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YU Announces $15 Million Gift To Launch Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice

The donation is the largest in the law school’s history and a major contributor to the university’s Rise Up fundraising campaign.
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November 17, 2022
L – R Isaac Perlmutter, YU President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, Laura Perlmutter Photo credit: Yeshiva University

Yeshiva University (YU), together with the Cardozo School of Law, will create The Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice at Cardozo Law supported by a $15 million gift from Isaac and Laura Permutter and the Permutter Foundation, it was announced by Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, president of YU and Melanie Leslie, Cardozo Law dean.

The donation is the largest in the law school’s history and a major contributor to the university’s Rise Up fundraising campaign.

In a statement, YU said the Center will: “train lawyers to prevent the use of junk science in court cases, fight wrongful convictions and obtain clemency for the unjustly incarcerated. It will focus on correcting the devastating consequences of junk science in the courtroom, a problem that is prevalent in the legal system and disproportionately impacts people of color.”

“We are tremendously grateful to Laura and Ike Perlmutter for this gift,” Berman said. “It builds on Cardozo’s proud tradition of innovation in the fight for justice, and it reaffirms Yeshiva’s core values of truth, compassion and redemption, among others.”

The Center will be led by civil rights attorney and criminal justice reform advocate Josh Dubin, who will serve as executive director. Derrick Hamilton, a formerly incarcerated individual who studied law in prison, will serve as deputy director.

“We are committed to seeking justice, equipping students and lawyers with the tools to confront junk science, and seeking clemency for those unjustly imprisoned,” Dubin said.

“It is essential that trial lawyers have a deep understanding of scientific evidence. The acceptance of and reliance on junk science has caused untold damage to the legitimacy of the court system and countless lives. The Perlmutters’ generous gift, and the new team at the Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice, will enable Cardozo to train generations of lawyers in the proper use of forensic science,” Leslie added.

 

According to the statement, the Center will have two components. The first will be a student field clinic called The Perlmutter Freedom Clinic at Cardozo Law that will focus on fighting wrongful convictions based on the misuse of scientific evidence and work to obtain clemency for individuals unjustly incarcerated. The second will be The Perlmutter Forensic Science Education Program and will feature a continuing legal education curriculum in scientific evidence designed for practicing attorneys.

The Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Foundation focuses on health care, social justice, the arts and community initiatives. For nearly 40 years, the Foundation and its founders, Laura and Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, have supported a diverse spectrum of causes, from donations to NYU Langone Medical Center to support cancer research to universities, cultural centers and first-responder organizations

As part of Yeshiva University, Cardozo School of Law specializes on teaching intellectual property law, alternative dispute resolution, public interest law, criminal justice and clinical education.

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