Dean Friedman is responsible for the Pro Bono and Public Interest Program 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 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.
The Camden campus offers approximately 10 in-house pro bono projects and additional opportunities in partnership with legal services providers. Projects include Hon. Judith H. Wizmur Bankruptcy, Domestic Violence, Legal Research, VITA, wills/powers of attorney and others. The Newark campus supports a range of public interest and social justice programming and provides career counseling and guidance to public interest-minded students. Public Interest Fellows selected by competitive application in Newark work with pro bono and public interest staff to organize Fellows' Forums on public sector topics, often in partnership with student groups. In addition, the Program supports several pro bono initiatives, including the Hon. Morris Stern Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project, Street Law, the International Refugee Assistance Project, 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. In 2017, she and others garnered support from the Provost of Rutgers University-Camden for interdisciplinary research to lay the groundwork for establishment of a Rutgers Innocence Project. With additional generous funding from a family foundation, the Project is now seeking an inaugural director.
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. In 2021, Camden's Street Law Project was selected to participate in an international collaboration with Russia.
Dean Friedman serves as a co-chair the Philadelphia Bar Association's Committee on Academic Engagement and as a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee. In 2014 was appointed to the New Jersey State Bar Association's Blue Ribbon Commission on Unmet Legal Needs. From 2010 to 2012, she served on the National Advisory Committee of Equal Justice Works, which has the mission of mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to advocating for underrepresented people and causes. Friedman is a member of the Community Advisory Board for WHYY, the local public media station. Admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, she received a Faculty Appreciation Award from the Women's Law Caucus in April 2009, a "Campus Partner Award" from Rutgers Future Scholars in June 2013 and Chancellor's Awards for Civic Engagement in 2016 and 2017.
Prior to joining Rutgers, Dean Friedman served as a senior 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.
Dean Friedman earned her J.D. from New York University (1987) and her B.A. from Yale University (1984).