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Law Students Learn from Court Visit & Roundtable Discussion

1L Students Visiting the Middlesex County CourthouseIn a refreshing break from textbooks, a cohort of first-year law students visited the Middlesex County Courthouse on March 18, 2024. Orchestrated by Alex Kingsley ‘26, the visit offered a firsthand glimpse of the law in action through criminal, civil, and family law proceedings.


The day began with a Roundtable Discussion featuring the Honorable Michael Toto, A.J.S.C., the Honorable Sheree Pitchford, J.S.C., the Honorable Alberto Rivas, J.S.C., and the Honorable Thomas McCloskey, J.S.C. The group discussed the pathway to working in the judiciary, emphasizing the importance of legal writing and taking advantage of clerkship opportunities. The biggest takeaway for students, however, was the advice to always bring your authentic self to court. While entering the courtroom can be intimidating, it’s critical to just be yourself.


Following the Roundtable, students broke into groups to observe different judicial hearings. In civil court, students listened to closing arguments on a wrongful termination case. Watching the attorneys argue provided valuable insight into persuasion techniques, illuminating skills 1Ls learn in their Introduction to Lawyering class such as developing an overarching “theory of the case.”  Students attending criminal hearings encountered a tense environment, with an unruly defendant verbally criticizing counsel. The students were impressed by the Judge’s ability to bring order to an uncomfortable situation by stressing the integrity of the courtroom and the respect its officers deserve. In family law court, students saw a judge review a private divorce agreement. Across the three courtrooms, students bridged the lessons learned in the classroom with the nuanced actions of attorneys and judges. 


Professor Adrian Newall, Director of Lawyering, and Alex hope to create a lasting partnership with Middlesex County to make the courtroom accessible to aspiring lawyers. The visit ultimately reaffirmed Seton Hall Law’s commitment to both the practical and educational, offering students the chance to apply what they learn in class to the realities of the legal system. After all, the complex Federal Rules of Civil Procedure take on greater meaning when you hear the words “Motion for Summary Judgment” from a judge rather than your professor.


Check out the NJ Court System’s LinkedIn post highlighting the day here!

Categories: Student Life

For more information, please contact:

  • Seton Hall Law School