School of Law News

Clason Speaker Series at School of Law to Host Legal Activist Purvi Shah 

Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2015

clasonshah_2015jpgWestern New England University School of Law’s Clason Speaker Series will host a talk by Purvi Shah on Saturday, April 18 at 5:15 p.m. in the Blake Law Center Commons. The talk, entitled “Ferguson & Beyond: Lessons from Lawyering for the "BlackLivesMatter Movement,” is free and open to students, alumni, the University community, as well as to the general public. A light dinner will be provided.

Over the course of history, legal advocates have played crucial roles in movements for justice. However, despite our skills and best intentions, organizers and activists often recount examples of where legal advocates were in severe conflict, worked at cross purposes, and/or ultimately did more harm than good to political and social movements. In this keynote address, Purvi Shah, Director of the Bertha Justice Institute Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the key architects of the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee, will share her reflections about how lawyers can work collaboratively with organizers and activists to build social movements that have the power to win.

Shah will also be a keynote speaker for the National Lawyers Guild Northeast Regional Conference, held earlier in the day at the School of Law. For more information on the conference, visit Join us for a full day of speakers and workshops.

The Clason Speaker Series presents expert lectures to the School of Law. 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. Today, the purpose of the Charles and Emma Clason Endowment Fund is to host speakers who will enhance the academic environment of the School of Law at the University.

For more information, contact Sudha Setty at 413-782-1431 or email


Mini-Law School Program Has Major Impact

Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2015

mini_law_22_jpgLaw Professor Barbara Noah and Judge Kenneth Neiman

Western New England University School of Law opened its doors to the community with a five-week interactive lecture and discussion program focused on demystifying the law. The Mini-Law School Program was held on five Tuesday evenings in February and March, drew a crowd of nearly 200 participants, and generated a wait-list of over 100 people for the next program series. 

“We live in an increasingly complex world filled with laws,” remarked Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources Pat Newcombe. “People want to be better informed in order to make better decisions.”


The Mini-Law School Program was designed to provide practical knowledge to assist ordinary citizens in understanding how laws are applied, why disputes occur so frequently, and how courts mediate this process. Each class was taught by law school faculty and moderated by recently retired Federal Court Judge Kenneth Neiman, who served as the “Dean” of the Mini-Law School.  

“I came because I love every aspect of the law, and because it affects everything in our lives, and I can’t wait for the next series of classes to be offered,” explained Portia Axiotis of Wilbraham, MA.

Tyler Alves explained, “I came along with my grandmother, Portia Axiotis, but I really came because I’m planning on a career in law enforcement and I thought this would be a great way to get a taste of law fundamentals, and better prepare myself.” 

The focus of each class was on how the courts and law are relevant to citizens’ everyday lives. Blending theory and practice, the five sessions included; Family Law with Professor Jennifer Levi, Health Law with Professor Barbara Noah, Constitutional Law with Professor Bruce Miller, Environmental Law with Professor Julie Steiner, and An Inside View of Law School and the Courts with Judge Kenneth Neiman and Law School Dean Eric Gouvin. 

“My daughter is a freshman in law school and I thought this would help me have conversations with her and better understand what she is learning,” explained Ellen Rowles of East Longmeadow, MA. “It’s been very helpful and I’ve learned a great deal.”


“Having strong connections with the community is an important part of the Law School’s mission and we strive to serve as a resource in the community,” said Beth Cohen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “The goal of the Mini-Law School is to increase civic engagement and awareness and provide opportunities for people to better understand the legal system,” Cohen added 

Deans Newcombe and Cohen, co-chairs of the Program, are planning the next Mini-Law School for Fall 2015.  


School of Law Presents Medical Malpractice Discussion

Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2015

malpractice_3jpgDean Eric Gouvin, Attorney Dennis R. Anti, Dr. Christopher H. Comey, Law Professor Barbara Noah

The Western New England University School of Law recently presented a forum titled “Medical Malpractice: The Defense Perspective,” a public discussion on the experience of medical malpractice litigation from the defense perspective. The University’s Health Law Association welcomed law alumnus Dennis R. Anti Esq., Partner at Morrison, Mahoney LLP, and Dr. Christopher H. Comey, a neurosurgeon with New England Neurosurgical Group, President of Medical Staff, Mercy Medical Center.

“About two years ago, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a statute mandating that  when an adverse medical event does occur, hospitals must sit down with the patient, apologize, and disclose just how the adverse event occurred,” explained attorney Anti. “This new process has helped hospitals better understand that these adverse events do occur, and are the norm, and it’s nothing they should be ashamed of or hide.”

Dr. Comey described how he feels as a surgeon when an adverse outcome occurs during a surgical procedure. He also explained how important it is for the attorneys involved to have not only legal expertise, but also a good understanding of the medical terms and procedures involved.

malpractice_2jpgAttorney Anti added, “This new process of having the surgeons and patients talk to each other seems to be helping hospitals understand that it makes more sense economically to identify cases that should be resolved and to reach a settlement in a more timely fashion, so they aren’t paying an attorney like me for three years who ends up telling them they could have resolved the case three years earlier.”  

Health Law embraces a vast range of complicated topics including quality control and delivery of services, licensing and regulatory compliance, federal approval of drugs and devices, and the legal relationships between providers and patients. The Western New England University Health Law Association seeks to broaden student awareness on complex topics like malpractice issues. 


School of Law News Headlines:

Law Students Honored as Best Oral Advocates in National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Duggan Middle School Students Go to Court With Help From School of Law
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Students Explore Corporate Law with Attorneys from LEGO and Smith & Wesson
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Katherine A. Robertson Appointed Springfield U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge
Sunday, February 8, 2015

School of Law Hosts Journalist and Guantanamo Activist Andy Worthington 
Saturday, January 31, 2015

University Law Students Headed to National Tax Competition in Texas
Monday, January 26, 2015

Cutting-Edge Cyber Security Presentation to be Held
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Color of Law Roundtable to Feature Labor Attorney Edward Pichardo
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Western New England University Law Professor Assists Guantanamo Bay Prisoner 
Friday, December 12, 2014

New U.S. Citizens Take Oath at Law School
Monday, November 3, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Review Conference Held 
Thursday, October 30, 2014

Senate Candidates Spar During Western New England University Debate
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Western New England University School of Law to Host Federico Fabbrini on September 15
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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