The Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award is given each fall at a gala celebration in Camden, in recognition of Mary Philbrook, the first woman admitted to the New Jersey Bar. The Alumni Association, the Law School and the Burlington and Camden County Bar Associations co-sponsor the event. 

2017 Philbrook Awards

Sponsored by the Women’s Law Caucus, the Association for Public Interest Law, the Rutgers Law–Camden Alumni Association, and the Camden County Bar Association, the Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award celebration is a 32-year tradition at Rutgers Law School's Camden location.

The 32nd annual Mary Philbrook celebration honored Harold Katz and Joseph Moran, career public defenders in New Jersey’s Office of the Public Defender. It also marked the 50th anniversary of In Re Gault, the 10th anniversary of the Law School’s Children’s Justice Clinic, and the role of the Rutgers clinics in statewide legal advocacy on behalf of justice-involved children. The 2017 Philbrook event program is available here.

The celebration was held Thursday, October 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Rutgers University-Camden Campus Center. There was a formal program first, followed by a reception. The 2017 Philbrook event video is available here.


Robert Listenbee

This year’s celebration started with a symposium on October 10, featuring Robert Listenbee, former Administrator of the United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Mr. Listenbee, a graduate of Harvard University and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, is a highly respected public defender and juvenile justice system reformer.

In 2011, Mr. Listenbee was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, which advises the President, Congress, and the OJJDP Administrator on juvenile justice policy. As co-chair of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, Mr. Listenbee was instrumental in the development of recently released recommendations for a national response to address children’s exposure to violence. 

Mr. Listenbee served on several committees, including the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which advises the governor on juvenile justice policy.

Before joining OJJDP, Mr. Listenbee was a trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia for 27 years and chief of the Juvenile Unit for 16 years. In 2011, the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative honored Mr. Listenbee with a Champion for Change award for his contributions to juvenile justice reform in Pennsylvania.

In 2017, Mr. Listenbee was appointed a Stoneleigh Foundation Visiting Fellow at Drexel University, where he will lend national expertise to juvenile justice reform efforts in the region. Mr. Listenbee will join Drexel’s Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab in the Department of Psychology, which focuses on using social science research to improve policy and practice in the juvenile justice system and emphasizes the role of adolescent development in decision-making and legal outcomes.

Rutgers Law School Children’s Justice Clinic

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017, the Children’s Justice Clinic (CJC) in Camden is a litigation-based student law firm in which third-year students represent New Jersey children facing delinquency charges, primarily in Camden’s juvenile court. Under close supervision, students develop a trial strategy, negotiate with the prosecutor, file motions, and argue in front of Family Court judges.  

Established in 2007 by Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law Sandra Simkins and Clinical Professor and Director of Trial Advocacy J.C. Lore, the Clinic is now directed by Professor Simkins.

The CJC handles a wide range of cases, from minor theft or possession of marijuana to complex aggravated assaults. In addition to handling delinquency matters from the point of arrest, students provide post-disposition representation to youth who have been committed to residential programs or to New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice Commission, ensuring that rehabilitation services are being received as ordered. In addition to delinquency charges, CJC students handle ancillary matters, such as education and dependency issues.

Finally, CJC students also advocate for system reform. In 2008, the CJC, in partnership with the Office of the Public Defender and the Newark Child Advocacy Clinic, received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation and became part of the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network. The grant was for post-disposition representation of New Jersey’s youth. As an outgrowth of the grant, students have worked on conditions of confinement issues (such as eliminating punitive solitary confinement for youth in New Jersey juvenile facilities) and have engaged in successful appellate advocacy. The CJC is also part of a Juvenile Justice Reform working group in collaboration with the firm of Lowenstein Sandler and the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest.  Working with the ACLU-NJ, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Advocates for Children of New Jersey and the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic in Newark, the CJC has improved outcomes for hundreds of vulnerable children and trained hundreds of law students during its first 10 years of operation.

The Newark-based Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, headed by Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law and Justice Virginia Long Scholar Laura Cohen, likewise provides direct representation to youth in New Jersey’s juvenile justice system, young adults charged with minor criminal offenses, and adults who were convicted of serious crimes as adolescents and are seeking post-conviction relief. The clinic also champions systemic change through legislative and regulatory advocacy, appellate advocacy, and community education initiatives.

In Re Gault

In Re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967), held that juveniles accused of crimes in a delinquency proceeding must be afforded many of the same due process rights as adults, including the right to timely notification of the charges, the right to confront witnesses, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel.

