Jessica Kitson RLAW ’02 is the Senior Managing Attorney at Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and an active alumna who frequently is featured as a guest speaker at law school events, particularly having to do with public interest and women in legal careers.
Volunteer Lawyers for Justice provides free legal services throughout the state with more than 1,500 attorneys and paralegals who volunteer their time for one or more of VLJ’s legal programs, helping economically-disadvantaged adults, children, and families in New Jersey.
Recently, Kitson talked about how her experiences at Rutgers Law School in Newark directly influenced her legal journey. “Rutgers provided me with so many different experiences and opportunities through which I could learn, grow and pursue a career in public interest law,” she said.
Kitson was a Marsha Wenk Fellow, which allowed her to do a paid internship with the ACLU of New Jersey. She also co-created, along with Hannah Pennington (RLAW ‘ 01) the law school’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, a pro bono program in which law students assisted domestic violence victims seeking restraining orders.
She was recently honored by the Public Interest Law Foundation in Newark.
While at Rutgers, Kitson was a student attorney in the Child Advocacy Clinic, under the direction of Professor Randi Mandelbaum. “(She) became a mentor and friend after two years in her Child Advocacy Clinic, where I truly learned how to be a strong advocate for my clients.”
Kitson emphasized how important it is to make strong connections during law school and to network with other students, professors and lawyers, “I can trace every single career opportunity I have had directly to Rutgers Law. From my internships during law school to every job I’ve had since, each has been a direct result of the connections I made during law school.”
She said the biggest strengths at Rutgers Law is the diverse environment, which exposes students to a variety of perspectives, and the supportive faculty and staff, “My Rutgers family has been with me through every stage of my career and is my best professional support system.”