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Former law clerks for the Honorable Jerome B. Simandle L’76, former Chief Judge of the District Court of New Jersey, create memorial fund in his honor

February 24, 2020

Any judge can make an impact from the bench with legal decisions, but former Chief Judge of the District of New Jersey Jerome B. Simandle deeply touched the lives of all those who crossed his path – especially his law clerks, many of whom he chose from Penn Law. To honor his memory, several of his former clerks have set up The Honorable Jerome B. Simandle Memorial Fund, which will provide financial support for public sector summer employment in New Jersey.

“The Judge’s law clerks viewed the Judge as a legal giant, who enabled all of us to work on some of the Nation’s most-complicated cases,” said David Hennes L’95, a partner at Ropes & Gray and one of Judge Simandle’s former clerks who spearheaded the establishment of the fund. “But more importantly, he adopted us as part of his family and mentored us during the formative phases of our legal careers. The creation of The Honorable Jerome B. Simandle Memorial Fund was the least we could do to honor the significant contributions he made to our lives. With this scholarship, we honor three of the Judge’s chief interests: his incredibly high regard for his alma mater, Penn Law, and the legal community at large, his commitment to law students dedicated to public service, and his overall love of New Jersey.”

Judge Simandle died of liver cancer in July 2019. At the time, he was serving as Senior Judge on the Court, handling a reduced caseload because of his illness. He was honored at a memorial service on November 15, 2019, at his undergraduate alma mater, Princeton University. The Honorable D. Brooks Smith, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, spoke at the service, as did several of the Judge’s colleagues from the District Court of New Jersey.

The Judge graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude and then from Penn Law, where he was an editor on Law Review. He also earned a graduate certificate from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, which he attended as a Rotary Foundation International Graduate Fellow.

After graduating from law school, Judge Simandle served a two-year clerkship with the late Judge John F. Gerry of the District Court of New Jersey and then spent five years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Civil Division, the last two as head of the Trenton office.

The Judge first joined the bench as a Magistrate Judge in 1983, where he sat until President George H.W. Bush nominated him to federal district court in 1992. He served as Chief Judge of the District of New Jersey from 2012 until his retirement in 2017, when he attained Senior Status. Judge Simandle also served on the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Court Administration and Case Management while on the Court. During his decades-long tenure on the bench, he maintained a close connection with the Law School, selecting many Law students as his clerks and summer interns.

“Every single person in the courthouse was eager to tell us about Judge Simandle,” said Anissa Chitour L’21, who served a judicial internship with Judge Simandle just before his death. “While quite a few of the stories concerned his legal expertise and his style in the courtroom, it was especially telling that even more of them focused on his fairness, kindness, and friendship.”

To donate, please visit The Honorable Jerome B. Simandle Fund.