Meet Fatima M. Abughannam ’24: Center for Social Justice Scholar
Fatima M. Abughannam ’24 is dedicated to advocating for criminal justice reform, particularly as it relates to indigent defense and wrongful convictions. As a first-generation American and daughter to Palestinian immigrants, Abughannam recognizes the importance of enhancing access to justice and promoting fundamental rights for everyone, including members of underrepresented groups.
Abughannam’s undergraduate experiences at Rutgers University, where she earned a dual Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and Cognitive Science, inspired her passion for social justice. Abughannam was an EOF Scholar and a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated—an organization focused on promoting unity through charitable and educational programs and serving as a voice for all students.
Abughannam’s decision to attend law school followed her work as an investigator with the Major Crimes and Homicide Unit at the New York County Defenders Office. In that role, Abughannam worked with indigent people accused of all types of crimes and facing the most severe penalties under law.
Abughannam’s internship with the Innocence Project in the Summer of 2022 is one of her most valued experiences since beginning law school. Abughannam was able to work with the Intake Strategic Initiatives and assisted in evaluating cases for potential representation by the Innocence Project. Following the selection of cases, the Conviction Integrity Unit evaluated the case's specifics by looking at prior convictions and determining whether credible claims of true innocence or wrongful conviction existed.
During her first year at Seton Hall, Abughannam served as the Secretary of the Public Interest Network—a student organization dedicated to advancing public interest law in the Seton Hall community. The Public Interest Network organizes an annual auction to fundraise for students pursuing public interest internships and hosts events featuring lawyers in the public sector. Abughannam also serves at the Social Media Chair for Muslim Law Students Association, is a member of the Seton Hall Law Mock Trial Team, and an EOF Fellow.
“The highest human act is to inspire.” As a CSJ Scholar, Abughannam looks most forward to continuing her work promoting social justice for all, including members of marginalized groups.