U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Rosemary Gambardella was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Rutgers University Law Review at its annual alumni gala on February 23, in Newark.
Gambardella served as an Editor of the Law Review when she was a student. Gambardella chose her twin sister Frances Gambardella ’79, to speak on her behalf.
“Rosemary has had a distinguished legal career and a long connection with Rutgers and the city of Newark,” said Frances Gambaradella. She talked about Judge Gambardella’s career as the first female bankruptcy judge in New Jersey, and probably the youngest when she was appointed to the bench at age 30, and her service as the Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey from 1998 to 2005. She was the bankruptcy judge representative to the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Judge Gambardella attended Rutgers College in 1976, where she was elected to Phil Beta Kappa.
She was honored with the Rutgers Law School Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012. Last fall, The Turnaround Management Association sponsored a scholarship competition in her name that invited students in Professor Chrystin Ondersma’s bankruptcy class to take part in a reorganization plan study competition before real bankruptcy judges.
The Law Review Alumni gala also recognized Safia Hussain ’07, a former articles editor of the Law Review, who works as an associate at the law firm of Ewenstein & Roth and has served as the President of the Muslim Bar Association of New York.
In her remarks, Hussain praised the diversity at Rutgers Law School and called on its graduate to continue serving the public and working for social justice, “Rutgers’ commitment to diversity and lawyering for the public interest feels particularly important right now.” She said it is important for students and others to get to know people different from them to combat nativist attitudes, and having a diverse student body “allows students to know each other as individuals and see past stereotypes.”
Hussain, a former Kinoy/Stavis Fellow, encouraged law students to get clinic experience. “It’s like you have one year of law school and two years as a public interest lawyer.” She said through her clinic experience, she helped incarcerated people register to vote, assisted a client to get welfare benefits, advocated for people denied voting at the polls, and worked on behalf of a client incarcerated as a juvenile.
She urged practicing lawyers to “seek out meaningful pro bono opportunities” and to combat injustice in their careers, “We are uniquely positioned to advocate for individuals whose rights are being violated. There’s a lot of good we can do.”
Stephen Marietta ’17, the Newark Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, talked about the student-led organization’s busy year that included hosting two symposia, choosing articles for the Law Review with editors in Camden that included articles from scholars at law schools from across the country.
Since the Rutgers Law School merger in 2015, the the Newark-based Rutgers Law Review and Camden-based Rutgers Law Journal combined to form a unified Rutgers University Law Review, which Marietta said is ranked among the top 100 nationwide.