Attending law school gives individuals the opportunity to act selflessly and help others. Being a part of the Seton Hall Law School community and engaging with those in dire need of legal assistance is at the core of the Law School’s mission. As a member of the Seton Hall Law community, I’m proud to have taken the opportunity to help families detained in Karnes, Texas during Spring Break.
I initially did not see the e-mail for the Karnes trip. I will admit there are many e-mails that I delete without reading because I know that most of the opportunities offered do not fit my life. I am part of Seton Hall Law’s first weekend class. I commute from Long Island. I work full-time in a state trial court. I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and take on many other roles throughout the day. My life is hectic.
The Leadership Fellows Program at Seton Hall Law provides a unique opportunity for law students to cultivate essential leadership skills through experiential learning, teaching, engaging with select readings, participating in the Leadership Speaks series, and planning and executing a dynamic leadership project. Here is how this year's Leadership Fellows Amy Eng ('20) and Deidre Cooney ('20) describe their experiences in the program:
On the first day of orientation, Dean Boozang approached the podium and announced an obvious, but difficult truth to grasp: “Ninety-percent of you in this room will not be in the top ten-percent of your class.” As future lawyers, we know the profound impact grades can have and can get caught in the trap of constantly checking and calculating GPA. Yet it is a sad and undeniable truth of law school: not everyone can be top of the class. But this in no way means that the other ninety-percent of the class has no hope of success. In Professor Paula Franzese’s Leadership Fellows Program and its attendant Leadership, Ethics and Decision-Making class, students learn that grades are only one aspect of a multidimensional you.
Lawyers are leaders, whether in the courtroom, the boardroom, or on the political stage. But being an effective lawyer requires more than a mastery of legal terminology and knowledge of the intricacies of our justice system. It requires keen leadership, expert acumen, and strength of judgment. It requires the ability to fashion a vision for the bigger picture and, more importantly, the ability to create a desire in others to adopt that vision. And yet studies show that lawyers lack the critical leadership skills that are necessary for success, including stepping out of established comfort zones, embracing collaboration, and cultivating empathy.
The Leadership Fellows Program seeks to change that by providing law students with a unique opportunity to develop effective leadership skills.
Photo: Leadership Fellows Max Mescall, Mary Bessemer, Joanita Gakami, Nick Carlson and Cornelia Szymanski
The Leadership Fellows Program at Seton Hall Law provides a unique opportunity for law students to cultivate essential leadership skills through a series of interactive activities, reflections, and ultimately, through the planning and execution of a leadership project. Here is how Leadership Fellows Mary Bessemer ('18) and Cornelia Szymanski ('18) described their experiences in the program:
Crisis Negotiation is one of my favorite courses at Seton Hall Law. I acquired a newfound appreciation for active listening and the virtue of patience, especially when dealing with persons whose normal coping skills have failed.
Although everyone is aware of the benefits of clerking for a federal judge, too many students overlook the tremendous opportunity of being a clerk in the New Jersey state courts. First, the opportunities for a judicial clerkship are plentiful, with over 400 trial and appellate Superior Court judges in New Jersey compared to just 35 federal district court and magistrate judges in New Jersey.
Attorneys and law students across the country will be joining the National Pro Bono Celebration from October 23-29, 2016. The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service launched this important initiative because of the increasing need for vital pro bono services to help low-income individuals and non-profit groups.
As a law student, you can be involved in many activities and take a variety of classes. Here’s why volunteer legal work should be part of your law school experience:
My participation in the Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic was by far my most memorable experience in law school. Professor Farrin Anello assigned my partner and I to a time-sensitive case. The client was a young woman who recently fled Guatemala and had entered the United States without a visa. After being apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, she was sent to Delaney Hall Detention Center right here in Newark, where she was being held when we met her. Her bond hearing was rapidly approaching, and Catholic Charities brought her case to the attention of the Center for Social Justice. After reviewing the documents from our client’s initial interview with an asylum officer, we believed that she had a strong domestic violence-based asylum claim.
I was a member of the Interscholastic Moot Court Board while I was a student at Seton Hall Law, and I competed in three moot court competitions during that time. Moot Court enables students to compete against other schools to learn how to present issues and mock arguments before panels of practitioners and real judges. The students get scored on their performance. Through Moot Court, we learned the essential skill of presenting our case, speaking persuasively and clearly before an appellate panel. The process involves getting questions from professors and practitioners, who probe the issue that the students are to present before the mock appellate panel.