Ruth Lavache, JD/MBA candidate ’21 says she decided to attend law school because she saw a need for more representation in the field. She also fulfilled a dream of her father.
“I thought it was important for clients to see and have lawyers that look like them. Black lawyers make up only 5% of the legal population and Black women make up only 2%,” said the Maplewood, NJ native. “My father attended law school in Haiti for one year right before he was granted a student visa to come to the United States. He gave up his dream of finishing his law degree so he could come to the U.S. and make a better life for himself and his family. He has always shared his love of the law with me and this is another reason why I chose to attend law school.”
Not only did Lavache attend law school to improve the representation of Black lawyers, she emerged as a student leader as president and secretary of the Black Law Students Association and a volunteer with the New Bedford branch of the NAACP and the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association.
A 2018 graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey, Lavache majored in Criminal Justice and Sociology. She is a Public Interest Law Fellow and the recipient of the Grimshaw Gudewicz Foundation Scholarship that supports law students who currently reside in New Bedford.
She also earned an MBA degree from the Charlton College of Business at UMass Dartmouth in the joint JD/MBA program. “I decided to pursue the joint degree because, compared to most other schools, I was able to finish much faster and still graduate on time,” Lavache said. “The flexibility of the program was also quite attractive. I feel that a master’s in business administration will equip me with the skills I would need to one day run my own business, firm, or organization.”
Future career as a litigator was inspired by internship at the U.S. Attorney’s Office
Lavache was one of 16 law students from the Tri-State Area to intern at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark last summer, working on cases with the Cyber Unit and the Special Prosecutions Unit. She conducted legal research, drafted memos, and reviewed evidence such as jail calls and surveillance footage for case preparation.
“During those nine weeks, I was able to sit and observe many cases and, at the end, the entire intern class competed in a mock trial competition hosted at the MLK Federal District Courthouse in Newark, NJ. This mock trial inspired my love for litigation and the skills that I learned throughout the process will no doubt help me become a better litigator in the future,” Lavache said.
In September, she will begin working at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office as a Fellow through the Office Honors Program. “As an AG Fellow, I will have the opportunity to work in three different rotations with different bureaus within the office. I will work on different cases on my own like many of the assistant attorney generals and, once I pass the bar exam, I will be working as an assistant attorney general.”
Active in campus law organizations and leading the Gospel Choir
Lavache is also a member of the Criminal Law Society and the Legal Association of Women, and is director of the UMass Dartmouth Gospel Choir.
“I enjoy singing because, to me, music is medicine for the soul,” she said. “There is so much that goes on in the world and in our personal lives that can quickly become very discouraging. Somehow, music always has the ability to uplift and encourage the listener, even if it’s only for a moment.”
At UMass Law, Lavache found others who also uplifted and encouraged her. “I was embraced by a community here that allowed me to grow, learn from my mistakes, and develop a confidence in my ability to practice law,” she said.