When Ryan Kelly graduates from Rutgers Law School this month, he’ll trade his full-time job in the Rutgers Department of Transportation, for a clerkship with the Hon. Michael J. Koury in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Kelly, who is in his early 30s, said working full-time during the days and attending Rutgers Law at night was challenging but worthwhile, “Going to school at night made me a great time manager. Being able to work and attend law school at the same time will also be viewed favorably with potential employers. In fact, at my clerkship interview, the judge was impressed by the fact that I was able to work full-time and still make good grades.”
A graduate of Arizona State University, Kelly began working for Rutgers in 2011 and wanted to keep his steady income while attending law school. He still was able to participate in the Entrepreneurship Clinic the first semester it was offered in 2016 and said he made close friends with some of the other night students.
“The night students I know all seemed to have enjoyed their experience at Rutgers Law. Being that the night cohort in 2014, when I started, only had one section, a lot of us got fairly close. The closeness of our section, without a doubt, made the experience much more enjoyable,” Kelly said. “Even to this day, almost four years later, my section mates are always quick to offer assistance and help out. We've seen our fellow classmates have children, get married, and accomplish great things during this time.”
Kelly’s career goal is to work in labor and employment law. He said he enjoyed courses on Employment Law and Employment Discrimination by Adjunct Professor Michael DiChiara and Property Law with Professor Carlos Ball. “Most people will never have to be subject to a criminal prosecution or a personal injury dispute during their lifetimes, but almost everyone will have worked at some point in their lives. As a result, employment law is something that almost everyone can relate to, and it's something that affects our everyday lives,” he said. “It's important to me that everyone gets an equal opportunity to pursue the career of his or her choice, and that once employed, the individual is treated equally among his or her peers.”
A native of Pequannock, Kelly said he would urge others considering law school, especially those already working, to look at Rutgers, “I picked Rutgers Law because of its strong reputation, value, and because it had a part-time evening program. I didn’t want to give up my day job, and Rutgers gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of being a lawyer while continuing to work full time. I also liked that I could take classes on both campuses.”