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 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, the New Jersey LGBTQ Pro Bono Legal Assistance Project, the Street Law 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.
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. Dean Friedman supervises the law schools' Street Law Pro Bono Projects, which train, support and supervise law students who provide practical law-related education to hundreds of disadvantaged young people each semester in schools, detention centers, shelters and elsewhere in Camden and Newark. Dean Friedman inaugurated a Summer Law Institute and a Camden moot court program, both opportunities for law students to use their legal training to empower disadvantaged young people. In 2012, with Dean Angela V. Baker, Friedman was selected to co-direct the LSAC Discoverlaw.org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program at Rutgers School of Law-Camden, then one of five such programs in the United States. PLUS has the mission of increasing the diversity of the legal profession and improving the qualifications of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who may want to become lawyers. It provides a month-long residential immersion in the law for exceptional future lawyers.
Dean Friedman became secretary of the Section on Pro-Bono & Public Service Opportunities of the American Association of Law Schools in 2017. She serves on the New Jersey State Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee and 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 National Public Radio affiliate. She served on the Board of Directors of New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and as a Trustee of Camden's LEAP Academy University Charter School. 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 also worked as a community mediator and was a member of the founding Board of Directors of the Delaware Valley chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution.
Dean Friedman earned her J.D. from New York University (1987) and her B.A. from Yale University (1984).