Richard Ramones is the Deputy General Counsel for Consolidated Rail Corporation (“Conrail”). He reports directly to Conrail’s General Counsel and he serves as the lead counsel supporting and advising several departments such as environmental, risk, human resources, labor relations, real estate, design and construction, transportation, engineering and other corporate functions.
What was your journey after law school to what you’re doing now?
I had the honor to clerk for the Honorable Richard F. Wells, Superior Court of New Jersey, Civil Division after law school. I was originally trained as an environmental litigator. As my career progressed at my former firm, I independently handled a variety of matters including labor and employment, commercial litigation, personal injury and regulatory matters involving OSHA, DOL, EPA, NJDEP and FERC. After independently litigating and managing my own case load and clients, I transitioned in-house as an Associate General Counsel with Conrail to litigate, and manage, a variety of matters with a focus on labor and employment and environmental. After a year, I was promoted to be the sole Deputy General Counsel for Conrail. I continue to have the pleasure to serve as counsel and a dedicated business partner to various departments critical to our operations.
What did Rutgers Law do to help you get to where you are?
Of course, the excellent education, facilities and renowned faculty and staff were key. Rutgers Law also provided invaluable internship opportunities, a robust and helpful alumni network and practical courses.
What activities were you involved in at Rutgers Law?
I had the pleasure to serve in leadership and other roles in various student organizations such as Hunter Moot Court, Rutgers Law Journal of Law & Religion, and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.
After Law School
I continue to maintain leadership or active roles in various student and alumni organizations. For example, I serve as a Rutgers University Alumni Association (RUAA) committee member for the Rutgers Alumni for Diversity, Inclusion, Community-Building & Access in Law (RADICAL) and the Minority Student Program (MSP). Dean Rhasheda Douglas, and many others, do an amazing job encouraging current and former students to remain actively involved with RADICAL, MSP and various other committees and organizations for the benefit of Rutgers law and the University as a whole. I am also looking forward to joining the Alumni Steering Committee for our Center for Corporate Law and Governance this year as a new member.
In your own words, why is it important that alumni stay engaged with the law school?
To me, both in life and in the practice of law it is imperative to “pay it forward.” I view it as a personal duty for me to attempt to donate the same amount of time, effort and insight other alumni have provided to me over the years. In addition to Rutgers Law, I strongly feel that I owe a personal debt to the University as a whole for all that it has done for my professional career and my entire family. When my grandfather immigrated from the Philippines to Newark, New Jersey, he found a job working as a Rutgers security guard on the Newark Campus. Both my father and my aunt retired from Rutgers-Newark as an electrician, and law librarian, respectively. My wife and I met at Rutgers, and we are both proud graduates of Rutgers College. My father-in-law also works for Rutgers. Taken as a whole, Rutgers provided my family with the opportunity to achieve our version of the American Dream.
What would you tell today’s law students?
I submit that your full-time job as a law student is also to begin building the foundation of your legal career both academically and through relationships. It is true that getting good grades and being academically focused is important, but it is not everything.
While academics are important, I believe building genuine friendships and relationships may be the most important task you will undertake during law school, and you should continue to do so, for the remainder of your career.