Western New England University School of Law
|Western New England University School of Law|
|Endowment||48.6 Million USD|
|Dean||Eric J. Gouvin|
|Bar pass rate||70.4%|
Western New England University School of Law is a private, ABA-accredited law school in Western Massachusetts. Established in 1923, the law school has approximately 7,000 alumni who live and work across the United States and internationally. Western New England Law offers both full-time and part-time programs.
Western New England College was established in 1919 as a branch of Northeastern University and began offering evening law classes. In 1923, the first seven law graduates were recognized. In 1951, Western New England College incorporated as its own institution. The full-time law program began in 1973. The S. Prestley Blake Law Center was first opened in 1978 at a cost of $3.4 million. The building is named after S. Prestley Blake, who made a substantial gift of $250,000 to the project. The law school underwent major renovations in 2007, including a new wing, lobby, and entrance. The project also saw the reconfiguration of several classrooms, creating smaller and more intimate learning environments.
On July 1, 2011, Western New England College School of Law officially became Western New England University School of Law. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved the change in March 2011.
The primary aim of the law school is its J.D. program, where first year students are divided into three small sections of less than 60 people, providing approximately a 13:1 student-faculty ratio. The school also offers a part-time day or evening program. In addition, the law school has the following four joint-degree programs: J.D./M.B.A. and J.D./M.S.A. with the Western New England University College of Business; J.D./M.S.W. with Springfield College; and a J.D./M.R.P. with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Undergraduates of Western New England University can take advantage of the "3+3 program," which allows certain students to complete a B.A. and a J.D. in six years.
Responding to the ABA-commissioned McCrate Report analyzing the effectiveness of legal education, Western New England University introduced six concentrations beginning in the Fall 2008 term. Second and third-year students have the option to concentrate in the following fields: Business Law, Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Gender and Sexuality Studies, International and Comparative Law, Public Interest Law, or Real Estate. 
Clinics and externships
The law school offers numerous clinical opportunities, where students can gain practical knowledge and develop professional skills under the supervision of experienced practitioners. The following clinics are currently offered: Criminal Law Clinic, Legal Services Clinic, Housing Clinic, International Human Rights Clinic, Real Estate Practicum, and the Small Business Clinic. Students also have the opportunity to gain practical legal experience for academic credit through offered or student-secured externships.
The university's Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship also offers a resource for small business development in the greater Pioneer Valley region. The Small Business Clinic is the cornerstone program of the Center. The Clinic pairs students from the School of Law and College of Business to offer personal, professional legal assistance to entrepreneurs in the business start-up stage.
The law school offers the nation's only live, interactive online LL.M. programs, one in Estate Planning and Elder Law and one in Closely held Businesses. There is also a full-time Estate Planning and Elder Law program, as well.
The Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies
Established in 2012, the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies is a resource for the School of Law community, the greater legal community, and the general public. Its work focuses on issues relating to gender and sexuality, including civil rights issues affecting women and sexual minorities.
Western New England Law Review
The Western New England Law Review publishes three issues per year. The editorial board consists of members of the School of Law who rank at or near the top 10 percent of their first-year class. The Law Review also permits a certain number of candidates who are put onto the law review based on the recommendation of their Legal Research and Writing professor at the end of their first year.
Western New England University School of Law has achieved success in numerous National Moot Court competitions, including the following:
- First Place, Best Overall Team National Transactional Lawyering Meet, 2011
- Best Brief and Best Oralist, Products Liability Moot Court Competition, 2011
- First Place (National Champions) ABA Law Student Tax Challenge, 2010
- Best Brief ABA Law Student Tax Challenge, 2010
- First Place (National Champions) Products Liability Moot Court Competition, 2009
- First Place, (National Champions) ABA Law Student Tax Challenge, 2008
- Best Oralist, National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, 2005
- First Place, National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, 2004
- First Place, ABA National Negotiation Competition, 2001
According to Western New England Law's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 33.1% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners. Western New England Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 36.1%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation. Additionally, 78.2% of the Class of 2013 was employed in some capacity while 4.5% were pursuing graduate degrees and 12% were unemployed nine months graduation. The main employment destinations for 2013 Western New England Law graduates were Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, tuition is $39,450 for the full-time program and $29,588 for the part-time program. The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) for the 2014-2015 academic year is $62,802 for the full-time program and $51,955 for the part-time program. The school recently announced a four-year tuition freeze through the 2017-2018 academic year. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $230,544. The average indebtedness of the 97% of 2013 Western New England Law graduates who took out loans was $120,677.
- Stephen Buoniconti '95 - Former member of the Massachusetts Senate (served 2005–2011) and former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (served 2001 - 2004).
- Lawrence F. Cafero '81 - Member of Connecticut House of Representatives and Republican House Leader.
- Gale D. Candaras '82 - Member of the Massachusetts Senate (served 2007–present) and former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (served 1996 - 2006).
- Michael A. Christ '02 - Former Deputy Majority Leader of Connecticut House of Representatives.
- Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera '95, Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (served 1999–present).
- Michael Charles Green '86 - District Attorney for Monroe County, New York.
- Daniel F. Keenan - Former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (served 1995–2007).
- John Kissel '84 - Member of the Connecticut State Senate.
- Tim Murray '94 - Current Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and former Mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts.
- Larry O'Brien '42 - Former National Basketball Association Commissioner and former U.S. Postmaster General.
- Angelo Puppolo '01 - Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (served 2007–present) and former City Councilor in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts
- Joseph Rallo '76 - President of Angelo State University.
- Thomas L. Stevenson '77 - Former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (served 1997–2006).
- John E. Sweeney '91 - Former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from upstate New York and noted conservative legislator.
- Hon. Mark G. Mastroianni '89 - U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts (confirmed 2014), Former Hampden County District Attorney
- Bridgette Baldwin - Worked as a Staff Attorney for the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society of New York City, and later worked for the Bronx Defenders.
- Erin Buzuvis - Co-founder and contributor to the Title IX Blog, an interdisciplinary resource for news, legal developments, commentary, and scholarship about Title IX's application to athletics and education.
- Howard Kalodner - Former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.
- Arthur B. Leavens - Upon graduating from Harvard Law, Professor Leavens went on to work for Paul Weiss in NYC. He then worked for the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia. In addition to teaching, he is also the Reporter for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
- Jennifer Levi - One of the principal lawyers on the case of Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health.
- Sudha N. Setty - Columbia Law grad, she was a litigator with the New York firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell. Her scholarly publications address secrecy, separation of powers and rule of law issues in the comparative constitutional context.
- Giovanna E. Shay - A Yale Law graduate, Professor Shay has worked for the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia and was a Soros Justice Fellow at the ACLU. She also was a Clerk for the Connecticut Supreme Court. In addition to teaching, Professor Shay is serving as the Secretary of the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools.
- Law School Almanac - 2008 Endowments retrieved on 6-6-2009.
- "July 2014 Massachusetts Bar Examination Results by Law Schools" (PDF). Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Publications". Western New England College. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
- Fall 2008 Western New England College School of Law Perspectives alumni magazine, page 34
- "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates".
- "Section of Legal Education, Employment Summary Report". American Bar Association. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Western New England College Profile".
- "Tuition, Fees and Expenses". Western New England University School of Law. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "School of Law Announces Four-year Tuition Freeze". Western New England University School of Law. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "Western New England College Profile, Cost". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Which law school graduates have the most debt?". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 21 July 2014.