During the first year of school at Rutgers Law, students are required to take 8 classes: Contracts, Civil Procedure, Torts, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Property, and two legal writing classes. During your 1L year, the school picks your schedule. Usually, its day classes Monday through Thursday and then one or two morning classes on Friday. For 2L and 3L years, students are able to pick their classes.
Classes are pretty short—about an hour and fifteen minutes each, which isn’t bad, especially when the subject is dense or really hard to understand. But what incoming students really need to be prepared for is all the reading. Typically, professors assign around 30 pages of reading for a class. Now, this may not sound like a lot, but it's not always about just skimming the pages. Professors are looking for you to really digest the reading—and sometimes reading cases from the 1800s takes a lot of time. It's suggested to spend a minimum of 2 hours outside of class for each hour (calculated on a 50-minute basis) of in-class time.
One thing incoming students are always worried about are “cold calls.” Cold calling in law school can sound very intimidating, and you might have heard horror stories from older students. But in actuality, it's very beneficial to you. Cold calling ensures the professor that everyone is keeping up with their readings. Some professors will only ask for the facts and holding of a case, but it’s typical for them to ask you how and why the court came to their decision. This isn’t always written in black and white—so it can be challenging— but that is why it is important for you to take your time on the readings and have good briefs or notes. One thing to remember, though, is that everyone has been in your shoes too (and are just glad they didn’t get called on)!
That said, by the end of your first semester, you won’t believe how quickly you can pick up the key points in a case. Just be ready for the inevitable long nights where you stay up to get through what feels like an endless reading list. It’s very important for law students to have good time management skills. Most students I know get work down between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. However, every student is different. For me, I can’t do work on Sundays or past 8 p.m. I have to say though that I have much more free time then I expected to have coming into law school.
While classes and readings seem like a lot, most of a day at Rutgers Law consists of attending events or sitting on the Clark Commons bridge (our main common area) with friends. There are always events going on around the school. We have countless organizations including the Immigration Law Society, Sports and Entertainment Law Society, Women’s Law Caucus, Employment Law Society, Family Law Society and many more.