University News

School of Law Launches Educational Initiative for Springfield High School Students

Published: October 17, 2023 | Categories: Law, All News
Students practicing in the WNE Moot court room

Western New England University (WNE) is proud to announce the initiation of a new program designed to provide Springfield high school students with a firsthand glimpse into the world of law school. Developed in collaboration with esteemed alumni and legal professionals, this unique initiative aims to inspire and educate the next generation of legal scholars.

Program administrators from the WNE School of Law, Nicole Belbin, Rachel Szostak, and Téa Wilmot, emphasized the importance of active community involvement, "At Western New England University, we believe in the power of education to transform lives. Our partnership with Springfield and its high school students isn't just about teaching the law; it's about becoming woven into the fabric of our city. Our commitment goes beyond merely existing within the community; we strive to be an integral part of it. Being a part of Springfield's growth and nurturing its future is at the core of our mission."

WNE alumni Honorable Judge Mulcahy, chair of the District Court Committee on Public Outreach, and Neil Phillips of Dunn and Phillips, along with part-time law student Zeno Temple, the Community Safety & Outreach Specialist for the Hampden District Attorney, collaborated with Belbin, Szostak, and Wilmot to coordinate a comprehensive one-day experience tailored to offer Springfield's high school students an authentic taste of the legal education process. The program's inaugural year boasts participation from six high schools, setting the stage for an impactful introduction to legal studies.

The program for the day offers a compelling agenda that provides Springfield high school students with a comprehensive glimpse into the world of law school at Western New England University. The day commences with a warm welcome, extending an inviting introduction to the legal education experience. Following this, students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the intellectual rigors of legal studies during "The Mock Law Class." "The Law Student Panel" offers a dynamic platform for students to engage with current law scholars and gain valuable insights into their educational journeys. The program also delves into the myriad of career prospects within the field of law through "The Career Panel."

Judge Mulcahy shared his perspective on the program's significance for Springfield students. "As an alumnus of Western New England University, I understand the transformative power of education. The program provides Springfield's high school students with a unique opportunity to visualize a career in law. It's not just about learning the principles of the legal system; it's about igniting a passion for justice and inspiring the next generation of legal professionals. This experience opens doors and broadens horizons, and I believe it's vital for our community's future. By helping these young minds see the possibilities in the legal field, we're shaping a brighter tomorrow for Springfield."

The day's activities include a presentation on the requirements and application process for prospective law students. Participants can also take advantage of networking opportunities during lunch in the University Dining Commons. The day culminates with a campus tour and closing remarks from the program organizers, ensuring a holistic and informative experience for all.

Springfield students are also invited to attend a court visit and a separate research workshop titled "Legal Topic Exploration Workshop," which mirrors WNE's "Introduction to Law" program.

The program underwent its inaugural run hosting John J. Duggan Academy on Friday, September 29. The visit involved 28 students and three administrators and was well received by all. Mary Kay Brown, director of partnerships at John J. Duggan Academy, enthusiastically highlighted the students' interest and positive reaction to the program. "Our students' response to this program has been truly remarkable. Their curiosity about the legal profession and their eagerness to learn has been inspiring. The spark in their eyes and their enthusiastic engagement tell us that this program is making a real impact. It's a testament to the power of experiential learning and the potential it holds for our young minds. Western New England University has created something special here, and our students are grateful for the chance to be a part of it."

The next scheduled visit, taking place on October 20, will host students from Springfield International Charter School (SICS).