The quality of a UMass education
I chose UMass Law because I saw firsthand the quality of the education that the UMass system offers. I majored in political science and philosophy at UMass Amherst, and it had a positive impact on me as a student and as a person.
What sold me on UMass Law, though, was its mission: pursue justice. The school’s commitment to public service, the Public Interest Law Fellowship, and the chance to play a part in the growth of the only public law school in Massachusetts inspired me.
I’m lucky UMass Law has the joint JD/MBA program. The deciding factors for pursuing both degrees were money and time. It was an unbelievably affordable opportunity, and earning both degrees can be done in three years—no longer than the usual length of law school.
It took full course loads and summer work, but it was the right choice. The skillset that an MBA provides is valuable in the market and a necessity to run a non-government organization. The degree is also crucial for knowing the intricacies of business for working on legislation.
UMass Law Review editor-in-chief
As editor-in-chief of the UMass Law Review, I was the head of a professional organization that publishes legal scholarship. It was the single most enlightening and stressful leadership experience I’ve ever had.
It involved constantly thinking about my editors, the journal, and solutions to issues that were bound to come up. I spent an unbelievable amount of time and energy on the Law Review, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The best description I have for it is incredibly rewarding, which doesn’t do it justice.
Gaining practical law experience
The Human Rights at Home Clinic provided the opportunity to engage in the realities of practicing law while still in school. It was a chance to face the uncertainties that serving as legal representation can hold and the steps a lawyer has to take to tackle them. The clinic required students to work extremely well together over extended periods of time, which helped us bond.
The Jessup Moot Court Competition is between teams of law students from 700 law schools from over 90 countries and involves both written and oral pleadings. As an Oralist with UMass Law's Jessup Moot Court team, I spent hours practicing oral arguments with my teammates in front of professors who served as judges.
The written pleadings took days of research, and judges frequently interrupted the oral arguments with questions to probe how well you know your arguments and how you handle operating under pressure. The experience of making arguments in front of international law experts helped improve my oral advocacy skills.
The Regional Competition in NYC was a huge success; UMass Law came in 9 out of 19, a few points away from making it to the quarterfinals. Within a year, we had moved up 5 ranks in the region. I will definitely come back as an alumnus to help prepare next year's team.
Research on human rights
As a Michael Dukakis Service Fellow, I was a researcher at the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy at Northeastern University. I researched a plethora of issues, and read every court case in every jurisdiction at every court level from the last 2 years that mentioned or made arguments using major human rights documents.
I helped research and put together a couple of data mapping projects that followed the path of federal funding going towards charter schools throughout the U.S.
I also had the opportunity to work alongside attorneys from across the nation, helping write a number of comments for the EPA's 2020 Action Agenda to help the EPA understand the right to water as a human right and how the Agenda could be altered to better serve all Americans.
Future in foreign service
I'm applying for a number of jobs right now, mostly with human rights organizations and government offices. Only time will tell where I ultimately end up, but I would like to work for the State Department as a foreign service officer.
After the bar exam, I'll travel for awhile and hike the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire's White Mountains. I write poetry and short stories in my free time, but I'd like to use this time for some more substantial writing projects.