Message from the Co-Dean

Welcome to Rutgers Law School's Newark location and to our supportive environment of prominent scholars, who are experts in established and emerging areas of law. Our students come to us from around the world, bringing wide-ranging backgrounds and perspectives that enrich discourse in the classroom and throughout the law school community. Our graduates serve with distinction as members of the bench and bar, and generously provide support and resources to current students.

Rutgers is a wonderful place to study law and to train for an exciting and fulfilling career. I strongly encourage you to visit us and see for yourself the exceptional education, culture, and inspiration that mark the Rutgers law school experience.

Co-Dean Ronald Chen

1908

New Jersey Law School Opens
Picture of Prudential Insurance Building

1946

Rutgers' Newark Location Founded
photo of Victorian mansion, formerly owned by Ballantine Brewery

2000

Center for Law and Justice Opens

2015

Rutgers Law School United
  • Metropolitan Advantages

 

 

 

With campuses in two of the most vibrant legal markets in the nation—the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas—Rutgers Law School gives our diverse and highly qualified student body the extraordinary opportunity to embrace the best both locations have to offer.

A Proud History
  • History
  • Centennial Celebration
  • 100 Years, 100 Milestones
  • Deans of the Law School

For 100 years, Rutgers Law School's Newark location, the first law school in New Jersey, has been a pioneer in legal education. Our distinctive institutional spirit of excellence and reform was present at our founding as a fledgling program with only three faculty members. These men drew inspiration from the groundbreaking legal traditions of their state to establish the law school as a center for innovation. One of their first actions was to create a legal education program for women.

Our location has had many ancestors and locales. Its oldest predecessor, the New Jersey Law School, opened its doors on October 5, 1908. Thirty students filed into a spare room on the fourth floor of the Prudential Insurance Company building for their first class. By December, operations were transferred to a substantial Victorian town house at 33 East Park Street, built in 1875 by the then mayor of Newark, Thomas Peddie.

The New Jersey Law School was one of many efforts to create the state’s own major cultural and educational institutions. The school was founded by New York attorney Richard D. Currier, a graduate of Yale University and New York Law School. He received considerable help from Charles M. Mason, a New Jersey attorney, who served as dean from shortly after the school’s founding until his death in 1928.

Impressive Early Growth

The school’s business-oriented curriculum quickly attracted students eager for a practical legal education. Classes were held in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate the many students and faculty with outside jobs. Early class lists suggest that the school was an important avenue of advancement for the children of recent immigrants.

Once World War I ended, the New Jersey Law School began a decade of significant progress. By 1926, enrollment had grown to more than 2,300 students, making it the country’s second largest law school. Needing additional space, in 1927 the school moved to the former Ballantine & Sons Ale Brewery at 40 Rector Street.

The Mercer Beasley School of Law, the second “parent” institution of Rutgers–Newark law school, was founded in 1926 by several prominent Newark attorneys, including Spaulding Frazier and future New Jersey Chief Justice Arthur T. Vanderbilt. The school was named for the chief justice of New Jersey from 1864-1897. In 1936 the New Jersey Law School joined with the Mercer Beasley School of Law to become the University of Newark Law School. Combining the faculties and resources of the two schools created a stronger institution. Still, the law school experienced a major decline in enrollments due to World War II and a precarious financial condition.

Merger with Rutgers University

With the State Legislature urging unification of New Jersey’s educational resources, the University of Newark was an attractive opportunity for Rutgers University, which in 1945 had been designated the State University of New Jersey. The Newark university offered not only a thriving undergraduate college in the most populous part of the state, but also the state’s only fully accredited law school and a reputable business school. In 1946, the entire University of Newark was absorbed by Rutgers University and Rutgers School of Law was officially born.

The new affiliation brought great advantages through the university’s substantial resources and prestige. Over the next several decades, the school became an institution of national stature. Its library expanded to become the most comprehensive collection in New Jersey and its faculty tripled in size.

