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New England Law Boston

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New England Law | Boston, which changed its name in 2008 from "New England School of Law," was originally founded in 1908 as Portia Law School, the only law school in the United States devoted solely to the education of women. It opened its doors to men in 1938 and achieved ABA-accreditation in 1969. The campus is located in downtown Boston, just south of the Boston Common.

Admissions & tuition

For the class entering in 2010, New England Law had 3,210 applications and accepted 1,942, or 60 percent. Of those accepted, 20% matriculated. Roughly three-fourths of this group (301 students) enrolled in the full-time program, and one-fourth (92 students) enrolled in the part-time program. Full-time students had a median LSAT score of 153 and a median GPA of 3.24. The 25th and 75th percentile LSAT scores were 151 and 154, respectively, while the 25th and 75th percentile GPAs were 3.02 and 3.49, respectively. The part-time class had a slightly lower academic profile, with a median GPA of 3.02 and a median LSAT of 151. The 25th percentile GPA was 2.72, while the 75th was 3.27; meanwhile, the 25th percentile LSAT was 149, while the 75th was 154.

New England Law is a private, independent school, and it is fairly expensive. For the 2010-2011 academic year, tuition is $39,910 for full-time students and $29,910 for part-time students. (For special part-time students who are taking eight credits or fewer, tuition is $1,660 per credit. New England Law's tuition total for all students is $39,910 annually, so in no case will special part-time students pay more for their program than their traditional counterparts.) The 2010-2011 tuition reflects a 3.7% increase over the 2009-2010 rate of $38,500. Although institutional aid is available, the Financial Aid Office advises "the primary responsibility for funding educational and living costs lies with you and your family."

Academics & curriculum

New England Law has four divisions: full-time, part-time day, part-time evening, and special part-time. The last category is reserved exclusively for people who are the primary or only caregivers of children. Students in this division may take up to six years to complete their degrees, whereas students in the other part-time divisions must complete their degrees in four years.

The school has three special academic centers: the Center for International Law and Policy, which sponsors research, various pro bono projects, and study abroad opportunities; the Center for Law and Social Responsibility, which organizes public service and pro bono activities; and the Center for Business Law, which provides research opportunities and offers students class credit for internships involving business law. The Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy is a five-year, approximately $2.5 million grant program, through which New England Law operates a policy resource center for New York State's tobacco control program efforts.

There are several study abroad opportunities. Students can participate in summer programs in England, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Chile, and Malta, as well as spend semesters in Denmark, Netherlands, or France.

New England Law differs from many other third- and fourth-tier law schools and is similar to its higher-ranked counterparts in that there are only eleven required courses, so half of a student's curriculum is chosen from electives. Students must take one semester each of Contracts, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Property, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Torts, Criminal Law, and Law and Ethics of Lawyering. They must also take three semesters of Legal Research and Writing. Students must take one seminar and two experiential (simulation/clinical) courses for graduation. New England Law offers a wide variety of clinics in subjects as diverse as tax, health law, land use law, and federal courts.

New England Law, along with California Western School of Law, South Texas College of Law/Houston, and William Mitchell College of Law is a member of the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education (CILE), www.cile.edu, an organization that benefits its four member schools through exchanging both faculty and students, promoting the development of new teaching methods, and offering summer programs abroad. Like its partners in the Consortium, NESL has a fairly high 1L attrition rate. Out of the class entering in 2007, 23.5% of students did not come back for a second year.

Employment prospects & bar passage

Over the past few years New England Law has made a strong commitment to improving 1L attrition and bar passage rates, with positive results. Of the class entering in 2009, 14% did not come back for a second year, which represents a significant improvement over previous years.

In 2010, 93.6% of first-time takers from New England Law passed the Massachusetts Bar. This rate was higher than the state average of 91%. The Massachusetts bar passage rate for New England Law students was 87.6% in 2009 and 90.3% in 2008.

For the class graduating in 2010, employment status nine months after graduation was known for 90% of graduates. Out of the entire class of 292 graduates, 84% were employed or pursuing full-time advanced degrees, and 16% were unemployed. Of the employed graduates who reported salary information, 49.3% were working in private practice, 29.2% in business, 11.5% in government, 4.3% in public interest, 2.9% in academia, and 2.4% in judicial clerkship. 72.7% of the class of 2010 was employed in one of the six New England states.

For the class of 2010, New England Law reported that the average starting salary for graduates working in private practice was $57,247, and the highest starting salary of this group was $135,000. In business, the average salary was $76,792 and the highest salary was $115,000. For graduates employed with the government, the average salary was $48,629 and the highest was $60,000. The average starting salary for judicial clerkships was $51,675 and the highest $60,000.

Quality of life

New England Law is located in the Theater District, in the heart of Boston. Apartments within walking distance are expensive; a one-bedroom apartment in the area can cost from $1,300 to well over $2,000 a month. However, Boston has a comprehensive and convenient public transportation system, so students in search of lower rents have many options. Students willing to travel further west to Allston, Brighton, and Brookline, or south to Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Jamaica Plain, may find one-bedrooms for under $1,000 or studios for around $800 per month. Boston, like most urban areas, is much more affordable for students who are willing to share a three- or four-bedroom apartment. Aside from the high cost of living and the cold winters, Boston can be a very desirable place to live, as it offers a combination of advantages found in few American cities: a huge variety of dining options; world-class entertainment, shopping, and sports offerings; close proximity to scenic mountains and beaches; prestigious museums, medical and educational institutions, and research centers; and a rich history.


There are several reasons a prospective student should approach NESL with caution. The school charges very high tuition and is located in a city with fairly high cost of living. Employment data indicates that between 17% and 24% of graduates are jobless even nine months after graduation, and the way the school chooses to report salary data, giving only average and maximum salaries, leaves no clear picture of the overall salary trends for New England Law graduates. Finally, it shares a market with Northeastern, Suffolk, Boston College, and, to the extent that their students seek jobs in the area, Boston University and Harvard. However, it offers more clinics, electives, and study abroad opportunities than most similarly-ranked law schools, and the school's location is very appealing, not just for the quality of life it provides, but also because the school is situated close to Boston City Hall, the Massachusetts State House, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which is convenient and exciting for students who are interested in local government. For the student who has a plan to reconcile the school's high cost with its modest career placement profile - a scholarship, a guaranteed job, a solid understanding of income-based repayment (IBR), etc. - New England Law is certainly worth investigation.

Contact information

Office of Admissions New England Law Boston
154 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 422-7210
Fax: (617) 422-7201
E-mail: admit@nesl.edu

Quick reference

New England School of Law, Boston, Massachusetts. Retrieved April 19, 2016
2010-2011 Tuition: Full-time $39,910; part-time $29,910 2010
Bar Passage Rate: 93.6%
% Employed 9 months after 2009 graduation: 84% 2010
Average Reported Private Sector Starting Salary: $67,020
2010 Median Private Sector Starting Salary: $67,500
Entering class size: 301 (FT), 92 (PT)
Median GPA: 3.24 (FT), 3.02 (PT)
Median LSAT: 153 (FT), 151 (PT)