UMass Law, the only public law school in Massachusetts, has once again topped the charts. Based on American Bar Association employment data for the Class of 2022, Reuters has ranked UMass Law 7th in the nation for the percent of graduates in government and public interest jobs (32.14%).
The law school also ranked first among the 15 New England law schools in the same metric for the Class of 2022, while ranking second over the last five years combined.
The public service jobs data includes a fourth-place national ranking for UMass Law graduates employed in government jobs.
These figures follow an overall highly successful—and institutional record-setting—job placement rate for UMass Law’s last graduating class. The Class of 2022 achieved a 90.5% employment rate, including 71.4% in “gold standard” full-time, long-term bar-required positions and 83.3% in full-time, long-term bar-required or JD-advantage positions.
“UMass Law graduates are in demand because employers understand our students are well-trained and graduate practice-ready, as demonstrated by our consistent ranking among the top law schools in the country for real-world experiential education,” said UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick. “This ranking also demonstrates how UMass Law fulfills its mission as the only public law school in Massachusetts, preparing law graduates for careers in any field of law, but with a special emphasis on public service.”
Leader in public service
Recognizing UMass Law’s commitment to public service, the statewide Massachusetts Bar Association awarded the law school its prestigious MBA Public Service Award, pointing to the law school’s efforts at promoting access to justice for individuals of modest means and making a strong legal education affordable to a diverse student population.
UMass Law students have also received the Massachusetts Bar Association's Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship for the advancement of public interest work, the Adams Pro Bono Publico Award from the MA Supreme Judicial Court for pro bono legal services to the Commonwealth, the Library of Congress Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing, the Rappaport Fellowship in Law & Public Policy, the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association Public Service Scholarship, and the Michael Dukakis Public Service Fellowship.
UMass Law offers competitive Public Interest Law Fellowships to incoming law students. The fellowship offers a 50% scholarship for tuition and fees in exchange for a commitment to practice public interest law for at least four years after graduation.
While every law student is required to perform at least 30 hours of pro bono legal services in law school, UMass law graduates typically average five times that amount. UMass Law students have contributed well over 200,000 hours of pro bono legal services to their communities since the law school’s founding in 2010, providing legal representation for people who otherwise would have faced the legal system alone.
Students can participate in one of five legal clinics, where they gain real-world, practical training under the supervision of a law professor while providing free legal services to the community. Those clinics include Community Development, Criminal Prosecution, Human Rights at Home, Immigration, and Tribal Law.
Raven Francomano, JD ’22, was one of just two law students honored by the Commonwealth with the Adams Pro Bono Publico Award last fall for contributing 768 hours of pro bono legal services through Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. In total, she has contributed 840 pro bono legal hours.
UMass Law also operates Justice Bridge, an innovative law practice incubator with offices in New Bedford and Boston that matches recent law graduates with seasoned mentors to provide legal services to individuals who could not otherwise afford to hire a lawyer. Since 2014, Justice Bridge has enabled thousands of modest means clients to enter housing, family, and immigration courts with legal representation.
Leading rankings for UMass Law
UMass Law also ranks third in the nation for enrollment growth among nearly 200 U.S. law schools, according to ABA data, and has been ranked among the top law schools in the country for practical training for three of the last four years, according to preLaw magazine, placing 2nd in Massachusetts and 3rd in New England in 2023.
The City University of New York School of Law is the top ranked law school for public service employment. The only other New England law school ranked by Reuters is Northeastern University School of Law in 12th place.