Building on an Academic and Public Service Tradition

The 1960s and 1970s brought dramatic changes to the law school that left a profound mark on its character and values. Following the Newark riots of 1967, the school expanded its institutional mission to include service to the urban community. As a result, the faculty created one of the first affirmative action programs in the country, with the goal of bringing minorities and other historically disadvantaged and nontraditional students into the legal profession.

The law school also established an innovative clinical program, including one of the nation’s first women's rights clinics, to involve students in public interest law reform. The clinical program is distinguished by its breadth and comprehensiveness of experiences for students and its involvement in cases and projects with far-reaching legal or social impact.

The 1960s also brought a group of young faculty members committed to rejecting the formalism characteristic of classical legal theory and to investigating what makes law work on the ground. That intellectual commitment deepened in the 1970s and 1980s, as Rutgers University–Newark became a leading center for basic research and law school faculty helped advance the expanding intellectual reach of the campus

In 1967, the School of Law in Camden, which had been administered by the dean of the law school in Newark, was created as a separate unit of the university, and the university’s original law school became Rutgers School of Law–Newark. After outgrowing several buildings in downtown Newark, the law school moved in 1978 to the skyscraper at 15 Washington Street that became the S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice. Samuel I. Newhouse, a 1916 graduate of the New Jersey Law School, founded what is today one of the world’s largest newspaper and magazine publishing companies.

In January 2000, Rutgers School of Law–Newark moved to the new Center for Law and Justice, one of the most attractive and technologically advanced law school facilities in the country. The 225,000-square-foot, six-story building at 123 Washington Street was dedicated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a member of the law faculty from 1963 to 1972.

Enduring Values  

Teaching. Scholarship. Service. Opportunity. The core values of Rutgers School of Law–Newark, shaped by an extraordinary institutional history, have produced alumni/ae who are represented in the highest levels of every sector of the legal profession across the tri-state area and throughout the country. They include justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court, representatives in the U.S. Congress, leaders in the executive and legislative branches of state government, partners at major law firms, prosecutors and public defenders, advocates for civil and human rights, law deans and professors, solo practitioners, legal aid attorneys, counsel to small businesses, and professionals using their law degree in fields as various as medicine, entertainment and the arts, finance, and criminal justice.

As we celebrate our centennial, we reaffirm our distinctive commitment to the expression of those values through innovative legal pedagogy and clinical education, exceptional and socially relevant academic research, public service engagement, and educational access.

Publications

The History Press has published the centennial history of Rutgers School of Law–Newark. The book is edited by Professor Paul Tractenberg; chapter drafts were written by students in his 2008–2009 Centennial Seminar. Tractenberg also has a book contract with Rutgers University Press for New Jersey Goes A-Courting: 10 Legal Cases That Shook the Nation. Most of the cases have a major Rutgers Law School imprint.

For a history of the law school during the period 1984–1995, read “The Wind Was at Our Backs: The Third Golden Period of Rutgers Law School” in the Spring 2009 Rutgers Law Review (61 Rutgers L. Rev. 471) by Professors Gary L. Francione & George C. Thomas III.

A dozen faculty members contributed to the book You Can Tell It to the Judge . . . and Other True Tales of Law School Lawyering, edited by Professor Frank Askin. The 26 essays explain how clinics in constitutional litigation, environmental law, child advocacy, special education, urban justice, and animal rights used live clients and current issues to train students to represent the public interest and reform the law while learning the tools of their trade.

“Seizing the Moments: The Beginnings of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter and a Personal Journey” in the Spring/Summer 2009 Women’s Rights Law Reporter (30 Women’s Rights L. Rep. 592) was written by Elizabeth Langer ’73. The author was reponsible for establishing the WRLR as a journal at Rutgers School of Law–Newark and was coordinating editor of the first issue published at the school in 1971.

“Rutgers School of Law–Newark and the Legacy of Elizabeth Blume-Silverstein” in the Spring/Summer 2009 Women’s Rights Law Reporter (30 Women’s Rights L. Rep. 635) was written by Kelly Timoney ’09 under the supervision of Professor Paul Tractenberg. Blume-Silverstein was one of the first women graduates of New Jersey Law School (now Rutgers School of Law–Newark).

