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Mini-Law School

Mini-Law School offers non-lawyers an understanding of legal topics that impact their everyday lives. Each class is taught by Western New England School of Law faculty.

Mini-Law School sessions are held every fall.

The next Mini-Law School session will take place from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on the dates below:

Tuesday, 10/3/17 – Professor Barbara Noah 

What We Mortals Need to Know About End-of-Life Law
Many of us already have had to navigate complex and emotional decisions concerning medical care for a dying loved one, and most of us will all at some point have to make decisions about our own preferences for medical care when we confront terminal illness. Using clinical case scenarios for discussion, this session will introduce the key legal and ethical concepts that govern our end-of-life options. It will include discussion of the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment, advance care planning, and decision-making for another person. It will also include an update on the legalization of medically-assisted dying and an overview of how laws in this area try to balance patient autonomy with concerns about abuse and coercion. 

Tuesday, 10/10/17 – Professor Jeanne Kaiser

Protecting Children, Protecting Families
The child protection system comes to public attention most often when there is high profile case of child abuse and the system has failed the child with tragic results. On a day to day basis, however, the child protection system is filled with hardworking lawyers and social workers who struggle to make difficult choices every day. This session will explain the nuts and bolts of the child protection system. It will also focus on the difficult questions of balancing the rights parents to raise their children with the need to protect the safety and emotional wellbeing of those children. We will also discuss the role of race, poverty, and disability in the challenging dilemmas faced by the system.

Tuesday, 10/24/17 – Professor Harris Freeman

Workplace Law in the Era of Globalization and the Gig Economy
This session will explore the challenge of regulating new types of employment arrangements and business models that are restructuring global labor markets.   Topics will include the expansion of precarious work, internet-based work arrangements such as Uber and Lyft, violations of wage and hour law, employee privacy, and the role of labor unions.

Wednesday, 11/1/17 – Judge Henry Boroff  (ret.) (please note this last class takes place on a Wednesday)
The Use of Credit and the Choice to File for Bankruptcy Relief
Almost every day, we use credit cards. But what are the best and worst ways to use credit cards so as to reduce costs and avoid pitfalls?  When we apply for credit, we are often judged by a “credit score.”  What are credit scores, how are they calculated and how are they used by the credit industry?  What events impact those scores and what can one do to increase them? If the use of credit or events such as job layoff, divorce, or uninsured medical expenses ultimately result in an unacceptable financial burden, many people turn to debt relief agencies or file for bankruptcy relief.  Is the use of a debt relief agency a good idea?  When is filing for bankruptcy a better solution for dealing with financial distress? In this session, we will discuss the benefits and risks of using credit and this country’s bankruptcy system, and how bankruptcy can be used to provide a fresh start for those with debts that have grown beyond their control.


Session Location

Sessions will be held in Sleith Hall's Wood Auditorium
Western New England University
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119

Fee for all four sessions - $35.00

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.