John Carrino graduated from Rutgers Law School in Newark in 2000 and now has his own practice in Oldwick, New Jersey, where he specializes in contracts, intellectual property, real estate and business transactions.
Carrino, 42, admits he wasn’t a noteworthy student when he attended Rutgers Law, but says the dean at the time – Fran Bouchoux – believed in him and his ability to overcome hardship, and he credits her confidence in his ability to succeed in making a difference in his years in law school, and ultimately his career.
“I received a small stipend when I was in my third year. It wasn’t a lot of money, but I remember how thoughtful it was that someone put their money down on me. It encouraged me and it truly meant a lot to me,” he recalled.
For the last six years, Carrino has returned the favor by generously donating yearly to the law school’s scholarship fund. His scholarship is called the “John Carrino Scholarship for Perseverance” and in April, he met Fara Momen, the student who received his most recent scholarship.
He said he was moved by Momen, an immigrant, who battled and overcame cancer, while attending law school. “Fara kept on pursuing her dream and persevering,” he said. “I am most humbled to see someone that has overcome such obstacles continue in pursuit of her dream, regardless of what the obstacle was in front of her.”
Carrino said his scholarship was created to provide for students who have had hardships, “My scholarship is for those who have overcome the trials of life with little or no support and had to learn the merits of overcoming.” He said he is proud of each and every one of the student recipients of his scholarship. He has helped six students so far, including Momen.
Momen, who is entering her 3L year, said she is grateful for the Carrino Scholarship, which helped her meet both her financial obligations of law school and some of her medical expenses during her illness.
Carrino, who in addition to practicing law, serves as a Christian pastor in his Christian ministry and is a Middle School Youth Mentor at Liquid Church, said for him, giving back to his alma mater was a deeply personal decision. His advice to other graduates: “I would say to others, make your gift personal. Let it reflect you. Because there is another person that is living like you lived or worse, and you never know the difference your gift and story can be to someone else, so give it back, pay it forward and bless others as you too have been blessed.”
A father of four children, Carrino said he will continue to donate as long as he’s able and wants to give this encouraging message to law students, “Hold on, because your ability to persevere will define you, regardless of what society or a statistic will be said or written about you in your life. The difference between one’s success and failure is often determined by the willingness of that person’s ability to persevere.”
Momen, who hopes to go into public interest law, said Carrino has set a good example for her and other law students, “Having had the experiences of enduring an illness while attending law school certainly gave me perspective. Combining that perspective with the gift from John, really brought new meaning to taking each step of life one day at a time and giving back as much as you can because as John has shown me with his generosity, you never how much a gesture from you means to those in receipt of your kindness. I hope to one day be as generous and give back to others in the Rutgers community, the way the John Carrino Scholarship was given to me.”