Meet Vanessa

Vanessa Cherena Page Banner.png

Vanessa is defending kids across the Bronx.  As Attorney-in-Charge of our Juvenile Rights Practice’s Bronx office, Vanessa oversees approximately 80 staff members, including attorneys, supervisors, social workers, and support staff. Every day, Vanessa coordinates legal services for hundreds of children, offering a voice to the next generation of New Yorkers.

Defending Young New Yorkers

80

Staff members in the Bronx JRP Office

As the head of the Juvenile Rights Practice’s (JRP) work in the Bronx, Vanessa manages one of the busiest offices in the city. Her tireless staff work on any number of cases for our young clients, from abuse and neglect to delinquency. Her office’s needs-based approach offers every child the services they need to thrive. Our staff not only gives these children a voice in their legal proceedings, but, as Vanessa explains “we have a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary team designed to meet every need for each child.” For our young clients, we provide anything from educational services to social work support.  Thankfully, Vanessa’s team “always comes together to get positive outcomes for these children” Throughout the Bronx office, we work to give these children a better future.

A Lifetime At The Legal Aid Society

“I knew I was a lifer since day one.”

Vanessa’s career at The Legal Aid Society has finally come full circle. Vanessa became the Attorney-in-Charge of the Bronx Office earlier this year, but, even at a young age, Vanessa says “I knew I wanted to work with young people.” In 1990, she started in our JRP as a paralegal. For her, it was the start of something special. Vanessa was inspired by the difference our staff made and shortly realized “how impactful this work is.” A year and a half later, she went to law school so she could become a public interest lawyer for children in need. On graduating from CUNY Law School, Vanessa got a call from the Attorney-in-Charge of the Bronx JRP office, who had been her supervisor during her days as a paralegal. Vanessa got a job in the Bronx office and over the years has risen through the ranks to become the Attorney-in-Charge. Now, after more than 20 years with JRP, Vanessa is just as sure about her future as ever before: “I knew I was a lifer since day one.” And if you ask her why, it’s not just the life-changing work we do every day, it’s the community. For Vanessa, The Legal Aid Society “is a family. We take care of each other: colleagues, staff, and clients.” Together, our Bronx office is making our city a better place for the youngest New Yorkers, one client at a time.

Want To Join The Fight?

With your help, Vanessa and her colleagues can make equal justice a reality
for even more New Yorkers in need.