Gina M. Calabrese
Professor of Clinical Education and Associate Director of the Elder
Fighting to protect the rights of the vulnerable and
underrepresented is what Gina Calabrese does on a daily basis. A
St. John’s School of Law Professor of Clinical Education and
Associate Director of the Elder Law Clinic, Professor Calabrese is
an example of true dedication and perseverance.
“The clinic’s goal is to promote social and economic justice. We
always receive enthusiastic support for our clinic work, which
encourages us to take on challenging cases, conduct community
outreach and promote new legal assistance initiatives.”
Before joining the School of Law, Professor Calabrese was
Litigation Director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights, a California consumer advocacy group. During her five years
at the Foundation, she won significant courtroom, regulatory, and
legislative victories for consumers in the area of fair insurance
rates and practices.
Prior to that, she was an associate with the Los Angeles law
firm of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine. In addition to representing
the firm's corporate clients, she represented children in a number
of pro bono matters. Professor Calabrese has
lectured and published in the areas of child advocacy,
professionalism and judgment enforcement, including co-authoring
model legislation that was recently enacted by New York
In 2000, she began teaching as an adjunct faculty member at the law
school and was exposed to the determination, dedication and
abilities of St. John’s students which motivated her to come on
board full time.
“The location, the students and the overall sense of community are
what initially attracted me to St. John’s. There is a strong sense
of community at the law school and throughout the entire
University. Queens is one of the most diverse places in the world
which makes it the perfect classroom, and the students are
motivated to represent their clients to the best of their
abilities, even when it requires extra preparation and
Professor Calabrese co-teaches the Elder Law Clinic with Professor
Ann Goldweber, Director of the clinic. Together, they supervise law
students in the clinic who handle clients and help students conduct
all of the legal activities related to the cases.
In addition to teaching at the clinic, Professor Calabrese is
also a co-founder of the Queens Chapter of the Civil Legal
Assistance and Referral Office (CLARO) – a pro bono advice
clinic for consumer debtors being sued by allege creditors in the
New York City Civil Court.
“CLARO sessions are conducted weekly in the courthouse, and are
staffed by volunteer attorneys, St. John’s law students and St.
John’s undergraduates in the legal studies program. Collaboration
is also a Vincentian value, and there is also a great collaborative
spirit here at St. John’s."
Through her involvement in each of these programs, Professor
Calabrese says the rewarding part is getting to watch her students’
professional growth and success over the course of a
“Students enter the clinic knowing nothing about the facts and
history of their cases and with little or no litigation experience.
Our programs teach students professional skills and values and that
will serve them well throughout their careers, in whatever they do.
We encourage students to apply their talents to their fullest
potential, with determination and hard work.”
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Students, Alumni and Faculty, visit our Web page.