Dean Friedman leads the Pro Bono and Public Interest Program team at Rutgers Law School. With others, and thanks to the generous support of James and Dr. Sharon Maida, she designed and implemented the Maida Public Interest Fellows Program, which awards one full-time post-graduate fellowship and up to 40 summer public interest stipends each year. In addition, in 2016, Friedman inaugurated the Camden-based Social Justice Scholars Program to recognize and nurture students with exceptional dedication to public interest work and to promote public interest career development; the Program provides scholarships, summer stipends, faculty mentoring; and career development programming. She is a co-founder of the NJ Innocence Project at Rutgers University.
Each Rutgers Law School campus offers approximately 10 in-house and external pro bono projects, including the Hon. Judith H. Wizmur and the Hon. Morris Stern Bankruptcy Projects, domestic violence, legal research, VITA, international refugee assistance, wills/powers of attorney and others. In 2015, Friedman was honored with a seed grant from Rutgers University - Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor, in support of the Newark Educational Access and Advocacy Project. Starting with support from the Provost of Rutgers University-Camden in 2017, she and others from a range of disciplines built the NJ Innocence Project at Rutgers University, which hired its inaugural managing attorney in 2022.
Friedman directs the Rutgers chapter of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a law school course and community civics education project designed to increase public literacy about the Bill of Rights. She has initiated and led many other diversity pipeline and community law-related education programs, including Street Law, Summer Law Institute, and, with Angela V. Baker, the LSAC Discoverlaw.org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program , then one of five such programs in the United States.
Dean Friedman serves on a number of professional boards and has been recognized with campus and community awards. She began her career as a staff attorney in the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City. She has served as a consultant to Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania and to Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY). At Good Shepherd Mediation Program in Germantown, PA, Dean Friedman helped develop the Family Passages Initiative, a divorce and child custody mediation project serving low- and middle-income families. From 2005 until 2007, she held a senior position at Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit organization with the mission of increasing educational accomplishment and life opportunities for low-income and first generation public school students. She volunteers regularly as a mediator for the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and serves on the Community Advisory Board at WHYY, Philadelphia's public media station.
Dean Friedman earned her J.D. from New York University (1987) and her B.A. from Yale University (1984).