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Law Digest

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December 2018

School of Law Alumni Sworn in Before United States Supreme Court

On October 29, Western New England University School of Law Dean Sudha Setty and a group of 11 alumni took part in a group swearing in at the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

"It was a proud and emotional moment for the eleven alumni and for me, as we were admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States," said Dean Setty. "I know it's something that we'll never forget. This is the first group admission to the Supreme Court for Western New England University School of Law, and it was a wonderful moment for us as a community."

Western New England University President Anthony S. Caprio joined the alumni for the special occasion, taking part in a breakfast held at the Supreme Court. Afterward, Professor of Law Bruce Miller brought forth the motion to swear in the participants, which was accepted by Chief Justice Roberts. Alumni participants were Jonathan Goldsmith L’86, Scott Holman L’89, Darlene Karis L’98, Lisa Lippiello L’06, John Looney L’76, Elizabeth Lovejoy L’07, Adam Mandell L’06, David Ostrander L’89, Thomas Pratt L’88, Rebecca Simser L’10, and Cheryl Smith L’83. Later that evening, alumni gathered at the Washington, DC Blue & Gold Reception, hosted at The Monocle.

View photos from the Supreme Court events and the Blue & Gold Reception

Alumni Recognition Reception Honors Law Graduates

Western New England University School of Law held its Annual Alumni Recognition Reception on October 19, 2018 at The Log Cabin in Holyoke. The event featured the presentation of the Dean's Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, two Ascending Alumni Awards, and the Distinguished Law Review Alumna Award.

Dean Sudha Setty offered opening remarks to the assembled alumni and friends, and Talia Gee L'10/G'12, president of the School of Law Alumni Association, presided over the ceremony. The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) held a silent auction during the event, with proceeds benefiting students pursuing unpaid internships in non-profit organizations and government agencies.

The Law Alumni Board of Directors recognized the following honorees for their professional achievements and outstanding representation of the School of Law:

Dean’s Award
Hon. Michael Powers ’82
Town Justice in Clarence, NY

Distinguished Alumnus Award
James Czapiga ’94
President and CEO, CATIC Financial, Inc.

Ascending Alumni Award

Veronica Coletti Barry ’11
Court Attorney for the Hon. Paul M. Deep in Oneida County Family Court

Ascending Alumni Award
Attorney James Harrington ’10
Associate with Polito & Associates

Distinguished Law Review Alumnus/a Award
Kristen Brierley ’13
Labor Relations Specialist for the State of Connecticut

Read about the accomplishments of this year’s honorees

Judge Michael B. Powers L'82 and Nancy Shea

Dr. Jodie Roure L'97 Inspires Activism and Advocacy

“Use the power you have to transform society together,” Keynote Speaker Dr. Jodie Roure L’97 told students in attendance at the Law Alumni & Students of Color Dinner held on Saturday, October 20, during Golden Bear Weekend. “Social change is the job of each of us.”

During her talk before alumni, students, faculty, and administrators, Roure shared how she has used her own skills and talents to facilitate that transformation through her work as longtime human rights professor teaching in the Latin American Studies Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, ACLU Fellow, and advocate for diversifying the legal profession and graduate school attendance. The annual dinner, now in its 19th year, is a popular networking event for reconnecting with friends and faculty, and introducing students to the law alumni of color community. 

Originally scheduled to speak last year, Roure took on an unexpected role as a champion for marginalized U.S. citizens in 2017 when she faced her greatest challenge—a hurricane named Maria—when the Category 5 storm devastated Puerto Rico, while she was living there with her two children.

Shocked by the utter destruction she experienced firsthand, Roure returned to the U.S. and jumped into action pulling in resources and allies to assemble a team of 25 volunteer doctors and nurses and flew them to Puerto Rico to spend 14 days bringing more than $200,000 of critically needed medical supplies to some of the island nation’s most remote communities. In the year since Hurricane Maria struck, Roure has continued to advocate for Puerto Rican communities still struggling in its aftermath, coordinating the development and delivery of a free surgical program through her new role as CEO of the nonprofit Hurricane Maria Assistance & Relief Institutional Alliance, Inc.

For her efforts through Hurricane Maria, Inc., Roure was invited to testify before US Congress and talk about what her brigade witnessed. She and her fellow volunteers received an award from the Puerto Rico College of Surgeons/Doctors and was honored as a "hero without a cape" by the American Medical Student Association at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras. 

By her example, Roure hopes to inspire fellow alumni and students in attendance at this year’s Dinner to find their own connection points to share ideas and advocate for causes they care personally about—both in their day-to-day decisions and when larger moments for action present themselves.  

“Uniting forces for the greater good is a role lawyers play in the world,” she said. “You have to see yourselves as social justice warriors, as change agents who can make a difference. This is how we will create a more just world, how we will enrich the fabric of these United States, by showing that the diversity of ideas is the essence to maximizing opportunity.”

Read more about Jodie Roure’s disaster recovery work in WNE: The Magazine of Western New England University

Dean Setty Leads the School of Law Into Its Second Century

Dean Sudha Setty shares a new perspective on legal education in a feature article in the new WNE: The Magazine of Western New England University. "Being the dean in the University’s centennial year is an honor, because legal education has been a fundamental part of Western New England University for that entire 100 years. Western New England University was built on the ideas of opportunity and community. As we approach the centennial, we can reflect upon and celebrate that history. We can also use it as a moment to consider what the next hundred years will look like and how we want to shape our future."

Read the full article