by Arpeni Mael, Editor-In-Chief
The UMass School of Law has earned full accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). This is a major milestone for the Commonwealth’s only public law school.
In a press release by UMass Dartmouth, UMass President Marty Meehan said, “Full ABA accreditation of the UMass School of Law means that Massachusetts now offers its residents a public, in-state legal-education option that is nationally accredited.”
“UMass Law is uniquely situated as the first and only public law school in Massachusetts,” said Dean Eric Mitnick. “As a public law school, our mission is different. We seek every day to expand access to justice through our clinics, our pro bono work, our Justice Bridge legal practice incubator, and by maintaining by far the most affordable tuition in the Commonwealth.” In-state tuition is $26,466 which is half the cost of private law schools.
So, what does full ABA accreditation mean for UMass Law?
“[It] provides the law school with the recognition needed to move onto the national stage as an affordable public option committed to public service and expanding access to justice,” said Dean Mitnick.
Kyle Zacharewicz is in the three-plus-three program at UMass Dartmouth which is a fast track to a law degree for qualifying students. “To me, the full accreditation of UMass Law by the ABA is an extremely important moment,” he said. “As a 3+3 law program student, it definitely legitimizes the reality of law school for me and ensures that all of the hard work I’ve had to go through to this point has meant something.”
“Our recent entering class had the highest percentage of students of color of all law schools in New England, and our experience demonstrates that it is possible to increase admissions statistics and bar pass outcomes while simultaneously embracing diversity as a core value,” said Dean Mitnick.
UMass Law received congratulations from UMass Dartmouth on achieving this great accomplishment.