SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Students in Kim Donnelly’s law classes at Union Catholic were treated to a very special guest on Monday when Union Catholic graduate Fabiana Pierre-Louis was sworn in as the first black woman judge at the Supreme Court of New Jersey last summer. , spoke to them via Zoom.
Judge Pierre-Louis, who graduated from UC in 1998, shared her journey and remarkable experiences with the students and answered their questions.
Donnelly said Pierre-Louis had a huge impact on his students
“It is so important for our students to hear from someone like Judge Pierre-Louis, who stepped in their skin at Union Catholic, worked hard throughout his career and now sits on the highest court from New Jersey. The students really enjoyed hearing about his various experiences because Judge Pierre-Louis was able to give them a first-hand perspective on so many levels. Judge Pierre-Louis is truly an incredible role model for students and an inspiration for all of us to work hard and always be open to new opportunities. ”
Nancy Foulks, director of graduate relations at Union Catholic, said hearing Pierre-Louis should make UC students understand that they can be successful as well.
“Ms. Donnelly’s law students had the privilege of hearing directly from a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis, UC 98,” Foulks said. “Justice Pierre-Louis shared insights on her career path, the invaluable value of being a true mentor and how she has benefited from internships, clerkships, internships and practicing law in various roles, such as prosecutor, public defender and partner in a private company. After listening to Judge Pierre-Louis, I hope UC students realize that they can aspire to the same high judicial heights attained by this UC alumnus. I was particularly inspired by Judge Pierre-Louis’ comment that when faced with a difficult case, she “prays that justice be done, not that a case is lost or won”.
Pierre-Louis said last June, when she was appointed to the NJ Supreme Court, that her time at Union Catholic had helped shape the person she is today.
“All of the schools I have attended in my life have played an important role in who I am today,” Pierre-Louis said in June. “From my time at Saint Paul the Apostle Elementary School in Irvington, high school at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, Rutgers in New Brunswick and Rutgers Law School in Camden – north to south I have been fortunate to have received a phenomenal education here in New Jersey, every step of the way. ”
During her days at Union Catholic, Pierre-Louis was a member of the Service Club, Black History Club, Gospel Choir, Environmental Club, French Honor Society, French Club, Double Dutch Club, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, and she has always been a constant supporter of the school.
The main sister of the Catholic Union, Percylee Hart, RSM, was elated when Pierre-Louis was appointed to the Supreme Court.
“We are very proud and delighted with the great honor that has been bestowed on Fabiana with this nomination,” Sister Percylee said last June. “For Union Catholic, it brings so much pride and joy as we celebrate the successful career path of one of our graduates. It is a revolutionary moment. ”
After graduating from Union Catholic, Pierre-Louis received his BA in Political Science from Rutgers – New Brunswick. She then obtained a law degree from Rutgers Law School in Camden, magna cum laude. In law school, Pierre-Louis served as vice-president of the Black Law Students Association, executive member of the governor of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, and a volunteer for the Rutgers Domestic Violence Project.
Immediately after law school, Pierre-Louis served as a lawyer for the Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr. of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (retired). Wallace was the last African American to serve as a judge on the state’s Supreme Court.
Pierre-Louis most recently worked at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP in Cherry Hill, where she worked in Montgomery McCracken’s White Collar and Government Investigations practice group. His work at the firm has primarily focused on complex commercial litigation, white collar crime and government investigations. Pierre-Louis not only worked in private practice, but also worked as a federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice for years.
Prior to Montgomery McCracken, Pierre-Louis served nine years in the New Jersey District Attorney’s Office as Assistant U.S. Attorney and District Attorney in charge of the Camden branch, the first woman of color to hold that position. in the history of the District.
As Chief Counsel, Pierre-Louis was responsible for overseeing all aspects of criminal matters handled by the Camden office, including criminal trials, investigations and prosecutions of large-scale mail and electronic fraud offenses. , health issues and government fraud, as well as narcotics, guns and violent crime. She also investigated and pursued her own individual workload focusing on cases of public corruption, federal drug offenses, export control violations, defense procurement fraud. , national security issues and child exploitation offenses.
Prior to serving as counsel in charge of the Camden office, Pierre-Louis also served as counsel in charge of the Trenton branch from November 2016 to December 2018 and was the first woman of color to also hold this position. . In addition to working in Trenton and Camden, Pierre-Louis worked in the Newark office in the General Crime Unit and the Organized Crime and Gang Unit.
Pierre-Louis has won several distinctions and awards during his career.
She was named “Diverse Attorney of the Year” by the New Jersey Law Journal in 2019. In 2017, she received the Garden State Bar Association Young Lawyer Award in 2017, and she received the Rutgers Excellence in Alumni Leadership Spirit Award in 2010
Pierre-Louis is administrator of the Federal Bar Association of New Jersey, member of the board of directors of the Alumni Association of Rutgers Law School (Camden), former board of directors of the Haitian-American Association New Jersey Lawyers (HALA-NJ), member of the Garden State Bar Association, the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association and the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey.
Union Catholic (1600 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) prepares a diverse student body to achieve its college and professional goals by cultivating student achievement of standards of academic excellence in a values-driven environment, strengthened by its commitment to our fundamental values (respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion and community) and the establishment of a community of faith and love in the Catholic tradition. For more information, call (908) 889-1600 or visit www.unioncatholic.org.