Pierre-Louis becomes first black woman appointed to NJ Supreme Court

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NEWARK, NJ — The first Seton Hall Law appointee to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court is retiring. Associate Justice Walter F. Timpone ’79 was sworn-in by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner on June 2, 2016, at Seton Hall Law School, and has served the court and the citizens of New Jersey with honor and dignity. In November, Timpone will reach the mandatory retirement age. On Aug. 27, the New Jersey State Senate unanimously confirmed Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination for Fabiana Pierre-Louis to succeed Timpone. Pierre-Louis, an Irvington native, is a graduate of Seton Hall Law School’s Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies and is the first black woman to serve as an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Timpone is expected to retire early to allow her to join the court’s next session beginning in early September. So, as he leaves the court as the first Seton Hall Law alum to serve, he is linked with another first for the Seton Hall Law community and for New Jersey. 

“The appointments of Justice Timpone and Justice Pierre-Louis speak directly to Seton Hall Law’s ability to prepare not only quality legal advocates for justice, but bold leaders who are prepared to assume positions within the highest profiles of the profession and society,” Dean Kathleen Boozang said. 

Prior to his appointment on the Supreme Court, Timpone served as a partner in the law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter and as the first federal election monitor in Passaic County. He was a commissioner on the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission and spent 10 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark serving as chief of special prosecutions. 

Pierre-Louis most recently was a partner in Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads’ White Collar and Government Investigations practice group. She too served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and was the first woman of color to serve as the attorney-in-charge of the Camden and Trenton branch offices. 

“We would like to commend Justice Timpone for his distinguished service and compassion, and for representing the virtues embodied in the Seton Hall lawyer,” Boozang said. “He leaves a powerful legacy that will positively impact current and future generations of Seton Hall Law students.” 

“Prior to entering law school — and while an undergraduate student — Fabiana Pierre-Louis distinguished herself as an outstanding participant in the Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies, a program for educationally disadvantaged students, funded by the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund and housed at Seton Hall Law School,” said Seton Hall Law professor Brenda Saunders Hampden, director of the Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies. “As project director of pre-legal, I had the privilege of witnessing the brilliance, judicious analytical skills and determination embodied in Ms. Pierre-Louis as she embarked then on a journey to discover whether she wanted to pursue a career in law. Pre-legal is the oldest known program of its type simulating the first year of law school for aspiring lawyers while they are completing their undergraduate studies. The Seton Hall Law and pre-legal families and I are exceptionally proud of Fabiana Pierre-Louis’ confirmation to be appointed to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.”