2017 Philbrook Honoree Harold Katz

2017 Mary Philbrook Award Honoree - Harold Katz

Harold Katz, Deputy Public Defender, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender

Harold Katz graduated in 1974 from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio and in 1977, with high honors, from Rutgers Law School.  In the context of the civil rights and anti-war movements, his first job, at ACLU-PA in Philadelphia (as part of Antioch College’s co-op program) helped Mr. Katz begin to view attorneys as agents for the advancement of social values in a variety of contexts.  An internship at the Camden Office of the Public Defender in 1976 provided the opportunity for Mr. Katz to conduct his first bench trial for a juvenile client.  Upon graduation, he joined the Public Defender’s office as a staff attorney and began a career that has primarily focused on juvenile defense.  Mr. Katz’s passion for working with juveniles is nourished by working in a system oriented, at least in part, toward rehabilitation for young people in trouble at a formative age.   

Mr. Katz’s work has varied considerably over the years, from providing direct representation to juvenile and adult clients in difficult situations, to working on juvenile justice policy issues, to running a busy public defender office that employs approximately 50 lawyers, social workers and support staff members.  His efforts, along with a host of other juvenile advocates, helped end the routine shackling of juveniles during court proceedings in New Jersey.  And through his work with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice Commission, Mr. Katz also helped bring about a dramatic decrease in the use of detention in Camden County and throughout the state. 

Mr. Katz served as an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers Law School for over 30 years, teaching trial advocacy and criminal procedure. He has nurtured and mentored many public defenders throughout his career.

In his spare time, Mr. Katz enjoys writing poetry, dancing most Friday nights, hiking, and making regular visits to France to visit close friends.  He is also a very proud father of four, and a doting grandfather.

2017 Philbrook Honoree Joe Moran

2017 Mary Philbrook Honoree - Joe Moran

Joe Moran, Acting First Assistant Deputy Public Defender, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender

The youngest of seven children born to parents who were the children of immigrants, Joseph Moran credits his family upbringing for inspiring him to become a lawyer. In his boisterous Collingswood home, he witnessed his family’s almost constant passionate discussions about all of the major and minor issues of the day: the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the Watergate scandal, and the strengths and weaknesses of all the local sports teams. His parents and siblings insisted that he become informed about issues, defend his opinions, and care about those who were less fortunate. To Mr. Moran, becoming a lawyer came from a desire to become an informed citizen, who could use his knowledge to help others.

Mr. Moran’s passionate commitment to juvenile justice started by accident. After dedicating 15 years exclusively to representing adults as a public defender, he was asked to fill in for a juvenile trial attorney who was out on leave. It was during that time that Mr. Moran saw how vulnerable juveniles were, how much they needed quality representation, and what an impact a lawyer could have on the life of a child. From then on, he began to advocate for children in and out of the courtroom.

Mr. Moran has been involved in juvenile justice policy reform statewide and nationally. He is a nationally certified juvenile defender trainer and has participated at the National Juvenile Defender Center Summit. As the head of the Juvenile Unit in Camden County, Moran is at the forefront of policy reform in New Jersey, working on reducing detention and long-term commitment to secure facilities, and on the elimination of routine shackling. Mr. Moran has been consistently supportive of the Children's Justice Clinic since its inception. A frequent guest lecturer about the nuances of Camden County juvenile court practice, Mr. Moran routinely gives clinic students his cell phone number, not only to talk about case strategy, but also to help students with their own career development.

Mr. Moran graduated from St. Joseph’s University in 1980 with a B.A. in English, and earned his J.D. from the Delaware Law School of Widener University in 1984. His wife, Sylvie, has been teaching children with disabilities for over 15 years. One of his sons is a Rutgers Law School alumnus who excelled in the Children’s Justice Clinic and now works as a Law Guardian, and his other son teaches 4th grade. Mr. Moran enjoys swimming in the morning before work, and in his spare time likes to hear himself sing and tries to play the guitar.



A Tradition of Honoring Public Interest Advocates
  • Mary Philbrook's Life and Legacy
  • Past Honorees
  • Past Student Award Recipients
  • The Mary Philbrook Award Celebration Tradition in Camden

Mary Philbrook was born in Washington, D.C., on August 6, 1872. The daughter of a feminist and a lawyer, she only received formal education through high school, and a course in stenography. Mary became educated in the law only through a job with the firm of Russ and Oppenheimer, located in Hoboken, N.J., where she met James Minturn, who later became a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice. It was Minturn who encouraged Mary's interest in the law and made a motion for Mary to be admitted to the New Jersey Bar on February 20, 1894. Mary's petition for admittance rested on her rights as a citizen and the equal protection guarantees to citizens of the state. However, she was denied admission by the Court despite the fact that over 300 women were practicing attorneys in 30 other states.

