February 13, 2023

In honor of Valentine's Day, we are sharing the love stories of two Rutgers Law Camden alumni couples and a couple who are in their first year of law school together at Rutgers Law in Newark. Law school provided the spark that brought two couples together while it's part of the glue holding a pair of 1Ls together to make it to their law degrees. These couples demonstrate how love can thrive during and after law school.

Arupa Barua ‘11 and Jakai Jackson ‘13

Jakai Jackson and Arupa Barua took two very different paths to becoming attorneys, but their paths converged at Rutgers Law School. Jackson, a New Jersey native, was already working full-time in the financial industry when he decided to earn his law degree, and Rutgers Law’s Camden campus was one of the few that offered a part-time evening program for working professionals. Barua, on the other hand, could have ended up anywhere in the country; a Michigan native, she was looking for a change of scenery, and was ultimately drawn to Rutgers Law in Camden because of its focus on public service.

Jakai Jackson (RLAW '13) and Arupa Barua (RLAW '11)
Jakai Jackson ‘13 and Arupa Barua ‘11

The two met at a Black Law Students Association event held at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year in Philadelphia—Barua wanted to meet new people, having just moved from the midwest, and Jackson was seeking to make professional connections as a part-time student (“I did look on Facebook to see who was attending, and I hoped I’d maybe meet Arupa there,” Jackson admits). They hit it off, and their relationship grew organically. They started as acquaintances, keeping an eye on one another’s books in the library. Soon, they moved to working at the same table, having a bite to eat after a long day of studying, and finally dating. “We started intentionally taking a few classes together, otherwise I would never see him since he had over a three-hour commute,” Barua recalls. “That was the big benefit of being in school together—being able to build a relationship while taking classes together, sharing materials, and studying together.”

The Barua-Jackson Family

After law school, the pair married and settled in South Jersey, where they’re raising their two young children. Jackson works as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, and Barua does internal compliance for the Department of Transportation. But their shared Rutgers Law roots remain an important part of their personal and professional stories. “The connections I made and sense of community that I continue to have with Rutgers is invaluable,” Barua adds. “It’s nice to be a part of an alumni base that looks out for one another.”

Matthieu and Sheena Murdock (RLAW '25)
Matthieu Murdock '25 and Sheena Murdock '25

Sheena Murdock '25 and Matt Murdock '25

As first year law students, Sheena and Matt Murdock find themselves talking about law nonstop—especially during their three-hour round-trip commute to the Newark campus from their home in the Poconos. “We drive 70 miles to campus and I read aloud from our books,” Sheena says. “We inevitably end up arguing the cases.” Indeed, attending law school together has many benefits, and sharing a professional experience is nothing new for the Murdocks.

Sheena Murdock (RLAW '25)

The couple met in 2003 while serving in the US Army, married in 2007, and have four children. After their military service, they launched a craft beer business together. But Matt wasn’t ready to give up on his dream of going to law school, one that he had put on the back burner for more than a decade (“Matt recruited me to go to law school, in all honesty,” Sheena says; “I didn’t want to commute by myself,” Matt quips). The couple’s ultimate goal is to practice together, potentially focusing on transactional law, so they can help small business owners find the answers they needed when they were in business.

The Murdock Family

The Murdocks chose Rutgers Law School because of its track record supporting veteran students and its involved network of alumni. But the biggest benefit of attending Rutgers Law is that they get to enjoy the immersive and time consuming experience of law school together. “We don’t always cover the same things in our classes,” Sheena says. “Since we discuss everything we’re studying with one another, we get the benefit of more exposure to different topics—and we often end up on different sides of an argument.” For Matt, the benefit is a little more personal: “Sheena is my best friend,” he says, “and it’s cool to be at law school with your best friend.”

Stanley and Sharon King
Stanley King '94 and Sharon King '93

Stanley King '94 and Sharon King '93

Stanley and Sharon King built their relationship on coincidences, a shared love of justice and the adage that opposite personalities attract. 

Their romance started with a chance encounter back in 1992 when Stanley King went to do the most mundane task: checking his mail. That moment led him into the path of the woman who would change his life and become his partner in fighting for civil rights. 

“We bumped into each other at the student mailboxes and started talking. I noticed she had an accent, so I inquired about where she was from. She told me she was from Trinidad, and since my parents are from St. Thomas, we struck up a conversation around that similarity, and then the rest is kind of history.” 

Sharon King, who at the time was a second-year student in Camden at Rutgers Law School, found him charming and intrigued by his sense of humor and easygoing energy. Their connection grew as they learned about the similarities that surrounded their lives.  

Continue reading in Rutgers Today

Rutgers Law Media Contact:
Shanida Carter

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