Penny M. Venetis Appointed Executive Vice President and Legal Director of Legal Momentum—National Legal Group Dedicated to Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls

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December 15, 2014

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Jean Gazis


Penny M. Venetis, Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the International Human Rights Clinic, and Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise Scholar at Rutgers University, will join Legal Momentum as Executive Vice President and Legal Director, effective January, 2015. Legal Momentum is a leading national legal organization that advances the rights of women and girls through effective policy advocacy, judicial education, and impact litigation.

Professor Venetis will lead Legal Momentum’s litigation, policy and other advocacy efforts to protect women’s rights. As Executive Vice President and Legal Director, she will work closely with Legal Momentum’s programs that address fairness in the courts, violence against women, employment equity, and economic security. She will also work on developing ways to fight human trafficking, and preventing and punishing sexual assaults on campuses. Professor Venetis is taking a leave of absence from Rutgers School of Law–Newark, where she has taught since 1994. At Rutgers, she specializes in civil rights and international human rights impact litigation She instituted women’s rights projects in the Rutgers Law School clinics, developed human trafficking advocacy projects, and recruited and supervised pro bono attorneys from major law firms to work on the Clinic’s landmark cases.

Prior to joining Rutgers, Professor Venetis clerked for Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. She also practiced law with the firm O’Melveny & Myers. Professor Venetis is the author of numerous articles on the topic of enforcing human rights in the United States. She received her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, her master’s degrees from Columbia University and her J.D. (cum laude) from Boston College. She is a member of the bar for New Jersey, New York, and other courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. She has a lifelong passion for using the law as a tool for social change. “I’m excited to continue using the law to advance women’s rights and all human rights as a member of the Legal Momentum team," Ms. Venetis said.

Legal Momentum’s President and CEO, Carol Robles-Román, said, “Penny’s deep expertise in human rights law, her experience in U.S. and international civil rights litigation, and dedication to training future lawyers in gender and social justice issues perfectly complement Legal Momentum's mission and focus. I look forward to collaborating with her and with Rutgers Law School.”

“We are thrilled to see Penny embark on this next phase of her legal career. We are grateful for her innumerable contributions to the Law School and its students as an inspiring teacher, passionate litigator, and leader of the International Human Rights Clinic” added Acting Dean Ronald Chen, “We know that she will make great contributions to advancing women’s rights at Legal Momentum, and look forward to future opportunities to work with Penny to promote our shared vision of the law as an instrument to advance social justice.”

About Legal Momentum

Legal Momentum is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970 to advance the rights of women across the nation by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy in three areas: economic justice, freedom from gender-based violence, and equality under the law. Successful initiatives include judicial education programs on the realities of sexual assault and domestic violence; successful advocacy for the Violence Against Women Act; and representing women who have been subjected to workplace pregnancy and gender discrimination with precedent-setting litigation. For more information, visit