In 1895, a bill was passed in New Jersey stating that "no person would be denied admission to examination for license to practice as an attorney..." and following another motion by Minturn, Mary was admitted to the New Jersey Bar on June 6, 1895. Subsequently, Mary became the first woman appointed to Chancery Court and the second to be a notary public. In 1906, Mary also became the first New Jersey woman to be admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

After beginning to practice, Mary began a lecture series in which she endorsed "plain justice," upholding that women not receive any special treatment. She moved her practice to Newark and began working for Legal Aid, as well as championing such causes as child labor reform, extension of the probation system, a state reformatory for women, and separate juvenile courts. Her volunteerism even extended to taking in street children into her own home until she could find adequate placement for them. She participated in investigations into white slavery, leading to the passing of the Mann Act, while also fighting for the right to vote.

After 1919, however, Philbrook's focus became the complete emancipation of women, especially in New Jersey. She resigned from a position for the City of Newark in protest because she was being treated differently from the men, assigned only cases in family law, and not given the same desk or office space as other legal assistants in the office. During that period, women's rights made many advances, with the adoption of an international treaty by the Pan‐American states at Montevideo.  The treaty included an equal rights provision, and with the 1937 League of Nations Assembly, appointment of a committee to examine the legal status of women around the world. Mary then proceeded to organize several committees and write various petitions to amend the state constitution to include an equal rights provision and reword the preamble to affirm women's rights.  Mary's final major triumph was the replacement of references to "men" in the New Jersey Constitution with references to "persons."

After prolonged illness, Mary Philbrook passed away on September 2, 1958. We should all be grateful for the many achievements she accomplished throughout her life.


  • The Honorable Lillian Ransom, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia
  • Frank P. Cervone, Esq., Director, Support Center for Child Advocates, Philadelphia


  • Renee Steinhagen, Esq., Executive Director, Public Interest Law Center, New Jersey
  • William H. Buckman, Esq. ‘78, Private Practitioner, Morristown, N.J.


  • Alba E. Martinez, Esq., Former Commissioner, Department of Human Services, Philadelphia


  • The Honorable Judith H. Wizmur ‘74, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge, Camden, N.J.


  • Judith Bernstein-Baker, Esq,. HIAS and Council, Migration Service of Philadelphia
  • Carole Wood, Esq., Immigration Coordinator, Camden Center for Law and Social Justice


  • The Honorable Theodore A. McKee, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit


  • Catherine C. Carr, Esq., Executive Director, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia


  • The Honorable Deborah Poritz (ret.), Chief Justice, New Jersey Supreme Court


  • Carol E. Tracy, Esq., Executive Director, The Women’s Law Project, Philadelphia


  • Yvonne Smith Segars, Esq., Public Defender for The State of New Jersey


  • Drewry Nash Fennell, Executive Director, Delaware Criminal Justice Council


  • Harold B. Garwin, Esq., Executive Director, Community Health Law Project


  • The Honorable Virginia Long (ret.), Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court


  • Tiffany Palmer ‘98, Social Justice Activist and Shareholder, Jerner & Palmer, P.C.


  • The Honorable Marsha H. Neifield, Presiding Judge of Philadelphia Municipal Court
  • Sally Goldfarb Professor of Law, The Domestic Violence Program, Rutgers Law School


  • Michael Taub, Staff Attorney and Director of the Veterans Project of the Homeless Advocacy Project


  • Harold Katz '77, Deputy Public Defender, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender
  • Joseph Moran, Acting First Assistant Deputy Public Defender, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender

