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Rutgers School of Law-Camden

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Law school in Camden, New Jersey? It's a tough sell. Unfortunately, Rutgers-Camden's employment outcomes and cost do not sweeten the deal very much. New Jersey residents can pay a total of $154,000 (almost $200,000 for nonresidents) for a 62.6% chance at a legal job. The law school is quite small, with only around 560 full-time students and 150 part-time students, and dwindling class sizes.

Rutgers University may merge the law school at Camden with the law school at Newark by 2014.

Employment prospects & bar passage

According to Law School Transparency, the class of 2012 had an employment score of 62.6%, which indicates the percentage of graduates who obtained long-term, full-time jobs nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners. Of the graduating class, 5.6% found jobs at large firms (more than 100 attorneys), about 2% got federal judicial clerkships, 5.6% landed in government, and about 1.5% (four students out of 270) work full-time in public interest.

Rutgers, like other regional schools, employs most of its graduates in the immediate area. In 2012, 105 graduates found jobs in New Jersey. The second and third most popular destinations were Pennsylvania (29 grads) and New York (nine). Rutgers-Camden claims that its graduates consistently pass the New Jersey bar exam at a rate of between 80 and 83 percent every year from 2006 to 2011 but does not offer specifics. For the July 2012 administration of the Pennsylvania bar exam, Rutgers-Camden grads taking it for the first time passed at a rate of 82.8%. We urge prospective students to call the admissions office at the number below and request that the school release details about graduates' first time passage rates on the New Jersey bar exam.

As of this writing, salary information for the class of 2012 was unavailable. For the class of 2011, around half (52.5%) of graduates were employed and reported salary information. Overall, for those who reported a starting salary, the 25th percentile and the median were $43,437, with a 75th percentile of only $57,000. For the less than 15% of graduates who found private-sector jobs, the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles were better: $55,000, $67,000, and $110,000.

Admissions & tuition

Rutgers-Camden admitted close to 40% of its applicants in 2012. Here are its 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles for the full- and part-time programs:

Full-time LSAT Full-time GPA Part-time LSAT Part-time GPA
25th percentile 157 2.94 153 3.07
Median 159 3.31 154 3.31
75th percentile 162 3.64 157 3.56

As a public school, Rutgers does offer New Jersey residents a substantial tuition discount. For the 2012-2013 school year, in-state tuition was a relatively modest $22,746, but out-of-state tuition was $34,478. Cost of living and other expenses total $16,514 per year. Law School Transparency currently estimates the total debt-financed cost of a Rutgers J.D. to be $154,795 for New Jersey residents and a whopping $197,631 for out-of-staters. As with any law school, you should consider carefully how much educational debt, which is nondischargeable in bankruptcy, you are willing to take on for around a 60% chance at getting a legal job.

Rutgers's paltry grants do not help the situation much. In 2012, the median full-time grant amount was $5,000. Of the class of 2012, 87.6% borrowed to finance their education, and the average debt loan at graduation was $93,990.

In the past year, Rutgers has been called out for its arguably shady recruiting tactics.

Academics

In 2012, Rutgers-Camden had a student-faculty ratio of 12.1:1. The total number enrolled in 2012-2013 is 711. The full-time student body is about two-thirds male and one-third female. About 7.5% of 1L and 2L students dropped out of school in 2012-2013.

For those who are certain it is necessary to their career aspirations, Rutgers offers several joint-degree programs.

Quality of life

On paper, Rutgers-Camden may be one of the least desirable schools in the country in terms of quality of life. Camden is a highly dilapidated city with terrible crime rates, and it does little in the way of attracting students. One would be mistaken, though, to think that law students at Rutgers-Camden cannot enjoy themselves.

For students who can get away from the casebooks long enough to go have some fun, Philadelphia is the place to go. In fact, downtown Philadelphia is so close that it could almost be considered an extension of the campus. Students can head down to West River Drive and go running or biking before checking out the Philadelphia Art Museum, tour South Street, or go out for drinks in Old City. As the nation's first capital, Philly has plenty to offer those with historical interests, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

While the Camden area is dangerous and can hardly be called attractive, the social scene is not devoid of hope and can be adequate for those who make the most of it.

Contact information

Office of Law School Admissions
Rutgers University
406 Penn St., 3rd floor
Camden, NJ 08102

Phone: 800-466-7561
Email: admissions@camlaw.rutgers.edu

Quick reference

U.S. News Ranking, 2013: 91
LSAT middle 50%: 157-162 (2012, full time)
GPA middle 50%: 2.94-3.64 (2012, full time)
Multiple LSAT scores: higher score accepted (with explanation)
Application deadline: unknown
Application fee: $65
Entering class size: full-time 54, part-time 62
Yearly tuition, 2012-2013: $22,746 (in-state), $34,478 (out-of-state)
Bar passage rate in New Jersey: unknown
LST employment score, 2012: 62.6%
Median private sector starting salary, 2011: $67,000, 52% reporting
LST total debt-financed cost of attendance: $154,795 (in-state), $197,631 (out-of-state)