Experiential Learning

20080416_wnec_0043.jpgWestern New England University School of Law is committed to providing excellent experiential learning opportunities for students. Our clinics, simulations, externships, moot court competitions, clerkships, and lecture series provide firsthand insight to the inner workings of the legal profession.


The School of Law offers nine clinics.

Criminal Law Defense  – students defend cases for the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Criminal Law Prosecution  – students prosecute cases for the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.

Discrimination  – students work on cases alleging discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations at the office of the Massachusetts Commission for Descrimination.

Elder Law - students work on cases ranging from planning for incapacity with powers of attorney and heath care proxies, planning for the disposition of property at death via joint ownership, beneficiary
  designation, and simple wills, and planning for eligibility for public benefits for long-term care. 

International Human Rights - students work collaboratively with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, grass-roots organizations, solidarity networks, attorneys, stakeholders, and other
  institutions engaging in human rights work, to advance political, economic, social and cultural human rights across borders.

Legal Services – students work in the office of Western Massachusetts Legal Services, Inc.

Mediation - students mediate family law cases at the Hampden Probate and Family Court.

Real Estate – students work with practitioners in the real estate area.

Small Business – students help start-up businesses at the Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship.

Experiential Learning Programs

Clinical Student Testimonials


Students in simulation courses represent hypothetical clients with challenging legal problems drawn from the experiences of practicing lawyers. Simulation course students perform research, prepare legal documents, and negotiate with and argue against role-playing students and faculty. Simulation courses include:

• Appellate Advocacy
• Criminal Procedure
• Current Supreme Court Term
• Environmental Litigation
• Estate Planning
• Federal Litigation: Pension Rights
• International Human Rights
• Labor and Employment Law Arbitration
• Litigation in the Pretrial Phase
• Trial Methods


Our numerous externships enable students to work with judges or alongside attorneys in public interest organizations or government agencies. Externs are called upon to perform research and prepare legal documents. Externships allow students to refine their lawyering skills and provide one-to-one interaction with professionals who can offer advice and career insights. Students receive two or three hours of academic credit for one nonpaying externship.

For further information on the Externship Program, please contact Marie Fletcher in the Legal Clinic Office by phone at 782-1469 or email at mfletcher@law.wne.edu.

List of Past Externship sites

Moot Court Competitions

Participation on a moot court team is a valuable educational experience. You hone your research, writing, and oral advocacy skills. Western New England University School of Law has a strong reputation in moot court competitions, capturing four national championships in the past five years. The School of Law sponsors eight inter-law school moot court teams.

• ABA Negotiation Moot Court Team
• American Association for Justice Moot Court Team
• First Amendment Moot Court Team
• Fredrick Douglas Moot Court Team
• Jessup International Moot Court Team
• National Moot Court Team
• National Trial Team
• Products Liability Moot Court Team
• Transactional Lawyering Meet

Team members enjoy all the technological benefits of our newly renovated J. Gerard Pellegrini Moot Court Room.


A judicial clerkship is a unique and incredibly valuable training experience. The prestige of a judicial clerkship is part of its appeal—most potential employers greatly value clerkship experience—but even more appeal for students is the prospect of immersing themselves in the law, honing their research and writing skills, and working at a judge’s side for a year or more.

Through an intense intellectual endeavor into the intricacies of law, clerks learn to analyze and interpret the law from a judge’s perspective and gain unparalleled knowledge about a judge’s decision-making and the judicial process. A clerkship is also an opportunity to gain a lifelong mentor, as many judges serve as mentors to their clerks well beyond the experience.

Judicial Clerkships

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The Center was established to provide graduate business and law students with an opportunity to offer practical consultation to entrepreneurs starting new and building existing small businesses in the community. This initiative strengthens current alliances within the community to use the combined resources of our School of Law and College of Business to foster new business development.

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Summer Study Abroad

No longer linked solely to a specific jurisdiction or venue, lawyers today are public servants to the global community. Thanks to the exponential increase of international trade and the ease at which we communicate worldwide, the need for an understanding of transnational legal systems has never been greater. In fact, many of your future clients will have dealings overseas and lawyers with international experience will be at a premium.

To broaden your international exposure, the School of Law supports student participation in approved summer programs. Between 10-20 percent of our students engage in study abroad experiences in Paris, Rome, London, Dublin, Toyko, and other exciting places. Professor Eric Gouvin has taught in summer programs in Lithuania and Paris and advises students on their summer program choices. In addition to earning academic credits and learning international and comparative law, you will enjoy working with law students and professors from other countries and broadening your contacts and connections.

Clason Speaker Series

dsc_5850285.jpgInsightful, thought provoking, and a source of lively debate, the Clason Speaker Series provides a valuable forum for the discussion of current topics in the legal academy. Over the years, the series has broached topics pertaining to contemporary legal issues as well as historic perspectives on the law.

Clason Speaker Series

Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs

The Institute was established in 2000 to offer students the opportunity to participate in activities relating to the legislative process and the development of statutory law.

Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs

Color of Law Roundtable

The Color of Law Roundtable seeks to bring attorneys of color to Western New England University to share their educational, career, and personal experiences with the School of Law community.

Color of Law Roundtable

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Main University: 413-782-3111
Admissions: 413-782-1406 or 800-782-6665