Dear Alumni and Friends of Rutgers Law School,
Once again, in the time between academic years, we write to briefly look back at the year just ended and look forward to what is yet in store for Rutgers Law School. And once again, we write to describe both continuity and change: some of the faces are different, but the tradition and values endure.
Farewell (But Not Goodbye), Dean Chen; Welcome, Dean Lopez
This month Co-Dean Ronald Chen ’83 will step down after five years to return to teaching at the law school full time. Ron joined the faculty 31 years ago, and has spent 18 years as associate dean, vice dean, acting dean, dean, and co-dean at Rutgers Law, interrupted only by a hiatus to serve as Public Advocate for the State of New Jersey from 2006–2010. Ron will take a well-earned sabbatical for the 2018–19 year and will continue teaching and public service. His legacy continues in other ways as well, as he made a substantial initial gift this year to start a Public Service Internship Fund that will endow stipends for Rutgers Law students who have “shown merit and a history of overcoming challenges to enable the student to pursue a summer placement promoting social justice or public interest law in government service or for a public interest legal organization.” With Ron’s gift and the support of his classmates, the fund already has pledges for $175,000, which this summer established its first internship.
As Ron steps down, David Lopez steps in. Nationally recognized as a trial attorney known for his extensive civil rights work, David was the longest-serving General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, serving from 2010 to 2016, after being twice nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate. In that capacity, David oversaw 15 regional attorneys and a staff of more than 325 people. Prior to joining the EEOC, he was a senior trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division Employment Litigation Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington DC, and before that, he was an associate with Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP, also in Washington DC. Since 2016, David has served as the original Washington DC partner of the firm of Outten & Golden (O&G), one of the leading law firms representing employees in employment discrimination and other matters. David has a rich and deep background in public interest law and using the legal system to champion the principles of opportunity and justice. He has taught at Harvard Law School and Georgetown Law Center and looks forward to his new academic role. Welcome, David!
Nearly 700 Rutgers Law School alumni, students, faculty, and staff convened in Newark on April 14 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school’s pioneering Minority Student Program. It is thought to be the largest alumni gathering in the Law School’s history. MSP is a nationally acclaimed and highly successful post-admissions program that serves students of any race or ethnicity who are members of groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession, and who have faced discrimination or overcome social and economic hardships. This program, with over 2,500 graduates and counting, has been a leading force in diversifying both legal education and the legal profession, and is one of the Law School’s hallmark programs — now in both locations, as MSP expanded to Camden after the merger in 2015.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the MSP, the Law School set a goal to create 12 new endowed summer internships for first-year MSP students in public interest organizations or government service. Thanks to the leading pledge of $250,000 from alumnus Jeffrey Hsi ‘97 and notable gifts by other MSP alumni, we now have topped the $1 million mark, but we are still pursuing additional support in both locations to enable increased opportunity for the next 50 years of MSP students.
Affordability and Opportunity
Of course, another hallmark of Rutgers Law is providing an outstanding yet affordable education. Our success in doing so was recognized in the past year by multiple publications: JD Journal ranked Rutgers number 3 on its list of the most affordable law schools in the country, and National Jurist ranked Rutgers number 11 among its “Best Value Law Schools” — the only school in the Northeast to make the list.
Another aspect of that educational value is our success in launching our graduates into a variety of rewarding and successful career opportunities. Here again, our success has been noted by a variety of external sources. Rutgers was 28th on law.com’s list of law schools with the most alumni promoted to law firm partnership in 2017. U.S. News included Rutgers Law in its list of “ten law schools whose grads get judicial clerkships.”
Rutgers Law’s faculty continues to do work with a clear and profound real-world impact. Here are just a handful of highlights and examples from the past year:
- Our Center for Corporate Law and Governance conducted its Third Annual Institute on Corporate Compliance, bringing together numerous academics and practitioners to discuss current and emerging issues, and also hosted a panel on “Blockchain Technology and Its Implications for Corporate Governance.” The Center’s Entrepreneurship Clinic, started two years ago in Newark, will also expand to Camden this fall, with the seminar component taught in the Holodeck and instructors at each location to supervise client interactions.
- At the request of the University President, Rutgers Law School launched a new service, the Rutgers Immigrant Community Assistance Project, offering students throughout the Rutgers system access to legal information and guidance on immigration issues.
- The Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity, directed by Professor David Troutt, submitted a comprehensive report to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Making Newark Work for Newarkers: Housing and Equitable Growth in the Next Brick City. Professor Troutt, assisted by law students and fellows, described the chronic housing crisis in Newark, and proposed measures that would facilitate needed development in a way that is inclusive of all Newark residents and would not lead to gentrification.
- Clinical Professor Penny Venetis and her student team in the International Human Rights Clinic recently won the release of a Mexican journalist and his son, after a federal district judge found there was evidence to show that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Emilio Gutierrez-Soto and his son because of remarks Gutierrez gave at a National Press Club awards dinner in October in Washington, D.C.
The faculty also received multiple significant awards and honors for their recent or career-long accomplishments. The following list captures just a few:
- Jay Feinman, Distinguished Professor of Law, was named the 2018 recipient of Rutgers University’s Daniel Gorenstein Memorial Award, given annually to a Rutgers University faculty member noted for both outstanding scholarly achievement and exceptional service to the University community. Professor Feinman, the 25th recipient of the Gorenstein Award, becomes the first Law School faculty member, and the second Rutgers–Camden faculty member, to receive this honor.
- Professor Katie Eyer received not one, but two, University honors as she was awarded tenure this year: the Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence and the Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Professor Eyer is also the recipient of several national and local awards for her scholarship, teaching, service, and work as a litigator, including the SALT Junior Faculty Award, the AALS Scholarly Papers Competition, the Dean's Award for Distinguished Service, and the Cheryl Ingram Advocate for Justice Award.
- Professors James Pope and David Troutt were promoted to Distinguished Professor of Law, the highest academic rank at Rutgers.
This has been an outstanding year, but the best is yet to come. We look forward to contacting you with further information about news at the law school; please don’t be shy about contacting us to share news about your lives and careers. And if you’re in the neighborhood(s), please visit and say hello in person.
Thank you, as always, for your support of Rutgers Law School — our law school.
Michael T. Cahill, Co-Dean and Professor of Law
Ronald K. Chen, Co-Dean, Distinguished Professor of Law and Judge Leonard I. Garth Scholar