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New England School of Law

New England Law
Motto Jus et Auctoritas
Established 1908
School type Private
Endowment US$ 40.5 million[1]
Dean John F. O'Brien
Location Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Enrollment 1,077[2]
Faculty 157[3][4]
USNWR ranking Tier 4[5]
Bar pass rate 79.6%[6]

New England Law | Boston (also known as NESL or New England Law and formerly known as the New England School of Law) is a private law school located in the Boston Theater District of Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1908 as a law school for women.

According to NESL's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 40.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[7]


Main academic building on Stuart Street

In 1908, two women from Boston decided to sit for the Massachusetts bar examination. A lawyer named Arthur Winfield MacLean agreed to tutor them, and other students followed over the next few years. MacLean's wife called the school Portia Law School after the heroine of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. From 1908 to 1938, Portia Law School was the sister school to the then all male, Suffolk University Law School. This partnership flourished because MacLean was a law partner with Suffolk founder, Gleason Archer, Sr. MacLean also served as the school's first Dean from 1908–1943.[8]

Beginning in 1920, Portia graduates received the LL.B. degree.[9] In 1922, the school moved into its first permanent building in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, when enrollment had reached 228.[9] In 1926, Portia was awarded the authority to award LL.M. degrees to both men and women.[9] A few years later, in 1938, Portia Law School became a fully integrated coeducational institution. As the school entered the 1950s it saw its student body shift from a student body that had a majority female population to a predominately male student body.[10] 1963 saw Portia Law School begin the process of applying for American Bar Association accreditation,[10] and some of the steps the school took included restructuring its board of governors and launching the school's first law review.[10] In 1969, the school changed its name to New England School of Law to coincide with its accreditation granted by the ABA.[11]

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–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.[12] The clinical law services program is performed by the law students to those who did not have the economic means to seek paid legal assistance.[12] In 1980, New England moved into its current location; which is located in the Boston Common neighborhood.[12] To honor the 75th anniversary of New England Law the 41st President, George H. W. Bush, was the keynote speaker for the celebration.[12]

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.[13] 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 and learn about foreign law and put their current education to work through externships.[13] 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.[13] New England Law received membership from the Association of American Law Schools in 1998.[14] In 2002, New England Law expanded its campus by buying adjacent buildings around the schools current location.[13] 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.[15]


The law school's main campus consists of five buildings:[16] The main academic building is a five-story building on Stuart Street in the Boston Theater District, which includes classrooms, faculty offices, and the schools library.[16] Clinic, administrative, and law review offices are in a nearby building in the Bay Village on Church Street.[17] Offices for the school's admissions office, administrative departments, clinical law office, and student publications are located in a two-story building two blocks from the main academic building.[16] New England Law also shares its bookstore facilities with Tufts University.[16] Students also have access to the Tufts University Medical Library located down the street.


New England School of law offers full-time and part-time enrollment with an application deadline of March 15. In 2008, the school accepted 56.7% of all applicants who applied to the school. Enrolled students from that entering class had Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores in the range of 149 to 153 (25th–75th percentile).[18] New England Law offers full-time time and part-time (both day and evening) divisions and the student-to-faculty ratio is 23:1.[19] It is currently a medium-sized law school with approximately 1,100 students, with a majority of its students in the full-time program.[20]

New England Law has three specializations in environmental law, international law, and tax law[21] and offers an LL.M. in advanced legal studies.[22] 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 William Mitchell College of Law.[23]

Accreditation and rankings

New England Law is American Bar Association (ABA) accredited and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.[14] It is also a founding member of the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education.[24]"/> New England Law is ranked as the 45th best law school in the country for those who want to be public defenders.[25] According to U.S. News and World Report, New England Law ranks in the "Fourth Tier" of law schools in the United States.[5]

Cost and Student Debt

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at NESL for the 2014–2015 academic year is $66,058 for full-time students and $52,752 for evening and part-time students.[26] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $242,231.[27]

