If two things are great separately, then together, they must be amazing! Such is the reasoning for the proposed merger between the Rutgers Camden Law School and the Rutgers Newark Law School.
This past Thursday, April 2nd the Rutgers Board of Governors approved the merger, which will only pass if it is approved by the American Bar Association.
Rutgers Law-Camden Acting Dean John Oberdiek cites greater career and academic opportunities for law students as a major reason to go ahead with the project. “We believe strongly under this new model, that there are increased opportunities for students at each location to advance their career searches and to learn from and with a wider selection of world-class Rutgers faculty,” he says.
Echoing Dean Oberdiek’s thoughts, Rutgers Law-Newark Dean Ronald K. Chen says “Rutgers Law School will be uniquely situated to be able to draw upon the strengths and clarity of mission of Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, and the entire Rutgers system, to provide an exceptional legal education to our students, promote publicly engaged scholarship by which to use the law as an instrument of positive social change, and foster interdisciplinary collaboration with all our Rutgers colleagues.”
The plan is for the new Rutgers Law School to still exist on both campuses, giving students the option to attend either and attend the other using distance-learning technology. This new technology is already in use in order to connect the two campuses for five courses this semester.
The Rutgers Law School is also projected to begin using one common application for both campuses beginning in the fall of 2015 for the class coming in 2016.
The current deans of each of the law schools would serve as co-deans of the new law school and would report to Chancellors Phoebe A. Haddon (Camden) and Nancy Cantor (Newark). Additionally, they would all work together with the university’s Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Richard L. Edwards.
“Rutgers University–Camden and Rutgers University–Newark will benefit from what we anticipate will be greater demand for a Rutgers Law degree,” says Rutgers President Robert Barchi, as Rutgers becomes a leading institution specializing in law education.
With the capacity to enroll over 1,000 students from all over the country, Rutgers Law School would become one of the nation’s largest law schools, while still offering students a more intimate student to faculty ratio.
The two law schools were originally separated in 1967, creating their own accreditation and curricula with their own faculty members. However, in 2011 the idea of reunification was tossed around by law school leadership until, finally, in 2013 President Barchi publicized the plan for the law schools to merge, setting the project in slow but steady motion.
You can read the official Rutgers press release here: law.newark.rutgers.edu/rutgers-board-governors-approves-merger-two-law-schools-distinct-locations-pending-aba-approval