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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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 responsible 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. Watch the video of the panel presentation during which several long-time faculty members recalled their special Rutgers memories.
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. 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 - 2018|
|David Lopez||2018 - Present|
New Jersey Law School Opens
Rutgers' Newark Location Founded
Center for Law and Justice Opens
Rutgers Law School United