Listed By Law School Graduation Year

Nii Obeng (Sonny) Ankrah, 1999 

Jacqueline Caban, 1999

Meredith Schalick, 1999

Kevin Walsh, 1999

Jean Connolly, 2000

Elizabeth Livingstone, 2000

Kay  Radwanski, 2000

Robert   Wright,  2000

Kelly Coia, 2000

Susanna Gray, 2000

Valarie McPherson, 2000

Karen Francis, 2001

Christine Heer, 2001

Danielle Joseph, 2001

John Price, 2001

Marisa Krause, 2001

James Lubrich, 2001

Zoe McLaughlin, 2001

Michael Schleigh, 2001

Mellany Alio, 2002

Lynne Killmeyer, 2002

Jodina Hoobler-Hicks, 2002

Megan Willoughby, 2002

John Cardwell, 2002

Sharon L. Piccioni, 2002

Lisa Raufer, 2002

Dalia Zaza, 2002

Ellen Bailey, 2003

Matt Burns, 2003

Jared  Littman,  2003

Blaise  Pittman,  2003

Debra   Rainey,  2003

Kimm Tynan, 2003

Rachel Fais Partyka, 2003

Stephanie Sanderson, 2003

Carolyn Buccerone, 2004

Keith Campbell, 2004

Trevor Kwan, 2004

Bill  McLaughlin, 2004

Belinda  Roberts,  2004

Krista Trani, 2004

Oliver Cleary, 2004

Keith Walsh, 2004

Matthew Abatemarco, 2005

William “Rob” Frantz, 2005

Daniella Gordon, 2005

Shawnda Grady, 2005

Maggie Niebler, 2005

Joseph Turk, 2005

Temperance Williamson, 2005

Kristy Hausinger, 2005

Kyle G. Phillips, 2005

Macavan Baird, 2006

Sam Hoffman, 2006

Amanda M. Lanham, 2006

Robert “Reb” Loucas, 2006

Kristina Rencic, 2006

Jennifer Shamwell, 2006

Dina Wizmur, 2006

Lisa Junghahn, 2006

Kevin Leipow, 2006

Bridget Coyne, 2007

David Gallivan, 2007

Maria Hernandez, 2007

Jeffrey Klamut, 2007

Robert O’Brien, 2007

Matthew Rudolphi, 2007

Sarah Wang, 2007

Lloyd Freeman, 2007

Wesley Huber, 2007

Kimberly Wong, 2007

Marissa Band, 2008

Carrie S. Ford, 2008

Ariel Gornizky, 2008

Esther Huang, 2008

Tiffany Dionne Johnson, 2008

Zorayda J. Moreira-Smith, 2008

Catherine Salansky, 2008

Gregory B. Thomlison, 2008

Joseph A. Venti, 2008

Michelle A. Westcoat, 2008

Lynda Hinkle, 2009

Shana Mattson, 2009

Nhan Tu, 2009

Catherine Williams, 2009

Conor Wilson, 2009

Laura Ann Pontelandolfo, 2009

Melissa Bowe, 2010

Lisa Geis, 2010

Amanda Harber, 2010

Cori Harvey, 2010

Jonathan Klein, 2010

Andrew Linenberg, 2010

Chris   Markos, 2010

Noah Marlier, 2010

Melissa  Osorio, 2010

Jenna Fliszar, 2010

Suehail   Perez, 2010

Beverly Beaver, 2011

Brian Robert Brotman, 2011

Jason Fortenberry, 2011

Jeanette Kwon, 2011

Kate Reilly, 2011

Michael P. Sawka, 2011

Erik L. Solivan, 2011

Michael Christian Younker, 2011

Jocelyn Fowler, 2011

Christine McDevitt, 2011

Theodora Stringham, 2011

Elliott Almanza, 2012

Alysa Castro, 2012

Brandon  Croker,  2012

Matt  DePasquale,  2012

Elena Fikaris, 2012

Jacquie Huynh-Linenberg, 2012

Wali Rushdan II, 2012

Brisa De Angulo, 2012

Parker Palmer, 2012

Kayci Petenko, 2012

Abraham Tran, 2012

Jennifer Kim, 2013

Jennifer Martin, 2013

Colleen McCafferty, 2013

Michael Perez, 2013

Jonathan Sacks, 2013

Ryan Schaffer, 2013

Matan Shmuel, 2013

Kiomeiry Csepes, 2013

Amanda Dalton, 2013

Maura Burk, 2014

Iveliz Crespo, 2014

Tiara Greene, 2014

Samantha Gross, 2014

Maureen Ingersoll, 2014

Ragner Jaeger, 2014

Stephen Raab, 2014

Amanda Follett, 2014

Kathleen Kelliher, 2014

Michelle Ringel, 2014

Justin Kozinn, 2015

Matthew Lewis, 2015

Staven Salinger, 2015

Amy Sobotka, 2015

Jacquelyn Suarez, 2015

Xiomara Uran, 2015

Alexi Velez, 2015

Ryann Aaron, 2016

Linwood Donelson, 2016

Frantz Duncan, 2016

Alexis Franklin, 2016

Caitlin Faye, 2016

Amanda O'Keefe, 2016

Sade Calin, 2016

Carly Campoli, 2016

Mary-Kate Collins, 2016

Jason Kanterman, 2016

Rachel Lamb, 2016

Kathryn Morris, 2016

Leigh Kelsey O'Donnell, 2016

Kisha Pinnock, 2016

Emily Preziosa, 2016

Allan Zhang, 2016

Amanda Deptula, 2017

Brooke Lewis, 2017

Christopher Bustamente Osario, 2018

Daniel Dowdy, 2018

Blair Gerold, 2018

Eric Macias Intriago, 2018

Sandra Reed, 2018

Domenico Stockton-Rossini, 2018

Amelia Vangellow, 2018

Shahidah Williams, 2018

