The Many Ways You Give Back: Marty Feinman L’83

Syracuse Law alumni help their alma mater in many ways, and in this feature, we offer a few vignettes about how they have offered their time and talent over the past year—from creating scholarships, guest lecturing, to hosting externs, to hiring graduates, and more.
We not only ask what alums are doing but why they do it. Remember, every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. 


Supporting Careers in Social Justice Law 

Marty Feinman L'83 visits Professor Lauryn Gouldin's Criminal Justice Reform Seminar in October 2021
Marty Feinman L’83 visits Professor Lauryn Gouldin’s 
Criminal Justice Reform Seminar in October 2021.

Marty Feinman L’83, Director of Juvenile Justice Training, The Legal Aid Society, is shown visiting Dineen Hall in October 2021, where he had lunch with the executive board of the Syracuse Public Interest Network, met with students interested in public interest law careers through a dedicated “office hour,” and later visited Professor Lauryn Gouldin’s Criminal Justice Reform Seminar to discuss the evolving world of juvenile justice.

Feinman has more than 30 years of experience in the field of social and juvenile justice, advocating for children and families, defending indigent adults, training young attorneys, and advising policymakers.

For many years, he has supported student exploration of careers in public interest law careers through the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic and the Syracuse Public Interest Network, by encouraging The Legal Aid Society to host Syracuse interns and externs and to hire graduates, and in recent years by funding fellowships to help build a deeper bench of advocates for the field.

In addition to continuing his direct interactions with students as a mentor and guest lecturer, in fall 2021 Feinman will endow a special fellowship fund to support students who wish to pursue a career in the field he has so passionately represented. 

Feinman Quote

Specifically, distributions from the fund will make available, on an annual basis, three fellowships in support of students who wish to pursue a career in public interest and who demonstrate a commitment to the field with a focus on criminal defense on behalf of indigent persons and juvenile justice. The annual Feinman Fellowship Awards seek to build the field by reducing the impact of the financial barriers an externship or job in certain positions present. 

Two awards of $2,500 will be conferred to 3L students who select for their externship a public interest or public service position, and a postgraduate fellowship award of $5,000 will be made to a graduating student who chooses in their final spring semester to pursue and accept postgraduate employment in the field.

In considering applications, preference will be given to students who secure an externship doing (a) criminal defense work on behalf of indigent persons; and/or (b) legal advocacy on behalf of children in the juvenile justice system or direct representation of children in the welfare system; and/or (c) legal policy or research promoting criminal and/or juvenile justice reform on behalf of an organization whose mission it is to represent the rights of those populations.

As Feinman told Syracuse Law magazine in November 2020, “Social justice law work can be intimidating and emotionally overwhelming, but on the flip side, it’s just so extraordinarily rewarding. You are engaged in work that can be life-saving and difference-making.” With this new endowed fund, he is betting on Syracuse Law students to continue the important work of representing our most vulnerable populations and ensuring their equal access to justice.