Rutgers Law School offers recent law school graduates a one-year residency option, modelled after medical school residencies, in which participants practice law full time under close supervision and instruction, providing a variety of legal services to low and moderate income New Jersey residents.
This one-of-a-kind program, which launched in 2014, offers a postdoctoral fellowship to selected graduates who are admitted to practice law in New Jersey. Fellows manage their own docket of 10–20 cases at a time, from handling simple divorce and child support/custody cases to consumer protection, employment discrimination, bankruptcy, and estate planning and will contests. Seminars on civil and criminal procedural issues and professional responsibility, as well as business development, billing, collection, and law firm management are provided each week, and fellows have constant access to the managing attorney to ensure that the highest quality work is provided to the program’s clients. All tuition and fees for this postdoctoral program are covered by scholarships, and participants receive an annual stipend of $30,000.
Although originally created to serve that population of law school graduates looking to enter small or solo practice, the program has instead proven to be an outstanding entryway to bigger firm practice and to public interest lawyering. The experience gained in the fellowship year has been a key factor in the hiring decisions of these firms and nonprofit employers. (For example, virtually all fellows have had multiple court appearances within their first weeks in the program, and all will have settled several complex cases, tried one or more cases, and made dozens of court appearances before their fellowships end.)
Managing the program is Associate Dean Andrew J. Rothman, an attorney/educator committed to legal education and professional practice, who has extensive experience both in the courtroom and in the law school classroom, teaching civil practice, professional responsibility, evidence, and law firm development. For more information, contact Dean Rothman at firstname.lastname@example.org.