The Clason Speaker Series

Since 1988 the Clason Speaker Series has provided a venue for legal experts to present works in progress on current legal topics through lectures to the Western New England University School of Law community. Insightful, thought-provoking, and a source of lively discussion, the Clason Speaker Series provides a valuable forum for the discussion of current topics in the legal academy.

Events 2014 - 2015

Please join us as we celebrate our 26th year. 

Fall 2014

Fundamental Rights in Europe: A Comparative Perspective
Federico Fabbrini
Senior Assistant Professor
Tilburg Law School
Monday, September 15, 2014
12:00 noon, Law School Commons

A little more than a decade after the creation of the European Union, military conflicts, economic stagnation, and the clash of cultures threaten to rip apart this bold political experiment. Federico Fabbrini, Senior Assistant Professor of European & Comparative Constitutional Law at the Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands, will discuss his text, Fundamental Rights in Europe, comparing and contrasting federalism and human rights in the EU and the US and offering insight into what lies ahead for the continent.

A decorated academic, educator, and researcher, Professor Fabbrini holds a BA from the University of Trento, a JD from the University of Bologna, and a PhD from the European University Institute, and has lectured at universities in Europe, the US, Australia, and Japan. 

All lectures open to students, alumni, the University community, and the general public. For more information, call 413-796-2279 or email Sudha Setty at ssetty@law.wne.edu.

Spring 2014

Overdosing on Prisons: Tackling the Side Effects of the United States’ Globally Unprecedented Use of the Prison

Peter Wagner L'03
Executive Director, Prison Policy Initiative
Monday, February 10, 2014
12:00 noon
Law School Common

Many people intuitively understand how prison and jail might be harmful for the 2.2 million people behind bars; and a growing number of people are coming to understand how the prison system also punishes families and communities. But often left unaddressed is how the political decision to lock up 1% of out adult population harms our entire society.

Peter Wagner L’03, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, will discuss the hidden costs of mass incarceration for our democracy, our economy, and public safety. 

Wagner cofounded the Prison Policy Initiative in 2001 to build a Western New England independent study project into a national movement against prison gerrymandering. So far, his efforts have led to legislation protecting our democracy from the prison system in four states, including in Maryland where the law he helped write was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

All lectures open to students, alumni, the University community, and the general public. For more information, call 413-796-2279 or email Professor Sudha Setty at ssetty@law.wne.edu.

Firm Foundations: Managing the Small Firm and Individual Practitioner
Jared D. Correia, Esq.
Assistant Director and Senior Law Practice Advisor at LOMAP
Wednesday, March 26,2014
Cocktail Reception and Distinguished Alumni Award 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
WNE Law Review Volume 36 Symposium Keynote and Panel Presentation 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the Assistant Director and Senior Law Practice Advisor at LOMAP. Before joining LOMAP, Jared managed CLE publications and the Casemaker research engine for the Massachusetts Bar Association. He has also been a practicing lawyer in small firms where he mostly focused on personal injury, real estate, and disability law. Jared is a frequent speaker for local, regional, and national lawyers’ groups. He is a regular contributor to local and national legal publications, including Attorney at Work, which includes his monthly column, “Managing”. Jared is the author of the American Bar Association publication “Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers”. He is featured on a quarterly podcast at Solo Practice University. Jared presented at ABA TECHSHOW 2013 on remote access and social media marketing.

Please RSVP by March 7, 2014 to colleen.a.monroe@gmail.com 

Fall 2013

Robin Craig: "New Directions in State Public Trust Doctrines in a Climate Change Era"
Professor of Law, S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah  
November 14, 2013
Professor Craig will give a quick overview of the basics of the public trust doctrine and discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's apparently final—but still problematic—abdication of public trust doctrine authority to the states in PPL Montana v. Montana. She will then look at the different directions states are going with their public trust doctrines, including the ecological public trust doctrines and the very new atmospheric public trust doctrines, and end with a brief look at how these new and expanded public trust doctrines might help us cope with climate change.

