Jeffrey Hsi ‘97 was married with a young son and had a successful career as a scientist with a division of Johnson & Johnson when he decided to enroll in Rutgers Law School in 1993.
Driven by his interest in intellectual property law, Hsi enrolled as an evening student, which allowed him to commute to his job in New York City and continue to live in Flemington, NJ with his family.
He said his experience at Rutgers Law was “transformational,” in part because of the support he received from the Minority Student Program (MSP), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in April.
Rutgers Law’s MSP is a nationally acclaimed post-admissions program that serves students of any race or ethnicity who are members of groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession, and who have faced discrimination or overcome social and economic hardships. The program offers legal skills development, academic support, alumni mentoring and networking, internships and other opportunities.
“I loved it; it did help create a community from the beginning,” he said. “It resonated so much with me, I ended up in later years actually being a tutor, leading the tutorial sessions in Professor Chen’s class.”
Hsi, who has a doctorate in chemistry, went on to become an internationally-recognized expert in intellectual property and patent law. He currently is a shareholder at Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks in Boston and his clients include chemical and pharmaceutical companies, emerging biopharmaceutical companies, multinational companies and academic and government research institutions.
This spring, Hsi pledged $250,000 to MSP and challenged law alumni and students to join him in offering financial support to the program. His goal is to provide financial support for summer public service internships for all current MSP students.
“It’s Important to get real life legal experience over the summers during law school, whether it’s at a law firm or a non-profit,” he said. “The Rutgers MSP program serves a very important mission, . . . for the law school and for the legal community in that it continues to train new lawyers with diverse perspectives and experiences with interests in public interest and civil rights.”
As his law career progressed, Hsi said he became involved in Asian-American Pacific Islander legal professional organizations, then Asian American civil rights organizations, and then more involved as a Rutgers Law alumnus and he wants to see the MSP program continue to positively impact the legal profession.
“The misconceptions are that there’s not a need for diverse lawyers,” he said, adding that there’s still a need to diversify the profession. Though the impact MSP has had in the last half-century has been “truly spectacular” Hsi said he’d like the program to continue to grow and triple or quadruple the impact its students have had on the legal profession and the communities they serve.
To make a donation to the Rutgers Law School Minority Student Program, click on this Donation Link, in the "Other" box, write in: Minority Student Program Alumni Endowment Fund, Account 600000.