First-Year Law Student Neil Doogan Eager to Explore Service Opportunities

Neil Doogan

Neil Doogan

By Jeanne Leong

Many students apply what they learn in the classroom to everyday life, but for Neil Doogan, his experience holding leadership roles in the military will inform what he learns while attending Rutgers Law School.

During his five years as an artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps, Doogan served at locations in the United States, Japan, Australia, and Iraq.

As a 24-year-old second lieutenant, he became a platoon commander with responsibilities that included overseeing more than 60 marines, and handling issues such as maintaining six howitzer artillery pieces worth over 15 million dollars. In addition, he ran a fitness program for his platoon to keep them in top physical condition, and he supervised an educational program to prepare marines for future leadership positions.

“The military made me grow up quickly,” says Doogan, a 2012 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. “You go from worrying about just you, to now having to worry about the guys under you.”

His duties included guiding and advising members of his group on issues such as how to manage finances, and he regularly checked up on them to make sure everything was going smoothly in their lives. When they needed additional assistance, he would direct them to military resources.

“If one of the Marines is having trouble at home, he’s going to be distracted at work,” Doogan explains. “It was my job to help him through this problem at home and that way we could refocus him with training during the day.”

A native of Collingdale, Pa., in suburban Philadelphia, Doogan played football at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and went on to play for the Naval Academy, and after his 2012 graduation he served as a defensive graduate assistant for the Midshipmen team for one year.

After being away from the Philadelphia region for 10 years, Doogan’s decision to attend Rutgers Law School brings him back to the Delaware Valley to be closer to his family.

“While I enjoyed seeing different states and living in different places, and traveling the world, I knew I wanted to be close, to come back to this area. I had a friend from high school who graduated from Rutgers Law School and he spoke very highly of it, so I trusted his advice.”

Doogan is excited about being on campus and looking forward to participating in the Law School’s pro bono projects and internship opportunities.

“In my military experience, going through training is one thing, but applying your training to the real world takes a different skill,” says Doogan. “I love that there are opportunities to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to see what works for you, or how it’s done in the real world.”

“I’m definitely excited about Rutgers Law School,” Doogan adds. “This is what I wanted to do and I’m very happy I have the opportunity to come to a great school like Rutgers and pursue my dream.”

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