Rutgers Law–Camden Student Inspired by Mother’s Legacy, Discovering the Law for Herself

Rutgers Law–Camden Student Inspired by Mother’s Legacy, Discovering the Law for Herself

A law library can quickly become a kind of second home to any aspiring
attorney. To Rutgers Law–Camden student Amanda Dalton, the space summons
memories not only from her many hours spent studying, but flashbacks from her

On May 23, Dalton will receive her J.D.; her legal education
at Rutgers–Camden, though, began when she was just five years old. While her mother
Angela White Dalton, a 1995 alumna, was earning her law degree, Amanda could
often be found in the back of class under a desk coloring. Nearly two decades
later, Amanda knows full well the very real rigors of law school.

“I always admired my mom and what she’s accomplished,” says
Amanda. “Being a law student didn’t change my opinion, but it did make me have a
more complete appreciation.”

And Angela’s successes, including having three daughters,
have been many. Her varied accomplishments include serving as officer of the
New Jersey State Bar, trustee of the Monmouth County Bar, Deputy Mayor of
Howell, N.J., and most recently, being confirmed as New Jersey Superior Court

At the swearing in this past February, Amanda delivered
remarks about growing up as a very loved daughter of a very young and ambitious
attorney to hundreds of practicing lawyers and judges. Amanda described her
mother as a “real life Super Woman,” and recounted anecdotes on how her mother
was able to have a successful career and a family by sometimes overlapping the
two worlds. “Vacations,” Amanda reminisced, “consisted of me tagging along with
Mom to a New Jersey State Bar Trip or American Bar Association convention.”  

This early exposure to the legal world didn’t exactly sway
Amanda’s decision to enter law school though; that awareness didn’t materialize
for her until college. When she was ready to return to Rutgers Law–Camden as an
official law student, Amanda didn’t feel exponentially more prepared than
others, except for what knowledge she gained through a file clerk experience.  She did, however, admittedly possess
something more powerful than any book in the library: a living, breathing

“I did have an advantage, but no more than anyone else who
worked in a law office. The major difference is that if I had questions I had
someone at home I could call,” notes Amanda.

Judge Dalton credits her success to Rutgers, which is why
when her daughter was ready to enter law school, just one school mattered.

“There was no doubt in our minds that this is where she
belonged,” says Judge Dalton. “After 18 years so much at the school has stayed
the same, but so much has improved. She had some of the influential professors
I had; even our grades are almost identical. Ultimately, I think she did
slightly better.”

“Not only is Amanda a bright student with strong analytical
skills in her writing and in the classroom—her paper about cyber-schools in New
Jersey is being recognized for its scholarly and practical excellence at our
Class Day awards ceremony— but she has excelled in so many other ways,” says
Prof. Jill Friedman. “She was selected as a Marshall-Brennan Constitutional
Literacy Fellow in her second year, and earned a spot as our teaching assistant,
directing a high school moot court program, in her third. Amanda stands out for
her tenacity and discipline more than anything else; for one assignment, I
asked for a paragraph, and she turned in a 10-page brief.”

Those good grades and late nights in the library paid off:
after graduation Amanda will clerk for Justice Helen E. Hoens, Associate
Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Amanda doesn’t claim to have her legal career mapped out
just yet, but she is grateful to have her mother ahead of her.

 “It’s because of my
mother’s hard work, dedication, and unwavering support that I stand today,
about to take another step down the same path that she did.”

Media Contact: Cathy K. Donovan