented by other legal services organizations due to funding restrictions imposed by their respective funding sources, and to involve law students in all aspects of a functioning law office. This law office, under the guidance and supervision of Staff Attorney Jack B. Evans Jr., Esq. and Public Advocacy Center Director Thomas Maligno, is bridging the gap in representation to residents of Long Island.  Now focused on assisting residents of Suffolk County, the law office has narrowed its scope of representation to Landlord/Tenant for undocumented and certain low-income clients, including poor landlords. In addition to providing direct legal services in Landlord/Tenant proceedings, the Law Office of the PAC has added a policy advocacy component, and is assisting select advocacy groups promote new proposed legislation, and assist develop implementation programs for recently passed legislation.  Furthermore, the Law Office of the PAC will continue to provide indirect legal services to the Suffolk County community by coordinating with the Suffolk County  Bar Association and the Touro Law Center Real Estate Law Society to provide logistical and administrative support to the Pro Bono Foreclosure Settlement Conference Project.

To avoid overlap with other legal service providers, the Law Office of the PAC has coordinated with other local non-profit legal service providers, such as Nassau/Suffolk Law Services and the Empire Justice Center to institute an effective referral system, which ensures that the Law Office of the PAC serves only those who could not receive legal services elsewhere. Part and parcel of the newly configured Law Office of the PAC is a renewed commitment to and involvement with the law students of Touro Law Center.  The active participation of law students enrolled at Touro Law Center increases the number of residents that the law office is able to serve. Students who work with this office receive substantial court exposure, in-depth practical skill development and guidance, and the experience of working through multiple real cases, which fosters an experiential atmosphere conducive for an exponential advancement of their legal professional development.
 
For additional information, please contact Jack Evans, Staff Attorney via email or by phone at 631.761.7045.

PUBLIC ADVOCACY CENTER MEMBER AGENCIES

 
AMERICORPS/VISTA
Room: PA207
Patricia R. Sturm, Esq. 
(631) 650-2311
 
 
Brighter Tomorrows
Room: PA211
Feride Castillo, Sr., Bi-Lingual Court Advocate                                                                                
(631) 650-2309
 
Brighter Tomorrows is a licensed not-for-profit domestic violence shelter facility that provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and whose programs provide refuge and support to battered women and their children. By delivering a comprehensive array of services, self esteem and empowerment strategies for living, skills are restored and victims learn how to become survivors and return to their communities prepared to focus on better and more secure futures.
 
 
The Center for Restorative Practices, Inc. (Hope for Youth)
PA Room 206
Dr. David J. Hegarty, Executive Director
(631) 650-2321
 

The Center for Restorative Practices, Inc. has a central mission to break the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” and reduce Disproportionate Minority representation in the juvenile justice system. They are advocates, advisors, and trainers in Restorative Justice, Restorative Practices and Non-violent Communication. These approaches and skills constitute effective viable alternatives to: incarceration, residential placement, school suspensions and expulsions.

 

 
Empire Justice Center
Room: PA216, 218, 222
(631) 650-2305
Linda Hassberg, Esq., Senior Attorney - (631) 650-2305
Don Friedman, Esq., Managing Attorney - (631) 650-2316  
Cheryl Keshner, Paralegal / Community Advocate - (631) 650-2317
Maria T. DeGennaro, Esq., Regional Coordinator, Homeownership Protection Program (HOPP), (631) 650-2319
Jackeline Saavedra, Law Graduate (631) 650-2318 
 
The Empire Justice Center is the only statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy non-profit law firm focused on changing the "systems" within which poor and low-income families live. With a focus on poverty law, Empire Justice undertakes research and training, acts as an informational clearinghouse and provides litigation backup to local legal services programs and community based organizations.
 

Health and Welfare Council of Long Island
Room: PA223
(631) 650-2310
Meghan Ashford-Grooms, Policy Analyst
Kelly Ann Murray, Esq., Consumer Health Advocate

The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island is a not-for-profit health and human services planning and advocacy organization serving as the umbrella for agencies serving Long Island's vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families.

 
Law Office of the Public Advocacy Center
Room: PA203
Jack B. Evans, Jr., Staff Attorney
(631) 761-7045
 
 
Long Island Advocacy Center (LIAC)
Room: PA204
Eilleen C. Buckley, Esq., Attorney - (631) 650-2313
  
Long Island Advocacy Center provides information and referral, individual/case advocacy, and represents the legal rights of students attending Public School. In addition, Long Island Advocacy Center provides service coordination and vocational advocacy for adults with disabilities. Through mediation, negotiation and representation the Long Island Advocacy Center ensures students and individuals with disabilities receive all the services to which they are entitled under law.
 
Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS)
Room: PA215
Ian Wilder, Esq., Staff Attorney, Foreclosure Prevention Program Manager
John Batanchiev, Esq., Staff Attorney, Special Projects Manager
Trina Kokalis, Esq., Staff Attorney, Foreclosure Prevention Program
Juana Cortes de Torres, Esq., Consultant Supervising Attorney 
Phone: (631) 650-2304 or call (631) 567-5111
 
Initiated in 1969, Long Island Housing Services (LIHS) is a HUD-approved counseling agency and LI’s only HUD qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization. The mission of Long Island Housing Services is the elimination of unlawful housing discrimination and promotion of decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education. The agency promotes racial and economic integration and equal housing opportunities through direct client services, special projects and collaborative efforts with other non-profits and government enforcement agencies.
 
Activities include counseling, investigation of discrimination in rentals, sales, lending and insurance, including testing, education and facilitating Fair Housing enforcement under federal, state and local laws, helping to educate and alert the public to avoid and report mortgage rescue scams; Tenant’s Rights Counseling geared to improving habitability, treatment , provide referrals and information about resources for various related issues and pre/post Homeownership Counseling. LIHS offers top quality counseling and free legal services for Foreclosure Prevention. Bilingual, Spanish fluent staff is available.
 

Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc.
Room: PA214
Darlene Rosch, Esq., Attorney
(631) 650-2314

Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc. is a non-profit, community-based poverty law program which provides legal assistance in civil (non-criminal) matters to low-income individuals throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York. The program provides free legal service in thousands of cases each year as well as legal support to every church, agency and grassroots organization that works with the poor.

 
National Association of Jewish Legislators
PA212
Jeffrey Wice, Esq.
(631) 650-2308 
 
 
New York Civil Liberties Union (Suffolk Chapter)
PA219, 221
Amol Sinha, Esq., Chapter Director
Marina Nadler, Administrative Assistant 
Hector Gerardo, Long Island Coordinator 
(631) 650-2301
(631) 250-2302 
 
The Suffolk Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union is dedicated to the protection of civil liberties as embodied in the Bill of Rights. Its mission is to protect the constitutional rights of the people it serves through advocacy and involvement in the legislative process and to educate the community about civil liberties issues. 
 
 
SEPA Mujer, Services for the Advancement of Women
Room: PA210
Martha Maffei, Executive Director
Gabriella Castillo, Esq., Staff Attorney
(631) 650-2307

SEPA Mujer, Services for the Advancement of Women is a community-based organization offering legal rights education for Latina immigrant women and free representation for Latina victims of domestic violence. Founded in 1996, the agency is dedicated to educating, informing and organizing the community.

 
Tikkun Long Island Inc.
Robert I. Goldman, J.D., Psy.D.
 

Affiliate Agencies

An agency or organization becomes a PAC affiliate by asking for membership. They then have to participate in our quarterly meetings , our PAC list serve, The Touro Law Public Interest Job Fair and include Touro Law students in their work. The students can work for academic credit , probono credit or be paid by Touro Law or the agency. The following agencies have complied with these rules over the past few years:
  • Catholic Charities
  • Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
  • Central Islip Civic Council
  • Children's Defense Fund
  • Episcopal Community Services
  • ERASE Racism
  • Every Child Matters - Long Island
  • FEGS
  • Fund for Modern Courts
  • Hope For Youth
  • La Fuente
  • Latino Justice
  • Law Help New York
  • League of Women Voters 
  • Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County 
  • Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County (Children's Law Bureau)
  • Literacy First
  • Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition
  • Long Island Civic Engagement Table
  • Long Island Gay And Lesbian Center
  • Long Island Progressive Coalition
  • Long Island Wins
  • Mental Hygiene Legal Service, 2nd Department
  • Long Island Immigration Alliance
  • Long Island Minority Aids Coalition
  • Long Island Progressive Coaltion
  • Long Island Think Tank For Black Progress
  • Make The Road New York
  • Mercy Advocates Program
  • Nassau Bar Foreclosure Project
  • Nassau/Suffolk Coalition for the Homeless
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Prison Families Anonymous 
  • The Retreat
  • Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk (VIBS
  • Vision Long Island
  • Workplace Project