When and why was the Minority Student Program (MSP) started?
MSP was started in 1968 following the urban unrest in Newark and a call by Rutgers students for increased diversity. It was established by the law school faculty as part of its commitment to pursue an aggressive policy of equal opportunity for those who had historically been under-represented in law school and the legal profession. In the 10 years prior to the start of MSP, only 12 African-Americans had been admitted to Rutgers School of Law–Newark. At its inception the program enrolled African-Americans. This was later expanded to include other disadvantaged groups.
Has the MSP been successful in its efforts?
Yes! More than 2,500 members of MSP have graduated from Rutgers Law School and contribute to the legal profession and the broader society in myriad ways. MSP graduates include judges, legislators, presidential and gubernatorial appointees, mayors, and prominent members of the bar in public and private practice. The leadership and continued success of MSP alumni is a source of pride for the entire Rutgers community. Since the inception of the program, Rutgers–Newark has been one of the most diverse law schools in the country. MSP has served as a model for many other law schools that now offer programs and services for underrepresented groups.
Is MSP only for students of color?
No. Although originally geared toward students of color, the program is now open to any matriculated student, regardless of race or ethnic origin, who can demonstrate through a history of socio-economic, educational, or cultural experiences that he or she has been disadvantaged.
Why does the program continue to be called the Minority Student Program?
Our faculty has maintained the name “Minority Student Program” in order to recognize the historical significance of MSP, one of the first programs of its kind in the country. Although the MSP has been expanded to include disadvantaged students of any race or ethnic origin, the faculty believes it is important to retain the program’s original name to honor that history.
How does one apply to MSP?
MSP is a post-admissions program. Every student may indicate on his/her Rutgers Law School application whether, if admitted to the law school, they want to be considered for admission to MSP.
If I did not originally express an interest in MSP on the application, but now think it is something I should participate in, can I still apply?
Yes. First- year students who apply during the first week of the Fall semester will be considered for admission. Interested students should submit a one-page essay describing the form(s) of disadvantage or discrimination that you have experienced that may impact your experience in law school. Please submit this essay to the Assistant Dean for MSP, Room 172.
What are the main components of MSP in the first year?
The components of MSP in the first year are Orientation, Facilitated Study Groups, and the Professional Development Program which includes the Summer Internship Program.
What is MSP Orientation?
MSP Orientation is a two-week orientation that occurs before the general orientation and, like the general orientation, is designed to provide students with a foundation for the study of law. Students are exposed to fundamental lawyering skills: case analysis, case briefing, rule synthesis, legal research and legal writing. Upper-class students and alumni serve on panels and lead discussion groups.
What are the Facilitated Study Groups?
The Facilitated Study Groups provide a structured group activity for students who as undergraduates have historically not had the experience of group study. The groups are led by an upper-class student whose main responsibility is to facilitate discussion between group members concerning issues raised by the course material. The facilitators also go over hypothetical questions taken from old exams that are available to all students in the library or from commercial sources. The “hypos” used by facilitators are placed on file in the library and are accessible to all students. (Reserve Section of the Law Library under Call Number: KF283.L442005)
What is the Professional Development Program?
MSP conducts workshops in partnership with the Office of Career Services to help students with job search preparation. These workshops are advertised and open to all students. Throughout the year MSP alumni are invited to serve on panels to speak about the legal profession and their career trajectories. This gives students the opportunity to build relationships and network with alumni. The MSP also sponsors a Summer Internship Program (SIP) which secures first summer opportunities for some MSP students with government, public interest and private sector organizations. (Students who do not participate in MSP Orientation and/or the Facilitated Study Groups may not participate in SIP).