The Philbrook Celebration began in 1986, as the successor event to the Rutgers Women’s Law Caucus’ networking dinner.  The Rutgers Women’s Law Caucus was founded in the 1970s to advocate for equal treatment for women in the legal profession and in society, educate its members and the law school community about legal issues affecting women’s lives, and provide opportunities for women law students, faculty, attorneys and judges to network with each other.  In 1986, at the suggestion of Professor Ann Freedman, its faculty advisor, the Women’s Law Caucus joined with other law school student organizations, interested faculty and alumni to re-invent the WLC’s annual gathering of students, faculty and alumni as the Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award Celebration. Professor Robert F. Williams suggested naming the award after Mary Philbrook because of her path-breaking achievements as New Jersey’s first woman lawyer, her role in obtaining the equal rights provision of the 1947 New Jersey state constitution, and her outstanding career as an advocate for social justice and equality.  Val Myntti, ’87, the chairperson of the original Philbrook Celebration, and the Honorable Betty J. Lester, of the Superior Court, Essex County, New Jersey, the first Philbrook honoree, helped us start the enjoyable Philbrook tradition of combining a wonderful social occasion with inspiring reflections on a life and career shaped by dedication to the public interest.  Linda J. Wharton, ’81 (also our 1992 Philbrook honoree), and Dean Angela V. Baker, ’85, are members of the first Philbrook organizing committee who continue to be involved today.  

In 1998, when Professor Louis S. Rulli, ’74, was the Philbrook honoree, the law school’s Alumni Association became a co-sponsor of the event with the Women’s Law Caucus.  The next year, at the suggestion of Professors Rulli and Freedman, the event sponsors inaugurated the Mary Philbrook Student Public Interest Awards, which have allowed the law school community to recognize dozens of outstanding students for their dedicated work on behalf of social justice and equality.  In 2000, the Association for Public Interest Law joined the Women’s Law Caucus and the Alumni Association as a co-sponsor of the program, helping to take the event to another level.  In 2005, the Camden County Bar Association became the event’s fourth official sponsor, and Professor Freedman was honored for her role in promoting the spirit of Mary Philbrook in the Rutgers Law School community and for her ongoing leadership in creating each year’s celebration. 

From 1986 to the present, the Mary Philbrook Award Celebration has benefited from outstanding leadership on the part of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and members of the bench and bar.  While their names are too numerous to list, we want to express our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has helped create the distinctive tradition which has now continued for a quarter of a century. 

Over the years, Lisa Alston, Diana Avella, Jay Cholera, Linda Comuso, Christen Conway, Kate Cranston, Susan Doughty, Rob Goodman, Theresa McCuen, Colleen McNally, Pam Mertsock-Wolfe, Teresa Moffett, Zaharati Morfesis, Donna Rabena, Jane W. Rhodes and Carol Shaner have provided staff support above and beyond the call of duty.  The Campus Center staff, Dining, Events Office, Facilities, Rutgers Camden IT, and Media Relations Departments have provided expert and invaluable assistance.  Associate Chancellor Mary Beth Daisey, the Honorable Jack  Sabatino, Deans Victoria Chase and Angela V. Baker, and Professor John Beckerman have assumed critical leadership roles and helped mentor the students involved in creating the event.  Former Assistant Dean Eve Biskin Klothen played an important role in embedding the Philbrook celebration in the law school’s culture, expanding the event’s support for student public interest work and strengthening ties with the legal community. Special thanks are due to the outstanding honorees who have graced us with their presence and inspired us by their work, as well as to Chancellor Phoebe Haddon, former Chancellor Wendell Pritchett and former Deans John Pittenger, Rick Singer, Paul Robinson, Roger Dennis (also our former Provost), Jay Feinman, Rayman Solomon (another former Provost), John Oberdiek, and current co-deans Michael Cahill and Ron Chen, who have always provided generous support, financial and otherwise, to make this event possible.