First a few things about me:
1. Just graduated
2. I don't work for admissions.
3. I don't care if you don't like New Jersey, Newark, Rutgers or any combination of the three. None of those things will hurt my feelings (see #1).
4. I have a job at a large national firm (through OCI). I will not mention the firm or anything else about it, except to say, I could not be more happy with my decision to accept the offer.
5. I am studying for the NY/NJ bar exams and decided to procrastinate by offering advice to prospective/newly admitted students. Most of the advice you get on this site (and other prospective students) comes from people that don't know their asses from their elbows and offer mediocre, uninformed, uneducated, biased, irrational, childish, and flat out stupid advice based purely in speculation. My 2¢ is just that. But I've been there, done that and got the t-shirt (see #1).
6. I have no desire to bad mouth any other school or law school program because frankly I don't give a damn (see #1 and #4).
Answers to FAQs:
-Newark is not the safest place in the world. But it isn't Baghdad either. There are silly, petty thefts that happen on campus, but mostly to young undergrads walking around random streets at night. I know of 2 law students that had their vehicles broken into in apartment buildings around Newark, but that could happen anywhere. For the most part I don't know of any law students that have been victimized. Getting back and forth to Newark Penn station is fast and simple. You can take the 10 min walk or take the free shuttle that picks up right behing the law school beginning at 4pm every day. Parking at the school is atrocious. There are decks but they are usually full by 10am.
-In-state tuition was pretty easy to get and maintain when I first started. If you signed up to live on campus you could get it. If you signed a lease for anywhere in NJ for at least 12 months you could get it (and effectively keep it even if you moved).
-Lots of people choose to live on campus. Most of those people come straight from undergrad. Many of them moved off campus after the first year.
-More people seem to live off campus and in surrounding areas to include NYC. The commute to/from the school from areas like Hoboken, Jersey City and NYC is incredibly easy (as would be with any city with access to the NJ Transit).
-The number of people in the 2012 class with jobs is high, very high. I don't know exact numbers.
The graduating class was ~200. I would GUESS 15% have jobs at large (NLJ250) NY/NJ area law firms; 20% are doing State-Level or higher Clerkship (some with follow-on employment); 20% are working at a small firm (10-40 person firms specializing in 1 or 2 areas such as Insurance, Construction, Aviation,Tax, etc.); 25% are doing Public Interest work; 5% are doing government; the rest could be unemployed, doing alternative work, attending graduate school or working in their previous careers. But these are just my best guesses based on small sample sized of my friends, asking a few classmates or taking mental notes of trends from 2L summer and the third year. The employment at graduation is probably 80-85%.
--The salary range for large firms in NY/NJ is about $100-160k. The lower salaries are usually those with offices in areas in which the cost of living is substantially lower, thus, the number itself is not as relevant as a determination of "market salary" because each market is different.
--Clerkships, DA, and other gov't work is usually in the $42-46k range. However, many of those jobs qualify for LRAP (loan repayment assistance program), which means you only have to pay 10% of your salary towards your student loans and if you do that for 10 years the balance of the loan is forgiven. Most public interest jobs probably also fall in this category.
-The administration at the school has the collective mental capacity of bronze medalists at the special olympics. (With the exception of Nicky Fornoratto the Financial Aid administrator, she is absolutely exceptional).
-The school is pretty small compared to other state schools (Average class is 180 people for day time; 50 for evening). That being said competition within the school for jobs is fairly low. On the flip side class offerings is a crap shoot. The school gets a B- in terms of course offerings. Many popular courses are not offered every semester, and the majority of upper level courses are taught in the same block of time forcing you to choose between good classes. Registration is also a nightmare. It happens very late compared to other schools but every year they attempt to do better.
-Fall OCI has been picking up over the last few years. They have not broken the 100 employer mark in a while. 2009-2011 probably brought 75 or so law firm employers to fall OCI. Spring OCI is usually military JAG, tax firms, and smaller firms.
--By comparison Seton Hall has about 500 people per class and has roughly the same number of employers at their OCI. Both schools generally get the exact same employment options for OCI employers. All the NJ firms go to both schools and a handful of NY firms.
-Scholarship $ is reserved for folks with a median or higher LSAT scores and they are not that flexible on awards. It's a state school with a low budget and they just don't have the money to give out.
-The school is on a B/B- curve (it's lower than most other schools). Students complain that it makes the student body look less qualified on paper when compared to other NY-area schools, but the curve isn't going anywhere anytime soon. NOTE: everyone wants to be in the top of the class. Realistically 50% of people will be in the bottom half of the class (think about it). A few people did transfer out after first year. There were a number of people that could have transferred, but did not. The morale of the story is do not attend ANY school with the hopes of being in the top ___% of the class or transferring to a better school. And take heed at any school that requires you maintain a certain GPA or certain rank to keep your scholarship.
--R-N does not rank students at all, ever. They give an award at graduation for the person with the highest GPA. That is the first and only time you will know anyones class rank. You will never know your own class rank, unless you are that person. The school does not calculate GPA. They give you the tools to do it, but it will never be listed on your transcripts. You have to do the math (B in a 3 credit class-- 3.0 x3; A in a 4 credit class-- 3.75 x 4, etc.)
-Write-on competition for journals is allowed for every student regardless of GPA at the end of the 1st year.
-Moot Court is available for everyone during 1L LRW (legal research and writing) and is given based on oral argument + LRW grade.
-Mock Trial (there are multiple opportunities) is available for just about anyone that wants to participate.
-1L required courses for day students:
Fall: Torts, Property, Contracts, Criminal, LRW (16 credits)
Spring: Constitutional, Civil Procedure, LRW, Elective (usually policy based courses or tax or administrative or environmental) (15-16 credits depending on the elective)
--1L Fall Class sizes are usually 60 people for all but 1 small section which is only 30 (LRW is 15)
Some classes may have 90 it really depends on how the administration divides up the sections in that particular year
--1L Spring classes are divided down the middle . 1/2 into one section of Con law/Civ Pro, the other half in the other section of Con Law/Civ Pro (so ~90 per class)
-Most taken upper class elective: Evidence
-Upper level courses are not taught on Friday. Only 1Ls have classes on Fridays. Some professors will elect to hold class 15 minutes longer M-Th and choose to permanently cancel 1L Friday courses. Upper level courses also have the option of adding 15 minutes to class in order to eliminate 1 day of class. This happens with 90% of courses taught at the school.
-Only required elective: Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics (you must pass with a C or better).
--The NJ bar requires one of these courses in order to be admitted to the bar otherwise you must pass the MPRE. NY does not require that you take an ethics class but requires the MPRE anyway. Most jurisdictions require the MPRE regardless of whether you've taken an ethics/PR course.
If I didn't answer a burning question feel free to ask away. If you want to message me feel free to do that also and I will answer your question without adding your name.
Thanks for posting. I am actually a current student (soon to be 3LE) at RU-Newark and had a few questions.
I will be participating in OCI this summer. I'm a URM, roughly 3.45 gpa with about 8 years of prior work experience (financial services). I did write-on but I won't find out those results for another month, I am hoping I at least made a secondary journal. How much should I rely on OCI being that only about 20% get jobs through it? Do you think I stand a good chance landing something based on your experience?
Did you mass mail at all? I am planning on reaching out to several NY firms that don't attend OCI I am just wondering how much time and effort should I put in. I wonder if students from RU have success with mass mailing.
Any "easy A" classes you can recommend? With two more years to go, I would like to get my GPA as high as possible to have a better chance of graduating with honors. Even though RU doesn't rank, I figure I am just outside of the top 20% or so,
Thanks for doing this. Good luck with your studies!