Alumni Alumni: Shayla Mombeleur, JD ’17 elected Secretary of Massachusetts Bar Association

Alumni Alumni: Shayla Mombeleur, JD ’17 elected Secretary of Massachusetts Bar Association
Shayla Mombeleur, JD ’17 elected Secretary of Massachusetts Bar Association

An associate at Todd & Weld LLP, UMass Law alumna Mombeleur will use this position to uphold the administration of justice in the state with special focus on DEI initiatives.

UMass Law Alumna
Mombeleur was elected to this position after a lengthy history with the Massachusetts Bar Association.

After a competitive nomination process, UMass Law alumna Shayla Mombeleur, JD ’17 was elected as the Secretary of the Massachusetts Bar Association for the 2023-24 year. Her four-year term with the Massachusetts Bar Association will conclude with her presidency, and she will bookmark history as the first African American woman to ever hold this position.

Mombeleur’s involvement with the Massachusetts Bar Association dates back to her third year at UMass Law, when Assistant Dean of Students Julie Cahill informed her of a scholarship opportunity she simply couldn’t let pass her by. Mombeleur was awarded the 2017 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship worth $10,000 from the Massachusetts Bar Association and was later invited to participate in their Leadership Academy, a program for lawyers interested in civic engagement and giving back to their communities.

Since then, Mombeleur remained an active member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and became part of their executive management board before being named as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. With this recent appointment to Secretary, her primary focus will be protecting and fostering DEI initiatives in the state of Massachusetts and educating the legal community on restorative justice and how to replace “punishment” with “repair.” She said, “We can’t forget there’s so much work to do in the community, especially regarding the impact of race.”

Mombeleur’s reigning passion for civic engagement was ignited by a stellar UMass Law education, a flame that will burn brightly within her forever. She said, “I went to UMass Law because I was interested in working with the public sector. I fell in love with it even more by the end of my time there. Being in an environment with like-minded individuals that understood the importance of community motivated me to make a difference.”

Law school alumna & Dean
Mombeleur and Dean Sam Panarella pose for a celebratory photograph following her election.

Following her graduation from UMass Law in 2017, Mombeleur was a trial attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services and defended clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges. From arrest to final deposition, she never ceased supporting her clients and giving them her all. Now an associate at Todd & Weld LLP in Boston, MA, Mombeleur dedicates her time to working on government investigations and criminal defense cases that reflect the value she holds for public service.

“Although I may have transitioned from the public sector to Todd & Weld, I’m at a firm that places a high value on pro bono work,” Mombeleur said. “In fact, our firm has been recognized for its long-standing commitment to providing significant pro bono legal representation.”

As the landscape of her legal career evolves with each passing day, Mombeleur’s time at UMass Law remains a cornerstone of the foundation she currently stands upon as a veteran criminal defense attorney. She said, “At UMass Law, you don’t just get the practical skills and education; you get the essential understanding of the public sector. You get ideas that will change or influence policy for the betterment of the community, and that is unlike any other law school.”