The Strength of Community
Daniel Schiff was never a student at Seton Hall Law, but as a long-time member of the adjunct faculty his connections to the Law School community are just as strong.
Schiff’s first introduction to the Law School came through his daughter, Shoshana Schiff, a 1998 graduate and a partner at Trenk, DiPasquale, Webster, Della Fera & Sodono, P.C. in West Orange. Shortly thereafter, at the urging of Professor Paula Franzese, he accepted a position as an adjunct professor, which he continues to this day. This year, he further extended his connection to the Law School by contributing $100,000 to the Seton Hall Law Rising capital campaign to support the Law School’s Annual Fund.
Both a student of philosophy – he earned a Ph.D. in Ancient Philosophy – and an attorney, Schiff is quite pragmatic about his giving. “It has been said that it is better to give than to receive, and in my experience it is true that nothing feels better than lending a hand, especially when you know it’ll be put to good use,” he says. “Also, I personally feel very much at home at Seton Hall Law. From the person who greets me at the desk when I walk through the front door to Dean Hobbs, everyone makes me feel part of a community.” But even more than a community, Seton Hall Law, he says, is a place where diversity is valued and appreciated. “The whole spirit is one of being invited and welcomed,” he says. “It is a Catholic school that has not lost sight of its traditions and values, while drawing upon individuals from different cultures and religions to create a community that is full and open.”
At Seton Hall Law, Schiff teaches Jurisprudence, Philosophy of Law, and Law and Literature. All his courses are centered on the reading of “Great Books.” For him, teaching is also about giving and receiving in return. What he receives is the opportunity to reflect on and discuss the deeper issues and meaning of law with people who are curious and engaged.
Prior to becoming a lawyer and opening his own practice, Schiff & Schiff in West Long Branch, he was a college philosophy professor. As a professor, he explains, he enjoyed the academic life with its focus on reading, reflection, and scholarship. But the position, he says, also left him feeling that he wanted to become more active in the world. His answer was to earn his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
As a practicing attorney, who also teaches, he now enjoys the best of both worlds – the world of the thinker and the world of the doer. But beyond that, he says, is the personal satisfaction that comes from encouraging future attorneys to think deeply about the law and the truly valuable things of life. “As I tell my students, from a business perspective my courses will not help them directly to make more money. These courses can, however, help them to use their knowledge of law in a different way, as a beginning and entry point for reading and understanding the great works of the Western Tradition.”