In Memory of Amanda B. Norejko

Sanctuary for Families announces that the Director of its Matrimonial and Economic Justice Project will be renamed the “Amanda B. Norejko Fellowship” in memory of former Director Amanda B. Norejko, an extraordinarily dedicated and visionary champion of gender violence survivors.

Our dear friend and former colleague Amanda Norejko, who helped found and lead the Legal Center’s Matrimonial and Economic Justice Project (Mat/EJP) for over a decade, has passed away after a long battle with ovarian cancer. Amanda was an extraordinarily powerful, inspirational leader at Sanctuary and the Women’s Bar Association and her legacy of groundbreaking achievements and place in our hearts lives on.

To honor Amanda’s legacy, Sanctuary has announced that Lisa Vara, the Director of our Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project (Mat/EJP), is now the “Amanda B. Norejko Fellow” in memory of Amanda.

Joining Sanctuary as a student volunteer at NYU Law School in our Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP) alongside her future husband Ryan Candee, Amanda worked for sixteen years in Sanctuary’s Legal Center, where she played an indispensable role in the leadership of the Legal Center and the development of Mat/EJP. She specialized in the representation of survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking in complex contested divorces. Amanda also supervised a team of staff and pro bono attorneys in family law and matrimonial and housing and public benefits matters in all five boroughs of New York City.

Amanda also spearheaded legislative and policy initiatives aimed at combating violence against women and advancing gender equality and the fair administration of justice on the local, state, national, and international levels. She demonstrated on a daily basis what strategic, survivor-centered representation looks like and continues to inspire all of us, especially attorneys handling matrimonial cases. An expert practitioner, mentor, and teacher, Amanda provided a quality representation of the survivors we serve that was truly the gold standard. Her leadership made Sanctuary’s Legal Center stronger and more effective.

Amanda left Sanctuary for Families to become a Support Magistrate in New York County Family Court, where she presided over paternity and child and spousal support matters with great knowledge, compassion, fairness, and attention to issues of gender, racial, and economic equality.

We extend our deepest condolences to her devoted husband, Ryan Candee, and her parents and sister, as well as to her many close friends on Sanctuary’s staff and in the domestic violence survivor advocacy community.