Charting a New Career Path in Law

Shonti Tager

Shonti Tager

By Jeanne Leong

Shonti Tager immersed himself in Rutgers Law School life by saying “yes” to many opportunities to participate in activities and events that enriched his education.

Innately curious, the former television reporter participated in nearly a dozen student organizations and pro bono projects at Rutgers Law School in Camden, participating in activities ranging from assisting on Election Day as a poll watcher to serving as an executive board member of the Black Law Students Association.

In his final year of law school, he was elected to serve as editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy.

“I think having an all-encompassing outlook on the law will help me better understand the challenges future clients are facing, and how taking certain actions can lead to reactions in different areas of the law I might not have considered,” says Tager.

His work in equal justice and public service projects have enhanced his knowledge and skills that will be useful throughout his legal career.

Through the law school’s Domestic Violence Project, he helped Camden-area victims of domestic violence navigate the court process in an effort to obtain temporary restraining orders, and advised them of other local resources available to help them remain safe.

At the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, he reviewed criminal cases to determine cases that are worthy of pursuing exoneration.

An alternative spring break project with the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights exposed him to the work of public defenders representing kids. His work in juvenile resentencing cases involved people who were serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles. Tager researched a case and wrote a 10-page memo to brief the center’s attorneys on points of law they could use as a bargaining chip with prosecutors or present to the judge.

“Being able to write an all-encompassing 10-page memo on a topic that I thought would be beneficial for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights in the future made me feel good,” says Tager. “Like you have some sort of purpose in society.”

The Eugene, Ore. native worked as a reporter, anchor, and producer for six years at television stations in South Dakota, Georgia, and Florida. When he decided to attend law school, he chose Rutgers Law partly because he wanted to live in the northeast. A scholarship and the school’s low cost convinced him to come to Camden.

After Tager graduates on Thursday, May 23, he will work as a clerk for an appellate division judge in Trenton. In the future he plans to pursue positions at private law firms, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, and higher levels of the judiciary; anything that will allow him to continue contributing to his community in a positive way.

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