Brooklyn Law School has long been known for its commitment to developing a strong public interest/public service community among students and its graduates. Dean Nick Allard announced a number of new staffing resources that reinforce this commitment and will enhance the Law School’s strength and reputation in this area.
The Public Service Office (formerly known as the Office of Public Service Programs) has significantly expanded its capabilities. It will provide extensive career counseling; coordinate student pro bono activities and provide training for students involved in pro bono work; sponsor programs on pressing topics; and assist students seeking post-graduate public service grants and public interest fellowships. By continuing to build bridges between the Law School and the public interest/public service legal community, the Office will promote the interests of BLS students, creating access to local, regional, and national programs and projects.
“Brooklyn Law School’s prominence in the public service arena cannot be overstated,” said Dean Allard. “With our existing programs as a foundation, the Public Service Office has added powerful leadership and new services. The changes benefit our students who, at every turn, demonstrate their energy and dedication to social justice.”
Danielle Sorken, who has been with Brooklyn Law School since 2009, had served as Interim Director since 2012. In her new role, Sorken will foster and maintain employee relations with over 150 public sector employers, as well as manage the administration of the school’s pro bono projects, public service programming, and leadership development. Prior to joining Brooklyn Law School, Sorken worked as an executive recruiter at the Peak Organization in New York City. She began her legal career as a New York City Housing Court attorney.
Sorken has served for three years as a Vice Chair for the Public Service Section of the National Association for Law Placement. She is currently the Chair of the Pro Bono Committee and has also served as the Government Vice Chair and the Mini Conference Co-Chair. She also sits on the Pro Bono Committee for the Brooklyn Bar Volunteer Lawyers Project and on the Advisory Board for Legal Services NYC-Brooklyn Borough Branch.
In addition to naming a new Director, the Law School has made several additional appointments to support the Public Service Office:
Professor Dan Smulian has been named Faculty Advisor. His responsibilities will include conducting training programs for students’ pro bono projects; advising applicants for prestigious post-graduate fellowships; acting as liaison to the faculty Sparer Fellowship Committee; and generally providing additional counseling to students.
Smulian’s career at the Law School dates to 2005, when he began serving as Co-Director of the Safe Harbor Project after many years working in public interest positions. He has also been an active member of the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Committee.
Jacqueline Cheney has been named Associate Director. Her responsibilities include counseling law students on career planning and job search strategy; counseling post-graduate fellows on interview preparation and placement; community building and employer outreach; developing student programming; and counseling students seeking summer, externships, and post-graduate work in the public interest/public service sector.
Cheney previously served as Policy Analyst for the Council of State Governments Justice Center, as a freelance communications and development professional, and as Staff Counsel to the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, Research & Investigations. She is a graduate of Columbia University and Georgetown University Law Center, Class of 2005.
BLS graduate Gillian M. Kolinski ’13 has been named Post-Graduate Fellow. Working part-time, she will assist with student pro bono projects, develop and carry out programs, and help publicize the Office’s work, among other responsibilities. A Vassar College alumna, Kolinski is currently a Law Fellow at the New York Asian Women’s Center, where she is working on designing and implementing a new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. During law school, she was an Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellow and a member of the Safe Harbor and Immigrant Youth Clinics.
“This infusion of talent and person-power will make a big difference to the Office and will help our students enormously,” said Professor Stacy Caplow, Associate Dean for Professional Development. “Danielle’s leadership already has infused new energy into the Office. The addition of Dan, Jacqueline, and Gillian will allow BLS to provide superlative services to our students and build strong bridges to the legal community.”