New England Law Boston

Coordinates: 42°21′03″N 71°04′00″W / 42.3508°N 71.0666°W / 42.3508; -71.0666
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New England Law
MottoJus et Auctoritas
School typePrivate law school
EndowmentUS$40.5 million[1]
LocationBoston, Massachusetts, U.S.
USNWR ranking159th (tie) (2024)[5]
Bar pass rate77.03%[6]

New England Law | Boston (formerly New England School of Law) is a private law school in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded as Portia School of Law in 1908 and is located in downtown Boston near the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.[8]

According to New England Law's official 2018 ABA-required disclosures, the class of 2018 had a full-time employment rate of 83.4% with 4% pursuing an additional degree.[9] Eight U.S. Supreme Court justices have visited, lectured, or taught in the summer-abroad programs at New England Law.[8]


The Portia School of Law[edit]

The Portia School of Law started informally in 1908 when Arthur W. MacLean (1880–1943), a graduate of the Boston University School of Law and a professor at Suffolk University Law School, agreed to tutor two young women who were studying for the Massachusetts bar examination. At the time, few options were available to women seeking a legal education in New England. Soon afterwards, MacLean rented space at 88 Tremont Street, began admitting students, and took on a second faculty member.[10] MacLean's wife, Bertha, named the school after the character Portia in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. In the play, Portia disguises herself as a young man and impersonates a judge; she also ruins Shylock, the moneylender. The Portia School of Law was the only law school in the country exclusively for women.[11]

The school was incorporated in 1918. By this time it had 91 students.[12] The following year, the Massachusetts legislature granted the school the power to confer the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B), and the school was reincorporated as the Portia Law School. In 1920 the school awarded its first LL.B degrees to 39 women.[10] The school was one of the few that offered part-time enrollment, enabling working-class women to pursue their studies while supporting themselves.[12]

In 1920, the school outgrew its space on Tremont Street and moved to a townhouse at 45 Mt. Vernon Street on Beacon Hill. The Portia Law School was granted the authority to confer the degree of Master of Laws (LL.M.) in 1926; five graduates were awarded the LL.M. the following year.[12]

The Portia Law School was integrated from its earliest days. Blanche E. Braxton, who graduated in 1921, became the first African-American woman admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1923. Another Portia graduate, Dorothy Crockett, became the first African-American woman admitted to the Rhode Island bar in 1932.[13] The former site of the Portia Law School at 45 Mount Vernon Street is a stop on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.[11]

Admission of male students[edit]

The school began admitting male students out of financial necessity in the 1920s. In 1930, the school's first two male graduates received the LL.M. degree.[10] From 1940 to 1950, the men's program was referred to as the Calvin Coolidge Law School.[14]

As the school entered the 1950s it saw its student body shift from a student body that had a majority female population to a predominantly male student body.[15] 1963 saw Portia Law School begin the process of applying for American Bar Association accreditation,[15] and some of the steps the school took included restructuring its board of governors and launching the school's first law review.[15] In 1969, the school changed its name to New England School of Law to coincide with its accreditation granted by the ABA.[16]

President George H. W. Bush at the 75th Anniversary of NESL
Dean Tenure
Arthur W. MacLean 1908–1943
W. Chesley York 1943–1952
Margaret H. Bauer 1952–1962
Guy V. Slade 1962–1966
Walter J. Kozuch, Jr. 1966–1971
Robert E. O'Toole 1971–1974
Colin W. Gillis 1974–1978
Thomas C. Fischer 1978–1983
Timothy J. Cronin 1983–1988
John F. O'Brien 1988–2020
Scott Brown 2021
Lisa R. Freudenheim 2022–Present

As New England Law neared its 75th anniversary, new programs were started, the first was the creation of Law Day in 1970 and then the opening of its clinical law services office in 1971.[17] The clinical law services program is performed by the law students providing representation to those who did not have the economic means to seek paid legal assistance.[17] In 1980, New England moved into its current location; which is located in the Boston Theater District neighborhood.[17] George H. W. Bush was the keynote speaker at the 75th anniversary of New England Law.[17]

In the 1980s, the school started a program that arranged for students to study abroad and work with former Soviet Bloc nations to develop their own legal systems.[18] New England Law also became a co-founder of the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education; which allows students to study abroad at countries throughout the world.[18] In 1996, New England Law students worked with Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals by providing legal research and analysis for war crimes in Rwanda and the former nation of Yugoslavia.[18] New England Law received membership from the Association of American Law Schools in 1998.[19] In 2002, New England Law expanded its campus by buying adjacent buildings around the schools current location.[18] Also, in 2008, New England School of Law began a new campaign to rebrand itself as "New England Law | Boston", with the purpose to put an emphasis on its location.[20]

