Rutgers Law School is the law school of Rutgers University located in the U.S. state of New Jersey. It is the largest public law school in the United States by enrollment and the 10th largest overall, with each class in Rutgers Law's three-year J.D. program enrolling approximately 350 students. Founded in 1908, Rutgers offers the J.D. and foreign lawyer J.D. Rutgers has over 20,000 alumni practicing in all 50 U.S. states. In 2015, Rutgers School of Law–Newark and Rutgers School of Law–Camden were unified into a single law school with two campuses.
U.S. News & World Report, in its 2020 rankings of Best Graduate Schools, ranked Rutgers Law School 77th among 201 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Above the Law ranked Rutgers 41st on its 2019 list of top law schools.
According to Rutgers Law School's 2016 ABA-required disclosures, 93.7% of the Class of 2016 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required or JD-advantage employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.
Rutgers Law School is the oldest law school in New Jersey. Rutgers Law School has its roots in three law schools. The first was founded October 5, 1908 as the New Jersey Law School, the second, the South Jersey Law School founded in 1926 by Collingswood, New Jersey mayor and businessmen Arthur E. Armitage, Sr. and the final was Mercer Beasley School of Law named for a former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice and founded in 1926 by several prominent Newark attorneys.
The New Jersey Law School was founded as a for-profit law school by Richard D. Currier, a New York lawyer and graduate of Yale and New York Law School. Currier was joined by Charles M. Mason, a New Jersey attorney, who served as dean until his death in 1928. The school originally had only three faculty members 30 students with classes on the 4th floor of the Prudential Insurance Home Office in Newark for their first classes. In December 1908, the school was moved to a large Victorian townhouse at 33 East Park Street also in Newark. From its founding, women were to be admitted on "equal basis to men."
After World War I, the New Jersey Law School saw increase in enrollment and by 1927, enrollment had peaked to more than 2,300 students, making it the second largest law school in the United States. In 1927 the school moved to the former Ballantine & Sons Ale Brewery at 40 Rector Street.
In 1934, Mercer Beasley School of Law and Newark Institute of Arts and Sciences merged to form the University of Newark and two years later, the New Jersey Law School joined establishing the University of Newark Law School. Combining the resources of the schools was designed created a stronger institution however the law school experienced a major decline in enrollment due to World War II and therefore was in a precarious financial condition.
In 1946, the University of Newark merged with Rutgers University and the law school was renamed the Rutgers University School of Law. In 1950, the South Jersey Law School in Camden, New Jersey, merged with Rutgers University. The school was divided between the Newark Division and the South Jersey division based in Camden, with the dean and law school administration based in Newark. During the 1950s and 1960s the law school expanded in size creating the largest law library in New Jersey and its faculty tripled in size. In 1963, the now U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was hired as a law professor and served on the faculty until 1972. Ginsburg developed some of the concepts that led to the founding of the Women's Rights Litigation Clinic by Professor Nadine H. Taub, who was its director for many years, and the Women's Rights Law Reporter the first American legal journal dedicated women's rights.
In 1967, the South Jersey Division was split and created as a separate unit, creating two law schools: Rutgers School of Law – Camden and Rutgers School of Law – Newark. In 1968, following the Newark riots of 1967, the faculty created the Minority Students Program (MSP) one of the first law school affirmative action programs in the country, with the goal of increasing African American student enrollment. In 1978, the law faculty voted to admit students regardless of race and revamped the Minority Students Program to focus on socio-economically disadvantaged students in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Bakke. In Doherty V. Rutgers School Of Law-Newark the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the MSP in a lawsuit from a white student alleging discrimination. Throughout the 1970s the Newark campus was a center of activism and law students nicknamed it "The People's Electric Law School." Its graduates from this period include United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and Robert Menendez. After eliminating its evening program in 1955, in 1975, the law school restarted an evening program on Camden and Newark campus. From 1965 to 1978 the Newark division of the law school was located on Akerson Hall. In 1978, it moved to a skyscraper at 15 Washington Street which was renamed in honor of billionaire media baron Samuel I. Newhouse, a 1916 graduate of the law school. In January 2000, the school moved to the Center for Law and Justice, a newly constructed 225,000-square-foot, six-story building at 123 Washington Street in Newark. In 2015, Rutgers School of Law–Newark and Rutgers School of Law–Camden were unified into a single, jointly administered Rutgers Law School with two campuses.
In 2018, Rutgers had a 48% acceptance rate, with 2,535 applications for admission and 1,237 offers. The for the 2018 admitted students, the LSAT 75% - 25% was 158-153 and the UGPA 75% - 25% was 3.61 - 3.08. Rutgers' admissions process offers applicants a choice between competing for admission based primarily on traditional measures such as LSAT scores and college GPAs, or, alternatively, on the basis of an applicant's life experience, with a lesser (though still significant) emphasis placed on traditional factors. Factors that may be considered in the Rutgers admissions process include, but are not limited to, work experience, personal accomplishments, and other aspects of the applicant's personal background.
Rutgers' unique admissions process is particularly significant when contrasted with the efforts of other law schools to maximize the undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores of their incoming classes in order to improve their standing in popular law school ranking publications.
The J.D. program at Rutgers requires a total of 84 credits to graduate. The 1L curriculum requires traditional courses in Torts, Contracts, Property, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Legal Analysis, Writing and Research Skills.
All required courses are graded on a standard 2.95 - 3.1 GPA curve. 1Ls are grouped in small sections of roughly 30 people, who take all of the same required classes together. Though two or three sections are generally combined for required courses, each student has a 'small section' class where their section of 30 or fewer people is taught a required subject by a tenured faculty member. Students may choose to attend classes on either a full-time or part-time basis.
The law school has nine student journals, seven of which are accredited:
Tuition and fees at Rutgers law School for the 2016-2017 academic year is $27,011 (full-time, in-state) and $39,425 (full-time, out-of-state).
According to the U.S. News Law School Rankings for 2020, the law school is ranked 77th overall, with its part-time program ranking 20th overall. The U.S. News rankings are based heavily on incoming student attributes, such as average undergraduate GPA and LSAT score, as opposed to employment outcomes. U.S. News has ranked the law school 9th in the country on its list of law degrees "with the biggest return on investment."
The National Law Journal ranked the law school 47th on its 2015 list of the Top 50 Go-To Law Schools. It was the only law school in New Jersey to appear on that list, which reported that 10.1% of the law school's 2014 graduates were hired directly by one of the country's top 250 law firms.
The law school ranks 41st in the nation in the 2019 Above the Law Rankings, which weighs graduate employment, quality of graduate jobs, education cost, alumni feedback, student debt, and the number of alumni serving as federal judges.
Finally, the law school is ranked 30th according to Business Insider's 2014 'Top Law Schools in America' list.
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