On March 9, 2023, hundreds of individuals—including immigration lawyers, advocates, government officials, academics, journalists, and philanthropists—gathered for a symposium at Fordham University School of Law entitled Looking Back and Looking Forward: Fifteen Years of Advancing Immigrant Representation. The symposium was organized by the Fordham Law Review and sponsored by law school centers and clinics, nonprofit organizations, and the Katzmann Study Group on Immigrant Representation (the “Study Group”). For members of the Study Group, the day was particularly poignant because several sessions at the symposium honored the life and accomplishments of the Hon. Robert A. Katzmann, the Study Group’s founder and former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Among the speakers who paid tribute to Judge Katzmann were Elizabeth Fine, counsel to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, and Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Fordham University School of Law posthumously awarded Judge Katzmann the Fordham-Stein Prize. His wife, Jennifer Callahan, accepted both the prize and the honorary doctorate that Fordham had bestowed on Judge Katzmann in 2020.
This year’s symposium was the fourth that the Study Group has played a role in organizing. In 2009, as I describe in greater detail below, Judge Katzmann was invited to deliver the Robert L. Levine Distinguished Lecture at Fordham University School of Law. He brought together a diverse set of colleagues to brainstorm solutions to the immigrant representation crisis. In 2011, we met at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where the Study Group unveiled the preliminary findings of the New York Immigrant Representation Study and announced a pilot project to create what was then known as the New York City Immigrant Representation Fellows Program. In 2018, we convened again at Fordham to mark ten years of the Study Group’s work.