Karl S. Coplan: "The Climate Activism Model: Civil Rights, Prohibition, or Abolition?”
Professor of Law, Pace Law School  
October 16, 2013
The radical economic and social changes necessary to address global warming are expected to be driven by law and legal institutions, says Professor Coplan, but law-driven social changes of this magnitude, while not unprecedented, are scarce. Today’s climate activist model resembles the civil rights movement of the 1960s and also the temperance and prohibition movements. And a successful shift to a carbon-free economy might resemble the abolition of slavery more than any of these.

Michael B. Gerrard: "Can the Law Save Island Nations from Drowning?”
Professor of Law, Columbia School of Law 
September 23, 2013
Around the world, but especially in the Pacific, the habitability and, eventually, the very survival of several small island nations are threatened by rising seas, largely as a result of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Professor Gerrard will address the international and domestic legal mechanisms that exist or can be imagined to help these nations, and to deal with the expected international refugee crises.

Clason Speakers since 1988

About the Clason Speaker Series

Legal experts such as . . .

  • Stephen L. Carter
  • Laura Dickinson
  • Jennifer Gordon
  • Lani Guinier
  • Anita Hill
  • Charles Ogletree
  • Michael Ratner
  • Howard Shelanski

. . . from institutions such as Boston College Law School, Columbia Law School, Cornell Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard Law School, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and Yale Law School have been Clason Speakers. They've discussed a wide range of contemporary topics, including:

  • decision-making in capital cases
  • mothers and crime
  • beyond the privacy principle
  • lawyering for poor communities in the 21st century
  • reparations for conflict-related sexual violence
  • criminal terrorist prosecutions
  • public interest lawyers and the quest for immigrant workers' rights

Speakers have also given their perspectives on historic law, through topics such as:

  • legal ethics and fugitive slaves
  • the debate over the central meaning of the Fourth Amendment
  • Williams v. Lee and the debate over Indian equality
  • the Reconstruction amendments
  • emblems of federalism
  • reflections on mistakes and the law

Charles R. Clason

The series is named after Charles R. Clason, a prominent local attorney and member of the U.S. House of Representatives who held the position of Dean of the School of Law from 1954 to 1970. At that time, Western New England University provided part-time legal education only. During Clason’s tenure all classroom instruction was provided by adjunct faculty who were eminent practitioners of the law. Clason worked to ensure that the faculty developed as academicians, while not forsaking their mission to provide practical legal education.

A resident of Springfield, Clason spent most of the 1920s in the Western Massachusetts District Attorney’s office, first as an Assistant District Attorney, then as District Attorney. A Republican, Clason represented the Second Congressional District of Massachusetts from 1936 to 1948. He was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree in 1970 in recognition of his many years of educational service to Western New England University. Clason passed away in 1985 at the age of 94.

Today, the School of Law is an ABA-accredited, AALS-member institution, and Clason lives on through the Charles and Emma Clason Endowment Fund, which provides for speakers who enhance the academic environment for faculty and students.

Previous Speakers

This page lists all Clason Speakers since 1988. A recording of each event is linked, where possible.

Speakers Fall 2014

Please join us for these upcoming lectures.

Fundamental Rights in Europe: A Comparative Discourse on Human Rights Standards
Professor Federico Fabbrini, Tilburg University Law School
Monday, September 15
12:00 noon, Law Common
Lunch will be provided.

A little more than a decade after the creation of the European Union, military conflicts, economic stagnation, and the clash of cultures threaten to rip apart this bold political experiment. Federico Fabbrini, Senior Assistant Professor of European & Comparative Constitutional Law at the Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands, will discuss his text, Fundamental Rights in Europe, comparing and contrasting federalism and human rights in the EU and the US and offering insight into what lies ahead for the continent.

A decorated academic, educator, and researcher, Professor Fabbrini holds a BA from the University of Trento, a JD from the University of Bologna, and a PhD from the European University Institute, and has lectured at universities in Europe, the US, Australia, and Japan.