Thomas Maligno is Director of ProBono and Public Interest at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and Executive Director of its William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center (PAC), which was created by Touro Law in 2007 to bring together non-profit legal advocacy agencies to provide services to the community while providing opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work and gain hands-on legal training. Housed within the law school, the Center provides furnished offices to the advocacy groups. He oversees the Public Advocacy Center and works with its agencies and Touro Law students.
In addition to working with the PAC, Mr. Maligno has developed a wide range of public interest career opportunities for Touro Law students and graduates, and has been a highly visible supporter of pro bono activities at the law school. He is the advisor for the Public Interest Law Organization of Touro (PILOT) and works with the organization in securing summer fellowships. Beyond helping students to fulfill their pro bono requirements, Mr. Maligno has been instrumental in helping students develop an understanding of the value of pro bono work. Student fellows defend the victims of domestic violence, guard the legal interests of children, and work with advocacy groups on a broad spectrum of poverty and civil rights issues. At Touro Law, Mr. Maligno uses the same creative energy for which he is known and applies it to the provision of pro bono work by students and PAC agencies. He serves as a role model for students and those in the community and is a strong advocate for public interest and pro bono work. He instills these values in our students and in everyone he meets.
During his more than 40-year career in public interest law, Mr. Maligno has received numerous state, local and national awards for his efforts in pro bono and public interest work. He has been part of the organized pro bono movement since 1978 when he helped create the Pro Bono Project on Long Island and his leadership was integral in creating a nationally recognized volunteer effort. His ability to bring together the private bar, public interest community, government, and legal services contributed to the success of the project. In 1989, Mr. Maligno left the Pro Bono Project to become the Executive Director of Nassau Suffolk Law Services, one of the largest legal services program in the country. During his tenure, the organization was often acknowledged for its creative ways of assisting clients. Mr. Maligno has a nationwide reputation for promoting pro bono representation and is a consultant for the American Bar Association, helping to organize pro bono efforts in numerous communities across the United States. He is also the leader of the organized pro bono effort of both local bar associations; the Nassau County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Bar Association.
Most recently, Mr. Maligno has been a leader in Touro Law Center’s disaster response for both Hurricane Sandy and the COVID pandemic. He helped create our disaster response hotline for Hurricane Sandy which was the predecessor to Touro Law’s nationally recognized Disaster Law Clinic. In response to his efforts, he was asked by FEMA to become a senior attorney advisor to assist them in reforming the disaster response system. Mr. Maligno has also been an integral part of building a network of immigration advocates for Long Island and has been a leader in building that coalition to better serve this growing population.