More than 170 alumni, faculty, students, and guests gathered to honor three outstanding Rutgers Law Camden alumni at the Governor James J. Florio Scholarship Benefit and Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony. The event was renamed this year in honor of the late former governor of New Jersey and alumnus of Rutgers Law who passed away last year. More than 30 law students also attended the gala, widely known as the “DAAC,” on November 9 at The Merion in Cinnaminson.
The Rutgers Law School - Camden Alumni Association hosted the event which also featured a cocktail reception, dinner, and dancing. With the help of 21 sponsors this year, proceeds from the gala will fund Alumni Association programs and scholarships for Rutgers Law students. Nearly a dozen students benefit from the fund every year since its launch in 1983.
Brittney Cafero `15, emcee and Rutgers Law Alumni Association-Camden Chancellor, said, “Our extensive and successful alumni network is a reminder of the strong support that we have in our Rutgers community and the mentorship and guidance that we can offer our law students and colleagues as we navigate our careers.”
About the Honorees
Carlos M. Bollar `97 received the 2023 Arthur E. Armitage, Sr. Distinguished Alumni Award. A partner at Archer & Greiner and one of the leading environmental attorneys in New Jersey, Carlos represents clients in complex toxic tort, product liability, and environmental litigation matters. He handles a variety of environmental litigation cases, including single plaintiff cases, mass actions involving hundreds of plaintiffs, class actions, and defending clients against state and federal government. Carlos regularly handles high stakes litigation with massive potential damages.
He has been a champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession throughout his career, serving as a past president of both the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ). Carlos also serves on the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey State Bar Association.
In addition to being a past recipient of the HNBA’s Latino Lawyer of the Year Award and the HBA-NJ’s prestigious Margarita Echevarria Trailblazer Award, Carlos has been honored by the multi-platform news media organization Al Día as one of the top attorneys in the Philadelphia region. He was named to the Nation’s Best List by Lawyers of Color. He was also named Professional Lawyer of the Year by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, as well as being named as one of the 55 Most Influential Latinos in New Jersey by the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey.
The Armitage Award was established in 1983 in memory of Armitage, who, with a group of interested citizens, founded both the South Jersey Law School in 1926 and its companion College of South Jersey in 1927.
Angela V. Baker ’85 is this year’s recipient for the Hon. Joseph M. Nardi, Jr. Distinguished Alumni Award. After clerking for the Hon. Mary Ellen Talbott in Superior Court, she worked in the Mental Health Division of the Public Advocate’s Office, representing clients who were involuntarily committed to mental hospitals. She started teaching Legal Research and Writing at Rutgers Law in 1990, became the director of the program three years later, then started an academic support program. She left the law school to practice criminal appeals but returned to teaching after five years. In 2005, she became dean for Career Planning and Professional Development before becoming Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
She retired from Rutgers Law in 2018 but teaches English as a Second Language through the Nationalities Service Center, primarily working with Afghan women living in Philadelphia.
The Nardi Award recognizes alumni who have rendered outstanding voluntary service to the Rutgers Law community while exhibiting professional excellence and/or service to society.
Samantha R. Gross ’14 received this year’s Distinguished Recent Graduate Award. She serves as Corporate Counsel at Pfizer. She also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania Masters of Public Health Program, of which she is an alumna. In addition, Samantha maintains a robust pro bono practice and is active with the American Health Law Association. She previously served as the Chancellor of the Rutgers-Camden Alumni Association and led the association through the challenging COVID pandemic.
Established in 2011, the Distinguished Recent Graduate Award is presented to a recent graduate for achieving distinction in the legal community within 10 years of graduation. The criteria for the award includes demonstrated leadership capability, substantial commitment to service of others, demonstration of potential for long-term leadership, and substantial commitment to Rutgers Law School and Alumni Association.
The Rutgers School of Law-Camden Alumni Association was founded in the 1940s by Anthony J. Perotti `43. It represents more than 9,000 alumni.
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