Why We Give
“The Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic was my single best experience in law school,” said Stephen F. Fusco 98C 01L.
Fusco works to raise much-needed funds for the Barton Clinic.
“When I am taking to people, I like to stress the impact of the Barton Clinic,” Fusco said. “The Barton Clinic is helping to rewrite the juvenile code. It helped rewrite the Georgia Code regarding the pimping of minors while I was a student and provides DFCS training, in addition to the academic work and research.”
In his first month as fundraising co-chair, Fusco emphasizes the direct impact the clinic has on children. “I want to put a face to contributions and help people see the connection between their gift and that child.
“I know the Barton Clinic needs funding,” he said. “Through my work, I meet a lot of attorneys who do pro bono work and are looking for ways to give money or give back.”
Fusco is passionate about the hands-on experience the clinic provides to students. “There isn’t anything else that had such a direct impact on me. I took away practical experience regarding the applications of the law rather than just the theory from the classroom.”
As a third-year student, he worked with the clinic to help change the statute governing the pimping of a minor from a misdemeanor to a felony.
“We did a fifty-state survey that showed Georgia was one of a few states remaining in which it was still a misdemeanor to pimp a child,” he said. “The Legislature took our language and used it for the legislation. It was awesome and such a huge victory.”
Fusco wanted to pursue public interest law, but like many Emory students, confronted the tough decision of private versus public law when he graduated. He chose private practice.
“I enjoy commercial and real estate law, but I am always looking for ways to provide direct impact to those less fortunate who can not afford private law firms,” Fusco said.
Serving on the Barton Clinic board and working with the Kids in Need of Dreams Truancy Intervention Project helps feed that desire.
“I help represent kids who are brought before the juvenile court on truancy charges,” he said. “I take on two to three pro bono cases a year with each case involving two to three hearings.”
In addition to his pro bono cases, Fusco mentors students at Emory Law and at his firm.
“I had such a fantastic experience at Emory,” he said. “I love pointing that out to people. I’ve been out of school for seven years. My work with the Barton Clinic has had more of an impact on me than anything else I learned in the classroom. I enjoy working with students and helping them develop different ideas or opening them up to new ones.”