Zitrin Foundation Provides Largest Endowed Gift in Law School’s History to Fund Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship


11.17.20 — To combat racism and create meaningful reforms in the criminal legal system, the Zitrin Foundation of San Francisco is establishing a $2.5 million endowed fund at Northeastern University School of Law to support the Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship. This is the single largest endowed gift to the law school in its history. Fellows will serve up to a one-year term at the School of Law, and will engage in litigation, writing amicus briefs, clinical supervision and work, policy advocacy, public education, restorative justice programs, educating law students, and research and scholarship.

“The Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship will exemplify the idea that justice is a value that runs through every part of our lives: from schools, to housing and voting suppression, to systemic racism, and to how we confront crime and incarceration. It is the fundamental purpose of our society that justice be provided for all people,” said Elizabeth Zitrin ’79, past president of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and vice chair of Witness to Innocence. Zitrin has pioneered collaborations between the death penalty abolition movement in the US and the international abolition community, convening the World Coalition’s General Assemblies held in the United States. Her recent work has focused on the power of innocence and the impact of exonerees in engaging prosecutors and other practitioners in ending wrongful convictions.

Zitrin is establishing the fellowship to honor the legacy of her parents, both children of immigrants, and the work her family has done fighting the death penalty, for reforms in the criminal legal system and for social justice. Her father, Dr. Arthur Zitrin, was an acclaimed physician, bioethicist and advocate against the death penalty. His work spanned decades, touched on major social issues and brought medical ethical issues to the forefront of the death penalty debate. Her mother, Dr. Charlotte Marker Zitrin, was a 1943 graduate of New York University Medical School, a pioneer in pediatric  medicine  and  in the treatment  of  phobias,  and  a  lifelong  social  justice  advocate.

“We are beyond thrilled with this incredibly generous support for our law school’s mission and goals,” said Dean James Hackney. “Social justice is at the heart of our law school and our commitment to criminal justice reform is reflected across the spectrum of our academic, clinical and co-op offerings. Among our many graduates who are leaders in advocating for the rule of law and justice, Elizabeth Zitrin has long stood out. Throughout her career, she has been a global leader in the anti-death penalty movement and a formidable defender for those wrongly convicted. We are so fortunate and grateful that she is establishing this fellowship to bolster the critical civil rights and human rights work necessary to ensure equal justice for all.”

The law school expects to post the Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship position in late winter/early spring on the human resources website.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.