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Suffolk University Law School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Suffolk University Law School
MottoHonestas et Diligentia
(Honesty and Diligence)
Parent schoolSuffolk University
Established1906 (115 years ago) (1906)
School typePrivate
DeanAndrew M. Perlman
LocationBoston, MA, USA
USNWR ranking129 (2022 Guide)[10]
Bar pass rate80.7% (October 2020, First Time Takers)[1]
WebsiteSuffolk Law
ABA profile509 Information Report [11]
Suffolk law new logo.png

Suffolk University Law School (also known as "Suffolk Law School") is the private, non-sectarian law school of Suffolk University located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, across the street from the Boston Common and the Freedom Trail, two blocks from the State House, and a short walk to the financial district. Suffolk University Law School was founded in 1906 by Gleason Archer Sr. to provide a legal education for those who traditionally lacked the opportunity to study law because of socio-economic or racial discrimination.[2] Suffolk is the fourth-oldest New England law school in continuous existence.

Suffolk Law school has full-time, part-time evening, hybrid online, accelerated and dual-degree JD programs.[3] Suffolk Law has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1953 and the Association of American Law Schools since 1977.[4]

The school's legal skills programs (clinics, legal writing, trial advocacy, and dispute resolution) are ranked among the top 35 (top 20 percent) in the country by U.S. News & World Report 2022.[5] The legal writing program is ranked #4 in the nation by US News. In 2021, the school was ranked the nation's #1 "Technology Leader" by PreLaw magazine, which noted students' access-to-justice innovations during the pandemic.[6]

The institution publishes five student-run law reviews, to which students, faculty, and other scholars contribute. Its 24,000 alumni are found in high-level judicial, political, and private positions throughout the United States.

According to Suffolk's Office of Professional and Career Development 2020 ABA-required disclosures, 78% of the Class of 2020 obtained full-time, long-term, bar admission required or JD advantage employment nine months after graduation.[7]


Suffolk's old law building
Suffolk's old law building

One of New England's oldest law schools, Suffolk was founded in 1906 by lawyer Gleason Leonard Archer as the "Suffolk School of Law." The school was named after its location in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Archer's goal was to provide immigrants and the working class with the opportunity to study law. In 1907, Archer moved the school from Roxbury, Massachusetts to downtown Boston. Suffolk Law School's first student passed the bar in 1908. By 1930, Archer developed Suffolk into one of the largest law schools in the country, and the law school received full accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA).[8] Originally an all-male school, with the New England School of Law serving as a sister school, Suffolk became co-educational in 1937.[8] In 1999, Suffolk Law School opened its new building at 120 Tremont Street, near the Boston Common.[9]

Curriculum and programs

Calvin Coolidge, then Governor of Massachusetts and eventual 30th President of the United States, laying cornerstone for the law building, in 1920.
Calvin Coolidge, then Governor of Massachusetts and eventual 30th President of the United States, laying cornerstone for the law building, in 1920.

Suffolk Law has full-time, part-time evening, hybrid online, accelerated and dual-degree JD programs. Academic concentrations are available in Intellectual Property, International Law, Business Law & Financial Services, Health & Biomedical Law, Legal Innovation & Technology, and Trial & Appellate Advocacy.[10] Dual degree options include: JD/MBA; Accelerated JD/MBA (3 years for both degrees); JD/Master of Public Administration; JD/Master of Science in Finance; JD/Master of Science in Crime & Justice Studies; JD/Master of Sciences in Law: Life Sciences; and the Accelerated JD/LL.M. in Taxation (3 years for both degrees). The school also offers the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD).

Accelerated JD students begin first year (1L) classes in May and attend classes year-round so they can earn their degrees one year faster than traditional JD students (two years full time; three years part-time). Accelerated students have the same required coursework, take the same number of credits, and pay the same per-semester cost as traditional JD students— but graduate one year earlier.

Part-time evening JD students take a reduced schedule with all classes offered after 6 p.m. Evening students can choose the traditional or accelerated track, to graduate in as few as 2.5 years (including two summers) or up to four years (classes in the fall and spring semesters only).

