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Seton Hall Law 'Evening Student Mixer'

Evening program alumni offer encouragement - and explain the Rule Against Perpetuities for students on their way to Property class

All students at Seton Hall Law School work hard. But the evening students are among the hardest working students here. Many have full-time jobs and demanding responsibilities outside of school. Take this year’s 1L evening class: there are engineers, financial consultants, paralegals, a young man who is planning his wedding while attending law school, a single mother with two kids and a full-time job, and others with their own unique stories.

Most people wonder how these young professionals manage to have it all, and sometimes the evening students wonder whether they can. To help them, and to show how students have managed their own extensive workloads and responsibilities in the past, Seton Hall held the Evening Student Mixer, inviting alumni who held full-time jobs while they went to law school in the evening to talk about their experiences. The program gave evening students an opportunity to connect with alumni and ask them about their experiences and challenges throughout their law school careers.

These successful attorneys were extremely approachable, understanding and kind, willing to give the students lots of valuable advice. Not surprisingly, most of the alumni said that their biggest challenge in law school was managing their time. Deborah Gabry ’89, a solo practitioner, , explained that everyone has to find what works for them. “You’ll miss dinners, you’ll miss family events, but that’s just what you have to do,” she said. Speaking of her own experience, she mentioned that she was not tempted to party when she was in law school: “Going out on Thursday night to a bar was not my priority.” She also gave some advice to the students on when they get their first legal job or internship: “Be nice,” she said, stressing the importance of showing respect to all colleagues regardless of their job titles.

Chandar Sarkar ’09, an Associate in King and Spalding’s New York office, assured evening students that they would master the challenge of long days -- “You get used to 60 to 70-hour work weeks.” 

Kristine Russo Begley ’07, an in-house Legal Counsel at Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. said that her job as a litigation paralegal, which she held throughout law school, helped her land her first job out of law school because she had both a degree and real-world experience.

Roger W. Dinella ’91 the Director of Tax at C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. discussed the advantages he enjoyed after taking both the New Jersey and New York bar exams, which was not as common a practice 20 years ago as it is today. He explained,, “When I was a law student most students took only the New Jersey bar…now I work and live in New York.” He was also kind enough to explain and simplify Rule Against Perpetuities for students heading to their Property class following the event.

Inspired by the stories and advice, and reminded of the close alumni network that awaits them when they graduate, Seton Hall Law students left inspired and motivated to continue their hard work.