Rutgers Law School represents one of the most exciting opportunities in American legal education. Its unification into a single institution will stimulate significant internal and external change, and reflects a commitment to dynamism, innovation, and evolution.
Michael T. Cahill, a noted criminal law scholar and an experienced law school administrator committed to promoting affordability, public engagement, and student success, began serving as the first permanent co-dean of the Rutgers Law School location in Camden on July 1.
Appointed by Phoebe A. Haddon, chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden, Cahill joins Ronald Chen as co-deans of Rutgers Law School; Chen serves as co-dean at the Newark location, where he was appointed by Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark.
In 2015, Rutgers University's law schools in Camden and Newark merged to create Rutgers Law School, one of the nation's 10 largest law schools, located in one of the 10 largest legal markets: New Jersey. As co-deans, Cahill and Chen supervise the academic and administrative operations of Rutgers Law School, which has approximately 1,100 students, 120 full-time faculty, and 20,000 alumni nationwide.
“Prof. Cahill is an exceptional administrator and scholar, and an energetic visionary regarding the future of legal education in America. He is the right leader to help establish and advance Rutgers Law School to its rightful place as a national center for legal education in New Jersey and across the nation,” says Haddon.
A former professor at Brooklyn Law School, Cahill served there as associate dean for academic affairs from 2010 to 2013 and as vice dean from 2013 to 2015. While at Brooklyn Law, he helped formulate and implement multiple nationally recognized initiatives designed to make legal education more affordable, including increased need-based and diversity-oriented scholarships; tuition reduction; and the “Bridge to Success” program, which offers to repay 15 percent of total tuition costs to those students who do not secure full-time employment within nine months after graduation.
“Rutgers Law School represents one of the most exciting opportunities in American legal education,” says Cahill. “Its unification into a single institution will stimulate significant internal and external change, and reflects a commitment to dynamism, innovation, and evolution. Rutgers is blessed with a truly impressive faculty that has earned the respect of legal scholars and practitioners around the world, and its programs attract top-flight, dedicated students to study law in New Jersey. In particular, Rutgers Law’s clinical and pro bono programs provide students with hands-on legal experience while also helping families in our host communities.
“Rutgers is an outstanding public law school, offering as strong a combination of quality and value as one can find, and I am committed to making sure that it continues to launch students into careers that will be rewarding for them and also rewarding for the society at large,” continues Cahill. “At Rutgers Law, I will continue to work to make legal education more affordable and more equitable, so that it can both attract a diverse array of talented students and enable them to pursue a diverse array of career opportunities.”
Cahill’s scholarship focuses on substantive criminal law, seeking to translate moral theory and principles into workable real-world legal systems, institutions, and rules. He is the coauthor of three books: Law Without Justice: Why Criminal Law Doesn’t Give People What They Deserve (Oxford University Press, 2006), Criminal Law: Case Studies and Controversies, (Wolters Kluwer, 4th ed., 2016), and Criminal Law (Aspen Treatise Series, 2nd ed., 2012). He also has published numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly and legal journals.
Cahill is a 1999 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and served as note editor of the Michigan Law Review. He earned his master of public policy degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Policy in 1999 and received his bachelor’s degree with distinction in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University in 1993.
Cahill notes that this new position represents a homecoming of sorts: he grew up in Pompton Plains, where his parents, Patricia and Lee Cahill, still reside.
Currently, Cahill and his wife, Rosalyn Scaff, reside in Brooklyn with their son, Rowan, 11, and their daughter, Tessa, 9.