August 24, 2018
Co-Dean David Lopez addresses incoming students during orientation.

Rutgers Law School’s new school year kicked off the week of August 22 when a dynamic group of nearly 1,200 students returned to classes in Newark and Camden.

Among them, are 418 new law students who represent a diversity in background and experience. They come from 23 states and 28 foreign countries and speak 21 languages. Prior to coming to law school, they’ve worked in various fields–from carpenters to chemists and patent clerks.

They’re also pretty smart. Among the newcomers, 42 have master’s degrees and two have doctorates. They’ve graduated from 187 colleges and universities, including seven in other countries. Overall, they have earned degrees in 60 different majors.

Camden Co-Dean Michael Cahill welcomed his returning students on Monday, August 20, saying, “The return, or arrival of students each August revives and re-energizes the entire school.”

This year, Rutgers Law also welcomes David Lopez, the longest-serving General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as the new Co-Dean in Newark. He most recently worked as a partner at Outten & Golden in Washington D.C. and is a nationally-recognized expert in Civil Rights and Employment Law. He earned his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Arizona State University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he has lectured.

Lopez talked with incoming students about the history of Rutgers Law and told them, “You all have a voice and you all have a voice we want to hear.”

After the orientation sessions, students in both Camden and Newark took the New Jersey State Bar Association Lawyer's Pledge and promised to “serve, protect, foster and promote the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

The Camden location has welcomed Louis Thompson as the new Dean of Students. He previously was the Assistant Dean for Graduate & International Programs at Temple Law.

Also joining the law school in Camden is internationally recognized ethics and compliance leader Hui Chen, a Distinguished Research Fellow for the 2018-19 academic year. She will contribute to Rutgers Law’s business curriculum, engage in research projects, and contribute her expertise to the Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance (CCLG) and the Rutgers Center for Government Compliance and Ethics (RCGCE).

Reference Librarian Jingwei Zhang, who was a reference librarian at the University of Tennessee Joel A, Katz Law Library for four years before coming to Rutgers Law.

New faculty members at the Newark location include Professor Rose Cuison Villazor, one of the Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholars and founder of the new Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice. The center will explore contemporary and historical immigration and citizenship laws to better understand the complex ways that law and society determine who belongs in the United States. Villazor came from the U.C. Davis School of Law and was recently a visiting professor at Columbia Law School.

Also joining the Newark location will be Clinical Professor Norrinda Hayat, who is the new Director of the Civil Justice Clinic. Hayat most recently directed the Housing and Consumer Law clinic at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. 

Jootaek Lee joins Newark as an assistant professor and librarian. He is also an adjunct professor and an affiliated faculty for the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) at the Northeastern University School of Law, where he served as Senior Law Librarian.

Professor Sahar Aziz, another Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, celebrates the opening of her new academic center this school year, called The Center for Security, Race and Rights, which will examine civil rights law and policy that disproportionately affect Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities in the United States through an interdisciplinary and cross-community approach.

Rutgers Law is pleased to welcome all our new community members, especially our incoming 1Ls as they begin an intellectually rigorous legal education, gain expansive real-world experience, and join the alumni network of one of the largest public law schools in the U.S.

For back to school tips on how to thrive in law school, take a look at what members of the Rutgers Law community had to say.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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