University News

School of Law Opens Registration for 2019 Mini-Law Program

Published: July 25, 2019 | Categories: All News, Law, Alumni
Gavel on law book

Western New England University School of Law is accepting registrations from the community for its 2019 Mini-Law School Program. With a goal of demystifying the law for non-lawyers, the four-week program will offer practical knowledge to assist participants in gaining an understanding of areas of the law that are relevant to their everyday lives. The classes will take place on October 15, 22, 29, and November 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Western New England University. Each class will be taught by Western New England University School of Law faculty and will be moderated by The Honorable Kenneth Neiman (ret.).

2019 marks Western New England University's Centennial and the University community is celebrating this milestone with special events throughout the year. This year's Mini-Law School program will be a part of the celebration by covering one-hundred years of developments and milestones in compelling areas of law.

The following presentations will provide a historical retrospective as well as the current relevance of the law.

Tuesday, 10/15 – Professor Erin Buzuvis
100 Years of Gender Equality
This session will examine the major milestones for gender equality in the last 100 years, including the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, the recognition of gender equality as a statutorily and constitutionally protected civil right, and the emergence of a constitutional right to reproductive freedom. We will discuss both advances and shortfalls in the effort to secure gender equality, including from the perspective of intersections based on race and LGBTQ status, as well as the trajectory of gender equality movement in the current political moment.

Tuesday, 10/22 – Professor Justin Dion
100 Years of Consumer Protection Law
Join us for an interesting discussion on how society balances the rights of consumers against the rights of businesses, both historically and currently. Professor Dion will examine how unregulated business practices often preyed on unsophisticated consumers, causing financial (and sometimes physical) harms. Consumers who incurred debt faced harsh penalties for non-payment, including debtors' prison. Recognizing the unfairness, state laws and federal agencies created protections that both shielded the consumer and punished wrongful business practices. Professor Dion will discuss how the evolution of modern bankruptcy laws have also provided significant protection to consumers. Professor Dion will conclude with a glimpse into what the future of consumer protection will likely hold going forward into the next 100 years.

Tuesday, 10/29 – Professor Julie Steiner
100 Years of Cannabis Law
The last century has been marked by dramatic change for cannabis law and regulation. In this session, Professor Steiner will highlight 100 years of important legal developments, including criminalization, the "War on Drugs," state-level legalization, and the proliferation of a new cannabis industry.

Tuesday, 11/5 – Professor Matthew Charity
100 Years of International Criminal Law
On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles included an agreement by Germany to the prosecution of Kaiser Wilhelm II as part of the settlement of the First World War. One-hundred years later, we have moved closer to a transnational understanding of culpability for atrocity crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity, aggression, and genocide – through national, international, and hybrid courts. At the same time, we see impunity for crimes go on far too long. 

The Mini-Law School is directed by Pat Newcombe, Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources, and Beth D. Cohen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

"After four weeks, you won't be a lawyer," Cohen said, "but you will be able to better understand laws that have an effect on your life. And unlike traditional law school, there are no tests or homework."

"Individuals interested in becoming better informed and engaging in stimulating dialogue will find this program rewarding," Newcombe said. "No legal knowledge is necessary, just a curious mind."

Tuition is $35; $20 for students with a current ID. For more information, visit