Start the Party!

The law school kicked off a yearlong series of events marking the centennial with an all-day party on Tuesday, September 9, 2008. Generously supported by the law school alumni association, the celebration featured lots of food, stories about the school’s history from a panel of senior faculty, and performances by student musicians. Click here to watch the panel presentation during which several long-time faculty members recalled their special Rutgers memories.


Centennial Seminar

On October 20, 2008, the Centennial Seminar taught by Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor Paul Tractenberg held a special program to celebrate a central fact of the school’s history–its commitment to racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender diversity. “Rutgers Law School has changed the face of the legal profession in New Jersey and beyond, and October 20 is a day to celebrate that signal accomplishment,” said Tractenberg. The program featured some of the school’s most notable alumni/ae from every sector of the legal profession. Click here to watch the video.


Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner

A slide show of the law school buildings that preceded the Center for Law and Justice, faculty portraits and candids, and some of the notable alumni programs and events of recent years helped to celebrate the centennial during the October 22 Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner. The evening also included the presentation to Dean Stuart L. Deutsch of a Centennial Day proclamation from Governor Jon S. Corzine.


Justice Ginsburg Scheduled to Keynote Celebration of Women Reshaping American Law

For 100 years, Rutgers School of Law–Newark has been a pioneer in legal education. The founders drew inspiration from New Jersey’s groundbreaking legal traditions to establish the law school as a center for innovation. One of their first endeavors was to create a legal education program for women. Fittingly, a premier event marking the centennial was the February 13, 2009, symposium “Rutgers School of Law–Newark Celebrates Women Reshaping American Law.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was scheduled to return to the law school where she began her legal teaching career to give the keynote address. Due to illness, her prepared remarks were delivered by Georgetown Law Professor Wendy Webster Williams. The symposium also featured more than a dozen women, several with ties to Rutgers, who have been pioneers in addressing gender discrimination in the legal system and the profession.


Honoring 40 Years of Clinical Legal Education

An all-day conference on April 3, 2009, both celebrated the Rutgers–Newark clinical program and examined the service learning/service-inspiring goals of clinical education as advocated in 1968 by Rutgers law professor and legendary civil rights advocate Arthur Kinoy. The luncheon posthumously honored Kinoy for his vision and leadership in advocating the school’s adoption of an extensive clinical program and inspiring many students to careers in public interest law. The luncheon also honored Professor Frank Askin (’66), the most senior member of the faculty, for creating and implementing clinics during his more than 40 years at the law school.


Rutgers Law Review Centennial Symposium 

The Rutgers Law Review and Centennial Seminar hosted a Centennial Symposium, “A Legal Education Prospectus: Law Schools & Emerging Frontiers in Curriculum, Lawyering, and Social Justice” on April 17, 2009. The symposium explored the means used by innovative law schools to equip graduates with legal theory and prepare them to become well-rounded professionals with social and global awareness. The first half of the symposium highlighted law school deans and professors who are pioneering the future of legal education in the United States. The second half focused on the role Rutgers Law School has played in inculcating students with public service and public interest values, resulting in our graduates assuming central roles in shaping New Jersey law through a variety of landmark cases.

1908 The New Jersey Law School (NJLS) opens on October 5 in the Prudential Insurance Building. Founders Richard D. Currier is the first President, Percival Barnard the Dean, and Charles M. Mason a member of the faculty.

In December, the school moves to its own building at 33 East Park Street.


1909 The State Board of Bar Examiners recognizes NJLS as school of “established reputation,” meaning that completion of an 18-month course of study would satisfy half of the three-year clerkship requirement for admission to the Bar.
 
The first class graduates on June 18.

1910  Laura Mayo Wilson is the first woman to graduate.
1913  The state board of education approves NJLS to grant degrees.

The law school extends its course of study from two to three years.


