Veteran law students will hear from a range of veteran attorneys, from those recently graduated to those with seasoned careers in the field, during a career panel discussion at Rutgers Law School at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3.The moderated event will feature panelists including Samuel Waltzer ’12, an associate at Pepper Hamilton, who missed his law school graduation because he was on duty; David Dziengowski ’08, a litigation attorney at Schnader, who remains active in the U.S. Navy Reserve; John DiNome ’91, partner at Reed Smith and Army veteran; and the Hon. Bernard DeLury, Jr., ’86, who served 25 years in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps and was a judge of the United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
According to Dziengowski, who recently moved back to the region after five years on active duty in the Navy JAG Corps, serving, in part, as a rule of law field support office in Afghanistan, it’s important for veteran law students to listen and speak with veteran attorneys, “so that they understand how to apply the lessons learned from the military to the civilian practice of law.”
“The military fashions mission-oriented people who are accustomed to working under pressure to achieve a goal,” he says. “The skills derived from that environment translate well to the practice of law, where deadlines must be met and exceptional work product is expected.”
He adds that law students should take the initiative to seek out networking opportunities like these with veterans. “Former service members are part of a unique and lifelong co-ed fraternity.”
The alma mater for Lieutenant General Flora D. Darpino ’86, Rutgers Law has a growing tradition for cultivating a welcoming student veteran environment. This comradery was felt by some of the panelists during their legal educations, notably Waltzer, who credits his first legal position to networking with a Rutgers Law alumni veteran.
"Veteran networking helped me to obtain my first legal job, with Pepper Hamilton, during my Pepper on-campus recruiting interview with a 2007 grad, who was serving as a pilot in the New Jersey Air National Guard."
For those who didn’t have the opportunity to network as a law student with other veterans in the legal field, this event is a sign of progress. “I did not have that opportunity,” says DiNome.
“I think it would have been a great way to share experiences and network. I think the bond between veterans is very strong and outreach and communication are essential to keep the link.”
According to Academic Success Director Alison Nissen, Rutgers Law strives to acknowledge the diversity and various perspectives of this population. “There is a unique law school culture that is very different in some distinct ways than military culture. Providing an informal mentorship program and community is helping our students adjust quicker.”
The event, which is open to the public, will be held in the fourth floor faculty lounge in the law school, located at Fifth and Penn Streets on the Rutgers University–Camden campus.
Directions to Rutgers–Camden are available at camden.rutgers.edu.