Diversity Through The Years: A Timeline

Timeline: 1951 to present

2022-07-20 00:00:00

We are pleased to welcome former L.E.O. student The Honorable Zoila Cassanova back to Seton Hall Law School as the Director of the Legal Education Opportunity Program. In this role, Judge Cassanova will be overseeing the administration of the Summer LEO Institute and all LEO programming and events during the school year.

2022-05-27 00:00:00

On May 25th, the United States Senate confirmed Seton Hall Law alumna, Evelyn Padin, ’92, to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Ms. Padin, who founded her own law practice, was recently the president of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She was the first Latina to serve in the role. She is currently the co-chair of the Diverse Attorneys of Seton Hall (DASH) Advisory Committee.

2022-02-04 00:00:00

To commemorate Black History Month, Uplands TV of the UK will air the documentary One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story on the Smithsonian Channel. Four-Part Docu-Series begins February 7, 2022.

2021-02-04 00:00:00

Professor Thomas Healy’s new book, “Soul City: Race, Equality, and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia”, which explores the rise and fall of Soul City, a concept developed and nurtured in the 1970s by civil rights leader Floyd McKissick, is receiving rave reviews.

2020-11-05 00:00:00

Professor Thomas Healy is a nationally renowned legal expert in the areas of constitutional law, freedom of speech, legal history, civil rights, and federal courts.  He is entering his eighteenth-year teaching at Seton Hall Law.  In addition to being a stellar teacher, Healy’s background in journalism coupled with his passion for the law makes him one of the most gifted legal scholars in the country.  In his latest book, Soul City: Race, Equality, and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia, Healy combines his passions to tell the story of an attempt in the 1970s to create a city dedicated to the promise of racial equality in the heart of Klan Country.

2020-10-16 00:00:00

This community conversation addressed the history of voting rights in this country, including the ratification of the 14th Amendment, the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shelby County v. Holder, where the court struck down a formula at the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

2020-10-12 00:00:00

On September 8th, 2020, the Seton Hall Law Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) hosted “Asian Americans at a Crossroads: COVID-19, #BLM, Discrimination, and Allyship,” a virtual conversation featuring Queens College President Frank H. Wu and moderated by Professor Marina Lao.

2020-09-25 00:00:00

Marc Larkins ’97 and Evelyn Padin ‘92 serve as the Co-Chairs of the Diverse Attorneys of Seton Hall (DASH) Advisory Committee. The DASH Advisory Committee is comprised of more than 25 alumni from various practice areas, geographic locations, and diverse backgrounds with the goal to collaborate with Seton Hall Law on innovative ways to enhance diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives.

2020-06-05 00:00:00

Governor Phil Murphy nominated Fabiana Pierre-Louis, a graduate of Seton Hall Law School’s Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies (Pre-Legal Program), and former United States Attorney, to be the first African America woman to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court. “Seton Hall Law is thrilled Governor Murphy has nominated a graduate of the Institute to be a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court for this historic appointment,” said Dean Kathleen Boozang.

2020-04-29 00:00:00

Professor Ndjuoh MehChu joined the Seton Hall Law faculty in July 2020. He teaches in the areas of torts, civil rights, and critical race theory. Current research projects bring to bear legal realist claims about the interplay of power and oppression to explore the various ways institutions fail to implement rights-protective measures for marginalized groups.

2020-04-21 00:00:00

Professor Richard Winchester joined the Seton Hall Law faculty at the beginning of the 2018-19 semester with an expertise in small business and federal employment tax policy.

2020-02-06 00:00:00

Professors Michael and Lesley Risinger '03 and Seton Hall Law's Last Exoneration Project recently gained statewide attention in the Star-Ledger, Bergen Record, WHYY, and NBC New York for their appeal on behalf of two wrongfully convicted men for a double murder that occurred in 1995. Their work with The Last Exoneration Project provided free investigative and legal services to the innocent men.

2020-02-05 00:00:00

In recognition of Black History Month, Seton Hall University School of Law is celebrating alumni who have made a difference both in the black community and the legal profession.

