Hany Mawla '98, Judge, New Jersey Superior Court
The New Jersey State Senate confirmed the appointment of Hany Mawla ’98 to the Family Division of the Superior Court in Somerset County.
The New Jersey State Senate confirmed the appointment of Hany Mawla ’98 to the Family Division of the Superior Court in Somerset County. Mawla, who sits on the Dean’s Diversity Council at Seton Hall Law, is one of the youngest judges on the bench at just 36 years old and has the distinction of being not only the first American-Arab Muslim, but the first American Muslim of any background to ascend to the Superior Court in New Jersey, according to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of New Jersey.
“It confirms our society’s commitment to reward both merit and effort, but more importantly, it allows Arabs and Muslims to tell the American story,” said Mawla. His ascension to the bench was not something he did alone, he added. Support from the Arab Muslim Community in New Jersey as well as connections he fostered while at Seton Hall Law played a role in his appointment.
He credits the law school with helping to steer him onto his career path. During his second year, Mawla went to the Office of Career Services in search of summer employment. “I was looking for a change from what I was doing in the [previous] summer,” he said. Seton Hall Law stresses the importance of both internships and clerkships within the judiciary. Quickly, Mawla found a judge who was looking for an intern.
During the summer between his second and third years, Mawla interned for Judge Craig Randall Harris, who was working for the Family Law Division in Essex County, where many high stakes matrimonial cases were being litigated. During his third year, Mawla loaded up on family law courses and interned in the Family Law Clinic at Seton Hall Law’s Center for Social Justice.
After graduating from Seton Hall Law, Mawla then went on to clerk for Judge Harris, which allowed him to continue to rub elbows with some of the best matrimonial attorneys in the state — and hone his legal skills.
He secured a position at the family law firm of Newman McDonough Schofel & Giger after his clerkship and later joined Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti. In 2003, he joined Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis—where he became a partner in 2007—and continued to specialize in family law and matrimony cases.
“There was never, ever a boring day. The ability to help good people on their worst day, as matrimonial lawyers say, was something I enjoyed very much. As a lawyer, I read that a prominent New Jersey jurist once said, 'lawyers are a helping profession.' I think he was right when said that,” remarked Mawla.
Mawla said New Jersey stands out from the rest of the nation in terms of being fair and equitable to both sexes, as well as children with respect to family law. “I’m a student of the case law and some of the finest opinions that have been written in New Jersey surround family law and matrimonial law,” he said.
The school’s emphasis on academics continues to play a pivotal role in his professional career. “The academics were the most important part of my time here at Seton Hall. My biggest benefit was really the classroom time and what I learned from the professors. Among many things, that’s what opened doors for me. It is a very special group to be a part of; to be a Seton Hall Law alum. The school’s reputation continues to exceed prior years,” he said.