Rutgers School of Law–Newark (“The People’s Electric Law School”) has a strong and historic commitment to public service, evident throughout the activities of the Eric R. Neisser Public Interest Program.
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Created in the spring of 2000 to honor the life and work of the late Eric R. Neisser, former acting dean, long-time professor, supervisor in the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and committed social activist, the Neisser Public Interest Program serves to promote a culture of public service within the law school community, increase and enhance opportunities for students to learn about and experience public interest work, and support and assist students interested in developing careers in public service.
In promoting the culture of public service at Rutgers Law, the Neisser Program is responsible for:
- Advising students interested in pursuing public interest/government careers
- Administering the school’s Public Interest Fellows Program
- Working with the Fellows to organize the annual First Monday program and year-long Fellows Forum events
- Supervising student–run pro-bono projects
- Overseeing the Student Pro Bono Board and working with board members to identify and promote pro bono and community service opportunities
- Planning a variety of public interest events, including 1L orientation activities and Pro Bono Week events
Students can explore public service through school-based pro bono projects, fellowship programs, semester internships, and paid public interest summer internships. They can participate in a number of student organizations dedicated to enriching the law school community and increasing their awareness of topical legal and social issues. The Neisser Program also provides programming about current issues and work in the public sector, hosting speakers, symposia, and informal brown-bag lunches and afternoon gatherings. Finally, the program offers career counseling for students interested in public sector jobs and assistance in seeking post-graduate funding through the Loan Repayment Assistance Program and through fellowship programs.
We encourage our students to participate in service activities while at Rutgers and to pursue public interest careers or provide pro bono service as a life-long commitment. Faculty members lead by example, devoting many hours to public service through clinical and pro bono practice. Many alumni/ae represent the less fortunate of our society as attorneys, serve the interests of justice on the bench, work in nonprofit organizations, or hold positions in various levels of government.