We talk a lot about the value of a law degree, but one thing most people seem to agree about is that a law degree isn’t very useful unless you want to be a lawyer. The people who go to law school because they think it is the doorway to riches and wealth are often the ones most sorely disappointed.

Well, unless they go get a JD/MBA at Rutgers Camden. ‘Cause, you know, that’s where you go if you just want to make straight bank.

At least, that’s the impression you’d get if you had received this Rutgers Law sales pitch….

A tipster forwarded this recruitment pitch from Camille Andrews, Associate Dean of Enrollment at Rutgers Law – Camden. We understand that it was sent to “high-achieving” individuals. The first part of the email seems to just remind students that the job market is challenging — and offers up graduate school as a way to avoid the drama.

But it’s the second part of the pitch that really exposes just how law schools try to sell legal education:

The School is proud to carry on the tradition of excellence at Rutgers University, which is one of the oldest and largest public institutions of higher learning in the nation. As a direct result of the quality of legal education at Rutgers, of those employed nine months after graduation, 90% were employed in the legal field and 90% were in full time positions. Our average starting salary for a 2011 graduate who enters private practice is in excess of $74,000, with many top students accepting positions with firms paying in excess of $130,000. In a recent Forbes publication, Rutgers School of Law-Camden was ranked 18th nationally as one of the “Best Law Schools for Getting Rich”. Rutgers is also ranked high in the nation at placing its students in prestigious federal and state clerkships.

I hope that you will consider this opportunity and join this class. Please apply on-line at our web site at http://camlaw.rutgers.edu. We are a direct student loan institution so financial aid is easily processed. We also have newly constructed on-campus law school apartments available, adjacent to the Law School and the Federal Courthouse, and guaranteed for our law students.

You can check out the full email on the next page.

You’ve got to love how it ends by reminding people that financial aid is really easy to get. Schools always want to tell you how easy it is to get into debt, but they rarely want to talk about how difficult it is to get out of it.

But here, Rutgers is really making a hard sell about their employment statistics. They’re claiming high employment statistics, “as a direct result of the quality of legal education at Rutgers.” That sounds fun! I like to think of an employer shouting tort law trivia questions at the Rutgers Camden person coming out on top to secure the job.

I asked Dean Andrews if those statistics were maybe just for those enrolled in JD/MBA programs. I also asked her if knocking a decent score on the GMAT was all it took to become a part of this Rutgers program. Here’s what she said:

Our law school has several different dual degrees, including MPAs, MSWs, and even MDs. The underlying premise of a dual degree is that a legal degree creates tremendous opportunity by teaching you how to think strategically, write analytically, and research exhaustively. These are skills that are invaluable no matter what profession or occupation you ultimately choose. Therefore, many students like to combine a legal degree with another profession that they are interested in, such as an MBA.

With respect to the actual outreach program, the program is not an automatic admission and it is not a new program. Rather, it is limited program that is part of a potential dual JD/MBA program. We have a long-standing agreement with our Masters of Business Program–they accept students from our JD program who have a requisite minimum UGPA and LSAT, and we accept students from the MBA program. Admission to either program is conditioned upon a variety of factors, including a high gpa and a high performance on a core section of the GMAT that is at the equivalent national performance that they would have needed on the LSAT. Occasionally, other factors do warrant accepting a student with a lower GPA, such as work experience, or a stellar performance the last two years with an explanation for the earlier underperformance.

Successful dual degree candidates typically do not have low scores on any section of the GMAT (scoring below 50th percentile on any core section would make it more unlikely to gain admission), and dual degree candidates cannot have academic irregularities or criminal/ethical issues. They also need two letters of recommendation. The program is designed as a 3.5 year program, but this year we are working on a new design that would let students complete both degrees in the same 3-year period as their entering class. So, a successful applicant would be able to receive two degrees in essentially the same amount of time as one degree.

The quoted letter’s statistics was clearly referring to all students since we do a relatively small outreach on this program and therefore recieve only a small number of applications.

I’m sure the Rutgers Camden joint degree program is great for some people, but you see the problem here with how the school emphasizes the economic upside of a legal education. You can see how a person — especially a 22-year-old who hasn’t been trained like a lawyer about how to read a document carefully — can miss important words in this pitch. Let me replay the key lines with some emphasis added: “As a direct result of the quality of legal education at Rutgers, of those employed nine months after graduation, 90% were employed in the legal field and 90% were in full time positions. Our average starting salary for a 2011 graduate who enters private practice is in excess of $74,000, with many top students accepting positions with firms paying in excess of $130,000.”

Do you trust your average college graduate to notice all of that? Does Rutgers expect them to be able to parse through all of that? But hey, don’t worry kids, because financial aid is easy to get.

If you want to be a lawyer and have some business training, or if you want to be a business person with some legal knowledge, getting a JD/MBA at Rutgers is a fine thing to do. If you want to just get rich, you might need to do a little more research.

Click through to read the full sales pitch….


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