Anthony Accardo’s law school journey began during his undergraduate career at CUNY – College of Staten Island, when he changed his major from Mechanical Engineering to Political Science and interned with his local congressman for a year. It was then that he decided to attend law school. “I chose Rutgers Law for its proximity to New York City, the University’s rich history, and its many clinics.”
As a 1L, he and several other students began RIALSO, the Rutgers Italian American Law Student Organization, which celebrates Italian culture and connects students with attorneys and judges through networking events like their annual “Carnevale.” At this event, their organization presented awards to several Italian-American attorneys and judges for their dedication to the legal profession and in recognition of their shared culture and heritage.
During his years at Rutgers Law, he also served as Associate Editor, and eventually Business Managing Editor of Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal, the oldest legal journal of its kind. As a 2L, he was a representative for the Criminal Law Society, and in his final semester, he was a clinical student in the Rutgers Community and Transactional Lawyering Clinic, where he had the opportunity to work on matters ranging from guardianship petitions to business filings in New York and New Jersey.
At the start of his law school career, Accardo didn’t know what kind of law he wanted to practice, so he got involved in organizations dedicated to specific practices and took classes in a variety of subjects. “I was interested in Criminal Law, and in the summer between 1L and 2L, I interned with a judge in the Brooklyn Supreme Court, where I was able to observe all aspects of criminal trial proceedings.” He maintained his varied interests, and at the beginning of his year as a 2L, he started work at a construction litigation firm in lower Manhattan, where he was able to connect his previous interest in engineering with his pursuit of a legal career. While he continued to take various classes, he began to develop more of a focus. “I was still captivated by criminal law, and Professor Bergelson’s criminal law classes reignited my desire to practice in that area.”
It was this renewed captivation with criminal law that gave him the desire to follow this path. “I hope to pursue a career in criminal prosecution. Prosecutors have a unique ability to influence the community and implement criminal justice reform.”
It’s his hope for future law students that they too branch out into a variety of studies. “Step out of your comfort zone. Take a class that is not within your anticipated scope of practice and experience as many different aspects of the law as you can.” Overall, he hopes that future students will “embrace the challenge, be dedicated to your goal, never let anyone tell you what is possible, and most importantly, enjoy it.”