Reasons for attending Rutgers-Newark School of Law in order of importance and weight in my decision-making process:
1. Commitment to diversity. Why is this important; I come from N. Idaho, which is probably 94% white, and Colorado, which is pretty close to that figure as well. First of all, Rutgers really does try to facilitate a diverse class, not just pay lip service to that ideal. I believe that diversity TENDS to create successful situations in every situation. Yesterday, my company was addressed by the new CEO. He was giving some insights as to why our company’s purchase was so well funded by investors and he came, again and again, back to diversity. He said that if company A had historically trended well in Q1 and Q3, and company B had historically trended well in Q2 and Q4, then the resulting company could promise a steady cash flow, regardless of quarter. In economic theory, downside protection is a position that limits the potential loss that would result from a decline in a security or market. Which is to say, financially, diversity tends to be a good strategy. I would say this holds true for social dynamics as well.
The caveat I would add, though, is that diversity works best when there are at least some common goals that engender the total group with points of unity. An oversimplified example is a table laid out with carrots, radishes, cabbage, spinach, apples, and bread. A good, but disparate meal. A salad with these ingredients has the common goal of “being a salad,” and in service of that goal the carrots are chopped, the apples diced, the components are reshaped to better complement one another and move toward the goal of a good salad. Education works the same way, but doesn’t taste nearly as good.
2. Clinic Programs. Rutgers has one of the largest and oldest clinic programs in the nation. A clinic program is a set of legal services (practiced by students) that can be utilized by socio-economically disadvantaged segments of the community. The clinics I am most interested in right now are: the environmental law clinic (NJ being the most polluted place in America), the community law clinic (which oversees the copyright protection and trademarking/patent control for various technical schools in the region), the constitutional litigation clinic (specifically where it focuses on alternative dispute resolution and mediation methods). For a listing of all of Rutgers’ clinics, click here . If you have any questions about the clinics (that I can answer), feel free to leave me a comment.
3A. The faculty, on balance, does not enshroud themselves in that Law School mystique so typical of many professors. They tend to be accessible and very community-oriented. In reality, they are some of the greatest legal minds working today. It is interesting to browse their bios, as most of them received their JDs at Rutgers, or at some other top-ranked university (randomly clicking on professors, I received the following results of JD schools: Harvard, Yale, Harvard, Harvard, Rutgers, Harvard, Yale, University of Iowa, Yale). What does this mean aside from that most professors have reunions very close by? To me, and my intrinsic distrust of luxury brands, not much. However, it is a fact that brand-name profs attract brand-name students, attract brand-name donors, etc. One upside is that the classmates I will have promise to be very strong students and very hungry learners (based on the contacts I have made thus far, this theory bears out in reality).
3B. The faculty has several areas of renown that, by no coincidence, dovetail with my areas of interest. They are:
1. Intellectual Property (Trademark, Copyright, and Patent Law)
2. Environmental Law (Including Land Use, Water Law)
3. Alternative Dispute Resolution
4. Constitutional Law
5. International/Comparative Law
They also have a famous Animal Law professor, Gary Francione, but I am not sure how the Animal Law program, in general, rates.
4. Proximity to large NY, NJ firms. When you drop this much on education, at some point your idea of accomplishment goes from SUCCESS to SUCCE$$.
And of course, the view of Newark and the Passaic river.