Touro Law Forms Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Names Associate Dean and Director

March 17, 2017

Dean Harry Ballan is pleased to announce the formation of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. The Office will be headed by Professor Deseriee Kennedy, appointed Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, and Assistant Dean for Career Services Jim Montes, who will serve as Director of Diversity & Inclusion. 

“Diversity and Inclusion are core values at Touro Law Center. We are one of the earliest law schools to offer a program for minority students, which has been in place for more than 20 years,” stated Dean Ballan. “The creation of this office will enable us to further our efforts in our school and our community.”

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion is focused on supporting the law school’s diverse community through programming, training and community outreach. According to newly appointed Associate Dean of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Professor Deseriee Kennedy, “Our goals include creating a supportive and inclusive environment that embraces our diversity as well as engaging in work to strengthen our local community.  We recognize the importance of a diverse and inclusive profession so as to better serve the needs of our community. As a result, we are committed to encouraging an academic environment that promotes open, constructive, and respectful dialogue on issues of diversity, inclusion, and equality of opportunity, access, and treatment.” 

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion works to present programming, training, support, and outreach designed to maintain a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community as well as to create pipelines into the profession for underserved communities.  The Office strives to promote a culture within the law school that embraces and respects difference in order to help break down harmful stereotypes and encourage the development of culturally competency.  

Dean Deseriee Kennedy has been a member of the Touro Law Center faculty since 2007. She teaches civil procedure, family law, domestic violence, and health law. Prior to joining Touro she was a member of the faculty at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Before starting her career in legal education, she was a commercial litigator with the City of Philadelphia, PA and with Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz in Los Angeles, California.   Kennedy has served as a member of the board of the Safe Center, L.I., Nassau County’s domestic violence and child abuse agency, the YWCA and the Lisa Ross Maternity Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, has worked on children’s rights and death penalty cases pro bono, and was a volunteer member of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department. She is a co-author of the seminal treatise on New York Domestic Violence Law which is updated yearly and published by Thomas-Reuters.  She has published in the areas of welfare reform, consumer discrimination, the rights of incarcerated parents, and domestic violence.  Kennedy earned her B.A. from Lehigh University, her J.D. from Harvard Law School, and was an Honorable Abraham L. Freedman Fellow at the Temple University School of Law.

Assistant Dean Jim Montes has been appointed Director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Dean Montes, comes to the position with over 20 years of commitment to assist underrepresented populations.  Over the years he has held many positions on not for profit organizations representing diverse communities on Long Island, including the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association, YMCA of Long Island and the Town of Brookhaven Hispanic Advisory Board. 


Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law is located adjacent to both a state and a federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. Touro Law’s proximity to the courthouses, coupled with programming developed to integrate the courtroom into the classroom, provide a one-of-a kind learning experience for law students, combining a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty with a practical courtroom experience. Touro Law is dedicated to providing hands-on learning that enables students to gain experience while offering much-needed legal services in the community.

Touro Law, which has an alumni base of more than 6,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs where students can earn a degree in 2, 3, 4 or 5 years and provides four areas of concentration. Touro Law offers several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates, including a new online LL.M. in Aging & Longevity Law. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system.

About the Touro College and University System 
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has 30 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to:

For more info contact:
Patti Desrochers
Director of Communications
(631) 761-7062

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