UMass School of Law has launched a new Commonwealth Fellows program to provide an automatic $5k discount for incoming law students who are either Massachusetts residents or attended a Massachusetts public college or university as an undergraduate, and who scored 152 or higher on the LSAT and earned a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA. Additional need and merit based aid will be available. The current full-time in-state tuition rate at UMass Law is $24,178. Commonwealth Fellows will be able to attend law school for under $20,000 a year.
"UMass Law exists to create access to legal education and access to justice. As the Commonwealth's only public law school we have a special obligation to educate a diverse corps of justice-centered lawyers to serve every region of Massachusetts," said UMass Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek. "We look forward to the day that our graduates are advocating for justice from Boston to the SouthCoast, from Worcester to Springfield, from the North Shore to the Merrimack Valley."
The Commonwealth Fellows program is the newest addition to UMass Law's access to justice and community engagement programs, which advance justice within and beyond the Commonwealth through research, writing, teaching, learning, practice, and engagement with the profession.
Other UMass Law programs include:
Public Interest Law Fellowship Program (PILF)
The PILF program offers a comprehensive, integrated program designed to train law students for careers in public service. This program provides specialized counseling, frequent exposure to public interest lawyers and policymakers, and numerous opportunities for hands on experience in public interest law internships. The Fellowship includes a 50% scholarship for both tuition and fees. Students are required to perform no less than 200 hours of community service or pro bono legal work during their term of enrollment at the law school.
Student Pro Bono Program
To graduate, every student must complete at least 30 hours of legal or law-related pro bono service under the supervision of a licensed attorney after the first two semesters of study. The Pro Bono Program graduation requirement is one part of the law school's integrated approach to producing practice-ready, justice-centered lawyers. Since the program began in September 2010, 194 students have volunteered more than 12,400 hours in 99 offices in 9 states and 2 countries.
UMass Law recently launched a Boston law incubator focused on bringing quality, affordable legal services to clients with unmet legal needs. The "Justice Bridge" incubator is designed to develop new models for employing recent law school graduates and delivering legal services to clients of modest means. In addition to providing much-needed legal services and launching graduates' careers, Justice Bridge will serve as a laboratory for research into best practices, trends, and resources for creating an economically viable model for the delivery of legal services to moderate means clients. Since its launch in June 2014, Justice Bridge attorneys have served clients in more than 115 cases.
The clinical programs at UMass Law help students transform their learning of the law into practice while also providing opportunities to improve the lives of those in our neighboring communities.
In-House clinic opportunities include the Community Development Clinic and the Immigration Law Clinic.
Community Research Project (CRP)
The Community Research Project (CRP) is the third semester of UMass Law's required Legal Skills Program. Students work in teams of four or five to solve real-world problems for legal services agencies. The CRP advances UMass Law's mission by integrating skills training and public service, teaching skills and values in a real-world context, and developing skills in problem solving, collaboration, and organization of legal work.
UMass Law, located at UMass Dartmouth, is the only public law school in Massachusetts. The law school was established in 2010 to provide a high quality, affordable legal education focused on creating justice-centered lawyers. UMass Law is especially committed to increasing the diversity of those who practice law in the Commonwealth and encouraging students to become professionally engaged in their community through pro bono service, clinics, and internships while they study.