New York Law School

About Us

Associate Dean Deborah Archer organized the Racial Justice Project in the fall of 2006. The goal was to create a legal advocacy initiative to protect the constitutional and civil rights of people who have been denied those rights on the basis of race and to increase public awareness of racism and racial injustice in the areas of education, employment, political participation, and criminal justice. Since then, the Project has worked to achieve these goals through the efforts of a growing number of faculty and student participants. To learn more about the individuals working on the Project, click their names below.

Deborah N. Archer (Project Director) | Tamara C. Belinfanti | Kirk Burkhalter | David ChangErika L. Wood

Deborah Archer Deborah N. Archer
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Director, Racial Justice Project
Specialties: Anti-Discrimination Law and Economic Justice, Civil Rights
An expert in the areas of civil rights, racial discrimination, Deborah N. Archer directs New York Law School’s Racial Justice Project and the Civil Rights Clinic. Associate Dean Archer was previously an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigated at the trial and appellate levels in cases involving affirmative action in higher education, employment discrimination, school desegregation, and voting rights. She was also a Marvin H. Karpatkin Fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union, where she was involved in federal and state litigation on issues of race and poverty. Prior to joining New York Law School, Associate Dean Archer was an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP.As the Director of the Racial Justice Project and the Civil Rights Clinic, Associate Dean Archer continues to work to protect the constitutional and civil rights of people of color and increase public awareness of racism, racial injustice, and structural racial inequality. Associate Dean Archer has also participated as amicus counsel in several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeal, including Ricci v. DeStefano, Fisher v. University of Texas, and Hithon v. Tyson Foods. Associate Dean Archer graduated with honors from Smith College in 1993 and was awarded her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1996. Thereafter, she clerked for Judge Alvin Thompson in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Associate Dean Archer is a member of the National Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She was selected as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar and has also served on the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Civil Rights Committee, and on the Committee on Civil Rights of the New York State Bar Association.
Tamara Belinfanti Tamara C. Belinfanti
Associate Professor of Law
Specialties: Corporate Law, Law and Culture
Tamara C. Belinfanti joined the Law School in the fall 2009 semester and will teach Contracts, Corporations, and a transactional skills course entitled “Closing the Deal.” Her teaching and scholarly interests are primarily in the fields of corporate law and law and culture. Previously, Professor Belinfanti was a corporate attorney at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. While at the law firm, she counseled domestic and international clients on U.S. securities and general corporate law matters; was co-editor of a securities law treatise, U.S. Regulation of the International Securities and Derivatives Market (Aspen, 2003); and participated in a law teaching pilot program in New York City public high schools. Professor Belinfanti’s recent article on the proxy advisory industry is forthcoming in the Stanford Journal of Law, Business & Finance. She is a legal aid volunteer and a member of the New York bar.
Kirk Burkhalter Kirk D. Burkhalter
Associate Professor of Law
Kirk D. Burkhalter ’04 joined the faculty in the fall 2010 semester and teaches Legal Practice. Previously, he was the Visiting Assistant Professor of Academic Support at Hofstra School of Law, where he taught Legal Methods. In addition, Professor Burkhalter helped Hofstra students adjust to the academic demands of law school and develop the skills to enable them to realize their full academic potential through workshops, seminars, and individual counseling. He also conducted workshops and seminars that focused on the analytical and organizational skills specific to preparation for the New York State Bar Examination. Professor Burkhalter was formerly the Associate Director of Academic Affairs and an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where he provided academic counseling and taught The Principles of Legal Analysis. He has also taught at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Before working in academia, he was an associate in the Corporate Securities and Finance practice group at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Professor Burkhalter also served 20 years in the New York City Police Department (NYPD), retiring as a detective first grade. He spent the majority of his career with the NYPD conducting long-term investigations into organized criminal enterprises and domestic, ecological, and industrial terrorism.
David Chang David Chang
Professor of Law
Specialty: Constitutional Law
At first glance, David Chang’s reserved exterior belies the deep feelings he has for righting society’s wrongs, especially with regard to racial discrimination. But his passion and commitment to addressing these issues quickly become clear not only through his conversation and writings, but also through his actions. Former cochair of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Professor Chang worked hard to combat some of the City’s most heinous incidents of brutality and to push for legislative remedies through the passage of anti–hate crimes statutes. He has written extensively on hate crimes legislation and the constitutionality of affirmative action policies. He has also worked with the Los Angeles–based Center for Law in the Public Interest. He is the former chairman of the Board of Directors of Pratt Area Community Council, an organization that serves a wide range of housing-related needs for low- and moderate-income residents of Brooklyn.
Erika Wood  Erika L. Wood
Associate Professor of Law
Erika L. Wood teaches Legal Practice at New York Law School. Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Wood was the Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, taught the Public Policy Advocacy Clinic at New York University School of Law, and was an attorney with the Legal Action Center. She has designed and launched major reform campaigns around the country, litigated complex civil rights cases, and authored several groundbreaking reports and numerous articles. Professor Wood provides legal counsel and strategic guidance to advocates, legislators and policymakers nationwide, and is a frequent speaker and commentator on voting rights, criminal justice reform, and racial justice issues. In 2009, Rutgers School of Law awarded her the Eric. R. Neisser Public Interest Award in recognition of her efforts to carry forward the Law School’s mission of providing liberty and justice for all. Professor Wood earned her BA cum laude from New York University, and graduated with honors from Rutgers School of Law where she earned the Kinoy-Stavis Fellowship and the Myron Harkavey prize.