In the Spotlight

Transformative Giving

Transformative Giving - Seton Hall Lawyers and Faculty Invest in the Seton Hall Law Legacy

The loyalty of the Seton Hall Lawyer is becoming the stuff of New Jersey lore. That loyalty is best demonstrated by investments in the future that ensure continued access to a Seton Hall Law degree, and the continued quality of the lawyer produced by Seton Hall Law. Last year witnessed significant generosity by Seton Hall Law alumni, faculty, and employees in gifts large and small. The gifts featured here evidence the incredible intentionality of the donors about how they could best say thank you, and invest in Seton Hall Law’s ability to continue to provide an outstanding education to our students.

O’Toole Scrivo, LLC Endows McLaughlin Trial Advocacy Workshop
An increasing number of firms are becoming known as “Seton Hall firms,” reflecting our alumni’s confidence in the Seton Hall Law education, and commitment to the pledge that “Seton Hall Law hires Seton Hall Law.”

The law firm of O’Toole Scrivo, LLC is a Seton Hall Law firm. Only two years after opening its doors, one of the first significant moves by its founding partners was to endow the Denis F. McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop at Seton Hall Law with a $500,000 gift. The gift not only honors the legacy of a teacher who indelibly impacted them personally and professionally, but provides the resources to enhance and preserve the trial training for which he is legendary.

Denis McLaughlin serves as the founding director and architect of the Workshop, aided by Professor Jacob T. Elberg. O’Toole and Scrivo have one objective in mind: that the Workshop expose aspiring trial lawyers to the best at their craft. McLaughlin’s vision, which is one of excellence and rigor, aligns. “I am thrilled that because of Kevin and Tom’s generosity, Seton Hall Law students eager to begin their careers as trial lawyers will have this invaluable, ‘hands-on’ learning experience,” says Professor Denis McLaughlin.

McLaughlin will select students for participation in the Workshop by application, and demonstration of a clear passion and track record for trial work. The two-credit Workshop will be intensive – students will engage in two weeks of day-long immersion during Intersession between New Year’s and the start of the Spring semester. The students will prepare and practice each part of a trial structured around a set of simulated complex case files, culminating with full-blown trials at the federal or state courthouses before actual judges and juries.

The students will be coached throughout their two weeks by teams of highly skilled judges and trial attorneys who are also tested teachers – many among the faculty have years of NITA experience. The Workshop will provide students with, not only the opportunity for individual growth, but also the chance to become colleagues with the lions of the profession before they have even taken the bar exam.

O’Toole and Scrivo, are the drivers of the Workshop concept and the gift, and the firm clearly sees this as a way to give back. “I would not be the attorney, or person, I am today without Denis McLaughlin’s teaching and guidance,” says Kevin O’Toole ’89. “We want to ensure that, for years to come, Seton Hall Law students are able to similarly learn the practical skills necessary to be effective trial lawyers.”

Thomas P. Scrivo ’89 adds, “Our vision was to create a program that continues this legacy and honors Denis’ years of dedicated service to the Law School and the legal community. Professor McLaughlin has helped shape the legal careers of thousands of students, many of whom have become New Jersey’s finest trial lawyers.”

Dean Boozang shares her amazement that she never even got the chance to ask the firm for a gift – “I wanted to give Tom and Kevin time to get their firm up and going. I assumed that needed a little space after they so generously supported the 2018 Alumni Gala. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Tom and Kevin came to me to talk about endowing a trial program in Denis’ honor, and here we are. As impressive as anything else about this story is that Tom and Kevin want to make sure that the firm’s gift inspires others to give back as well.”

The new program will launch in January of 2020.

Introducing the DeCotiis Law Moot Courtroom
Seton Hall Law held a Dedication Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting for the completed and reimagined moot court space on January 18th. The room, now named the DeCotiis Law Moot Courtroom is on the cutting-edge of innovation and technology housing state-of-the-art upgrades for current and future generations of advocates. The design of the Courtroom’s wide glass entryway emphasizes the importance of law’s transparency. In her remarks, Dean Kathleen M. Boozang noted the proximity of the DeCotiis Law Moot Courtroom and Chapel: together they represent Seton Hall Law’s core mission – producing lawyers who integrate faith and justice.

Seton Hall Law is deeply grateful for the generosity of the DeCotiis Law Firm and family, represented at the ribbon cutting by Joseph ’94 and M. Robert ’69. Also pictured are the event speakers, Dean Kathleen M. Boozang, Third Circuit Judge Michael Chagares ’87, and Dr. Karen Boroff, Interim Provost.

“The new courtroom is more than just a beautiful place,” Judge Chagares said. “It is where our graduates will learn, be tested, and develop their skills in advocacy. It is where the future of our bar will get its start. Here, generations to come will become prepared to do the important work of attorneys – helping others, making communities better places, and advancing the cause of justice. The regal courtroom befits the importance of what will occur here.”

Professor Michael P. Ambrosio Makes Law School Possible for Future Generations
Over nearly five decades at Seton Hall Law, Professor Michael P. Ambrosio has inspired the lawyer unique to Seton Hall Law — one who integrates jurisprudence into the everyday practice of law and whose thinking is grounded in a Catholic view of justice.

To ensure that students who desire the Seton Hall Law experience are able to attend, Professor Ambrosio and his wife, Janice Gordon, have committed $2,000,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund. Their gift will help generations of students for whom a Seton Hall Law degree would otherwise be out of reach.

A Seton Hall Law professor since 1970, Professor Ambrosio specializes in ethics and legal malpractice and is known as the conscience of the legal profession; he integrates jurisprudence into the daily practice of law and espouses a sophisticated natural law approach that is grounded in a Catholic view of justice.

“Seton Hall Law has been growing in importance, both in the state and as a nationally ranked law school,” said Professor Ambrosio, who is embraces the University’s belief of providing education of the mind, heart, and spirit. “I support anything we can do to show that we’re striving for excellence in every way, and scholarship aid to open the path for deserving students is a critical part of that.”

The gift is also a way of giving back since Ambrosio’s undergraduate and law school costs were defrayed by various forms of tuition support. Professor Ambrosio added that recruiting students from across the socioeconomic spectrum will improve not only Seton Hall Law but also the entire legal profession.

“Assisting needy students so they have the opportunity to attend the Law School is in keeping with Michael’s belief in ‘equitable distribution,’” Janice said. “I, too, appreciate the importance of giving students economic assistance, and I admire and fully support Michael’s commitment in this regard.”

Professor Ambrosio’s courses on Professional Responsibility and Law and Morality develop the intellectual basis and philosophical commitment for students to pursue their careers in a manner that both models morality and benefits society.