2020-02-05 00:00:00

In celebration of Black History Month, Seton Hall University School of Law is recognizing three black students whom, for the first time in the school’s history, hold prominent leadership positions simultaneously - Melissa Walker ’20 is President of the Student Bar Association, Tatiana Laing ’20 is Editor-in-Chief of the SETON HALL LAW REVIEW, and Ifedapo Benjamin ’20 is Editor-in-Chief of the SETON HALL LEGISLATIVE JOURNAL.

2020-01-07 00:00:00

After a nine-year career on active duty in the U.S. Army, Matthew Handley ’22 came to Seton Hall Law School to learn how to make a deeper impact in his community and to develop skills that would allow him to fight for social justice and systemic change, particularly on behalf of his fellow veterans. “One of the ‘Core Values’ that you are taught on your very first day in the Army is ‘Selfless Service.’ This was nothing new to me, since I was taught the same thing by my parents growing up: that when you see someone in need, you do whatever you can to help them.”

2020-01-07 00:00:00

Sebastian Hernandez ’21 is a Colombian immigrant. He moved to the United States when he was seven years old. “My first step on American soil was at Newark Airport. That’s where my story in America began. However, my dad found a job in South Carolina, so we settled in Beaufort County,” said Hernandez. Now he is back in Newark, NJ, motivated to become an immigration attorney.

2020-01-07 00:00:00

The intersection between the law and its real-world impact on families is what brought Kerdesha Desir ’21 to Seton Hall Law School. Growing up in the Haitian and greater Caribbean community, Desir witnessed that domestic violence was often mischaracterized as simple “familial strife,” swept under a rug and never publicly discussed. “In our culture, no matter how blatantly obvious the hardship of someone’s situation may be, we are taught early on to address the issues within the family and not to get ‘outsiders’ involved,” said Desir.

2019-12-18 00:00:00

"I can, I will. Watch me." Words that Joshua Copper '20 has lived by since he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at just 18-months-old. Although he was "given a body that doesn’t work the way I wanted it to," Cooper remains steadfast in serving as an activist in and out of the classroom - and especially for those living with disabilities.

2019-07-26 00:00:00

Seton Hall University School of Law is proud of its partnership with NJ Law and Education Empowerment Project, better known as NJ LEEP, since its inception in 2006. This coming fall, the Law School be welcoming two NJ LEEP students to its incoming class, Bashir Herbert and Faatimah Jafiq.

2019-06-11 00:00:00

Seton Hall Law alumna, Cymetra M. Williams '15, will be awarded the Garden State Bar Association's (GSBA) Young Lawyer Award on June 15 at its 44th Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala. The GSBA is the largest and oldest organization for African-American judges, lawyers, and law students in New Jersey.

2019-05-14 12:14:00

Seton Hall is privileged to have among its faculty Professor Marina Lao, one of the foremost antitrust scholars in the country. She has not only published on a wide variety of antitrust topics over a long and distinguished academic career but has also helped shape competition policies as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission while on leave from Seton Hall.

2019-05-06 00:00:00

On May 2, Seton Hall Law's Center for Social Justice was honored at ACLU of NJ's Lights of Liberty Awards Dinner for its work with Paul Weiss and the Pro Bono Network.

2019-04-09 00:00:00

In recent weeks, International Law activities at Seton Hall Law have been at the forefront. Distinguished Practitioner in International Law, Dawn Yamane Hewett, presented a lecture on “The Global Fight Against Corruption”; Students represented Seton Hall Law at the International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Mediation and Jessup International Law Moot Court competitions; Seton Hall Law hosted the 2019 ASIL International Organizations Interest Group Works-in-Progress Workshop; and Katherine Comly ’20 was selected as the recipient of the Summer International Law Fellowship for her internship at Global Justice Center this coming summer.

