Adam Zwetchkenbaum, JD ’22: Rappaport Fellow

UMass Law’s newest Rappaport Fellow will intern at the Massachusetts Dept. of Higher Education this summer

Rappaport Scholar profile 2020
Adam Zwetchkenbaum, JD '22 was named UMass Law's sixth consecutive Rappaport Fellow and has a strong desire to protect the rights of the disadvantaged.
  • Hometown: Medway, MA
  • Degree program: Juris Doctor
  • Undergraduate Degree: , Framingham State University, 2008, B.A. in Psychology
  • Prior Work Experience: Management
  • Research: Research Assistant for Assistant Professor Danya Reda
  • Awards/ Fellowships: Rappaport Fellow

Pursuing a more meaningful career

Before coming to UMass Law, I worked in management in small trade companies. The work was rewarding, and I learned a great deal about business. However, I wanted my time and effort to have a deeper meaning and for my work to have a more substantial impact. The law is a powerful tool, and law school will enable me to learn how to effectuate positive change.

Chose UMass Law for public service mission

UMass Law’s motto of “Pursue Justice™” and student-centered approach resonated with my faith in public higher education, developed during my undergraduate studies. At Framingham State University, I received an excellent education from professors who were firmly invested in each student’s success. I wanted to have that same student-centered focus in my legal education. Moreover, UMass Law’s Justice Bridge program interested me as a unique initiative focused on serving residents of the Commonwealth with affordable legal services while giving member attorneys resources to ensure their success.

Rappaport Fellowship placement at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

My placement will be at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education this summer, where I will be working on the National Council of State Authorization of Reciprocity Agreements (SARA), an initiative intended to make online education more accessible through uniform standards. With the current pandemic, the goal of increasing accessibility to online education is more important than ever, and I look forward to being part of such valuable work.

In addition, I will be reviewing affirmative action policies, engaging in legislative and regulatory tracking at the state and federal level, and researching the financial health of higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

Protect the rights of the disadvantaged

My primary interest in law focuses on how it can be used to protect the rights of those who are in a disadvantaged position. I have a strong interest in constitutional and tort law as protective measures enabling individuals to live self-directed and fulfilling lives.

Criminal justice reform also greatly interests me. It seems that every day there are new accounts of events where use of force by law enforcement brings severe and irreversible results followed by an inquiry into the reasonableness of the actions but little in the way of accountability or reform. I am a sincere believer in each individual’s right to freedom from unjustified contact and bodily harm. This issue has been acknowledged, but there have been few basic reform measures.

Finally, I would like to learn about guardian ad litem work so I can represent children who may require advocacy in the absence of an able guardian to do so for them.

The great majority of my experience as a law student involves studying day and night in the university library. The faculty is knowledgeable, available, and dedicated to the success of the students. I have been told by faculty that hard work is well respected in the legal profession, and this notion governs my approach as a student at UMass Law.

Plans to Pursue Justice™

There is a quote attributed to President Dwight D. Eisenhower that has been instrumental in my view of long-term goals. Paraphrased, it states that a plan is useless, but planning is indispensable. I find this approach especially effective during challenging times like the one we live in now with the coronavirus pandemic and its social and economic impact.

I plan to use my law degree to do exactly as I am being trained to do at UMass Law; I will pursue justice. In today’s world, where life as we know it is changing daily and things once taken for granted are called into question, I plan on becoming proficient in many different areas of the law while staying true to my greater mission. 

 

The Rappaport Fellows Program in Law and Public Policy provides gifted students with opportunities to experience the complexities and rewards of public policy and public service within the highest levels of state and municipal governments. Each year, twelve fellows from eight Massachusetts law schools are selected through a competitive application and interview process.



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