School of Law News
Mini-Law School Program Has Major Impact
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Law 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
Dean 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.
Attorney 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.
Law Students Honored as Best Oral Advocates in National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Western New England University law students Susan Stark of Shelburne Fall, MA, and Erica Bruno of Chicopee, MA, (L-R), advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. Hosted by Pace Law School, this competition is recognized as the preeminent environmental law moot court in the United States. This year’s competition required the advocates to represent three different parties on six appellate issues. The teams wrote their briefs in October-November 2014 and attended the oral arguments in White Plains, New York, February 19-21, 2015. The competition involved over 200 student competitors from 62 different law schools. The benches were comprised of seasoned environmental judges, practitioners, regulators, and academics.
“I have focused my studies on environmental law because I recognize my social duty to care for the environment, and because I find it intellectually stimulating; it is complex, challenging, and continuously evolving,” explained law student Erica Bruno. “Competing in the moot court competition has significantly influenced my legal career. It affirmed my passion for environmental law and gave me confidence to take on these complex and intimidating legal challenges.”
Ms. Stark was recognized as the Best Oralist in the first two preliminary rounds and Ms. Bruno was recognized as the Best Oralist in the third preliminary round. Judges and the other competitors repeatedly commended Ms. Bruno and Ms. Stark for their outstanding courtroom presence, command of the legal issues, argument organization and ability to respond to intense questioning. Law Professor Julie E. Steiner served as the team’s coach.
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