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The New Jersey State Bar Foundation has awarded more than $6.4 million in multi-year grants to fund new and existing law school clinics at Seton Hall Law School and Rutgers Law Schools in both Camden and Newark.

In keeping with the foundation’s mission of advancing the profession of law through public service, the new funding provided will support 14 clinics across the three law school locations.

“Clinics give law students practical experience in providing legal aid in the areas of public service, social justice, gender justice, family law, mediation, entrepreneurship and more,” said Charlie Stoia, president of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. “We are thrilled to provide funding to help prepare students for the practice of law.”

At Seton Hall Law School, approximately 150 students currently participate in clinical programs each year, providing free legal assistance to hundreds of clients.  With the Foundation’s support, an additional 40-50 students annually will have the opportunity to join a clinic or pro bono project and serve the community. In Rutgers Law’s Clinical Program, about 250 law students provide pro bono legal services to over 500 clients each year. With the new grant funding, 50-60 more clinical law students will be able to participate in the clinics each year and support additional clients.

Under the supervision of faculty, staff attorneys, and fellows, law students will educate and provide free legal services for the communities that their university-based clinics serve. Students work on real cases and work with underrepresented individuals or organizations, such as veterans, victims of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking, and small business owners.

Working in a clinic complements other aspects of legal education. Students work in an area of interest, engage with clients, and develop real skills with the support and supervision they need. Law school officials called the funding transformative

“Rutgers Law School extends our deepest gratitude to the New Jersey State Bar Foundation for its generous commitment to our life-changing clinical programs,” said Rutgers Law School Dean, Johanna Bond. “This funding allows us to continue providing the highest caliber legal training for our clinical students, support innovation for clinical professors, and ensure a positive impact on the communities we serve.”

John Kip Cornwell, Interim Dean, Seton Hall Law School shared, “Seton Hall Law School is grateful for the significant, multi-year support of the New Jersey State Foundation. With this funding, we will develop new transactional clinics, strengthen our existing programs, expand our outreach in the community and give students real-life legal experience that is one of the hallmarks of a Seton Hall Law School education.”

“We are proud to support the growth of law clinics in New Jersey’s law schools and look forward to continuing for years to come,” said Stoia. The foundation has supported clinics in prior years, but these grants mark the most robust investment in its history.

These grant awards are made possible by funding from the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey. More about the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s grants and cosponsorships can be found at cosponsor.njsbf.org.

What the funding means:

Lori Outzs Borgen, Director, Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall: “For more than two decades, the New Jersey State Bar Foundation has provided invaluable support to the Center for Social Justice, enabling us to train more law students and provide crucial support to the community.  Our partnership helps us further the Foundation’s mission to serve the public.”

Amelia Wilson, Assistant Clinical Professor, Seton Hall Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic: “The New Jersey State Bar Foundation funding is critical in ensuring our ability to assist our clients. Our clinical students experience incredible growth in a short amount of time. Within only a few months, they are serving as lead counsel before immigration judges and skilled government prosecutors where they argue complex legal theories at the intersection of immigration, criminal, and constitutional law. They show an enterprising, tenacious spirit and great maturity.”

Joanne Gottesman, Director of Clinical Programs, Director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic, and Clinical Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School in Camden: “The NJSBF has generously supported Rutgers’ clinical programs for decades, but the size and duration of this new commitment make it particularly transformative. This strategic investment will positively impact many lives, including clients, law students, and future clinical professors.”

Anju Gupta, Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, and Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School in Newark: “We are so grateful for this funding from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. The funding will allow us to open a new mediation clinic to serve individuals seeking employment or housing accommodations. The funding will also allow us to expand our existing human rights and community development work and to significantly increase the number of students mentored in the clinics.”

Dara Brody, ’24, Seton Hall: “Clinic work (on immigration matters) gave me the hands-on skills necessary to be an exceptional attorney in a way that stands out from my past legal classes or internships.”

Chakeema Cruickshank ‘24, RU Law Camden: The Expungement Law Project  was the most fulfilling experience of my law school journey. I gained hands-on experience working with clients and learned much about the expungement process. These invaluable experiences will enhance my legal career by improving my oral advocacy skills and helping me connect with future clients.”

Hayley Schultz ’24, RU Law Newark: My experience in the immigrant rights clinic was by far the highlight of law school. Having the opportunity to see how a case moves through the courts and work on a 3rd Circuit appeal in real time is something no class could have ever taught me.