Touro Law Honors Stan Gewanter on His 75th Birthday

Former Suffolk County NYCLU President Stan Gewanter’s Idea for a Public Advocacy Center is Now A Nationally Recognized Reality at Touro Law Center

April 14, 2011

Central Islip, NY – Seven years ago Touro Law Center Dean Lawrence Raful met with the former President of the Suffolk County NYCLU Chapter, Stan Gewanter. Mr. Gewanter recounted to Dean Raful the story of how the agency was working with Touro Law students. The collaboration proved enormously successful as they had just won a decision in favor of their clients, immigrant day laborers who wanted to use a public library for a meeting space.

Mr. Gewanter thought the symmetry of non-profit agencies and law students working together was exciting and could be further developed. In fact, the collaboration proved to be so successful for everyone involved – the agency, the students and the clients – that perhaps a Center should be developed at a law school that encouraged such collaboration of non-profit agencies and law students.

This story and idea gave way to what is now the William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center (PAC) at Touro Law – the first and only of its kind. The PAC is a nationally recognized center that houses non-profit agencies at the law school in exchange for one thing: a promise to use Touro Law students for advocacy services, research work and client relations. And, to date, the PAC has been a true success.

“The Public Advocacy Center is a center of collaboration, a hub of ideas, a place of learning and a community resource that is making an impact in the local community and beyond,” said Dean Lawrence Raful. “It is nothing short of amazing and I am so proud to have the Center within our law school.”

Touro Law Center moved into its new building 4 years ago – and one wing of the building is dedicated to the PAC. There are 12 offices for full-time members and, due to overwhelming response from the non-profit community, the PAC also has more than a dozen affiliate members. Affiliate members do not have offices within the law school, but can avail themselves of law student volunteers and resources available within the PAC.

And, the work of the PAC is being noticed beyond the walls of the law school -- looked upon by the community as a resource and having been called upon to facilitate the coordination of public interest work on behalf of large groups because of our vase and varied resources and partners.

The PAC is administered by Thomas Maligno, Executive Director of the Public Advocacy Center and Director of Public Interest at Touro Law. He believes the Public Advocacy Center is responsible for a subtle shift in the student body – with more and more students interested in helping out within the community and taking on pro bono legal work. “There is an undeniable energy and level of excitement that the Center brings to the law school and our students,” said Mr. Maligno. “I think it is benefiting legal education and contributing to a positive atmosphere in the school.”

In celebration of Mr. Gewanter’s 75th birthday, his family and Touro Law Center surprised him at the Public Advocacy Center with a small ceremony and reception on his birthday. His family was also on hand for the event, including his wife and two daughters.

Currently, the William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center houses 12 non-profit agencies including: Brighter Tomorrows, The Center for Restorative Practices, Inc., Children's Defense Fund - New York (CDF-NY), The Empire Justice Center, The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Latino Justice PRLDEF, Long Island Advocacy Center, Long Island Housing Services, Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc., SEPA Mujer, Services for the Advancement of Women, The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), and The Suffolk Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.


Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center’s 185,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility 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 model for law students, combining a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty with a practical courtroom experience. Touro Law, which has a student body of approximately 750 and an alumni base of more than 5,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs, several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system.

Touro is a system of Jewish-sponsored non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was established in 1971 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American community. More than 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro College Los Angeles, are separately accredited institutions governed in common by the same Board of Trustees as Touro College.
For more info contact:
Patti Desrochers
Director of Communications
(631) 761-7062

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