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January 27, 2010

CUNY LAW PROFESSOR JENNY RIVERA RECEIVES STATE BAR'S KAY CRAWFORD MURRAY AWARD

Rivera noted for diversity efforts, legal scholarship on Latina issues, and gender equity advocacy

NEW YORK-Jenny Rivera, Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law, received the Kay Crawford Murray Award from the New York State Bar Association on January 26 at the State Bar's Annual Meeting held at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. Sponsored by the Committee on Women in the Law, the award honors an attorney who works to enhance diversity in the legal profession and whose efforts have advanced the professional development of women attorneys.

The committee singled out Rivera for her extraordinary life-long efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession and for her renowned legal scholarship. As one of only 141 Hispanic/Latina female law school professors in the United States, she has distinguished herself with an established record of teaching excellence, through incisive writing on the issues facing Latina women, and by guiding minority attorneys to become law professionals and professors.

"Professor Jenny Rivera has devoted her career to developing programs and policies that address the critical issues facing the Latina community, including domestic violence, impeded access to health services, and under-representation in the legal profession. She has greatly increased public and professional awareness of these issues through her outstanding scholarship, keen insights, and a marked commitment to promoting diversity.  She is helping to perpetuate the proud legacy set by Kay Crawford Murray," said Committee Chair Taa R. Grays of New York (MetLife). "We are pleased to recognize her work and notable efforts to improve the status of minorities and women in their profession and communities."

A Bronx resident, Rivera is the Founder and Director of CUNY Law School's Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality (CLORE). CLORE promotes law reform scholarship, public education, and litigation in support of expanded civil rights, and issues impacting the Latino community in the United States.  She has been a faculty member at CUNY Law since 1997, with a one-and a half-year hiatus (January 2007 - June 2008) when she served as Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights for New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.  There she assisted in the development and implementation of the Attorney General's civil rights agenda, supervised the Civil Rights Bureau and organized and held statewide outreach sessions on civil rights issues.

Rivera is the author of two studies on domestic violence services in New York State for Latina abuse survivors, and numerous articles on domestic violence against Latinas, Puerto Rico's Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law, and the Violence Against Women Act.

A former Administrative Law Judge of the New York State Division of Human Rights, Rivera is also a former member of the New York City Commission on Human Rights.  Early in her career as a junior associate attorney for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) (1988 - 1992), she established the Latina Rights Initiative. She later created and chaired the Advisory Committee to the Latina Rights Initiative, where she helped design the Initiative's litigation, advocacy and outreach strategy. She previously served as a law clerk to current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Rivera has also chaired the Hispanic National Bar Association New York Region's Law Professors Committee where she worked on diversity issues and increasing the number of Latinos and Latinas who apply for teaching positions. The Hispanic National Bar Association recently appointed her to its Commission on Latinas in the Legal Profession.

The award is named for past Committee on Women in the Law Chair Kay Crawford Murray. During Ms. Murray's tenure as chair of the Committee on Women in the Law, she raised awareness of women's issues, spearheading a report that urged the Association to propose a model policy for childbirth and parenting as a guideline for law firms.

Past recipients include Kay Crawford Murray, retired general counsel of the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice and Marissa C. Wesely of New York (Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP).

Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

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