Rutgers School of Law at Camden
217 North Fifth Street
Camden, New Jersey 08102
TippingTheScales (2013): NR
U.S. News (2013): 91
AboveTheLaw (2013): 43
RUTGERS (CAMDEN) LAW STUDENTS SAY…
Academics & Programs: If going to law school gives you the jitters, your fears will quickly be assuaged at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—Camden School of Law. Sure, just like other prestigious JD programs, Rutgers will treat you to a dose of the “Socratic thunderstorm approach,” and there is the typical “never-ending workload” throughout the first year. However, Rutgers maintains a remarkably friendly and supportive academic environment. Students insist, “First-year classes don’t intimidate you, as there’s no fear of speaking your mind in class, and diversity in thinking is highly encouraged.” Outside the classroom, Rutgers professors are personable, to say the least: “Every Wednesday afternoon, there’s a veritable party in our torts professor’s office during his office hours. So many students go to discuss both academic and non-textbook-related topics that there aren’t enough chairs and people sit on the floor,” recalls one 2L. In fact, “It’s common for professors to take students out to lunch, to conferences, and even to show up at student-sponsored pub crawls.” The administration draws similar praise from students, who believe it “tries to be very open-door and available for anything we could possibly need.” A 1L jokes, “I came to Rutgers expecting to witness students getting ‘burned’ by professors every day in class. Instead the only burn I got was on the roof of my mouth while eating pizza with the dean.”
Students are impressed with the caliber of the Rutgers faculty, describing them as “knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects” and able pedagogues to boot. In the lecture hall, “The faculty is as intelligent as they are witty. Anecdotes from [their] real-world experiences are common in the classroom and make some of the drudgery more interesting.” Many also point out the strength of the adjunct staff, who “come from varied fields, providing a unique and practical perspective to current topics.” Indeed, a practical approach is emphasized at Rutgers, and classes may even include “spontaneous field trips to the federal courthouse across the street from the campus just so we can view real-world motions to dismiss, jury selection, and final arguments.” The school’s active alumni network is also called on to contribute to the JD experience, and students tell us that “in many courses, alumni return to give lectures on the practical aspects of the subject, and they have been willing to assist any student [who] has a question.”
Among the greatest perks of Rutgers—Camden is its low tuition, offering a “fantastic and highly respected education at a very reasonable price.” As a result, students do not experience the financial anxiety common to law students today. “Due to a scholarship and a summer internship at a Philadelphia law firm,” reports one 2L, “I will graduate with a top-rate legal education and virtually no debt. That combination is hard to beat, and I expect it will free up my career options considerably.”
The school takes advantage of the resources in the surrounding community to instruct students in the playing out of law in the real world. “The federal courthouse is literally around the corner, the county courthouse a couple of blocks [away],” and Rutgers students “have tremendous access to the judges in the area and several teach as adjuncts.” Students also praise the fact that “the law school is very involved in the community through its pro bono clinics.” Rutgers is “located close to Philly, Trenton, and New York, so there are plenty of job opportunities.” On that note, “Career Services are always on the job helping students get placed for both summer and permanent positions. They also expose students to the different options available to attorneys by having guests come to the law school to provide experiences in different areas.” Rutgers is somewhat unique among law schools in that almost half of the graduating class takes judicial clerkship positions, more students than those who take positions in private practice.
Campus Life/Facilities: Attracting students from all across the nation and the world, the Rutgers student body is “extremely diverse in all aspects, including gender, socioeconomics, age, and interests.” On this multicultural campus “There is an organization for just about any interest a person may have, [and] the SBA and other clubs do a great job of providing numerous social functions nearly every week.” A 2L explains, “The environment is positive and students are involved with the school. Whether it be moot court, law journals, or politics, students are engaged in society and provide for a very strong sense of community.”
Off campus, “People are always looking to get together to study or to just go out socially,” though most prefer hanging out in Philly to hitting the bars in the surrounding town of Camden. While some describe Camden as “the pit of despair,” others tell us that “the waterfront on both sides of the Delaware River is beautiful.” In addition, many appreciate the fact that “Philadelphia is exactly a mile away and provides for plenty of social opportunities.”
Students warn that there are “a handful of students who are hell-bent on getting a certain GPA.” Most, however, value kindness and cooperation over competition. A 3L explains, “My school is both cooperative and competitive. Students here care deeply about being successful, but everyone is quick to lend a hand to bring someone else along for the ride.” Indeed, many students praise the fact that “you can always find a good conversation outside after class.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.