The Social Justice Scholars (SJS) Program is an elite scholarship program for students at our Camden location with a commitment to public service and social justice.

Rutgers Law School is committed to promoting public interest law through a variety of programs and opportunities for our students.  Each year, Rutgers Law recognizes a small cohort of incoming students at the Camden location as Social Justice Scholars.  These students demonstrate an exceptional commitment to public service and are most likely to dedicate their legal careers to working on social justice causes and on behalf of underserved communities. Only a limited number of students receive this distinction, which carries the following benefits and responsibilities. 

Social Justice Scholar Benefits 

  • Scholarship—Our Social Justice Scholars receive a small scholarship for the first year of law school, which renews assuming members maintain the require GPA and meet program requirements. The SJS scholarship may be combined with a Rutgers Law School Scholarship, but in no case may the combined value of the Rutgers Law School Scholarship and SJS scholarship exceed the total cost of tuition (instead, an adjustment will be made to cap the combined total).
  • Workshop Series—Scholars participate in a weekly non-credit workshop series designed to stimulate critical thinking about systemic injustices, various approaches to advocacy, and the development of a professional identity as a public interest lawyer.
  •  Summer Funding—Scholars who secure employment with a public interest organization for the summer, and who are not awarded funding from another source, presumptively receive summer stipends during their post-1L and post-2L summers.
  • Mentoring—Scholars are assigned faculty mentors and also work closely with the Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest.
  • Networking—Scholars participate in events with faculty members and practitioners who have dedicated their careers to public interest law.
  • Career Counseling—Even as first-year students, Scholars work with a member of the Center for Career Development to develop a strategic plan regarding the pursuit of their career goals.
  • Pro Bono and Leadership – Scholars are invited to develop programming and to participate in an array of pro bono opportunities in the law school and at external placements, some of which are organized by the SJS Pro Bono Committee and are offered first to members of SJS.
  • Professional Development Stipend—Each year, Social Justice Scholars are eligible for a small stipend to support membership in professional societies, travel to conferences and public interest job fairs, etc.

Social Justice Scholar Responsibilities

  • Sign a pledge to participate in public interest programs generally and SJS projects specifically, and complete pro bono work totaling 100 hours over the course of law school (with annual milestones).
  • Assist with planning and participate in required program activities and events unless the Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest explicitly grants a waiver.
  • Represent the law school and the SJS Program with integrity and in accordance with professional standards.
  • Remain in good academic standing with the minimum cumulative GPA of 2.710 at the end of each academic year to be eligible for a scholarship renewal in the following year.

SJS alumni have earned Skadden, Equal Justice Works, and more!


Social Justice Scholars since the program was founded.

Thousands of pro bono hours completed by SJSs.

Faculty mentors matched with every SJS.


SJSs have spent their summers as funded public interest and government interns at a wide variety of organizations, including:

  • ACLU
  • Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Community Health Law Project
  • Community Legal Services
  • Disability Rights NJ & PA
  • Fair & Equitable Housing Office, NY
  • FDIC
  • Federal Defender
  • Friends of Farmworkers 
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
  • Legal Clinic for the Disabled
  • Los Angeles County Public Defender
  • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Neighborhood Defender’s of Harlem
  • NJ Office of the Law Guardian – Ewing and Hudson Counties
  • NJ Public Defender's Office
  • NY Office of Attorney General
  • Pennsylvania Innocence Project
  • Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
  • Philly VIP
  • Schall & Barasch
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • United States Attorney’s Office
  • Wage Justice Center