Hundreds of Rutgers Law students, staff and faculty attended the 32nd annual Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) auction at the Center for Law and Justice on March 2, 2017 to raise money for stipends for students who want to spend their summers doing public interest work.
The evening event included a cocktail reception, dinner, silent auction, raffle baskets, 50/50 and live auction for items that included trips to New York City, an afternoon on a sailboat, and dinners with professors.
Students bid on items that ranged from baseball games to Disney passes.
Deans and professors worked as live auctioneers for the event, which raised thousands of dollars for the PILF program.
Both former Dean Stuart Deutsch and Professor Charles Auffant served as auctioneers.
The evening also honored Nicky Fornaratto, who recently retired as the Law School Financial Aid Officer. Ms. Fornaratto was introduced by Jessica Kitson ‘02, who is the Managing Attorney at Volunteer Lawyers for Justice. Previously, she was the Director of the Eric R. Neisser Public Interest Program at Rutgers Law School in Newark and served as director and supervising attorney of the law school’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, a pro bono program she helped create as a student.
“Tonight’s honoree is hands down the nicest woman to ever walk the halls of the law school and that is Nicky Fornaratto. There was nobody else in the building that exuded love of the students the way Nicky did. She supported public interest work and made sure there were ways students could do public interest work, “ Kitson said. “Every single year, Nicky was at this auction contributing . . . Anything that needed to be done, Nicky was the woman to do it.”
Nicky Fornaratto was the evening's honoree.
Fornaratto, who was given a standing ovation, received a plaque from the students and said, “I am very humbled by this. Whenever I get worried about the world and wonder what’s going on, I think about the students at this school. You can and will make a big difference in the world.”
The auction was organized by the PILF student board, whose members are: Katherine Petrie, Sarah Townsend, Kate Coyne, Karina Delgado, John Flynn, Mark Marsella and Chinsu Shajan.
Thanks to a PILF stipend, Lauren Bland ‘17 was able to spend her summer working for the United States Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resource Division in Washington D.C. She said, “One of the major cases I worked on during my time at the Division was a Clean Water Act case in which a municipal wastewater plant was illegally dumping tons of raw sewage into the nearby waterway, causing pollution and severely damaging the oceanic ecosystem particular to that area of the northeast. Working on this case with my supervisor, a senior trial attorney in the Section, gave me practical experience in drafting pleadings, motions, and litigation documents such as expert reports and declarations of witnesses.”