If you were looking for Annabel Pollioni at law school and couldn’t find her, chances were she was arguing a case in court.
During the last two years of law school, Pollioni, a Kinoy/Stavis Fellow who worked in the Constitutional Rights Clinic, argued in front of Judge Loretta Preska, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of a blind prisoner. The judge ended up issuing an opinion in the Clinic’s favor.
Pollioni also argued at state Superior Court in Essex County as part of an amicus curiae brief for voters in the City of Orange and also represented voters on Election Day last November.
“I’ve gotten to prepare briefs, oral arguments, go through thousands of pages of discovery, it’s preparing me for real life lawyering,” she said.
A former college lacrosse player who transferred from the West Coast and ultimately graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Pollioni is one of eight siblings originally from Ocean County and is the first in her family to go to college.
She took three years off after her undergraduate degree and served in Americorps before coming to Rutgers Law School.
She was part of the Minority Student Program, the Environmental Law Society, the American Constitution Society and the Womens Rights Law Reporter. She participated in Moot Court Board her second and third years.
During her first year of law school, Pollioni admitted she had second thoughts about staying at Rutgers, but said meeting Professor Frank Askin, a civil rights icon who recently retired, changed her life. “I didn’t realize the way the law could be used to make change,” she recalled, “He said, ‘If the law isn’t right, we’re going to tell them (the court) what the law should be.’”
Pollioni said the high-caliber faculty and the law school’s commitment to social justice were two of the things she loved most about Rutgers Law. During her time in law school, she found herself representing students from New Brunswick that she’d organized to vote a few years earlier.
“I felt like I belonged here,” she said.
After graduation, Pollioni, 27, will take her skills to Poskauer Rose, an international corporate law firm in Newark, where she’ll be an associate in the labor and employment section. She said she hopes to stay active in pro bono work. Her advice to incoming law students, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to know your professors. Nobody can help you if you’re not talking to them.”