Gerard Hanson '75, '78, Cultivating the Next Generation of Seton Hall Lawyers
Many Seton Hall Law alums decide to teach as adjunct professors to cultivate the next generation of Seton Hall Lawyers. Gerard Hanson '75, '78 just entered his 22nd year teaching Insurance Law at Seton Hall, and was also recently appointed as the President of the Seton Hall Alumni Board of Directors. As President, Hanson assumes an ex officio position on the Seton Hall Board of Regents. A dual degree Seton Hall alum, Hanson received his B.A. in Economics in 1975, graduating magna cum laude. Despite practicing in one of the most demanding areas of the law, Hanson makes time to give back to Seton Hall because his experiences as a law and undergraduate student are marked with joy, and because it is “the right thing to do.” According to Hanson, “it is so easy to give back when Seton Hall has given me so much.” Hanson spent a few moments with us to share about his teaching experience, his vision as President of the Alumni Board of Directors, and why it is important for his fellow alums to engage with the Law School.
Hanson began teaching at Seton Hall Law in 1998. The world has changed since 1998. The national reputation of Seton Hall Law has risen in large part since then because of adjuncts like Jerry who bring a cache of experience and expertise to the classroom. He is a partner in the Princeton, NJ office of Hill Wallack LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Management Committee and is the partner-in-charge of the firm’s Insurance Coverage, Product Liability and Trial & Insurance Defense practice groups. Jerry has been repeatedly identified as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters. He was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by America’s Top 100 Attorneys. Hanson attributes the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and specifically the character of Atticus Finch for his desire to become a trial lawyer. His resume includes extensive jury trial experience in both federal and state courts.
Professor Hanson told us that teaching at Seton Hall Law has been a privilege and a pleasure. Jerry told us that it is a “feel good experience working with such bright students who are so energetic and passionate about the law. While hoping to add value to each student’s learning experience, it is personally fun.” Hanson said he “looks forward to each class.”
Neary five years ago, Hanson was approached to become a member of the Alumni Board of Directors. The all-volunteer board’s mission is to encourage more alums to become connected with Seton Hall in meaningful ways. “It immediately invigorated me,” says Hanson. “It was a jolt of adrenaline to get back involved.” Now five years later, he assumes the position of President and a place on the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents is responsible for managing University affairs and is provided with a broad range of governance powers, such as appointment authority for officers, the power to approve or disprove capital and operating budgets, and establish the functions of academic departments.
As President of the Alumni Board, Hanson hopes to continue the good work of his predecessor – Kim Capadona, who is also a dual Seton Hall undergraduate and Law School alum. Kim recently vacated the position of President of the Alumni Board to take on the job of General Counsel of the University. As President, Hanson plans on opening a line of communication between the University alumni, and the Law School alumni.
When asked why it’s important for fellow alumni to be engaged, Hanson observed that “paying-forward what Seton Hall has given to each of its graduates is so easy, and so rewarding There is no downside to getting involved, with so much to gain in so many ways.” He asks that all alumni do something, no matter how small, to advance the reputation of the Law School, and the betterment of its standards.