About the Massachusetts School of Law and ACHLS
The Massachusetts School of Law ("MSL") started ACHLS in order to bring its successful educational techniques to undergraduate education.
MSL is a school that does what it says it can do. It takes students who have not had the benefit of Ivy League type educations, and turns them into lawyers who can compete successfully with any lawyers from any educational background. This is shown, even while our students are still in school, by their success in regional and national trial and appellate competitions against many of the best schools in the country.
Year after year, the MSL trial teams are successful at the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition, the American Association for Justice Trial Competition, and the American Constitution Society Appellate Competition.
Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition
MSL competes in the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition in the Northeast Region. The Region is comprised of 33 law schools throughout New England, New York and northern New Jersey. This year, 2011, MSL won third place in the Northeast competition, beating teams from Harvard, New York University, Pace, Seton Hall and Quinnipiac law schools in the process. MSL's team now advances to the national finals for the fourth time in five years.
In 2010, the MSL team won third place in the Regional competition, losing only to Harvard Law School's teams. The MSL team finished ahead of New York University, St. John's, Brooklyn and Syracuse law schools.
In 2008, MSL won first, second, third and fourth places in the Regional competition and went on to compete in the national finals. At the national finals, MSL finished third in the country, losing only to the national champion.
In 2007, 2008, and 2009 the best individual advocate award in the competition went to students from MSL (Nicole Dion (twice), and Allen Woodward). In 2011, two MSL students came within a point of winning the best individual advocate award.
American Association for Justice Competition
MSL also competes annually in the American Association for Justice Trial Competition. The AAJ competition is considered a premier trial advocacy contest open to law schools nationwide.
In 2010, the MSL team won the New England Region competition, beating teams from Syracuse, Roger Williams, Quinnipiac, University of Maine and Franklin Pierce law schools. The MSL team beat Syracuse University Law School in the semifinals to advance to the finals. In the finals, the MSL team defeated the previously unbeaten Roger Williams University Law School to win the championship. This win allowed the team to compete at the national finals in New Orleans.
American Constitution Society
MSL also participates in the appellate competition of the American Constitution Society. It has won the award for the Best Brief in the East, far outdistancing the winner of the Best Brief in the West, Michigan, with a brief that received more points by far than any other in the country.
In 2011, continuing the tradition of MSL Best Advocate awards, MSL student, Paul Stewart, won the Best Advocate Award at the 2010 ACS competition in San Francisco.
As these results show, MSL does what it says it can do -- it creates lawyers who can compete successfully with others who have had gilt-edged prep school and college educations. Now, as said, MSL has started the ACHLS in order to bring its techniques to undergraduate education: those techniques include rigorous discussion teaching in which all students participate instead of mere lecturing by professors, heavy emphasis on thinking and writing, emphasis on oral fluency, and rigorous grading so that an A or a B is a truly meaningful grade.