The University of Massachusetts School of Law at UMass Dartmouth begins its academic year today with 113 new students, a 21.5 percent increase over last year, bringing total enrollment of the Commonwealth’s only public law school to 279 students.
For the second year in a row, UMass Law applications grew by more than 20 percent, far exceeding the national average of minus 1.5 percent this year and plus 8.6 percent in 2018. Only nine of the 200-plus law schools in the United States experienced a 20 percent increase in applications this year.
At the same time, incoming student LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs increased across the board, making this incoming class the most academically qualified in the history of the school.
“As the Commonwealth’s only public law school, UMass Law has a key role to play in the future of the Commonwealth,” said UMass President Marty Meehan, who has been a strong advocate for a growing and thriving UMass Law. “As its enrollment increases, so will its impact on the future of the state, on how law is practiced and on who it serves. These numbers reflect a commitment by Chancellor Johnson, Dean Mitnick and the university system to providing a high-quality legal education at an affordable cost.”
“UMass Law continues to build momentum in its pursuit of justice through education and service,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson said. “This is a credit to Dean Mitnick and his team of staff and faculty who have built a culture dedicated to their students’ success.”
“We are all proud of the numbers, which are evidence of the dedication and excellence of our faculty and staff,” UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick said. “But, we are most excited and truly measured by the impact that our students and alumni are having throughout the Commonwealth, nation, and world.”
Since earning full accreditation by the American Bar Association in 2016, UMass Law has seen dramatic growth in all key metrics:
- First-year enrollment - plus 71.2 percent, from 66 to 113
- Overall enrollment - plus 50 percent, from 186 to 279
- Number of applications - plus 46.7 percent, from 786 to 1,153.
- LSAT/Undergraduate GPA – Across the board increases, making the incoming 2019 class the most qualified in the history of the school.
- Bar exam success – 92 percent of UMass Law first-time takers of the Massachusetts bar exam passed the test in July 2018, the third-best rate among the nine Massachusetts law schools. UMass Law’s rapid improvement in its bar passage rate was recently highlighted in a national publication.
UMass Law continues to have one of the most diverse student bodies among New England law schools, with over 30 percent being students of color, including approximately one-third of new first-year students.
Newly entering students were born in 19 different countries and come from 26 different states with the largest cohort (44 percent) being Massachusetts residents. They graduated from 85 different colleges and range in age from 20 to 59 with an average age of 27.
Established in 2010, the UMass School of Law is one of seven colleges and schools of UMass Dartmouth. Its students, through the law school curriculum and outreach clinics, have provided more than 100,000 hours of pro bono legal assistance and related community service across the Commonwealth.
Besides holding its tuition to about half the price of private law schools, UMass Law has established 3+3 programs with 11 colleges across Massachusetts to reduce the cost of law school further. These programs allow students to apply credits earned during their first year of law school to their final year of college, saving students thousands of dollars in tuition payments. Partner colleges include Assumption College, Becker College, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Salem State University, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, Westfield State University, and Worcester State University.
In addition, UMass Law and Bridgewater State University signed an agreement to offer a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work program that allows students to earn both degrees in four years rather than five. By collaborating on the program, the schools are enabling students to enter public service with a uniquely defined skill set and less student debt.