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Conferences and Initiatives   

Seton Hall Law plays an active role in the development, planning and implementation of conferences, symposia and other educational programs to promote diversity in the legal profession. Working in concert with other institutions of higher learning, professional associations and private organizations, Seton Hall Law helps to raise awareness of issues surrounding diversity in hopes of influencing policies and cultures that advance a more inclusive legal profession for all.

Here are just some examples of Seton Hall Law’s participation and leadership in pivotal initiatives.

Diversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission

October 21, 2015

edith-ramirezThe Dean’s Diversity Council and Porzio Bromberg & Newman, P.C. welcomed Chairwoman Edith Ramirez of the Federal Trade Commission at the 2015 Diversity Speaks lecture series. She spoke about her focus on the privacy implications of electronic data and the need for transparency from companies collecting such information. Chairwoman Ramirez avidly advocated for comprehensive consumer-privacy legislation. She also highlighted the FTC’s initiative focusing on how fraud and scams target certain vulnerable communities. Chairwoman Ramirez, a daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the first Latina to oversee the nearly 100-year-old commission.

Diversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

April 10, 2014

Justice-Sonia-Sotomayor-140410-795Seton Hall Law welcomed Justice Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court (pictured) to Seton Hall Law as keynote lecturer for Diversity Speaks, an annual lecture series co-sponsored by the Dean's Diversity Council and law firm Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C. to explore issues of diversity in the legal profession. Justice Sotomayor shared insights from her bestselling memoir, My Beloved World, and was the guest of honor at a series of receptions and talks with students, including those participating in the New Jersey Law & Education Empowerment Project (N J LEEP). That evening, Justice Sotomayor presided along with Judge Michael Chagares and Judge Julio Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit at the final round of the Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition.

The Bergen Record wrote of Justice Sotomayor’s lecture,

On being a woman and minority in law, she allowed: ‘People don’t expect much from you … But boy does it feel good to prove people wrong.’ Sotomayor urged the students in the audience to seek out broad legal experience. She said judges too often are drawn only from the ranks of prosecutors and that more perspectives, such as those of defense and civil practice attorneys, are needed. ‘We will lose something if we don’t bring a broader range of experience to the bench,’ said Sotomayor. And she offered this advice to the future lawyers assembled: ‘Spend a lot of time ignoring the naysayers and do what you feel is right.’

Diversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Exoneration and Wrongful Convictions

September 23, 2013

SHLS_Exoneration_122The Dean’s Diversity Council and Porzio Bromberg & Newman, P.C. hosted a program focusing on the issue of exoneration and wrongful convictions. Speakers includes David Shephard, a New Jersey DNA exonerated defendant (pictured, left); Chris Fabricant, Director of Strategic Litigation for the Innocence Project; and Lesley Risinger, Director of the Last Resort Exoneration Project at Seton Hall Law (pictured, right). The event was co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association and the Latin American Law Students Association.

Diversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Challenges in Achieving a Post-Racial Community in the Age of Obama

September 19, 2012

Charles J. Ogletree, Diversity SpeaksAt this inaugural event of Diversity Speaks, sponsored by the Dean's Diversity Council and Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C., launched this annual lecture series. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Harvard Law School, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (pictured), discussed the impact of President Barack Obama on our nation’s changing views of minorities and leadership.

A Journey Through the Pipeline: Identifying Challenges and Improving Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession
March 15, 2012

New Jersey State Supreme Court Justice Stuart RabnerAcademics, practitioners, members of the bench, students and alumni met for an afternoon-long program examining the challenges the legal profession faces as it strives to increase the number of practicing minority attorneys. This “journey” featured presentations on the pipeline, from primary school through law school, followed by the recruitment process and challenges in the workplace. Following panel discussions by such distinguished guests as the Hon. Stuart Rabner, Chief Justice of the New Jersey State Supreme Court (pictured); Seton Hall Law Professor Rachel Godsil; Vielka V. Holness, Director, the Pre Law Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and Teresa L. Moore, Rutgers-Newark Institute on Education Law and Policy, Center for Urban and Public Service, the program concluded with an examination of the judicial pathway for minority lawyers. Students also benefited from special breakout activities including “speed mentoring” and a roundtable discussion with judicial clerks. The event was co-sponsored by the Dean's Diversity Council, the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Judiciary and McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP.

From Implicit Bias to Broader Inclusion in the Legal Profession
February 29, 2012

Professor Solangel MaldonadoThis Continuing Legal Education event was sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Association Standing Committee on Diversity and the Women of Color Subcommittee of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts. Professor Solangel Maldonado moderated a discussion focusing on recognizing, understanding and overcoming implicit bias in the legal profession. Panelists included Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz (ret); Engy Abdelkader, Esq., vice president, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights and legal fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding; and Daniel L. Weiss, Esq., Daniel L. Weiss, LLC, an immigration law practitioner.

B.A. to J.D. Pipeline Project sponsored by the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT)
November 11, 2011

Professor Rachel GodsilThe B.A. to J.D. Pipeline: Diversifying the Legal Profession initiative is a collaborative effort by the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s University School of Law, the Dean’s Diversity Council at Seton Hall University School of Law and the Center for Diversity in the Legal Profession at City University of New York School of Law. The initiative was presented at a Symposium, Opening Doors: Making Diversity Matter in Law School Admissions Symposium, held at St. John’s. Professor Rachel D. Godsil (pictured) made the opening presentation entitled, "Overcoming Racial Obstacles to Success in Law."

“The goal of the Pipeline Initiative is to explore and ultimately recommend best practices for counseling college students from underrepresented backgrounds to help them present their best selves on a law school application,” said Seton Hall Law Professor Solangel Maldonado, who served on the team that developed the Symposium. “The legitimacy of a legal system depends upon full representation and participation of its citizens. Only by opening the law school doors to students of all backgrounds can we ensure that our legal system reflects the diversity of our country and represents us all."

Third National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference
Our Country, Our World in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era

September 9-12, 2010

Reverend Jesse Jackson People of Color Conference100910-2551Seton Hall Law hosted this three-day conference, the largest gathering of diverse law faculty in the United States. More than 500 faculty, practitioners, and students from across the country, Canada, and the United Kingdom convened for the four-day conference. The conference fulfilled the promise that the six regional People of Color scholarship conferences—the Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Western—made in 1999 to come together approximately every five years to examine and support the role of faculty of color in the teaching of law.

One of the prime highlights of the conference is when Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. (pictured), hosted a discussion facilitated by Professor Michele Goodwin of the University of Minnesota School of Law. The keynote speakers and panelists discussed critical national and global issues including health care, education, immigration, human rights, civil rights, voting rights, judicial nominations, environmental justice, the family in the 21st century, corporate responsibility, legal education, the “war on terror,” federal Indian law, and criminal law. In accordance with the conference theme, Our Country, Our World in a “Post-Racial” Era, the speakers addressed these issues through the lens of legal scholarship that explicitly and implicitly examines the current racial context.