Madeline Gayle already had a successful career as a paralegal, but decided to fulfill her dream of going to law school once her youngest child was a high school junior. She said she chose Rutgers Law in Newark because of its supportive environment and her positive interactions with the professors on Admitted Students Day.
Gayle continued to work full time while going to school, but also became her class representative for the Student Bar Association and served as the Chairperson of the Career Services Committee, organizing a successful judicial reception for the school.
She also got involved with the Rutgers University Law Review, serving as Staff Editor and ultimately, as its Editor-in-Chief, “This experience has been one of the most challenging but most rewarding experiences. Essentially, I had to move our entire journal’s operation from in-person to a virtual environment because of COVID. At the same time, I had to procure articles and assure authors that our new virtual environment will not hamper the quality of our work—and make good on that promise.”
Gayle said she also learned valuable skills while working in the Youth & Criminal Justice Clinic, under Professor Laura Cohen. “I had the opportunity to argue a motion that I wrote on behalf of one of our clients before a Presiding Family Court Judge. I am also involved in several projects and investigations, including being part of the team that is assisting in the founding of the New Jersey Innocence Project at Rutgers,” she said.
Gayle added that Cohen inspired her to be a better lawyer, “She has pushed me to be a zealous advocate for my clients and not to be afraid to speak forcefully on their behalf. The experience has reinforced my desire to use my voice and knowledge to benefit clients that are often voiceless, and I hope to continue that role in my legal career.”
Gayle’s law school experiences, coupled with her internships with Chancery Judge James DeLuca and U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas, have led her to her post-graduate clerkship with N.J. Appellate Division Judge Gary Rothstadt and onto a new job as an associate with Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis.
“My advice to incoming students is to be open to new opportunities and challenges because you will never know the path it will lead you to take,” Gayle said, adding this for students who attend law school at night, “My advice is to use your vacation time very strategically and plan ahead. Also, try to be part of at least one organization, even if you do not first see its importance because law school is not just about reading cases. It is also important to be connected to law school life as much as possible. Some of the best lessons that I learned came outside of the classroom and within organizations and clinics.”