In December 2020, long-time president John F. O'Brien stepped down and former United States Senator from Massachusetts and U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, Scott P. Brown, was named the new president and dean of the school.[21] Brown resigned in August 2021, citing a difference of vision from that of the board of directors.[22]

In January 2022, The Board of Trustees of New England Law | Boston selected long-time professor, Lisa R. Freudenheim,[23] to lead the law school as its next dean.


Main academic building on Stuart Street

The law school's main academic building is a five-story building on Stuart Street in the Boston Theater District, which includes classrooms, faculty offices, law review offices, and the school's library.[24] Other offices are in a nearby building in the Bay Village on Church Street.[25] Tufts University utilizes New England Law's Bookstore.[24]

A valuable resource-sharing partnership has been forged between New England Law library and the library associated with Tufts medical, dental and veterinary schools. Current students, faculty and staff of each institution have on-site access to each other's collections.[26]


New England Law offers full-time and part-time (both day and evening) Juris Doctor programs, with an application deadline of May 1. In 2021, the entering class had Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores in the range of 149 to 157 (25th–75th percentile).[27] New England Law has approximately 600 students.[28]

New England Law has seven concentrations, including in immigration law and intellectual property law[29] and offers an LL.M. in American Law.[30] New England Law also offers a program where a student may spend a period of time up to two academic semesters at a law school associated with the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education, Inc. (CILE). The schools taking part in the program include California Western School of Law, South Texas College of Law, and Mitchell Hamline School of Law.[31]

Accreditation and rankings[edit]

New England Law is American Bar Association (ABA) accredited and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.[19] It is also a founding member of the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education.[32]

New England Law is ranked No. 147-193 among law schools and No. 55-70 among part-time law schools by U.S. News.[33]

According to the Princeton Review, New England Law is ranked the 3rd best law school with the greatest resources for women based on two criteria: student surveys and the percentage of the student body that are women.[34]

New England Law, Downtown Boston

Cost and student debt[edit]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at New England Law for the 2021–2022 academic year is $52,288 for full-time students and $39,216 for evening and part-time students.[35]

Employment outcomes[edit]

According to New England Law's official 2018 ABA-required disclosures, the class of 2018 had an employment rate of 83% with 4% pursuing an additional degree.[9]


The Center for Law and Social Responsibility, CLSR, works mostly pro bono and public service activities. It is run and supported by students, faculty and alumni. The CLSR serves as a socially responsible organization that works with numerous projects that are representative of its members, as well as issues that public service lawyers are currently working with. The CLSR also works to support classroom projects, scholarship, and other activities that convey current social problems.[36]

The Center for International Law and Policy, CILP, is utilized by both students and faculty for research, analysis and produce resource material on numerous topics.[37] Students also have the chance to practice international law in overseas externships. Most students work assist in prosecutions related to war crimes, because of the schools relationships with international criminal courts and tribunals.[37] CILP also hosts the annual international law conference, by creating more awareness in global legal work, for issues such as Chinese unification and Taiwanese independence, competition laws, responses to rogue regimes, the Rwandan genocide, and the development of new countries out of the former Yugoslavia.[37]

New England Law's Center for Business Law offers academic credit in conjunction with legal externship positions through one of the CBL's three institutes, which individually focus on corporate governance and ethics, intellectual property, and tax law. Typical placements include Liberty Mutual, RNK Telecommunication, Natural Microsystems, Inc., the Boston Stock Exchange, and the National Association of Securities Dealers.[38]


New England Law offers more than a dozen clinics each semester in a wide range of areas including public interest, tax law, administrative law, criminal law, family law, health law, immigration law, land use law, and mediation. Students are eligible to participate in clinics in the first semester of their second year of law school.[39]

Notable alumni[edit]

New England Law's notable alumni include:


