Todd Wachtel, Esq., a partner in our Hillsborough office, spoke at the 71st Session American Legion New Jersey Boys State at Rider University on June 20 about careers in the practice of law. Other attorneys from throughout the State of New Jersey joined Todd on the panel, as well as New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Lee Solomon.
The New Jersey American Legion Boys State was founded in 1946 in order to help stress the importance and value of our democratic form of government, as well as maintain an effort to preserve it. During their now-week long program, students from across New Jersey learn about, and then form, their own democratic State. A complete program of educational and recreational activity is provided. A concert band is formed, a newspaper is published daily, and a portion of each afternoon is given over to an organized program of intramural athletics under supervision. Outstanding speakers and specialists contribute to rounding out the annual session.
The instructional program of the New Jersey Boys State has three phases: seminars, functional activities, and general assemblies. Seminars are held in general subjects such as government, law enforcement, legislative, and election procedures. The heart of the instructional program is functional activity of citizenship practice, such as the operation of the courts, legislative assemblies, administration of law enforcement, public welfare, etc. These activities take a considerable portion of the time allotted for instructional purposes, and constitute the chief means through which citizens "learn to do by doing."
Todd is a proud alumni of the program, having participated in 1989. Other alumni include Senator Robert "Bob" Menendez, Governor Christopher J. Christie, Senator Cory Booker, and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. “I really enjoyed my time as a ‘Boys Stater,’” said Todd. “In fact, I had my first ‘Trial’ at Boys State, which somehow ended up with me standing on a chair singing the “Boys State Anthem” to a packed cafeteria. I’m not sure how exactly the Judge ruled that way, as I was only the defense attorney, but it definitely prepared me for how unexpected things can come out at Trial (which fortunately do not now include me being required to sing publicly). It is an absolute honor to come back and speak with some of the brightest high school students of New Jersey, and I look forward to coming back next year.”