May 28, 2020
While at Rutgers Law, DePalma founded the Newark Housing Rights Coalition, which aims to assist the under-represented tenant population in Newark.

As a native of New Jersey, Nina DePalma knew right away that she wanted to attend law school in her home state. For her, Rutgers Law School’s reputation as the People’s Electric Law School, along with the numerous public interest opportunities available to students, made the decision easy for her.

Her involvement at the law school was varied and extensive. Over the course of her law school career, she worked with the Rutgers Education & Health Law Clinic, served on the Rutgers Journal of Law and Public Policy, and founded the Newark Housing Rights Coalition, a program that includes Rutgers Law School, Seton Hall Law School, McCarter & English, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, and Essex Newark Legal Services.

For DePalma, it’s clear that while preparation and hard work are incredibly important, sometimes you “don’t always know what’s coming next,” and she advises to “do your best and sometimes something better will come out of it than you expected,” a principle she attributed to what she learned under the teaching of Professor Henderson and Professor Deutsch, whose low-income housing seminar was what she considers “the best class I took at Rutgers.”

After law school, DePalma hopes to continue advocating for housing rights by working as a tenant-side attorney.

If there’s one thing she wants incoming students to know, it’s that “the most important thing is to trust yourself and trust your ability to succeed. It's so crucial to remember you are there for a reason, and you are going to do amazing things.” She also provided this important reminder: “If there's something you want to do and there isn't a program to do it yet, don't be afraid to start conversations with people who can help you create new opportunities for yourself and students to come.”

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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