Centers & Initiatives

Social Justice Centers

Our Justice Centers foster intersectional and global approaches to issues and initiatives at the heart of human rights work, environmental advocacy, law and policy, and transforming justice and representation for Latinx communities. Their collaborative work is ever-evolving and expanding, connecting students, faculty, and community partners.

Students, faculty & staff sitting reading, studying or eating lunch, out in the triangle park across from the CUNY School of Law campus building,

Center for Urban Environmental Reform >

Sorensen Center Staff member speaking to student wearing Sorensen Center t-shirt

Sorensen Center on International Peace and Justice >

An alumna smiling and talking with CUNY Law students

Center for Diversity in the Legal Profession >

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Initiatives & Institutes

Haywood Burns with colleagues

W. Haywood Burns Chair in Human & Civil Rights

The Burns Chair distinguished visiting faculty position uplifts the work of social justice leaders who reflect the qualities and convictions of Haywood Burns: commitment to advancing civil rights and human rights—and dedication to the education of lawyers who will uphold and defend the rights of the most discriminated against in our society.

Institute Executive Director Leymah Gbowee in conversation with some Global Forum attendees at CUNY School of Law.

Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace

The Institute reimagines policymaking from the perspective of social movements, bringing people impacted by crisis and conflict into the policy development process. A hub for cross-sectoral, cross-movement, and transnational organizing, research, and scholarship, the Institute advances rights-based approaches to national and international law and policy, including peace and transitional justice processes, reconstruction, and human rights mechanisms. The Institute promotes the leadership of women and LGBTQI+ people who face interlocking forms of discrimination, including those at the intersections of race, ethnicity, and disability, partnering with them to strengthen movement-building initiatives and change attitudes, policies, and practices that shape global crisis response.

young people being mentored by CUNY Law students

First Impressions Youth Legal Collaborative

Engaging young people to create a powerful shift toward civic leadership, community advocacy, and a future with a better and more representative justice system. First Impressions is designed to leverage the Law School’s expertise in pipeline programming that expands access to justice and to activate community-based youth programs.


The Second Look Project

A project of the Defenders Clinic, The Second Look Project: Beyond Guilt (SLP) works with individuals, families, advocates, and organizations to end mass incarceration one person at a time as well as on a macro level. From clemency applications to statewide advocacy, SLP features students and former Defenders Clinic clients working together to drive change.