When Blair Gerold was working 10-to-12-hour days in the high-pressure world of the music industry, she didn’t know it at the time, but that experience prepared her for law school, where her schedule was packed with classes, events, internships, and much more.
Gerold served as a student representative to major Rutgers Law School faculty committees including the Academic Policy Committee across both campuses.
In her final year of law school, she was co-editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Law Review. In her 2L year, she served as president of the Association of Public Interest Law (APIL), which brings resources to the school for students who are interested in public-interest work through programing, networking, and fundraising to provide stipends for unpaid summer public-interest internships.
“I really challenged myself to say ‘yes’ even to things outside of my comfort zone, and just made it a priority. I treated school like my job,” says Gerold, of Edison, N.J.
Gerold was involved in most major student events, including the Student Bar Association’s debate “Is There a Central Jersey?” and the APIL auction. For the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance events, she did everything from planning to serving as the master of ceremonies.
Her experience as a teaching assistant, for the mock trial and civil procedure courses and Ruth Anne Robbins’ “Persuasion in Legal Writing” course, gave her a chance to learn new skills and introduced her to another possible career path.
“This experience not only made me realize I may want to teach someday,” says Gerold, “it forced me to become a better communicator, recognize different learning styles, and master the substantive material.”
“She is one of the law school’s brightest stars, both in her intelligence and in her commitment to the law school endeavor,” says Robbins, a distinguished clinical professor of law. “When I want to talk to someone about a metaphor or turn of phrase I have just read in a brief or an opinion, she is one of the people I seek out in the building.”
In addition to taking classes and participating in law school activities, Gerold spent a semester interning at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia where she worked in a variety of areas of law, such as voting rights, housing, education, disability law, and environmental law.
She has also participated in a number of the school’s clinical programs: working on a summary judgment motion in the school’s Human Rights Advocacy and Litigation Clinic, assisting clients with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) appeals in the Child and Family Advocacy Clinic, working with the New Jersey Legislature to draft and pass domestic violence legislation with the Legislative Directed Practicum, and working to expunge criminal records in the school’s Prison Re-entry Program.
Participating in the mock trial program is one of the highlights of her Rutgers Law experience.
“I’ve become so much more comfortable with public speaking and feel like I could walk into a courtroom without fear,” says Gerold. “The mock trial team I think is a great embodiment of the general theme of Rutgers Law: we take our work seriously, but not ourselves. It was some of the hardest work, but also the hardest laughing, that I’ve done.”
While Gerold dedicated three years of her life to her Rutgers Law education, she also found a way to maintain balance in her life by participating in the law school’s intramural softball league.
“Law school, and the law profession, is stressful, so it’s important to carve out activities that allow you to spend time with your colleagues outside of that context and have fun,” says Gerold.
As she reflects on her years in law school, she is grateful for the experiences and the connections that she has made.
“I truly look forward to calling many of them colleagues and friends long after graduation,” says Gerold. “Professor Ruth Anne Robbins has been an endless source of guidance and support. Everything from advice about classes, career, and personal issues. She has always challenged me academically, pushed me to embrace my curiosity, and encouraged me to trust my judgement.”
After graduation, Gerold will be working as a clerk for Justice Jaynee LaVecchia of the New Jersey Supreme Court.