Gina M. Calabrese is a Professor of Clinical Education and the Associate Director of the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic (CJELC) at St. John's University School of Law. She is also Co-Director of the Public Interest Center. Professor Calabrese joined the St. John's faculty in 2001. In CJELC, law students represent low-income, older residents of Queens County in a variety of consumer matters, especially consumer debt, foreclosure, deed theft, and home improvement contractor disputes.
Professor Calabrese has been active in a variety of efforts to protect consumers entangled in debt litigation. In addition to supervising law students' direct representation of individual consumers, Professor Calabrese has successfully advocated to lawmakers and other officials. She has written amicus curiae briefs. She helped to establish the Queens CLARO office, which provides pro bono assistance to unrepresented consumers sued for debt. She continues to train law students for CLARO and Volunteer Lawyer for the Day pro bono programs.
Professor Calabrese was a key advocate for the passage of New York's Exempt Income Protection Act, ("EIPA"), which prevents judgment creditors from wrongful seizure of Social Security and other judgment-exempt funds. In collaboration with several New York public interest attorneys, she co-authored the model legislation on which the law was based. Her article about EIPA was originally published in the Empire Justice Center’s electronic Legal Services Journal. She has co-authored amicus briefs regarding the interpretation of EIPA
Professor Calabrese is widely recognized for her professional, policy, and scholarly achievements. Her co-authored article "Teaching Professionalism in Context: Insights from Students, Clients, Adversaries, and Judges," was published in the South Carolina Law Review. She has written, advocated for, and secured implementation of legal reforms to protect the procedural rights of consumers sued for defaulted debts. Professor Calabrese is also a frequent speaker on consumer debt and clinical education issues and has testified at local, state, and federal hearings on debt collection matters.
Professor Calabrese has served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Migration Services since 2013. From 2014-2017, she served as Chair of the Civil Court Committee of New York City Bar Association. Under her leadership, the Committee developed official Association positions that identified barriers to justice in court operations, and proposed solutions to improve access to justice for individuals, especially those who are unrepresented.
After graduation from law school, Professor Calabrese was an associate in the Litigation Department of the Los Angeles law firm of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine. In addition to representing the firm’s business clients, she represented children in a number of pro bono matters and authored a book chapter in The Women's Legal Guide, Barbara R. Hauser, Ed. She later headed the Litigation Department of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a California consumer advocacy group. During her five years at the Foundation (1994-1999), she won significant courtroom, regulatory, and legislative victories for consumers in the area of fair insurance rates and practices. She began her clinical teaching career at Brooklyn Law School's Elder Law Clinic and Hofstra Law School’s Housing Rights Clinic.
Professor Calabrese earned her B.A. from Columbia University (Columbia College) and her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.
ULC Consumer Observers’ Presentation, May 19, 2021
Brief of Amici Curiae, Franklin Arias v. Gutman, Mintz, Baker & Sonnenfeldt, P.C., and 1700 Development Co.. (1500), Inc., No. 16-2165-cv (2nd Cir. Apr. 20, 2017).
Second Circuit Decision in Franklin Arias v. Gutman, Mintz, Baker & Sonnenfeldt, P.C., and 1700 Development Co. (1500), Inc., No. 16-2165-cv (2nd Cir. Nov. 14, 2017).
People of the State of New York et al v. Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. et al, No. 450460/2016
Order Permitting NYC Bar Assocation to Appear as Amicus Curiae