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CSJ Scholars

A special opportunity to focus on international human rights, urban revitalization

Each year, the Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice (CSJ) selects two outstanding students from the first-year class who demonstrate a strong commitment to public service and who are planning public interest careers.

This opportunity is open to all students in their first year of law school, including day/evening part-time or full-time students. One CSJ Scholar works with the International Human Rights/Rule of Law Initiative on human rights investigations and petitions, as well as issues impacting immigrants in New Jersey, and the other CSJ Scholar assists the Urban Revitalization Initiative on issues of urban poverty, with a focus on education and housing. 

The Scholars, who will serve until graduation, are offered a range of public interest opportunities and benefits, including the chance to do an externship at the CSJ during their second year of law school, financial assistance, and a full-year of clinical courses in the final year of law school.

William Snowden is the 2011 CSJ Scholar in the Urban Revitalization Initiative. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology, Snowden worked as a paralegal at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York City. Snowden further enhanced his understanding of the legal system as an investigator at the Bronx Defenders, a renowned nonprofit public defender office that focuses on holistic defense for indigent clients in Bronx, NY. Residing in Brooklyn, Snowden became involved as a mentor with St. Vincent Services—a foster care agency—and taught cello lessons through UpBeat Bed-Stuy, a nonprofit organization that teaches music theory and performance to the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn. During his first year at Seton Hall Law, Snowden became an active member of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and is BLSA president for the 2011–12 school year. Additionally, he plays the cello regularly with his band, The Scheme.

In Snowden’s own words: “Through my public-interest work experience, I discovered the rewarding feeling that comes with giving voice to clients whose stories typically go unheard. My involvement with the community has reaffirmed my belief that the practice of law should be used as a means to protect the legal rights of all people. It is important for me to not only become an advocate in the courtroom, but in the community as well. I am looking forward to working with the Center for Social Justice and am confident that my experience with CSJ will serve as a pivotal stepping stone along my public interest career path.”

As a CSJ Scholar, Snowden is doing an externship in the Fall 2011 semester with Kyle Rosenkrans, the Practitioner-in-Residence for CSJ’s Urban Revitalization Initiative. Snowden is analyzing the enrollment practices of charter schools in an attempt to identify any exclusionary practices that may be implemented in the school's student selection process.

Brian Jacek is the 2011 CSJ Scholar in the International Human Rights/Rule of Law Initiative. He graduated from Boston College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Islamic Civilization and Societies. While at Boston College, Jacek volunteered his time in various social justice projects and service organizations. During college, he studied at the American University in Cairo where he also taught English to Iraqi and Sudanese refugees. Upon return to Boston College, Jacek continued his Cairo experience by researching and writing his senior thesis on education as a means to community change in the slums of Cairo.

In his senior year at Boston College, Jacek traveled to Nicaragua to participate in a solidarity and service trip. During his first year of law school, Jacek was a pro bono intern at the International Rescue Committee and an active member of the International Law Society at Seton Hall. Jacek is now a research assistant to Professor Bernard Freamon and researches topics such as slavery, modern-day human trafficking, Middle Eastern law and Islamic jurisprudence. In addition, Jacek is a judicial intern in both state and federal court, he serves as Treasurer of the International Law Society, and he is a member of the SETON HALL LAW REVIEW. 

When he traveled to Nicaragua, Jacek stayed with a host family in a rural coffee-growing village. He learned the phrase “Si quieres paz, lucha por la justicia” – "If you want peace, work for justice.” Jacek describes this phrase as his “guiding principle” as he brings his commitment to “public interest law, social justice, and international law” to his work at the Center for Social Justice. 

Jacek is working with CSJ Director Lori Nessel and Clinical Teaching Fellow Rachel Lopez on projects with the International Human Rights/Rule of Law Initiative.