2019-04-01 00:00:00

In November 2018, Susan Smalley ’18 was named Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the District of New Jersey – the first woman in New Jersey to hold the position, and the first Asian-American woman to hold such a position in the country. Capping a 26-year career in federal service, the promotion is especially impressive since Smalley earned her law degree later in life, beginning her J.D. studies in 2014 once her children were teenagers.

2019-04-01 00:00:00

Seton Hall Law will be holding its Annual Alumni Gala on May 10, 2019. The Public Servant Award will be presented to The Honorable Michael Shipp '94, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey; the Distinguished Graduate Award will be presented to Lynn Fontaine Newsome '81, Partner, Newsome O'Donnell and Chair of the Seton Hall Law Board of Visitors; and the Exemplary Service Award will be presented to Michele Meyer-Shipp '95, Principal and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, KPMG.

2019-02-27 00:00:00

The Seton Hall Law School Mock Trial team recently received the Best Cross Examination team award and Third place overall in the regional National Black Law Student Association Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition in New Hampshire. The team looks forward to competing again this time in Little Rock, Arkansas at the National Convention March 12-16, 2019.

2019-02-04 00:00:00

On January 31, Dean Kristen Boon spoke at the United Nations on how the law concerning the international responsibility of states applies where a state or one of its organs is involved or complicit in slavery.

edith-ramirezDiversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission
October 21, 2015

The 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.

Sonia Sotomayor visits Seton Hall Law 4/10/14Diversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
April 10, 2014

Seton 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.

Paulette-Brown'76130x81Paulette Brown '76, Partner at Locke Lord Edwards & Chief Diversity Officer

Paulette Brown '76, is unanimously elected as the President of the American Bar Association for the 2015-16 term. She is the first woman of color to serve in the role.


Diversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Exoneration and Wrongful Convictions
September 23, 2013

The 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.

Charles J. Ogletree, Diversity SpeaksDiversity Speaks: Distinguished Speaker Series
Challenges in Achieving a Post-Racial Community in the Age of Obama
September 19, 2012

At 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.

Charles J. Ogletree, Diversity SpeaksDiversity Speaks
Partnership with Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C.

Seton Hall Law and the law firm, Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C., launch a new lecture series, Diversity Speaks, as a forum to explore diversity, from all facets, within the legal profession. The inaugural speaker is 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.

New Jersey State Supreme Court Justice Stuart RabnerA Journey Through the Pipeline: Identifying Challenges and Improving Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession
March 15, 2012

Academics, 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.

Professor Solangel MaldonadoFrom Implicit Bias to Broader Inclusion in the Legal Profession
February 29, 2012

This 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.

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

The 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."

NAWJ_Scholarship_Recipients_2011_130x81Seton Hall Law students honored by the National Association of Women Judges

Two Seton Hall Law students are honored by the National Association of Women Judges: Chrishana White ’13 (left), is awarded the Equal Access to Justice Scholarship; Megan Altman ’12 is awarded the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholarship.

Victor_Campos_'13_130x81Victor Campos ’13, First Recipient of the prestigious Arent, Fox Diversity Scholarship

Victor Campos ’13 becomes the first recipient of the prestigious Arent, Fox Diversity Scholarship.

file13_130x81NJ LEEP's high school seniors head to college

The first cohort of NJ LEEP’s “College Bound” high school seniors head to college, with 10 attending Top 100 schools including Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Stevens Insti­tute of Technology and Drew University. Pictured at left is NJ LEEP graduate Fatimah Jafiq, who attends Bryn Mawr College.

Reverend Jesse Jackson People of Color Conference100910-2551Third National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference
Our Country, Our World in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era
September 9-12, 2010

Seton 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.


untitledProfessor Brenda Saunders Hampden, Director of the Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies

Professor Brenda Saunders Hampden is honored during the 50th anniversary of the High Point Woolworth’s sit-ins, the first such demonstrations staged by high school students in the United States. Professor Saunders Hampden, a pioneer in the civil rights movement, desegregated High Point, North Carolina’s schools when she was 12 (pictured right, with her sister Lynn), and led the High Point sit-ins at the age of 13.