The cost of the full-time program at NESL is $42,490.[28] The cost of the part-time program is $31,868.[28] These figures does not include other necessary living and educational expenses.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average indebtedness of 2013 graduates who incurred law school debt was $132,246 (not including undergraduate debt), and 89% of 2013 graduates took on debt.[29]

Employment Outcomes

According to NESL's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 40.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[7] NESL's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 30.4%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[30]


The Center for Law and Social Responsibility, CLSR, works mostly pro bono and public service activities.[31] It is run and supported by students, faculty and alumni.[31] 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.[31] The CLSR also works to support classroom projects, scholarship, and other activities that convey current social problems.[31]

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.[32] Some of the topics include CIA renditions in Europe, intergovernmental peacekeeper accountability and hate speech.[32] 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.[32] CILP also hosts the annual international law conference, by creating more awareness in global legal work, for issues such as Chinese reunification and Taiwanese independence, competition laws, responses to rogue regimes, the Rwandan genocide, and the development of new countries out of the former Yugoslavia.[32]

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.[33]


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.[34]

Notable alumni

New England Law has some notable alumni: including Brian Darling, Director of United States Senate relations for the Heritage Foundation, Mark John Richard Simpson, Director of the United States Secret Service, Joseph R. Driscoll, Norfolk representative to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Martha Ware, Leonard P. Zakim, religious and civil rights leader in Boston, Andrew Vachss children's lawyer and author of the Burke series of novels, Joseph Petty, mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts and Ronald Washburn, Legal Contributor for ESPN, NBC, and Fox, as well as a distinguished Professor of Legal Studies at Bryant University.[35]


The school has 44 full-time professors from various fields of law. Some previous faculty members have notable status, including Michael Scharf. In response to declining enrollment, the school announced in October 2013 that it would reduce its full-time faculty from 44 positions to 30. [2].

The current dean, John O'Brien, received media attention after a Boston Globe article in January 2013 reported that he receives an annual salary of $867,000, in addition to receiving "forgivable loans" from the school.[36] Citing a need to cut costs, the law school announced later in 2013 that O'Brien's salary would be cut 25% the next year.[37]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Law School Almanac – 2008 Endowments Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  2. ^ Princeton Review Student Body Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  3. ^ Adjunct Faculty Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  4. ^ Faculty Bios Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Best Law School Rankings | Law Program Rankings | US News". Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ Among first time takers. "July 2014 Massachusetts Bar Examination Results by Law Schools" (PDF). Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates" (PDF). 
  8. ^ Michael Rustad, "Book Reviews," Contemporary Sociology, January 1986, Vol. 15, Number 1, page 102. accessed through JSTOR
  9. ^ a b c "NESL History 1908". Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c "NESL History 1943". Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  11. ^ "In Alphabetical Order | Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar". Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d "NESL History 1969". Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c d "NESL History 1988". Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "AALS Member Schools Fee paid law schools Association of American Law Schools Members Membership". Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ ""New England School of Law has a new "nickname"". The Boston Globe. September 5, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009. [dead link]
  16. ^ a b c d "NESL Campus". Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  17. ^ Bay Village NESL Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ "Law School Review â€" Matriculants At-a-Glance – New England Law | Boston". Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  20. ^ US News overview Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  21. ^ Princeton Review overview Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  22. ^ NESL Programs Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  23. ^ "Additional Opportunities – New England Law | Boston". Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Consortium for Innovative Legal Education – Study Abroad Programs". June 15, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  25. ^ Public Defender Rankings Law School Almanac. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  26. ^ "2014–2015 Estimated Student Expense Budgets" (PDF). 
  27. ^ "New England School of Law Profile". 
  28. ^ a b "New England Law – Boston Tuition and Fees". New England School of Law. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "New England School of Law Profile". 
  31. ^ a b c d "NESL CLSR". Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  32. ^ a b c d NESL. "CILP". Retrieved June 8, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Center for Business Law – Program and Forum for Faculty and Students – New England Law | Boston". February 16, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Law School Clinical Program – Putting Classroom Learning Into Practice – New England Law | Boston". Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  35. ^ Washburn, Ron. "Academic Departments – Faculty". Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  36. ^
  37. ^ "New England Law offers faculty buyouts, dean takes a pay cut". 

External links

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