Like most law schools, New England School of Law allows students to enroll on a full- or part-time basis. Graduation requirements for students are by and large the same, though there are differences depending on the program in which they are enrolled. A full-time day student must complete at least six semesters and 86 credit hours; part-time evening students must complete at least eight semesters and 86 credit hours; individual assessments of requirements are made for students in special part-time programs, transfer students, and those who transfer between day and evening divisions.
The J.D. program begins with 10 required courses, eight of which are in areas of the law that will build a strong foundation for more specialized interests:
Criminal Procedure I
The two remaining requirements are Legal Research and Writing and Law and Ethics of Lawyering.
Once the requirements have been satisfied, students are encouraged to enroll in courses centered on a large number of elective subjects. Among them are the following:
International Human Rights Law
European Union Law
Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic
Mass Media Law
Indigenous Peoples' Rights
Contemporary Popular Criticism of Lawyers and the Legal System
The school has a residency requirement which students must satisfy prior to graduation. They must also fulfill three additional requirements:
Professional Skills Requirement: Students must take at least two courses from a list of clinical, simulation, and practice courses.
Public Law Distribution Requirement: Students must take two courses approved by faculty in public law. According to NESL, "Public law is the body of law that addresses the legal position of individuals in relation to the government and the structure and operation of the government itself. As such, public law necessarily raises issues of constitutional and social concern."
Seminar Requirement: Students must take at least one seminar, typically involving a substantial paper assignment.
<<John F. O'Brien, who has been dean of the law school since 1988, says, "New England School of Law is the only independent law school in the Boston area. Because we are not affiliated with a university or other institution, we are able to decide for ourselves how to develop and improve our educational program. Among its other advantages, our independent status has enabled us to maintain the lowest tuition of the Boston area schools."
For the class entering in fall 2007, 379 students enrolled out of a total 3,096 applicants. The school's total J.D. enrollment stands at 1,100. The student-teacher ratio at NESL is currently 22:1
The number of full-time students entering in 2007 was 255. The average age of students in this class was 24, derived from a range of 20 to 42. Beginning in 2007, the number of part-time students totaled 124. The average age of those in this group was 27, with student ages ranging from 21 to 64.
Because of its early history as an all-women's school, NESL has long maintained a student body comprised predominantly of women. The 2007 entering class of full-time students was 62% female, and 13% of new students were of minority origin. However, in the part-time division female and male students enrolled in equal numbers.
71% of new full-time students were from outside Massachusetts in 2007; 49% of part-time students were from out of state.
The median LSAT score for full-time matriculants was 151, with the 75th and 25th percentile scores ranging from 153 to 150. The median GPA was 3.27, with 75th and 25th percentile GPAs ranging from 3.52 to 3.02. Scores were slightly lower for part-time students: the median LSAT score was 149, and the 75th and 25th percentile scores ranged from 149 to 151. The median GPA was 3.15. 3.36 and 2.91 represented the 75th and 25th percentile GPAs.
Full-time tuition for the 2007-2008 academic year ran to $27,940, with room and board expenses approaching $10,000. Part-time tuition totaled $20,950. Students may apply for financial aid, work-study programs, and bar loans to fund their legal education.
Notable alumni include Norfolk Representative to the Massachusetts General Assembly Joseph R. Driscoll Jr., children's lawyer and author of the Burke series of novels Andrew H. Vachss, and Boston-area religious and civil rights leader Leonard P. "Lenny" Zakim.