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Justine Abrams '14

Recipient of the New Jersey Women’s Law Association Scholarship

As the Seton Hall Law School recipient of the New Jersey Women’s Law Association (NJWLA) Scholarship, Justine Abrams reflects on her legal education, which she considers a “journey” rather than a means to an end. “I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but more important, I wanted to go to law school because it’s an unmatched education. I think it’s the most rewarding life experience that anyone could ever have.”

Justine has been preparing for this journey her whole life, but never truly felt she had it in her until her senior year in high school, when she worked on the Congressional campaign of John Adler, who represented New Jersey’s Third Congressional District from 2009 to 2011. She describes the impact the experience had on her career aspirations: “I was only 17 when I worked on that campaign. I’d had jobs before, but it was the first time I felt valued in a professional effort. When Congressman Adler won, he made it clear that we won. It was such a sense of accomplishment.”

Congressman Adler died in 2011 at the age of 52, and Justine considers him her hero. She explains, “John did things for the good of his community. He was never selfish. The way that he led was in response to the voiced concerns of his constituents. I really took that to heart, watching him through that campaign. So when he told me I’d make a great lawyer, I knew he wasn’t bluffing – John didn’t bluff. I thought, ‘If a guy as great and truthful as John believes in me, why the heck am I questioning myself?’”

Through both volunteer and professional positions, Justine both contributes to the community and builds her legal skills. “Nobody is useless who lightens the burdens of another,” she explains. She was elected 2012-13 Secretary of the Student Bar Association and she serves on the Board of the Dispute Resolution Society. Immediately after Super Storm Sandy, Justine was among the team that formed Seton Hall Law Cares, which collected clothing, food, toiletries and money to contribute to victims in New Jersey and New York City.

In addition, Justine interns at the Trial Division of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She also serves as a law clerk in the Law Offices of Gina Mendola Longarzo ’95, who specializes in labor and employment cases. Justine, herself, originally gained a grounding in employment law while serving as a Research Assistant to Professor Charles Sullivan during the summer between her first and second years of law school, helping him prepare new editions of his employment discrimination law case books. She learned about trial process and procedure during a summer internship with the Honorable Faith S. Hochberg, a federal judge. Justine’s impressive resume, coupled with an essay submitted to the NJWLA, secured her selection for this prestigious scholarship.

Justine attributes her many activities and accomplishments to what she considers sheer kinetic energy: “I’m really busy, but as I discovered about myself in college, the more I have on my plate, the more I’m determined to finish the meal.”