Like many students studying Political Science at Montclair State, Seth U. Nwosu ’06 looked to clerkships as a way to gain valuable experience. Usually, these internships are stepping-stones to careers as lawyers, politicians and judges. While any one of those paths offers opportunities to ensure a just society, Nwosu observed an unmet need in the system that called for a different approach.
“Dr. William Berlin, who was chair of the Political Science and Law Department at the time, was very supportive,” Nwosu tells us. “He listened to my ideas and worked with me as I brokered critical career-building relationships. As a result, I spent time interning with the Superior Court of New Jersey in Essex County and with U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell.”
Two years as a counselor for a community-based corrections program gave him additional insight into the challenges of navigating the U.S. legal system. And subsequent experience as a Judicial Intern for the American Bar Association and as a Paralegal Project Specialist for the State of Arizona further confirmed what he saw as a critical gap in the justice system.
“I believe in people, and in their ability to articulate on their own behalf,” Nwosu says. “But could see how challenging it can be for people to represent themselves against an opponent who has lawyers. I decided I wanted to help those who can’t afford an attorney, but who would be hard-pressed to navigate the law on their own.”
Through Seth Usifo Nwosu Incorporated, Nwosu helps clients exercise their rights. “We assist clients with research and documentation so that they can represent themselves in a court of law,” he explains. “Our clients often cannot afford full attorney representation, but with high quality paralegal guidance, they can have their day in court. We bridge the justice gap for people.”
Nwosu has pursued multiple avenues for building his education to ensure he is providing his clients with the most comprehensive services possible. In addition to a B.A. in Political Science and Government from Montclair State, he holds an ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate from Phoenix College. He is currently working toward a Master’s in Legal Studies at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Nwosu is also a Paralegal Voting Member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the Arizona Paralegal Association, and is a Law Student Member of the Maricopa County Bar Association.
Unlike a traditional law office, which will generally focus on a particular specialty, such as criminal law or personal injury, Nwosu’s firm can assist clients across a wide variety of legal disciplines and jurisdictions. Currently, Seth Usifo Nwosu Incorporated has locations in New Jersey, California and Arizona, but an international presence may be on the horizon as well.
“Through Arizona State University I was able to study at Monash University in Prato, Italy,” Nwosu says. There, he studied Current Issues in Indigenous Rights and International Law and Transnational Litigation to sharpen his skills. In 2021, he is on track to return to Italy at the invitation of UNIDROIT (formerly known as the International Institute for Unification of Private Law) to further his research in intellectual property.
“It is possible I could set up shop abroad,” Nwosu says, considering the idea. “But first I’ll focus on my work at UNIDROIT with the goal of becoming a published researcher. People of color are underrepresented in the legal field, especially as it relates to research. This is an opportunity for me to contribute to developing international knowledge in my field.”
Reflecting on his Montclair State days, Nwosu thinks back to his initial visit to the campus. “I remember feeling for the very first time what it was like to be on a university campus,” he recalls. “It was so beautiful. But the programs are also rigorous. Montclair State gives you the substance to move your career forward.”
Nwosu encourages students to take advantage of all that Montclair State has to offer. “Think outside what the eye can see,” he advises. “Believe in yourself, and be ready to take a leap of faith!