Mary Brigh Lavery, JD/MPP candidate '20: Rappaport Scholar

A public interest fellow, Mary Brigh Lavery interned this summer with the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators.

Mary Brigh Lavery
  • Hometown: Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Degree program: JD/MPP
  • Internships: Governor’s Office of General Counsel, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators
  • Research: Reformed Nondisclosure Agreements: How States Can Pass NDA Legislation in Light of the #Metoo Movement
  • Leadership: Editor-in-Chief, UMass Law Review 2019-2020; Evidence Teaching Assistant
  • Student Organizations: UMass Law Review; National Moot Court Team
  • Awards: Best Regional Brief, 2018 National Moot Court Team
  • Fellowships: Public Interest Law Fellowship, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy Fellowship

Public policy & law

I have always had a deep interest in law and the crucial role it plays in society. Upon graduating from Saint Joseph’s University in 2017, I sought a graduate program that would give me the ability to focus on public policy and the law, as the two complement each other and in combination can be used to effectuate meaningful public policies.

I chose UMass Law for its mission, supportive community, education, and professional opportunities. I knew that UMass Law would provide an environment where I could hone and develop the skills necessary to be successful in the legal profession.

Public interest law fellow

As a PILF student in the joint degree program, I have been immersed in the key features of law and public policy and how they can be utilized to positively affect people’s lives. From attending fascinating lectures and panel discussions to participating in networking events, the program has been one of the best aspects of my law school career.

Being in the PILF Program over the last two years has confirmed that working within public service not only brings unparalleled societal benefits but also great personal satisfaction in knowing that I can potentially make a difference.

I believe that the professional and legal conditioning I have received from the PILF Program has equipped me to competently enter the public service sector and effectively make my own contribution to public service. Overall, I am extremely thankful and proud to be a PILF student at UMass Law.

Mary Brigh Lavery at at the Rappaport closing ceremony with her supervisor
Mary Brigh Lavery and her supervisor at Rappaport Fellowship closing ceremony

Internship with Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators

I had been interested in the Rappaport Fellowship since my 1L year; it seemed like the perfect way to further contribute to vital law and policy work. Now, one year later, I am a 2019 Rappaport Fellow working for the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. As someone who is fiercely passionate about tackling women’s issues and advocating for women’s rights, I could not have asked for a better internship.

I have worked on a wide array of the Caucus’ legislative priorities including doula and midwifery bills, as well as researching and comparing states’ criminal statutes of limitations for child rape and sexual assault. I have also analyzed and monitored legislation pertaining to the Janus ruling as it moved through the legislative process.

Mary Brigh Lavery at Moot Court competition
Mary Brigh at National Moot Court competition receiving best brief award

Memorable UMass Law moments

When I reflect on my time so far at UMass Law, two experiences stand out. The first was participating in the National Moot Court Competition in the fall of 2018. The competition involved writing a brief and then arguing the case in front of a mock court on a hypothetical appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

Although it was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences, it made me a better oral advocate and a more disciplined writer. It was a difficult yet rewarding experience, and I could not have done it without my fantastic team members and coach.

The second has been my time on UMass Law Review. From being an Associate Editor to now the incoming Editor-in-Chief, law review has been the most gratifying, albeit challenging, activity I have undertaken.

I am certain that the writing and editing skills I have gained while on law review will serve me well when I leave law school and enter the workforce. I look forward to another year of producing great legal scholarship as I prepare to take on this leadership position.

Mary Brigh Lavery with Justice Cypher
Mary Brigh and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth B. Cypher

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