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News

UMass Law Named to National Honor Roll for Practical Training

Author: Joseph Sullivan

February 25, 2014

The University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth (UMass Law) earned national honors for its practical training program by legal education magazine The National Jurist. UMass Law was named to The National Jurist's first honor roll of law schools that deliver practical training. The magazine will recognize 60 schools total in the March issue of The National Jurist and the spring issue of preLaw magazine. 

"UMass Law's curriculum emphasizes the importance of clinical and experiential learning as a core part of the law school experience, providing students an opportunity for community engagement and real-world skill development," said UMass Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek. "The integration of this professional development with the law and theory they learn in law school is essential to their preparation for the profession.  Pro bono experiences, simulation courses, clinics, and internships are the steps on their path to acquiring the values of the profession as they move towards becoming justice-centered lawyers." 

UMass Law is distinguished by a diverse student body, affordable tuition rates, and fellowship opportunities that further reduce the cost of law school in return for a commitment to public service. The law school's legal clinics are law offices operated by the school, in which students, under the supervision of faculty, offer underrepresented clients the chance to benefit from quality legal representation for their claims. UMass Law students also develop the skills of legal research, analysis, and writing through the required Legal Skills curriculum, gain lawyering skills and awareness of ethical values through the Field Placement Program, and have the opportunity to offer legal help to needy residents and better understand the context in which the law operates through the Pro Bono Program, which requires each student to complete 30 hours of pro bono before graduation. 

Just over 10% of law schools nationally require clinic or internship with about another 10% requiring a prescribed number of hours of pro bono legal service. UMass Law is one of only a handful of schools to require both. UMass Law students have logged more than 9100 pro bono hours at more than 72 organizations in six states and two countries in the last three years. Students have provided more than 18,500 hours of legal services in for-credit internships since 2011. About 20% of UMass Law students are Public Interest Law Fellows who each receive a 50% scholarship in exchange for a commitment to do public service work following graduation. Each Fellow is also required to do an additional 200 hours of public service work. 

The National Jurist's legal education ranking is based on the number of clinic positions per enrollment, the number of field placements or externships per enrollment, and the number of simulation courses per enrollment. The magazine also contacted the 90 law schools that ranked the highest based on these factors and gathered detailed information on other practical training offerings. The National Jurist and preLaw magazine are leading news sources in legal education offering news, advice, and entertainment for pre-law and law students. 

UMass Law has experienced a significant increase in applications in each of the last two years despite a 24% decline in applications to law schools nationally over the last three years. UMass Law is the only public law school in Massachusetts and was established in 2010. It is conveniently located 30 miles from Providence, RI, and 60 miles from Boston, MA. UMass Law is committed to ensuring access to an affordable legal education for students who hope to pursue justice and serve others through the practice of law.

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