We are very proud of the caliber of our state judges here in Massachusetts. Our courts are home to some of the wisest and fairest legal minds and judgment possible, and many of their decisions have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court itself and been upheld to help create the law of the land. They represent high standards of excellence, and we have every confidence that they serve the Commonwealth admirably. Furthermore, we are proud of all of the law schools in the greater Boston area, which is known as a hub of higher education in this country for a reason.
This is why we were so distressed to read an article in the law blog ‘Above the Law’ (ATL) denigrating both Suffolk Law School for a recent ad campaign and our Massachusetts state judges, who are mentioned in the campaign. The advertisement in question states that Suffolk Law School has produced more sitting Massachusetts state judges than several traditionally more prestigious law schools, such as Harvard and Yale, combined. ATL mocks the school for its pride in this achievement, suggesting that becoming a state judge is not a high honor. The vitriol in this editorial was a shock and made us think hard enough about the issue that we feel compelled to respond. Any attack on the judiciary is an attack on our society and the foundational structure of our government.
Whether they are serving on the highest court in the country or in a local Trial Court, judges are there to follow one rule: adjudicate fairly and efficiently for all based on the facts of the case and the guidance of the Constitution. The Constitution is not selective – it applies to all citizens, and anybody involved with the law must give it the proper weight. All judges deserve our utmost respect for the difficult and complex work that they do on a daily basis – the Massachusetts Trial Court alone had over 999,000 cases filed in 2013. The quality of our judiciary should not be evaluated simply by where they received their degree. Rather, it is a testament to how they took advantage of the learning and opportunities that were presented to them.
While we understand that ATL is ultimately urging those thinking of law school to be wise consumers, we believe that there are opportunities for everyone in this country to pursue continued education and use it to transform their lives and achieve personal and professional excellence. Where you receive that education should not be the butt of disdain; those who seek to improve their minds in any capacity should rather be lauded for seeking growth and intellectual development. We feel we should not have to say this, but we firmly believe that what matters most is what you do with the degree you get. The stereotypes surrounding any school, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, may well be completely unfounded, and do not speak to the quality of its graduates or their capabilities.
So before you pass judgment too harshly, take a step back to think about whether we should be castigating a law school for trying to combat the declining law school application rates; consider whether sweeping assumptions about the caliber of its students and graduates are required or even accurate; and remember the landmark decisions and advancements in the law that our state court judges have made because their judgment carries great weight. We should not be spreading malice, but rather support for our brethren in the law.