Massachusetts School of Law

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Massachusetts School of Law
MassLawLogo.png
Established 1988
Type Private
Students 635[citation needed]
Location Andover, Massachusetts, USA
Campus Urban
Website mslaw.edu
Massachusetts School of Law

The Massachusetts School of Law (also known as MSL) is a law school located in Andover, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1988, and claims that its design and curriculum were influenced by the medical school educational model and legal scholars.[citation needed]

Admission and academics[edit]

Students at Massachusetts School of Law learn to practice law through classroom instruction, simulated client experiences, and numerous live client experiences. MSL does not require the LSAT for admission. However, MSL administers its own examination (MSLAT) similar to the LSAT, requires letters of recommendations, and interviews every applicant for admission. Graduates are eligible to take the Massachusetts and Connecticut Bar Examinations immediately upon graduation. After passing either of those bar exams, graduates are then eligible to take the bar exam in NH, WI, VT, ME, CA, DC, MD, and WV. Graduates may also seek admission to the bars of many other states after practicing for 3–5 years (see local rules for bar admission).

Accreditation[edit]

The Massachusetts School of Law is currently unaccredited by the American Bar Association,[citation needed] but is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).[1] In 1990, the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education authorized MSL to grant the Juris Doctor degree. MSL subsequently applied for American Bar Association approval while filing an action in Federal Court in Philadelphia challenging some of the ABA's accreditation standards, arguing that those standards are of questionable educational value, violate antitrust laws, and needlessly increase tuition costs. MSL refused to comply with these standards, and the ABA refused to approve the school. As a result of its actions the MSL and Department of Justice filed complaints against the ABA for antitrust violations. The summary judgment dismissing the MSL complaint was granted to the ABA on the trial level and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed in 107 F.3d 1026. The case brought by DOJ was later settled by way of a consent decree between the ABA and the United States Department of Justice in which the ABA agreed to reform its accreditation process and eliminate some of its law school accreditation standards.

Among the standards used in that process were several related to student-faculty ratio. Under its standards in effect at that time, the ABA refused to count most of MSL’s full-time professors who also maintained a relationship with a law firm or who continued to practice law, or any of MSL's 85 adjunct faculty members in computing its student-faculty ratio (a standard that has since been changed as a result of the Department of Justice's antitrust action against the American Bar Association). In 1997, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) awarded accreditation to MSL. Many of its graduates now practice law throughout New England and California.

The school continues to criticize ABA standards that it fails to meet, and encourages the Department of Education to strip the ABA of its authority over other law schools. On December 4, 2006, Massachusetts School of Law officials asked a Department of Education committee to limit the authority of the ABA, complaining that the ABA's process was harmful to minorities and low-income students and needlessly drove up the cost of legal education. This action followed the publication of a DoE report that was critical of accrediting agencies for being overly concerned about financial and procedural issues and inadequately concerned about the school's success at educating its graduates.[2]

Notable alumni[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 42°45′35.53″N 71°08′50.86″W / 42.7598694°N 71.1474611°W / 42.7598694; -71.1474611