UMass Law graduates find success in public service employment

Mission of the Commonwealth’s only public law school drives ranking in recently released American Bar Association data

Students and alum outside Taunton Trial Court

For the second year in a row, UMass Law ranked #1 in MA and #1 in New England for the percentage of graduates in permanent, full-time government and public interest law employment. The Class of 2017 ranked #11 in the nation, with 27% of the class securing permanent, full-time government or public interest-related jobs.

“This data demonstrates the extent to which our students, faculty, and alumni are committed to our mission of expanding access to justice,” Dean Eric Mitnick said.

The Class of 2017 completed more than 7,000 hours of pro bono and other law-related service to the community, and volunteered in 37 different offices, including private law firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Commencement student speaker Shayla Lors described her classmates as the ones who “will disrupt and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline…the drafters whose ink will blot out the damaging effects of pollution on our environment…the advocates who will stand in the gap and fight for our neighbors who cannot afford the health care they desperately need…the ones who will turn this world right side up.”

UMass Law previously had similar success, with the third highest percentage of 2016 graduates finding permanent full-time government and public interest law-related jobs. Nearly one-third (32%) of the 2016 graduates secured permanent full-time government or public interest-related jobs.

The ABA data is the latest in several recent indicators of UMass Law’s commitment to serving the public interest. These include:

-- UMass Law winning the Massachusetts Bar Association's prestigious Public Service Award May 18. The award is given to individuals or institutions that have made a significant contribution to the preservation of MBA values, which include promoting access to justice for low-income individuals and making a strong legal education affordable to a diverse student population.

-- Shayla Mombeleur ’17 receiving the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2017 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship, a $10,000 award from the Massachusetts Bar Association, on May 4. While at UMass Law she has served as a judicial intern for the Massachusetts District Court in both Taunton and Orleans and as a Student Attorney for the Bristol County District Attorney's Office. Upon graduation from law school, she plans to serve as a staff attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS).

-- Mary Chaffee ’17 receiving the highly selective Library of Congress Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing for writing one of the top ten student law review articles in the country. Ms. Chafee, who also holds a PhD in nursing and is a member of the American Academy of Nursing, was honored for a scholarly article she wrote about the use of data extracted from legal cases to improve health care.

-- Justice Bridge, UMass Law’s solo practice incubator with offices in New Bedford and Boston, matching recent law school graduates with seasoned mentors and providing legal services to individuals who could not otherwise afford legal representation. The program has served thousands of clients since being opened a little more than two years ago.

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