University News

School of Law Named Finalist in Bloomberg Law’s Law School Innovation Program

Published: February 05, 2024 | Categories: All News, Law

Teaching Legal Research Through Community Outreach Program Recognized for Innovation: Advancing the Legal Industry Through Education

student being taught about the law at WNE School of Law

Western New England University (WNE) School of Law is proud to announce its selection as a finalist in Bloomberg Law's second annual Law School Innovation Program. This prestigious recognition acknowledges WNE School of Law as one of 12 institutions at the forefront of legal education, leading with innovative programs that enhance student instruction, legal technology implementation, experiential learning, and other aspects of legal education.

Joe Breda, President of Bloomberg Law, expressed the organization's pleasure in recognizing Western New England University School of Law for its commitment to shaping the future of the legal industry. Breda stated, "Western New England University School of Law's Teaching Legal Research Through Community Outreach program is a key example of the innovation that is needed for legal education to keep up with the demands of the legal market."

Teaching Legal Research Through Community Outreach

At the heart of WNE School of Law's innovative approach is the "Teaching Legal Research Through Community Outreach" program. This groundbreaking initiative transforms legal research education by incorporating community outreach, benefiting both law students and the wider community.

Led by Western New England University's law library, this program breaks from traditional legal research classes in several ways:

  • Real-time Research: Instead of receiving predefined research questions, law students collaborate with high school partners, compelling them to produce timely and effective research results, fostering quick thinking and analysis skills.
  • Accessible Communication: Assignments are conveyed to high schoolers in simple, nonlegal terms, enabling law students to practice communication with future clients who may lack legal backgrounds.
  • Cultivating Skills: The program subtly enhances law student research skills by framing it as assistance to high school students, creating a low-pressure environment that removes the anxiety associated with traditional grading.

Nicole Belbin, Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources for Western New England University School of Law, emphasized the significance of the program's unique 'teach-the-teacher' style. Belbin stated, "The program removes the anxiety associated with grades and classroom discussions. Furthermore, the program contributes to the legal industry's diversity by creating a welcoming environment for local high school students, fostering a sense of belonging in the legal community."

Bloomberg Law received nearly 50 applications from 35 schools across 20+ states. A panel of internal and external experts, including Bloomberg Law analysts and industry authorities, evaluated the submissions. Additional information about Bloomberg Law's Law School Innovation Program and the inaugural class of honorees can be found at https://aboutblaw.com/bcrq.