Jamie Pukl-Werbel '98: New Dean of Alumni, Development & External Relations
From the courtroom to the classroom, and now building alumni connections to sustain the Law School’s growth momentum
My experience as a Seton Hall student was life-changing. I had incredible professors who guided my path, and graduates who helped me launch my career,” said Jamie Pukl-Werbel ’98. “The friends I made in law school remain some of my closest to this day. As I talked with lawyers over the years who went to other law schools, I discovered that the academic experience we had, combined with this extremely tight-knit community, absolutely set Seton Hall apart.”
In January, Seton Hall Law welcomed Jamie as the Dean of Alumni, Development & External Relations. It is a new challenge for this Seton Hall Law professor, who joined the faculty in 2005. She came to Seton Hall after her successful career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in the City of New York. For the past few years Jamie has used her professional experience to introduce first year law students to the fundamentals of lawyering and upper division students to trial skills.
“Jamie exemplifies the Seton Hall Law values of Integrity, Loyalty and Engagement," said Dean Kathleen M. Boozang. "She epitomizes the success and versatility of the Seton Hall lawyer. She is invested in the continued forward trajectory of Seton Hall Law and understands the special bond that comes from being an alum of the Law School. No one is better suited to this position than Jamie."
For Jamie, this new role is about giving back to the Law School. She knew from her junior year in college that she wanted to further her education. A native of New Jersey, she applied to Seton Hall because she knew she would practice law in the surrounding geographic area.
“I fell in love with law school my first year,” Jamie recalled, “probably due to my stellar lineup of Professors. I had Professor Sullivan for Contracts, Professor Wefing for Constitutional Law, and Dean Boozang for Torts. They would make connections between principles that I had never considered. It was more intellectually stimulating than anything I had ever experienced before. Once I got in the groove of the reading and assignments, I would walk into class the next day thinking to myself, ‘bring it on, I’m ready for it.’”
Jamie credits Dean Mark Alexander, who taught Criminal Procedure, with sparking her desire to become a prosecutor. “Dean Alexander was the perfect combination of a Yale intellectual and a pragmatic, common sense attorney,” Jamie recalled. “We have always had a great friendship and I have the utmost respect for him. He became my mentor when I joined the faculty – and then last year beat me out for Professor of the Year!”
Following a clerkship in Union County – where Jamie met her husband, Matt Werbel – she lived and practiced law in New York City until her husband’s law firm, based in Edison, brought them back to New Jersey. “I came to the law school to visit Professor Sullivan one day, and he invited me to apply to teach Legal Research and Writing,” she said. “Through the selection process I saw how my professional experience could translate into teaching expertise.”
Jamie’s experience working with students gave her a unique insider’s view of the importance of alumni support in ensuring the law school’s enduring success. “I have personally witnessed Seton Hall’s transformation over the past decade,” she said. “The value of our degree has skyrocketed. Our U.S. News rank is higher than ever, leaving most other regional schools behind. We had a 93% total employment rate for the Class of 2014. We had a 98% employment rate for the Class of 2013 graduates who completed clerkships. Our New Jersey bar pass rate last July was over 90% – and the state average was only 73%.”
“But I also realized that this kind of momentum can’t survive without support and active alumni engagement,” she continued. “Our graduates have every reason to be proud of us. This kind of success enhances the diplomas that hang on their walls.”
Jamie looks forward to celebrating Seton Hall Law’s success with fellow graduates at the upcoming Alumni Dinner Dance, which will take place on May 6 at The Grove. She is especially excited that this year’s honorees include her Dean, Ronald J. Riccio ‘71, and her classmate, Shoshana Schiff ’98. “I cannot wait to bring out our class in huge numbers to support the dinner dance,” Jamie said. “I hope it is the start of a widespread reconnection to the Law School for our graduates.”
Jamie is joined in the Alumni, Development and External Relations group by a close-knit dedicated team of professionals who share her love of Seton Hall Law. Over the coming months, she plans to build new connections with fellow alumni. “I can’t imagine a more fun job than engaging our alumni and reconnecting them to the law school,” she said. “Seton Hall’s reach is vast, in law firms and businesses of all sizes. Everyone has a different path after law school and I love hearing every single story.”
Learn how you can get more involved in the alumni community at Seton Hall Law: contact Jamie at [email protected] or call 973-642-8293.