Jodi Hudson '96 to Receive the Exemplary Service Award at 2017 Alumni Gala
Seton Hall Law will honor Jodi Hudson ’96 with the Exemplary Service Award at the 2017 Alumni Gala on May 12 at The Grove.
Hudson’s law career first took shape as a teenage camp counselor. “I wanted to take my campers on an overnight trip,” Hudson recalls. “The director told me we could not go, but I gave him four reasons why we could, and should. He changed his mind and gave us permission, while commenting to me, ‘You’re going to be a lawyer.’”
That defining moment eventually brought Hudson to Seton Hall Law from her home state of Virginia. “I’m a transplant,” Hudson says. “I came to Seton Hall Law and never left New Jersey.”
Now Of Counsel with Connell Foley LLP, she has worked with the firm since 2000, and most enjoys thinking on her feet as a trial attorney focusing on civil litigation in the areas of insurance coverage, insurance defense, and professional malpractice.
What she refers to as her “second full-time job” is Director of Seton Hall Law’s Interscholastic Moot Court Board, which is perennially ranked in the top ten nationally by the Appellate Advocacy Institute.
“I love teaching my students and watching them grow into the attorneys they all become,” says Hudson. “Each and every one makes enormous progress from their very first practice to the competition. And my ‘alumni’ always credit subsequent success with what they learned on the Board.”
Hudson has served as Director since 2000, when then-Dean Ronald J. Riccio telephoned her to let her know that the position was open. Since that time she has seen many of her students “graduate” into roles as Moot Court coaches. The resulting network, she says, “is 100% homegrown.”
While there are many lessons to be learned in competitions, foremost is teaching students how to not only advocate but also to listen, because the skills that the students learn while on the Board transcend all areas of the law. “Whether students go into litigation, arbitration or transactional work, when they appear in court, pick up the phone for a client or interact with those who they work with, they will know how to communicate, and feel comfortable doing so.”
Her biggest advice to young lawyers today? “Learn something, listen, and give it 110%.”
She recalls one particular significant moment as a coach. “Two students were petrified of public speaking.” says Hudson. “They received an invitation onto the Board from an intra-school competition, attended the national adoption law competition, and won the entire thing. They overcame their fears to achieve success. They’ll remember that all their lives.”
Hudson stresses that she shares the Exemplary Service Award with all of the coaches and her students, past and present. “The team makes me look better, and their dedication to the Board speaks volumes about the program,” acknowledges Hudson. “The coaches work really hard, the students work really hard, and they all do the best they can. This award is very special, but it is for the entire team.”
Prior to joining Connell Foley, Hudson served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx County District Attorney's Office from 1997 to 2000. In March 2008, Hudson was designated by The Board of Trial Attorney Certification of the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney. Hudson served as the President of Seton Hall Law’s Alumni Council from January 2008 to April 2009. In 2009, she was awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year by the law school student body. Hudson is currently President-Elect of the Middlesex County Trial Lawyers Association, is on the District VA Ethics Committee, on the board of Essex County Legal Aid Association, and is part of the Law Adventure Program committee and the High School Mock Trial Committee for the NJ State Bar Foundation. Hudson is also a Coach at Guerrilla Fitness Crossfit Montclair.