University News

School of Law Offers Unique Three-Week Mini-Law Program to Community

Published: February 10, 2023 | Categories: All News, Law
Blake Law Center

Western New England University School of Law will again open its doors to the community with a three-week program focused on demystifying the law. The Mini-Law School will be held on February 21, 28, and March 7, 2023, at Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA. The program will provide practical knowledge to assist non-lawyers in gaining an understanding of areas of the law that are relevant to their everyday lives. Each class will be taught by Law School faculty and moderated by retired Judge Kenneth Neiman.

Blending theory and practice, the classes will focus on public interest lawyering, immigration law, and ghosts and the law. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is required at:

The Mini-Law School is directed by Beth D. Cohen, Interim Dean for the School of Law, and Nicole Belbin, Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources. In addition to the esteemed School of Law faculty, the program is fortunate to have the Honorable Kenneth Neiman serve as the "Dean" of the Mini-Law School.

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

Tuesday, 2/21/23Law and Social Change: Public Interest Lawyering, with Director of the Center for Social Justice Ariel Clemmer. This session will explore how advocates enact legal change in line with political and social ideology. Progressive and conservative movements have demonstrated effective tactics for changing laws at local, state, and even federal constitutional levels throughout history. Professor Clemmer, Director of the Law School's Center for Social Justice, will lead a discussion addressing the complex questions of who public interest lawyers are, what clients and causes they represent, and how they mobilize law in the pursuit of change.

Tuesday, 2/28/23From the US – Mexico Border to Martha's Vineyard: The Fundamentals and Complexities of US Immigration Law, with Law Professor Claudia Quintero. This session will explore how the complexities and misunderstandings of the United States immigration legal system have resulted in added difficulties in navigating the system and anti-immigrant rhetoric has put immigrants seeking humanitarian-based relief at risk of exploitation, like in the recent Martha's Vineyard example. This session will explore the fundamentals of immigration law as it relates to humanitarian-based relief, focus on how the immigration legal system operates within the Department of Homeland Security, and discuss the challenges faced by individuals seeking immigration relief.

Tuesday, 3/07/23Ghosts and the Law, with Dean Emeritus, Professor Eric Gouvin. This session will look at instances where the legal system encounters ghosts and the dead. Throughout history, humans have been fascinated by the ultimate mystery of life and death. Beliefs about the afterlife are at the core of many religious practices. What we'll see, however, is that the legal system generally – but not completely – dismisses interactions with the spirit world and gives them little credence. The ambivalence with which the legal system treats ghosts and spirits mirrors the ambivalence of society at large about those topics.

"After three 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."