MBA task force examines high unemployment rate for law school graduates

Issue January 2012 By Jennifer Rosinski

Parker and Natarajan convene group to analyze solutions

The Massachusetts Bar Association has assembled a 13-member Task Force on Law, the Economy and Underemployment to explore, identify and analyze root causes of and potential solutions to the underemployment of recent law school graduates in Massachusetts.

Examining whether law schools can do a better job preparing students for a career in the legal profession is one of MBA President Richard P. Campbell's priorities for his 2011-12 term.

Like other professions, the current, weakened economy provides bleak prospects for recent graduates, he said.

"Often burdened with upwards of $150,000 of debt, many new students emerge from law schools unequipped to thrive in the current law economy, raising issues regarding the expense and effectiveness of the current three-year model," Campbell said. "A lost generation of recent law school graduates has formed, many of which are turning to solo practice without either prior experience or access to mentors."

In addition to co-chairs Eric J. Parker and Radha Natarajan, whose appointments were previously announced, the remaining members who have been appointed include a judge, a recent law school graduate and a college advisor.

Also, the deans at all nine Massachusetts law schools have been invited to appoint a liaison to the task force in an effort to build collaboration.

The task force members include:

  • Hon. David Ricciardone, Massachusetts Superior Court, Boston
  • Heather Engman, Esq., Thornton & Naumes, Boston
  • Kyle R. Guelcher, Esq., Law Office of Kyle Guelcher, Springfield
  • John B. Koss, Esq., Mintz Levin, Boston
  • Marc A. Moccia, Esq., Suffolk Law School 2011 graduate, Boston
  • Denise I. Murphy, Esq., Rubin & Rudman, Boston
  • Lynn Sari Muster, Esq., Massachusetts Appeals Court, Boston
  • Elizabeth O'Connell, prelaw advisor, Wellesley College, Wellesley
  • Doreen M. Rachal, Esq., Bingham McCutchen, Boston
  • Paul Edward White, Esq., Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, Boston
  • Marc P. Zwetchkenbaum, Esq., Marc Z Legal Staffing, Boston

Parker, the co-founder and managing partner of Parker Scheer LLP in Boston, has more than 24 years of experience in complex personal injury trial work. He Parker is an elected member and past chapter president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and is a member of the American Association for Justice, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association and the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association.

He has been named a "Massachusetts Super Lawyer" by the publishers of Boston magazine every year since the designation was created in 2004, and served as chairman of the board of trustees of the Media and Technology Charter High School of Boston. Parker sits on the editorial board of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Natarajan, a public defender with the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Somerville, is also vice chair of the MBA's Criminal Justice Section Council. She represents individuals in the Somerville, Malden and Woburn district courts, as well as Middlesex Superior Court. She is an at-large delegate to the MBA's House of Delegates and the 2011 recipient of the MBA's Access to Justice Defender Award.

She is an instructor in the First Year Writing Program at Boston University School of Law. A graduate of New York University School of Law, Natarajan was the managing editor of New York University Law Review.