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Fulfilling a Dream

“I wanted to be a trial lawyer since I was 15 years old,” says Widener Law Delaware graduate John Cirrinicione, Class of ’07.  

“Ironically, it all started after losing my very first mock trial competition as a Freshman in High School.  As a kid growing up in a small town from southern New Jersey, I always dreamed about becoming a lawyer and winning a big verdict in Philadelphia.”  In August of 2010, John made his dream a reality and secured a quarter-million dollar verdict for his clients after concluding his first Philadelphia jury trial.

John’s first job after graduation was as the Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Raymond A. Batten, Class of ’79, of the New Jersey Superior Court for Cape May County.  “At the time, New Jersey had delayed appointing Judges due to budgetary issues.  For the majority of my Clerkship, Judge Batten was the only sitting Judge hearing criminal cases for the entire County.  There were many early mornings and late evenings for both of us.  Essentially, I was working firm hours for State pay, but the experience prepared me for the rigors of private practice.”

After his clerkship ended in 2008, John worked as an Associate Attorney with Leonard, Sciolla, Hutchison, Leonard & Tinari, L.L.P.  Eight months later, in April of 2009, the Firm gave John his first jury trial, which he won by a unanimous 6-0 verdict.  John continued to try cases either by himself or alongside Gregory E. Sciolla, Esquire, Class of ’75, the managing partner of the Firm’s New Jersey office.  Less than a year later, in August of 2010, John tried his first case before a Philadelphia jury.  “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a nervous wreck the entire time.  I felt like I had been preparing for this moment for most of my life, and I was afraid I had screwed everything up.”  The jury’s verdict suggested otherwise.

Since October of 2011, John has been an associate attorney with Parker McCay, P.A.  He initially worked in the Medical Malpractice Defense Department where he specialized in defending hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other medical care providers against allegations that they have violated applicable standards of care.  In October of 2013, John was given the opportunity to transfer to the Firm’s Plaintiff’s Department, where he utilized the valuable skills he acquired while defending medical malpractice cases to obtain positive outcomes for his clients.  John continues to practice at the Firm’s Plaintiff’s Department representing individuals for injuries and losses arising from car accidents, falls, products, malpractice, employment and contracts.  

It has been eight years since John graduated from Widener Law Delaware, but he maintains a strong connection to the law school because, “… a lot of people helped me along the way.  I am just paying it forward.”  John has served as a Student Mentor, Keynote Speaker, Competition Judge and Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy.  Since 2010, John has been invited back to serve as an ITAP instructor alongside his heroes.  From 2007 to 2012, John sat as a member of the Alumni Board.  Since 2013, John has worked with the Law School’s Office of Admissions, Career Development and Alumni Engagement, in addition to other Alumni, to establish The Society of Recent Alumni.  The Society is comprised of alumni who have graduated within the last ten years in addition to professors, law students, and administrators.  Members of the Society organize and participate in events both on and off campus to provide applicants, students, and recent graduates with the information, guidance and support needed to successfully navigate the life-cycle of their careers.

John minces no words when asked if Widener Law Delaware played any role in making his dream a reality.  “Widener Law Delaware made me the trial lawyer I have always wanted to be.  It proved to be an ideal learning environment for me because every professor who taught me had real world experience.  There was an instant credibility with everything they said…I knew that applying what they taught would be both ethical and effective.”

For John, the relationships with his professors were the most memorable aspects of his education.  “I owe a particular debt of gratitude to a handful of professors with whom I was able to cultivate a closer relationship both during and after graduation.  They took a personal interest in my development by going above and beyond what they were obligated to do in order for me to be the best person and the best lawyer I could possibly be.  Credit for any success I have had or will have belongs to them.  To those professors who read this, you know who you are…I am forever in your debt and will forever be your student.”