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Andrew Fede ‘78

Adjunct professor at Montclair State and lawyer reflects on his career beginnings and how it lead to him diving deeper into the field from a wider social context.

Posted in: Alumni Profiles


Before he entered the field of Law, Andrew Fede ‘78 had always been drawn to history, ever since he was a little kid, so it makes sense that he went on to pursue a degree in History at Montclair State. Alongside this degree, he managed to complete his education requirements as well, receiving his teacher certification in Social Studies in the state of New Jersey. Fede’s original plan was to become a Social Studies teacher, but after speaking with his academic adviser upon graduation he decided to take a different path. Andrew had always had a special interest in the political sciences classes he took, paid close attention to the law cases he had studied, and found that this was something he truly had an interest in. When he graduated Summa Cum Laude in May of 1978, he took on the LSAT, applied to law school, and just like that he was enrolled in the Pre-Law program at Rutgers University.

In December of 1982, Andrew was officially sworn in and he has been practicing law ever since. His areas of specialization include civil and appellate litigation, local government law, zoning and land use law, as well as real estate tax appeal law. He has represented multiple municipalities, serving on zoning, planning, and even library boards across Bergen County.

Fede has also contributed various scholarly articles and three books to his field of study. His first book began as a research paper which focused on law and social change in U.S. History. His background in studying history convinced him that it was necessary to look beyond normal legal sources in order to properly understand the patterns of legal change over time in a wider social context. In 1992, he expanded upon his original findings, interpreting the laws of slavery in the U.S. South from the Revolutionary War leading up to the Civil War. In 2012, he published his second book expanding on his findings, focusing on law on manumission and freedom suits, and making comparisons to laws elsewhere. This past year Fede published a third book encompassing this topic, this time creating a comparative study concentrating on how the law regulated the homicide of those enslaved at different time periods around the world. “I hope that my work has contributed to the body of knowledge on law and history,” he stated.

Andrew has also served as an adjunct professor at Montclair State University since 1986. He started off teaching the Paralegal Studies program and as the legal courses offered at Montclair began to expand he was able to branch off into courses such as Paralegalism, Legal Writing, and Legal Research. “I have seen so many changes here at Montclair State since my first days on campus in September 1974. I look forward to continuing to teach here and watch the University further expand and improve its facilities and programs of study,” he mused.

Andrew Fede encountered many influencers during his time at Montclair State University, including Professors Joseph Moore and Robert Beckwith. Their courses sparked his interest in researching and interpreting historical sources and inspired him with the teaching methods which he continues to use today. If he could offer any advice to Montclair State students in pursuit of a degree within History or Social Sciences it would be, “Focus on the content of your subjects, and make a conscious effort to improve upon your researching, critical thinking, writing, and communication skills.”