Making an impact
Mary McBride decided to pursue a law degree after she earned a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Bridgewater State University.
“I realized that the most effective way I could impact the issues I cared about was with a law degree. UMass Law’s mission of pursuing justice, combined with its Public Interest Law Fellowship program and its affordability, made it the ideal choice for me,” she said.
As a Public Interest Law Fellow, Mary has already completed more than 200 hours of pro bono legal services.
“The small class size was another draw, as I wanted to attend a law school where the professors know you and help you pursue your own unique interests.”
Mary was elected president of the Student Bar Association during her second year. She currently serves as editor-in-chief of the UMass Law Review, and she is an active member of the Legal Association of Women, the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Delta Theta Phi.
After her first year, Mary became UMass Law’s second student to be selected for the prestigious Rappaport Fellowship in Law and Public Policy. She interned in the City of Boston’s Office of Women’s Advancement.
“I spent the summer researching the status of sexual health education within Boston public schools,” she said. “This involved meeting with stakeholders throughout Boston and officials within the school system.”
Mary’s internship culminated in an internal foundational report that compiled her research, as well as her recommendations regarding which programs were already working and where improvements could be made.
“Working in City Hall and traveling around Boston to inform my research really demonstrated to me how law and public policy can intersect to positively impact the lives of the broadest number of people possible.”
Throughout the summer, Mary met with other Rappaport Fellows to discuss their internships. She found their weekly trips informative, including a trip to the John Adams Courthouse to meet Justice Geraldine Hines, a tour of the underground tunnels of the Big Dig, and a visit to a charter school that provides healthcare to students and their families.
“I learned how broadly a career in public interest law, combined with public policy, can expand,” Mary said.
Internship at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
Last summer, Mary interned at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, advocating for indigent clients with housing law issues. As co-counsel representing an entire tenant association, she helped submit five unique sets of answers and discovery during litigation. She also assisted in negotiations between the landlord, his counsel, and the tenants.
“Both experiences provided practical litigation experience and exposed me to the pressures of a grinding caseload, having represented about twelve different clients throughout the summer,” she said.
“The experience was invaluable, and I gained a better understanding of the crucial importance of accessible civil legal aid.”
UMass Law Review editor-in-chief
As editor-in-chief of the UMass Law Review, Mary has increased the journal’s presence on campus by hosting panels and tabling events.
“The aspect of Law Review that I find most valuable is the chance to contribute to the greater body of legal scholarship by researching and writing one’s own original work to be considered for publication within the journal,” she said.
After graduating from UMass Law, Mary plans to serve as a judicial clerk for Justice Peter Agnes of the Massachusetts Appeals Court for the 2018-2019 term. She was selected after a rigorous application process.
Mary previously earned a BA in English Language & Literature from Smith College. She taught English, Latin, and history as a middle and high school teacher before managing a collection of thousands of artifacts and a small library at the Holocaust Research Center of New England, a private archive in Newton, MA.