Dora Galacatos (LAW ’96), senior counsel at Fordham Law’s Feerick Center for Social Justice, received the Medal of Honor from Manhattan Legal Services at its 2011 Awards Reception.
Galacatos was recognized for her work with the Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO), which helps low-income New York City residents with consumer debt-collection cases and issues.
Galacatos has helped establish the CLARO program in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island, where these programs have helped thousands of pro se litigants represent themselves in civil court debt collection actions. She has also coordinated efforts to pilot Domestic Violence (DV) CLARO as part of the Feerick Center’s Domestic Violence and Consumer Law Project.
Galacatos’s involvement with CLARO includes working with student groups at Fordham Law, New York University Law School, New York Law School and Wagner College. These student groups help administer the three New York City CLARO offices. In addition, Galacatos has helped organize basic CLARO training programs and the first DV CLARO training program.
Galacatos has overseen the development of a CLARO program manual and the CLARO website and is working to overhaul data collection and tracking and to develop model pro se papers.
Cumulatively, the three CLARO offices have served more than 2,000 New Yorkers and involved almost 6,000 hours of service by more than 300 volunteer attorneys and volunteer students.
The CLARO programs operate under the auspices of the New York State Access to Justice Program and involve partnerships among legal services offices, bar associations and academic institutions. Manhattan Legal Services is a co-sponsor of Manhattan CLARO, along with the New York County Lawyers’ Association, the Feerick Center, Fordham Law’s Consumer Law Advocates and the law school’s Tax and Consumer Litigation Clinic.