Hybrid Online JD students earn a JD with a mix of in-person and online classes. They take their first 30 credit hours in-person at Suffolk Law in Boston then enroll in the remaining JD coursework (54 credits) online or a mix of in-person and online. The Hybrid Online JD is available for full- or part-time evening students who achieve a 3.0 during their first year of law school.[11]

Students at ABA-accredited law schools can enroll in summer courses at Suffolk Law. All summer classes are offered after 6 p.m.[12]

Foreign-educated attorneys may enroll in up to 15 non-degree credits at Suffolk Law to satisfy the requirements of Massachusetts Rule 6 and sit for the Massachusetts Bar Exam.[13]


Suffolk University Law School diploma conferring the Juris Doctor degree
Suffolk University Law School diploma conferring the Juris Doctor degree

Suffolk Law School students come from 34 states, 12 countries and 193 colleges and universities. Suffolk received 2,000 applications for its entering class of 409 students, which included 313 full-time students and 96 part-time evening students. The median GPA for incoming 2020 Suffolk Law students was 3.4, and the median LSAT score was 154.[14] The acceptance rate for the incoming class of 2020 was 69%.[14] The 25th-75th percentile GPA was 3.1-3.7 and the 25th-75th percentile LSAT was 149-158.[14] The incoming class of 2020 was the most diverse since 2014, with 23% of incoming students identifying as ethnically diverse and 14% identifying as LGBTQ+.[15] In addition, 27% of incoming students identified as being first generation college students.[15]

Academic rankings and honors

Sargent Hall is near Boston Common
Sargent Hall is near Boston Common
Entryway of Sargent Hall.
Entryway of Sargent Hall.

For 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked Suffolk as the 129th Best Law School.[16] In the US News rankings guides from 2017-2022, Suffolk's clinics, legal writing, trial advocacy, and dispute resolution programs have all ranked in the top 35 (top 20 percent)--the only law school with this distinction.[17]

Suffolk's legal writing program (No. 4 in 2022 Guide) has ranked in the U.S. News top 10 for ten consecutive years. The clinical program (No. 15) has placed in the top 20 for six consecutive years. Trial advocacy (No. 24) has been ranked in the top 25 for six years in a row.[18] In 2021, Suffolk Law’s legal technology program was named No. 1 in the nation by PreLaw magazine.[19]

Suffolk's National Trial Team has won the New England regional championships in the American Association of Justice Student Advocacy Competition or the National Trial Competition 29 times in the last 36 years (as of 2021).[20]

Libraries and archives

A law library reading room
A law library reading room

In 1999, after construction of the new law school building was completed, the John Joseph Moakley Library moved to its new home, on the 5th through 7th floors, in Sargent Hall. The library contains over 450,000 volumes, and budget of new acquisitions reaching approximately $2 million, covering common law and statutes from all major areas of American law in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and with primary legal materials from the U.S. federal government, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the European Union.[21][22]

The library also features a substantial treatise and periodical collection and houses the John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute.[23] Some of the collections in the Archive include the Congressman John Joseph Moakley Papers, a collection of the late U.S. Representative's papers which he gave to the school in 2001; the Gleason L. Archer Personal Papers, founder of the Law School and University; the Harry Hom Dow Papers a 1929 Law School graduate; the Jamaica Plain Committee on Central America Collection; and the Records of Suffolk University.[24] The Library also houses law review journals from all ABA accredited law schools in the United States as well as numerous journals from European and Canadian law schools. Suffolk also records and broadcasts oral arguments for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and has archives of those proceedings available in the library and online.[25]

Law review and journal publications

Suffolk University Law School maintains five student-run publications.

Law Review Founded Notes
Suffolk University Law Review[26] 1967 The oldest continuously published scholarly publication at Suffolk Law.
Suffolk Transnational Law Review[27] 1976 Focuses on international legal issues and is the second oldest international law review in existence.
Journal of High Technology Law[28] 1998 Focuses on providing research articles on issues of copyright, trademark and patent law.
Journal of Health & Biomedical Law[29] 2004 Focuses on cutting-edge legal developments in the field of health law.
Suffolk Journal of Trial and Appellate Advocacy[30] 2005 Provides practical, in-depth analyses of current legal issues relating to trial and appellate practice.


According to Suffolk Law’s office of Professional and Career Development 2020 ABA-required disclosures, 78% of the Class of 2020 obtained full-time, long-term, bar admission required or JD advantage employment nine months after graduation.[31]


The tuition at Suffolk Law for the 2021-2022 academic year is $52,350 for the day division and $39,262 for the night division.[32]

Notable alumni

Throughout Suffolk's history, faculty, alumni, and former students have played prominent roles in many different fields.

As of March 2021, three of the seven justices on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court are Suffolk Law alumni. Two of the five members of the Rhode Island Supreme Court are Suffolk Law graduates.

Suffolk Law graduates are chief justices of the highest courts in Rhode Island and Vermont, and Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

As of March 2021, more active judges in Massachusetts graduated from Suffolk Law School than from any other law school—27 percent of the judges.

