I dont think a lot of students complain about Rutgers! I know tons of students who have gone there and they all liked it. And, none of them are practicing public interest law now, either. THey're all in mid-size to large corporate firms.
There are parts of Newark that are fairly nice...other parts that are not. But, again, I've known tons of people who have gone to school there (including my partner) and none were ever victims of any crime. The law school itself is really nice.
For living, I'd suggest anywhere off of the Midtown Direct train line...it'll just take minutes to get to school. Very nice suburbs are Montclair, West Orange, Bloomfield...they're all about 10-12 minutes from the school by public transportation. You can find a 1Br for $800-1100, depending on where you look. We had a nice 1Br in Montclair for $1015. Or you can share a 2BR, those run about $1400.
You won't need a car if you live in those places, but I'd recommend one just so you can drive all over.
I know they were also building nice luxury apartments just a few blocks from the law school..not sure if those are up yet.