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The Citizen Lawyer

Citizen Lawyers: powerful tools for social change

  • Do you see yourself becoming not only an exceptional lawyer, but a leader in the community and a catalyst for social change?
  • Do you believe that you can practice law and still devote part of your day—almost every day—to the fight for a better society?

Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson believed strongly that lawyers should not only be trained in the law but also be good citizens and civic leaders.

If so, then perhaps you are one of tomorrow's citizen lawyers

Citizen lawyers helped found this great nation and have been at the forefront of some of our most significant cultural and social movements:

  • Landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education
  • Statutes such as Title VII and IX
  • Innovations in school finance

Voices of experience

Our distinguished faculty members have been fighters for human rights, defenders of the wrongfully accused, and central figures in crafting new laws and legislation.

Most importantly, they are excellent teachers and recognized scholars of the law, their expertise encompassing virtually every legal specialty.

They will teach you how to interpret the law, how to apply the law, and how to practice the law.

Lessons of engagement

Upon this solid foundation of legal education, we add the invaluable element of engagement. The practice-based curriculum at UMass Law focuses on fact gathering, interviewing, research and writing, oral advocacy, and negotiation.

You will have the opportunity to participate in moot court and mock trial competitions, work at international criminal tribunals, engage in judicial clerkships, or work in a district attorney’s office through a field placement program.

Participate, contribute, make a difference

UMass Law's students learn firsthand what a tremendous impact a lawyer can make in the lives of others.

Our students serve real clients as part of their training: helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, assisting small business owners get started, preventing clients from being deported.

Regardless of legal specialty, a great many of our graduates also provide pro bono support. Many become leaders in their communities and voices for social equality.

Answer the call

As the only public law school in the state, the UMass School of Law offers you the most affordable access to obtaining a quality law degree.

Once you become a lawyer, the range of issues in which you may become involved is almost endless: debating the scope of privacy laws, deliberating the patenting of genes—and tackling new intellectual property issues we have yet to imagine.

Add to that, perhaps, the moral responsibilities of the citizen lawyer. It is a heavy task, suited only to those who truly hear its calling.

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