New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Announces Michael Rothenberg Fellowship

Share Article

Fellowship in memory of NYLPI’s former executive director

The breadth of Michael’s talents, the clarity of his vision, and the inspiration of his example helped shape not only NYLPI but all of us who were fortunate enough to have known and worked with him.

The Board of Directors and Emeritus Board of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) announce the creation of the Michael Rothenberg Fellowship, named after NYLPI’s exceptional executive director who passed away unexpectedly on February 23. The Fellowship will serve to honor Michael’s memory and to create a long-lasting tribute to his dedication to civil rights.

The Michael Rothenberg Fellow will be an attorney working in the area of disability justice, an area of civil rights especially important to Michael. Michael’s interest in disability justice initially stemmed from observing his parents struggle to obtain the necessary services for his developmentally disabled brother to help him lead a full and productive life. A tireless advocate, Michael dedicated his life to ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of economic status, race, national origin, or disability, had access to justice.

“The breadth of Michael’s talents, the clarity of his vision, and the inspiration of his example helped shape not only NYLPI but all of us who were fortunate enough to have known and worked with him,” said John Siffert, Emeritus Board Member. “Michael worked tirelessly to break ground in the area of disability justice, and this fellowship will serve to honor his legacy by advancing this important civil right.”

Born in New York City, Michael graduated from Stuyvesant High School, Hamilton College, and New York University Law School. As a law student at NYU, Michael became president of both the Public Interest Law Foundation and Equal Justice Works, an organization devoted to providing funding for public advocacy training to law students across the country. He was also awarded an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program Fellowship. After graduating from NYU Law School, Michael became a litigator in the housing unit of Brooklyn Legal Services. He then won a fellowship at the Rockefeller Family Foundation, and subsequently worked on jury reform at the Vera Institute of Justice.

Drawn to institution building, Michael joined New York Lawyers for the Public Interest as Associate Director in 1997 and was named Executive Director in 2001. In addition to his work at NYLPI, in 2010 Michael was appointed by Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York, to serve on his task force to expand access to civil legal services in New York. He was one of six legal services leaders to receive this honor. In the same year, The New York Times Company honored Michael’s leadership by awarding NYLPI its prestigious Nonprofit Excellence Award, which recognizes management excellence in the city’s nonprofit community. NYLPI was the first legal organization to win this award.

About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) advances equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Through community lawyering, NYLPI puts its legal, policy and community organizing expertise at the service of New York City communities and individuals. NYLPI’s partnership with the private bar strengthens its advocacy and connects community groups and nonprofits with critical legal assistance. NYLPI is the recipient of the 2010 New York Times Awards for Nonprofit Excellence.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Lana Gersten
Group Gordon
(212) 784-5714
Email >
Visit website