As every law student knows, because something is difficult is no reason not to try. A challenge is just another reason to give it your all. For Billy Diggs, 2L, it’s also about driving yourself to see just how far you can go. Already, he has earned an impressive list of accomplishments. He received one of Seton Hall Law’s first Success Scholarships for outstanding achievement during his first year. He externed last summer with N.J. Supreme Court Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia and last fall with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. And he’s earned an internship for this summer with the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) where he plans to serve upon graduation.
Billy had not originally planned on entering the JAG. As an undergraduate at Boston University, he chose to major in business administration and joined the Air Force ROTC. Then beginning in his sophomore year, he took a couple of law courses and a dream he held as a child resurfaced. He recalled that growing up in Verona, he had developed an interest in the work of lawyers. “I was attracted to the influence lawyers have on people’s lives and the role they play in keeping our communities safe,” he says. “I thought it was something I would like to do.”
As a judge advocate, he will have the opportunity to work in multiple facets of the law. Similar to the position of general counsel, judge advocates are responsible for providing guidance on legal issues ranging from contracts, to employment law, to military justice.
Paying for law school through loans, Billy explains that the $25,000 Success Scholarship, funded by Kevin and Jane Kilcullen, came as a particularly meaningful gift.
“Law school is expensive and I do not plan on working for a high-paying firm immediately after graduation,” he says. “It means a great deal that the Kilcullens have reached out to help law students reach their goals. Being able to reduce my debt will make it less of a struggle as I begin my legal career.”
The Kilcullens pledged $125,000 as part of the Seton Hall Law Rising campaign for the Success Scholarship program. Success Scholarships are awarded to students who did not receive any scholarship support during their first year and have demonstrated an ability to succeed in law. In creating the scholarship, Kevin Kilcullen, Partner at Stern and Kilcullen, noted that “education is the key to unlocking the future” and that he and his wife wanted to open that door for those with the motivation to succeed.
Not only is Billy succeeding academically, as a student at Seton Hall Law he is gaining practical experience in different areas of the law that will serve him well as he begins his career as a JAG. In addition to his externships, Billy is a member of the Law Review and will serve as its Managing Editor for volume 40. He also is President of the Family Law Society and a member of the Criminal Law Society.
"This is a wonderful place to learn the law,” he says. “If you put the effort into it, the school is going to reward you with lots of opportunities to excel and prepare for a career in law.”