1914 NJLS Press publishes its first casebook (Cases on Torts by Currier & Bates).

High school graduation becomes a requirement for admission.


1915 Calvin McClelland becomes the first blind professor.

The school publishes the first issue of the New Jersey Law Review.


1918 Elizabeth Blume (Class of 1911) becomes the first woman to defend a client for murder. As Elizabeth Blume-Silverstein, in 1936 she becomes a co-founder with her husband Max Silverstein and others of the World Jewish Congress.
1921 33 East Park Street is razed and replaced by a new building.
1922  NJLS is recognized by the New York State Education Department.
1924-25 A morning program is added to the afternoon and evening programs.
1925  Two years of college work is phased in as a requirement.
1926 Mercer Beasley School of Law (briefly located at 60 Park Place, then on sixth floor of Industrial Office Building at 1060 Broad Street) is founded.
1927  Pre-legal department of NJLS is established at 40 Rector Street.
 
First edition of the yearbook Legacy and of the student newspaper Barrister are published.

1928  George S. Harris (Class of 1922) becomes Dean and serves until 1936.
1929  First edition of Pandects (Mercer Beasley School of Law yearbook) is published.

Seth Boyden School of Business founded by NJLS.


1930 NJLS sells 33 East Park Street and completes relocation to 40 Rector Street.

Dana College begins and absorbs pre-legal department of NJLS.


1932 First issue of Mercer Beasley Law Review.
1933  Merger of NJLS and Seth Boyden School of Business into Dana College.
1934  Merger of Mercer Beasley School of Law and Newark Institute of Arts & Sciences, forming the University of Newark, located at 17-25 Academy Street.
1935 First issue of the second New Jersey Law Review.
1936 Merger of Dana College, NJLS & Seth Boyden School of Business into University of Newark, located at 40 Rector Street, is completed.

First issue of the University of Newark Law Review.


1937-38 Last year that the course Common Law Pleading is taught.
1939  Beginning of four-year, part-time program.
1941  University of Newark School of Law gains ABA accreditation.
1946 University of Newark becomes part of Rutgers University [Laws of 1946, ch.217].

Law school moves to 37 Washington Street.

Legal clinic practice by students in criminal courts begins.


1947 First issue of Rutgers Law Review.
1950 William B. Widnall, Class of 1931, elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served for 24 years.
1951 Alfred C. Clapp becomes Dean.

Beginning of Appellate Court Moot Program.


1953  Lehan K. Tunks becomes Dean.
1955 Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr. becomes the first African-American professor.

The evening program is discontinued.


1956  The law school moves to 53 Washington Street.
1961  Richard J. Hughes, Class of 1931, is elected governor of New Jersey.
1962  Eva Hanna Morreale becomes the first woman professor.
 
Edward J. Patten, Class of 1926, becomes a member of Congress and serves until 1980.

1963  Willard Heckel, Class of 1940, becomes Dean.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins the faculty, teaching at the law school until 1972.


1964 Arthur Kinoy joins the faculty.
1965  The law school moves to the newly constructed Ackerson Hall at 180 University Avenue.
1968  Minority Student Program is established.
1969  The Administrative Process Project becomes the first curricular clinical program.

The Constitutional Litigation Clinic is established by Professor Frank Askin, Class of 1966.


1970 James C.N. Paul becomes Dean.

The Urban Legal Clinic is established.

The first issue of Rutgers Journal of Computers and the Law is published.


1971 José Cabranes becomes the first Latino professor.

The first issue of the Women's Rights Law Reporter is published.


1974  The Education Law Center is founded by Professor Paul Tractenberg.
1975  Peter Simmons becomes Dean.

The Urban Legal Clinic has a victory in Smith v. Walker, 138 N.J. Super 187 (Essex County Court), requiring the county to pay the cost of blood tests for indigent putative father.

The evening program is re-established.


1977  Peggy Cooper Davis becomes the first African-American woman professor.

The Women's Rights Litigation Clinic is successful in Tomkins v. PSE&G, 568 F.2d 1044, first Third Circuit decision to recognize sexual harassment as gender discrimination.