Massachusetts has a total of 440 current judges (41 federal and 399 state). Of those, 118 graduated from Suffolk Law—more than one out of four sitting judges in the state.

The Suffolk University Law School Alumni Association, operates chapters in all 50 states throughout the United States and 22 different countries.[33] Eleven Suffolk University Law School graduates have represented the States of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives in every Congress since the start of the 70th Congress in 1928, including two current members John F. Tierney, since 1997 from Massachusetts' 6th congressional district, and William R. Keating, since 2010 representing Massachusetts' 10th congressional district.[34][35][36][37] Suffolk University Law School alumni also hold a plurality in the Massachusetts Senate, Massachusetts House of Representatives, Rhode Island Senate, and Rhode Island House of Representatives, including Senate President Pro Tempore John F. McBurney III of the Rhode Island Senate.[38][39][40][41][42] Other Suffolk alumni include the current, and 41st, Attorney General of Rhode Island Patrick C. Lynch since 2003, current, and 33rd, New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells since 2006, current, and 26th, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin since 1995, current, and 57th, Attorney General of Maine William Schneider since 2011 and General Treasurer of Rhode Island Frank T. Caprio since 2006.[37][43][44][45] Suffolk University Law School alumni also hold a majority of the District Attorney positions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; they include Jonathan W. Blodgett of Essex County, Gerard Leone of Middlesex County, Tim Cruz of Plymouth County, Daniel F. Conley of Suffolk County, and Michael Morrissey of Norfolk County. Attorney Marsha Kazarosian has handled high-profile cases, including a teenaged defendant from the 1991 Pamela Smart murder case in which a newlywed bride conspired with a teenaged lover to have her husband murdered.[46]

Alumni include:

Other Suffolk alumni have also held chancellor, president, vice president, and dean positions at universities, including Robert L. Caret President of Towson University, Ronald Machtley President of Bryant University, Marty Meehan Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, David Sargent President of Suffolk University.[37][47][48][49][50][51][52][53]

Suffolk University Law School alumni have also made contributions to the judiciary. Suffolk alumni are present in both the Federal and State Court systems. Suffolk alumni who currently work as Federal judges include: Gustavo Gelpí a United States District Court Judge for the district of Puerto Rico, Richard J. Leon a United States District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, Martin F. Loughlin a District Court judge for New Hampshire, Michael Sullivan, District Court judge for Massachusetts.[54][55][56][57][58][59]

On the state level, six alumni currently serve on State Supreme Courts in four different states. They include Linda S. Dalianis, former chief justice in New Hampshire, Paul Reiber chief justice in Vermont,[60] Peter Zarella justice in Connecticut,[61][62] Maureen Goldberg and Francis Flaherty justices of Rhode Island and Paul Suttell chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.[63] Suffolk alumni also serve in various other judicial positions including Associate Justices Elspeth B. Cypher and Joseph Trainor of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.[64][65] Associate Justices William E. Carnes, Francis J. Darigan, Patty Hurst, Susan E. McGuirl, Daniel A. Procaccini and Melanie Wilk Thunberg of the Rhode Island Superior Court, as well as Associate Justice Sharon E. Donatelle of the Massachusetts Superior Court.[66][67][68][69][70][71][72] Chief Judge George Healy.[73][74][75][76][77] Mel Passarelli, ESQ, President and CEO, Aspera, Inc

Notable faculty and trustees

Honorary degree recipients and speakers

Suffolk Law School in television, film and literature

See also


  1. ^ "Massachusetts Bar Examination Results by Law Schools". Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. October 2020.
  2. ^ Robert Bocking Stevens, Law school: legal education in America from the 1850s to the 1980s (The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2001) pg. 80
  3. ^ "Law Admission - Suffolk University". Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  4. ^ "AALS Member Schools Fee paid law schools Association of American Law Schools Members Membership". Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  5. ^ "Suffolk Law Rankings - Suffolk University". Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  6. ^ "#1 ranking in legal technology 2021".
  8. ^ a b Suffolk University Centennial Celebration Archived May 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed June 21, 2008.
  9. ^ "History of Suffolk University Law School Boston Massachusetts". Suffolk University Law School. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  10. ^ "Suffolk Academic Concentrations". Suffolk University Law School.
  11. ^ "Flexible degree options". Suffolk University Law School.
  12. ^ "Summer Law Courses - Suffolk University". Retrieved September 1, 2021.
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External links

This page was last edited on 3 October 2021, at 02:52
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