Rutgers Law School offers recent law school graduates a one-year residency option, modeled after medical school residencies, in which participants practice law full time under close supervision and instruction, providing a variety of legal services to low and moderate income New Jersey residents.
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This one-of-a-kind program, which launched in 2014, offers a postdoctoral fellowship to selected law school graduates who are admitted to practice or are seeking admission to practice law in New Jersey. Fellows manage their own docket of 10–20 cases at a time, from handling simple divorce and child support/custody cases to consumer protection, employment discrimination, bankruptcy, and estate planning and will contests. Seminars on civil and criminal procedural issues and professional responsibility, as well as business development, billing, collection, and law firm management, are provided each week, and fellows have constant access to the managing attorney to ensure that the highest quality work is provided to the program’s clients. All tuition and fees for this postdoctoral program are covered by scholarships, and participants receive an annual stipend to cover their living expenses.
- How to Apply
The Rutgers Law Associates fellows, all of whom have applied to, or are already admitted to practice law in New Jersey, devote one year to closely-supervised practice and associated courses in professional responsibility, small firm management, and relevant practice areas. Upon completing the program, these lawyers are fully prepared to join established law practice in either the public or private sector or to launch viable quality practices of their own.
Managing the program is Professor Andrew J. Rothman, Esq., an attorney/educator committed to legal education and professional practice, who has extensive experience both in the courtroom and in the law school classroom, teaching civil practice, professional responsibility and law firm development.
Program fellows are expected to work on client matters about two-thirds of their time, and participate in seminars and other classes related to practice areas, business development and management, and problems in professional responsibility for much of the balance of their time. As they progress through the program, fellows devote some of their time to marketing and client development in addition to their legal and classroom work. Each receives a modest stipend. Rutgers Law School covers all the tuition costs associated with their coursework.
What distinguishes the Rutgers Law Associates Fellowship Program is the concentrated skills training regimen that is conducted daily, after the model of medical rounds for medical residencies. Fellows work collaboratively, brainstorming and critiquing one another with the managing attorney, to develop best practices for the work they are performing for the program’s clients. Unlike other post-graduation training programs, the Rutgers Law Associates Fellowship is an educational enterprise of the Law School and is not an independent non-profit law firm.
While the advantages this program are providing new lawyers in their development as successful practitioners is evident, the benefit the program is providing to the public is as important and as sorely needed. Recent economic stresses have put tremendous pressure on that segment of the population that is neither indigent, and therefore eligible for some legal assistance from public defenders, legal aid organizations and law school clinics, nor wealthy enough to afford a private attorney’s service. Provision of affordable legal service by new lawyers under the supervision of an experienced teacher/practitioner is helping to meet this burgeoning need.
The Fellowship is open to qualified graduates from all ABA-approved law schools. All applications should include a cover letter, resume, transcript and writing sample and be submitted to CareerDevelopment@law.rutgers.edu. Admission to the Fellowship Program is contingent on admission to the New Jersey Bar.
- August Admission (Newark and Camden)
- Application Deadline: May 20, 2022
- First Day of Classes: August 16, 2022
- Completion Date: August 15, 2023
- Annual Stipend: $50,000
Launched in January of 2014 in Rutgers School of Law–Newark and expanded to our Camden location, the Rutgers Law Associates is the nation’s first post-doctoral fellowship program of its kind, designed to train recent law school graduates as practitioners, while providing a variety of legal services to low to moderate-income New Jersey residents at fees substantially below market rates.
Although originally created to serve that population of law school graduates looking to enter small or solo practice, the program has instead proven to be an outstanding entryway to bigger firm practice and to public interest lawyering. The experience gained in the fellowship year has been a key factor in the hiring decisions of these firms and nonprofit employers. (For example, virtually all fellows have had multiple court appearances within their first weeks in the program, and all will have settled several complex cases, tried one or more cases, and made dozens of court appearances before their fellowships end.)
Managing the program is Professor Andrew J. Rothman, an attorney/educator committed to legal education and professional practice, who has extensive experience both in the courtroom and in the law school classroom, teaching civil practice, professional responsibility, evidence, and law firm development. For more information, contact Professor Rothman at email@example.com