1978 The law school moves to 15 Washington Street.
1979  The Constitutional Litigation Clinic wins its case involving the FBI investigation of a high school student, Paton v. LaPrade, 471 F. Supp. 166 (D.N.J.).
1982  Alan Karcher, Class of 1967, becomes Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly.
1983  Right to Choose v. Byrne, 91 N.J. 287, with Professors Nadine Taub and Louis Raveson for the plaintiffs-respondents, establishes that the State of New Jersey must pay for Medicaid abortions for indigent women.
1985  Environmental Law Clinic is established.
1987  Ronald Chen becomes the first Asian-American professor.
1988  Initial decision in Abbott v. Burke. The case was brought by Marilyn Morheuser (Class of 1973) as director of the Education Law Center; opinion was written by Steven LeFelt, ALJ (Class of 1965).
1989  Jaynee LaVecchia (Class of 1979) becomes director of the NJ Office of Administrative Law.
1990 The Animal Rights Law Clinic is founded and continues until 2000.
1991  Professor Arthur Kinoy retires, remaining on the faculty as an emeritus professor until his death in 2003.
1993  Robert Menendez (Class of 1979) is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey. He is elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Hazel O'Leary (Class of 1966) is appointed U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Roger Abrams becomes Dean.

Louis J. Freeh (Class of 1974) becomes director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


1994  The mall leafletting case, New Jersey Coalition Against War in the Middle East v. J.M.B. Realty Corp., 138 N.J. 326, with Professor Frank Askin representing the ACLU, establishes that the free speech provisions of the State constitution exceed those of the First Amendment.
1995  The Special Education Clinic is established.
1996  Rutgers Law Record becomes a general law review and is published online.
1998 First issue of Rutgers Race & the Law Review.

Constitutional Litigation Clinic victory establishing customary international law as basis for suit in Jama v. U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, 22 F.Supp.2d 353 (D.N.J.) [see also 343 F.Supp.2d 338 (D.N.J. 2004).


1999  Stuart L. Deutsch becomes Dean.

The Loan Repayment Assistance Program is created.

Appellate Division Presiding Judge Virginia Long (Class of 1966) becomes a Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.


2000 

Law school moves to the new Center for Law and Justice at 123 Washington Street.

Jaynee LaVecchia (Class of 1979) becomes a Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. She had been NJ Commissioner of Banking and Insurance.

Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, the successful appeal in Social Security disability case with Professor Jon Dubin as co-counsel. The U.S. Supreme Court cites Dubin’s article in its opinion.

Sykes v. Apfel, 228 F.3d 259 (3d Cir.), Social Security disability case successfully argued by Jon Dubin.


2002  First issue of Rutgers Bankruptcy Law Review. The name is changed to Rutgers Business Law Review in 2006.
2004  Environmental Law Clinic victory in beach access case, Raleigh Ave. Beach Ass'n v. Atlantis Beach Club, 370 N.J. Super. 171 (App. Div. 2004), aff'd, 185 N.J. 40 (2005).
2006 Ronald Chen (Class of 1983) becomes NJ Public Advocate.
Percival Bernard  1908 - 1909 
Charles Meeks Mason  1909 - 1928
George Stiles Harris  1928 - 1936
Spaulding Frazier 1936 - 1940 
George Stiles Harris  1940 - 1951 
Alfred Comstock Clapp  1951 - 1953
Lehan Kent Tunks 1953 - 1962
C. Willard Heckel 1963 - 1970
James C.N. Paul  1970 - 1973
Alfred W. Blumrosen (Interim) 1973 - 1974
C. Willard Heckel (Interim) 1973 - 1975
Peter Simmons  1975 - 1993 
Roger I. Abrams  1993 - 1998 
Eric R. Neisser (Interim)  1998 - 1999
Stuart L. Deutsch 1999 - 2009
John J. Farmer, Jr.  2009 - 2014
Ronald K. Chen 2013 -