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New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Anne Patterson to Judge Debate Competition for Newark After-School Program with 100% College Matriculation Rate

Newark, NJ—New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Anne Patterson will highlight a judges’ panel for the championship round for NJ LEEP’s Debater of the Year Competition for urban high school students this Saturday, May 19, at Seton Hall Law School. Also serving on the championship panel will be Dean Erik Lillquist of Seton Hall Law School, Judge Alberto Rivas of the Middlesex County Superior Court, and Virginia Lazala, Legal Section Head, Novartis.

Sixty high school students from the greater Newark area will compete in a morning round robin competition. The morning rounds will be judged by 50 volunteers, including a lawyers, Seton Hall Law faculty, and Seton Hall Law Students. The top four scoring debaters from the morning rounds will compete for the championship before the panel headed by Justice Patterson.

This will be the final debate competition for NJ LEEP’s 23 seniors, all of whom will be in college in the fall of 2012. Students in NJ LEEP’s College Bound Program participate in out-of-school time academic and development enrichment from the eighth grade until they graduate high school and matriculate in college. NJ LEEP students receive after-school tutoring, take life skills classes, participate in Saturday grammar and writing classes, and take part in four Constitutional Law Debate Competitions per year at Seton Hall Law School. NJ LEEP students also participate in a five week academic session each summer at the law school, and receive extensive support in the college application process.

100% of the members of the NJ LEEP Class of 2012 have been accepted into college. 96% will be attending four year colleges, and 60% will be attending colleges ranked in the top 100 in the nation. Colleges and Universities the Class of 2012 will be attending include: Princeton University, Drew University, The College of New Jersey, The College of the Holy Cross, Mt. Holyoke College, Trinity College, William, Hobart & Smith College, Smith College, and many others. Among NJ LEEP’s first two graduating classes of 2011 & 2012, 100% of students will be in college in the fall of 2012 with 66% attending top tier colleges and universities.

Found in 2006, the New Jersey Legal Education Empowerment Project (NJ LEEP) is a community-based organization that empowers urban youth in grades eight to twelve from underserved neighborhoods in northern New Jersey to perform at high academic levels by building skills through law-related, mathematic, and other educational programs, developing the habits necessary for lasting success and community leadership, and offering exposure to role models who have achieved academic and professional success. For more information, visit

Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey’s only private law school, and a leading law school in the New York metropolitan area, is dedicated to preparing students for the practice of law through excellence in scholarship and teaching, with a strong focus on clinical education. Seton Hall Law is located in Newark, New Jersey and offers both day and evening degree programs. For more information, visit