There are countless ways for Rutgers Law School alumni to give back to their alma mater, but naming a space on campus helps them truly leave their mark.
Despite working and living in Essex County for the better part of 70 years, Alan R. Hammer RLAW’71 of Brach Eichler LLC hadn’t set foot on the Newark campus of Rutgers Law School since he graduated. So when he and his wife Susan finally returned in 2021 they were, in his words, blown away. “It was nothing like the small building I remember,” he says. “The campus makes such a statement now, and I was so impressed by it that I felt a renewed sense of pride as a Rutgers Law graduate.”
This visit made such an impact on Hammer that he was inspired to do something he never did before: make a sizable donation to the Law School, one that would result in a student services suite named for him. “While I had given small annual contributions to the Law School, this was the first time I seriously considered making a donation of this size,” he says. “When I visited the building, it felt like an important place, and that made the school feel even more important to me as an alumnus.”
John H. Shindle RLAW‘13 and M. Brian Hall RLAW’12 also chose this path when deciding how to give back on the Camden campus—the pair recently made a donation to upgrade a clinic interview room and name it after their firm, Ward, Shindle & Hall of West Deptford, New Jersey. Why? Both Hall and Shindle regard their clinic work as one of the most influential and valuable experiences they had as Rutgers Law students. That said, the surroundings didn’t reflect the magnitude and gravity of the work done there.
“I’ve met with clients in these interview rooms, and I’ve heard the difficult stories they have to tell, so I know firsthand how important it can be to meet in a comfortable place,” Shindle says. “Sometimes, there isn’t money to fix these rooms up, but it can make all the difference to a client who is dealing with an incredibly emotional and difficult time in their life. It’s important they feel comfortable and assured.”
Shindle and Hall stepped up for the community members who utilize these rooms, but also to elevate the student experience at Rutgers Law and set the tone for other alumni who are considering a similar donation. “It is important to give back because Rutgers Law School enabled me to have a career as an attorney and law firm owner, and my experience in the clinic was the most invaluable and memorable of my time there,” Hall says. “I hope our donation will create a professional and welcoming environment for student lawyers and their clients to meet and work on cases. The student lawyers are performing real legal work and they deserve a professional space in which to meet their clients.”