All Rise! First Female South Asian Judge visits EHS!

Stella Wong ‘25

New Jersey has its first female South Asian municipal court judge, and she’s from Edison.

Judge Dipti Dedhia visited Edison High School on February 3, 2023, where she spoke to an assembly of students, consisting mostly of AP government students, about her career path in law enforcement.

At the assembly, a student from AP government asked Dedhia what law school was like. She responded that there was excessive reading for homework, and mock trials frequently took place during classes in law school.

“If you don’t like reading, don’t go to law school,” Dedhia recommended to students. 

“Thank you for the transparency,” said Leah Bushra ‘23. “I plan on going to law school myself in the future and so your honesty helps me understand what I’d be getting myself into.”

When Dedhia went on to take the bar exam, the test to become a licensed attorney in the United States, she ended up passing after studying 14 hours a day for two months. She even missed a family wedding because of the workload. Dedhia encouraged students not to wait studying the day before the bar exam if any were to take it. 

Another student asked if there were restrictions on being a judge. Dedhia responded affirmatively. “I cannot be publically politically active at all,” she said. “I can do things like vote but I can’t do things like attend a protest.”

Dedhia furthermore suggested students contact individuals in their desired field of work with questions, as there is only insight and knowledge to gain. 

“Personally, if someone contacted me about how I got to where I am, I would just be vomiting information.”

Dedhia further said to avoid burning bridges with people.

 “Be kind to people and leave a good impression on people, because you never know one day when you might genuinely need them,” she added.

“I agree,” said Christian Lee ‘23, who wants to go into the field of communications. “Networking is incredibly important, and sometimes a college education isn’t everything you need in this world. By making a connection, it’s one more foot out the door.” 

Before Dedhia was a judge, she was a student at JP Stevens High School, describing herself as a “carefree” and “friendly” student.

After high school, Dedhia graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and later received her Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall Law School—also in New Jersey. She expressed college life as “the best years” of her life, but admittedly, she also described difficulties making new friends in an unfamiliar environment and living without family. 

After finishing college, Dedhia was a law clerk from 2008-2013. She was then a medical malpractice associate in 2014 and an insurance defense attorney in 2015. After 2015, she took a break from work to care for her newborn children. At the beginning of 2019, she began working as deputy attorney general for New Jersey, ending in 2021. Now, she balances serving as a municipal court judge while parenting three children.

When serving in the courtroom as a female minority judge, Dedhia said, “I have to have self-confidence and preparation as most people in the courtroom are older males. 

“People in the courtroom usually have a shocked reaction when they see me as a judge, but when I rule on motions and give my opinions, they see that I’m doing the right thing.” 

Dedhia also continues to advocate for people in her courtroom who are unaware of how the American court system operates.  She wants everyone involved to understand the concept of the system.

“I feel very strongly about advocating for this. I don’t want people in trials to have a rigid experience, and I want them to feel more comfortable in the courtroom.”

Contact info: [email protected]

*Editors’ note: the original publication of this article indicated that Judge is the first female South Asian judge in New Jersey. She is, in fact, the first female South Asian municipal court judge in New Jersey.