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.
Denis Binder: The Increasing Application of Criminal Law in Accidents and Disasters
Profesor, Chapman University Law School
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Professor Binder has been teaching law for 43 years, with 18 of them at the Western New England University School of Law. His teaching specialties include Antitrust, Environmental Law, Torts, and Toxic Torts.
Margaret Haung: From the Classroom to the Courthouse, Bringing Human Rights Home to the U.S.
Chief of Staff and Deputy Executive Director, Campaigns and Programs for Amnesty International USA
Friday, April 17, 2015
Purvi Shah: Federal Civil Rights Litigation and Activism in Matters of Police Use of Force
Director of the Bertha Justice Institute at the Center for Constitutional Rights, and member of the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Federico Fabbrini: "Fundamental Rights in Europe: A Comparative Perspective"
Senior Assistant Professor, Tilburg Law School
September 15, 2014
Decades after the creation of the European Union (EU), nations within the EU continue to struggle with fundamental differences of opinion as to what human rights should be protected, and where the authority to protect those rights comes from. 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 models of federalism and human rights protection in the EU and the US and offering insight into what lies ahead for the continent.
Phil Tegeler: "50 Years After the Civil Rights Act: The Challenge of Ending Segregation in Housing and Education
Executive Director, PRRAC
October 27, 2014
Judy Rabinovitz: "Surge of Central American Migrants at the Border and the Politics of Immigration Reform: Reflections from 25 Years of Fighting for Immigrants' Rights
Deputy Director, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
November 3, 2014
Peter Wagner L'03: "Overdosing on Prisons: Tackling the Side Effects of the United States’ Globally Unprecedented Use of the Prison"
Executive Director, Prison Policy Initiative
February 10, 2014
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.
Jared D. Correia, Esq: "Firm Foundations: Managing the Small Firm and Individual Practitioner"
Assistant Director and Senior Law Practice Advisor at LOMAP
March 26, 2014
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.
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.
This page lists all Clason Speakers since 1988. A recording of each event is linked, where possible.