Classie Colinet

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Deputy Director

Classie is a strategic leader, attorney, and social justice advocate who has dedicated her career to public service and the advancement of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. She leverages her strong organizational, management, coaching, analytical and writing skills to analyze, structure, develop and implement systems that foster successful outcomes.

For more than a decade, Classie served as an attorney representing the interests of clients from underserved communities.  While serving as an Assistant Deputy Public Defender for the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, she also led the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives for the organization as the Chair of the statewide DEI committee tasked with creating the strategic DEI plan for the organization, and designing, developing, and implementing DEI initiatives.

Throughout her career as a defense attorney representing primarily Black, Latinx and impoverished individuals, Classie’s objective was always to promote racial equity by advocating for the elimination of policies and practices that undermined the fair administration of justice. She also has a deep commitment to community service and has served the communities in which she lived and worked in many ways. Classie is very involved in the New Jersey State Bar Association and has previously served as Chair of the Minorities in the Profession section, Co-Chair of the Child Welfare Law Section, Co-Chair of the Task Force for Racial Equity, 2021-2022 Leadership Academy Fellow, and member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging committee of the Bar Foundation. Classie is also very involved in the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey (ABWL) and leads the organization’s law student mentoring program.  She is also a member of ABWL’s Social Justice Committee and has served as a representative for the organization at various health equity events, including planning the first ever health equity collaborative event with the Trenton New Jersey YMCA aimed at combatting diseases such as diabetes and obesity among youth. Classie is keenly aware and understands that health inequities in neighborhoods heavily populated by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous individuals are often a direct result of environmental injustices such as close proximity to trash incinerators, exposure to industrial chemicals, high levels of lead, and air pollution, and she is dedicated to finding effective solutions to eliminate the factors that contribute to the associated harmful results.

Classie is a prolific public speaker who has facilitated national and regional trainings and presentations related to Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She has facilitated trainings for several national and local organizations, including the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association, The Kempe Center (International Conference), Rutgers Law School, New Jersey Superior Court Committee for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (Vicinage 13), New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, New Jersey Career Consortium, and the Passaic County Bar Association in New Jersey.

Classie received both her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from Boston College. She also earned professional certificates in Diversity and Inclusion from Yale University and Cornell University.