Tagrid Hikmet 130x81Judge Tahgrid Hikmet

Judge Tahgrid Hikment, the first female judge in Jordan, also the first Arab Muslim to serve as Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, receives the Sandra Day O’Connor Medal of Honor.

Pre-Legal_Institute_30th_Anniversary_130x8130th Anniversary Celebration, Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies

The Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies celebrates its 30th anniversary. Pictured: Sergio Suarez ’15, a participant in the Pre-Legal program and a presenter at the Anniversary celebration.

Hany Mawla comp 130x81Hany Mawla '98, First Arab-American Muslim, Superior Court in NJ

Diversity Council member, Hany Mawla ’98, is the first Arab-American Muslim to ascend to the Superior Court in the New Jersey.

Dean's Diversity Council 130x81Formation of the Dean's Diversity Council at Seton Hall Law School

Dean Hobbs announces the formation of the Dean’s Diversity Council, an advisory board comprising students, alumni, staff and faculty members who assist the law school administration in implementing its core value of promoting diversity in the legal profession. Professor Solangel Maldonado (pictured, center) is appointed founding chair. 

NJ_LEEP_2008_130x81Support for the New Jersey Legal Education Empowerment Program (NJLEEP)

Seton Hall Law supports the launch of the New Jersey Legal Education Empowerment Program (NJ LEEP), which exposes middle school and high school inner-city youth to careers in the law and focuses on preparation for college through programs held both during the school year and in the summer. Pictured: Craig Livermore, Founder and Executive Director of NJ LEEP (center) with NJ LEEP students, Summer 2008.

Dorothy_Day_ScholarshipDorothy Day Scholarship established

The Dorothy Day Scholarship is established, awarded to highly qualified students from disadvantaged backgrounds that are underrepresented in the legal profession.

2004 Justice O'Connor and Judge Trump Barry 130x81U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) presents the Sandra Day O’Connor Medal of Honor to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Sonia_Sotomayor 130x81U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, then a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, speaks at Seton Hall Law School.

WalkerKarol Corbin Walker ’86, first African American and first female President of New Jersey State Bar Association

Karol Corbin Walker ’86 becomes the first African American, and the first female President of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Haiti Rule of Law 130x81Haiti Rule of Law Project established

Dean Patrick E. Hobbs establishes the Haiti Rule of Law project, cementing a close relationship between Seton Hall Law and L’Ecole Superieure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie, a law school located in Jérémie, Haiti.

Hon Marie White Bell 130x81Marie White Bell ‘73, first African American female, Superior Court of NJ (Burlington County)

Marie White Bell ‘73 becomes the first African American female appointed to the Superior Court of New Jersey in Burlington County.

Judge_Shirley_Tolentino_130x81Judge Shirley A.  Tolentino ’71, first African American woman, Superior Court of the State of New Jersey

Appointed by Governor Thomas Kean, Judge Shirley A.  Tolentino ’71 (1943-2010) becomes the first African American woman to ascend to the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey.

Saunders Hampden Brenda 130x81Pre-Legal Studies Summer Institute established at Seton Hall law

Seton Hall Law is chosen by the State of New Jersey to build the SummerInstitute for Pre-Legal Studies, for college students with socio-economic and/or educational disadvantages and an interest in the law, with the primary purpose of increasing the number of disadvantaged students who apply and gain admission to accredited law schools. Professor Brenda Saunders Hampden is named Director of the Institute.

LEO_Program_2011_130x81Legal Education Opportunity (LEO) Program launched at Seton Hall Law

Seton Hall Law launches the Legal Education Opportunity (LEO) Program, an academic support program committed to the success of students from disadvantaged backgrounds during law school and in the legal profession. The LEO cohort of 2011 is pictured with Professor Shavar Jeffries, Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice (far right).

DeanRooney-130x81Seton Hall Law founded and Miriam T. Rooney, appointed as Dean

Seton Hall Law is founded. Miriam T. Rooney appointed dean of Seton Hall Law, the first woman to become dean of an accredited law school in the United States.