  1. ^ Law School Almanac – 2008 Endowments Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  2. ^ Princeton Review Student Body Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "Law School Professors and Faculty". Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  4. ^ "New England Law's adjunct faculty features top practitioners". Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "New England Law Boston".
  6. ^ "February 2016 ABA Required Disclosures". Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  7. ^ "New England Law – Boston Tuition and Fees". New England School of Law. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "New England Law | Boston | The Law School Admission Council". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  9. ^ a b New England Law, Boston (January 1, 2018). "NESL EMPLOYMENT SUMMARY FOR 2018 GRADUATES" (PDF). Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Portia Law School Archives (1908-1968)". New England School of Law.
  11. ^ a b "Portia School of Law". Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
  12. ^ a b c "A Women's Law School". New England School of Law.
  13. ^ "Blanche Braxton and Dorothy Crockett". New England School of Law.
  14. ^ Hamilton, Philip K. (2008). New England School of Law. Portsmouth, NH: Arcadia Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 9780738556765. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c "NESL History 1943". Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  16. ^ "In Alphabetical Order | Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar". Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  17. ^ a b c d "NESL History 1969". Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  18. ^ a b c d "NESL History 1988". Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  19. ^ a b "AALS Member Schools Fee paid law schools Association of American Law Schools Members Membership". Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  20. ^ ""New England School of Law has a new "nickname"". The Boston Globe. September 5, 2008. Archived from the original on September 13, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  21. ^ Burns, Hilary (November 8, 2019). "Scott Brown will head to New England Law after New Zealand post ends". Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  22. ^ Miller, Joshua (August 11, 2021). "Scott Brown resigns as head of New England Law Boston after less than a year". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  23. ^ Boston, New England Law |. "New England Law | Boston Announces New Law School Dean". (Press release). Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  24. ^ a b "NESL Campus". Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  25. ^ Bay Village NESL Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  26. ^ "New England Law Library: Access – New England Law | Boston". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  27. ^ [1] January 2019
  28. ^ US News overview Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  29. ^ Concentrations Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  30. ^ Academic Programs Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  31. ^ "The Consortium". Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  32. ^ "Consortium for Innovative Legal Education – Study Abroad Programs". June 15, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  33. ^ "New England Law Boston Grad Schools".
  34. ^ "Greatest Resources for Women | The Princeton Review". Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  35. ^ "Cost of Law School Tuition & Fees - New England Law | Boston". Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  36. ^ "The Center for Law and Social Responsibility (CLSR) integrates public interest and socially responsible work into the life of the school and the daily lives of students". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  37. ^ a b c NESL. "CILP". Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  38. ^ "Center for Business Law – Program and Forum for Faculty and Students – New England Law | Boston". February 16, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  39. ^ "Law School Clinical Program – Putting Classroom Learning into Practice – New England Law | Boston". Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  40. ^ "Our History". Boston, MA: New England School of Law. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  41. ^ "Judicial Spotlight: Senior Judge Susan J. Crawford | Echoes of Adolphus". August 25, 2019.
  42. ^ "Thomas J. Curry: 30th Comptroller of the Currency". About OCC. Washington, DC: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  43. ^ "Member Profile - Brian Darling". Washington, DC: Republican National Lawyers Association. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  44. ^ Murphy, Matt (December 15, 2010). "Rep. Driscoll joining goverment [sic] relations unit at O'Neill". MetroWest Daily News. Framingham, MA.
  45. ^ "Who is Mitchell Garabedian?". The Tablet. Brooklyn, NY. February 5, 2020.
  46. ^ "Biography, Glenn Kirschner". Department of Sociology, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences. Washington, DC: George Washington University. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  47. ^ Weldon, Michele (September 28, 2018). "Entitled To Equality: Lawyer Works Fiercely For Legal Protections For Women". Take the Lead. New York, NY: Gloria Feldt, Amy Litzenberger.
  48. ^ "Rhode Island Former Attorneys General - NAAG". National Association of Attorneys General. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  49. ^ "Mayor: Joseph M. Petty". Telegram & Gazette. Worcester, MA. October 25, 2017.
  50. ^ "New England Law Boston to Honor Alumna Karyn Polito '91, Massachusetts Lt. Governor, at the 2017 Dean's Reception". New England Law Boston: In the News. Boston, MA. September 12, 2017.
  51. ^ "Trustee John R. Simpson '64". New England Law Boston Blog. Boston, MA: New England School of Law. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  52. ^ "Interview, Lori St. John, Author". Movers and Shakers: Lori St. John, Author. Whom You December 2, 2013.
  53. ^ "The Only True Holy War: Profile on Andrew Vachss". 2000. Retrieved December 25, 2020.

External links[edit]

42°21′03″N 71°04′00″W / 42.3508°N 71.0666°W / 42.3508; -71.0666