School of Law graduates have a long legacy of social justice work. Please join us in honoring featured alumni though profiles of their work.
Dru Levasseur ’06 is the Deputy Program Officer of the National LGBT Bar Association, expanding the Bar’s programmatic work, including Lavender Law 365, an LGBTQ+ inclusion coaching and consulting initiative for law firms, law schools, and workplaces. As a leading figure in the LGBT equality movement for 25 years, 15 of those working in the legal profession, Attorney Levasseur has extensive experience in LGBT law, advocacy, philanthropy, and community organizing.
Previously, Attorney Levasseur was Senior Attorney and Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV. From 2009-2019, Attorney Levasseur led Lambda Legal’s transgender rights work through strategy development, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. He served as counsel in landmark impact litigation cases and amicus briefs in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorney Levasseur was also instrumental in the creation and development of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project in 2013, as well as Lambda’s Trans Toolkit. He represented Lambda Legal in international forums, including a human rights meeting at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland (2015), and International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) transgender rights convenings in Cape Town, South Africa (2017) and Buenos Aires, Argentina (2018).
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Attorney Levasseur was the first staff attorney at Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and before that, served as a law clerk in the Massachusetts Superior Court. In 2007, Attorney Levasseur co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a trans-led national nonprofit that funds surgeries for transgender people in need, and he continues to serve as a working group member for Grantmakers United for Trans Communities. Attorney Levasseur received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, his J.D. from Western New England University School of Law, and is admitted to practice in DC, NY, GA, and MA.
David McGuire '06 is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Connecticut. He joined the organization as a staff attorney in 2007 and served as its legislative and policy director from 2015 through 2016. In 2016, McGuire was chosen to lead the organization. In his decade-plus with the ACLU, McGuire has litigated cases to protect incarcerated people’s rights, separation of church, and state and free speech rights. He also played a leading role in advocating for police accountability, and successfully pressed for the passage of dozens of laws to protect civil rights and liberties. A past recipient of Connecticut Magazine’s “40 Under 40” award, McGuire also is the chair of the Connecticut Special Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, serves on the Connecticut's Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board, is an appointed member of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, and served on the Criminal Justice Policy committee of Governor Lamont's transition team. McGuire received his B.A. in history from Purdue University and graduated cum laude from Western New England University School of Law.
Claudia Quintero graduated cum laude from the School of Law in 2017, where she was a Public Interest Scholar and a member of the Western New England University Law Review. During her time at the law school, she led the National Lawyers Guild student chapter and founded the Latino/a Law Student Association. Quintero is a staff attorney at Central West Justice Center (CWJC), where she represents migrant and seasonal farmworkers throughout Massachusetts in a range of legal issues, including immigration, labor and employment, housing, family, and benefits matters, as well as providing know-your-rights training's to community members and organizations.
Attorney Quintero was recently featured on Connecting Point, where she discussed her work on behalf of farmworkers. CWJC was selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as the 2019 winner of the Reginald Heber Smith Award for Excellence in Legal Services, and Attorney Quintero is featured in a video about the organization’s work.
Attorney Quintero has always had a passion for social justice. Growing up in a working-class single-parent home in Los Angeles without legal status, she often aspired to be a voice and advocate for the disenfranchised. During law school, Attorney Quintero was deeply engaged with social justice issues, interning in Los Angeles with the legal nonprofit that helped her acquire legal permanent residency, the City of Springfield Labor Relations Department, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Legal Counsel in Washington, D.C.
The School of Law helped foster Attorney Quintero’s social justice work by providing her with opportunities for growth, knowledge, and development. “WNE Law afforded me the opportunity to learn more about the social justice issues I was passionate about in ways I couldn’t have done otherwise.” One of her most memorable experiences was traveling to Israel with Professor Levi to study comparative gender law and meet with LGBTQ activists to discuss the law and its effects on women and sexual minorities. During her 2L and 3L years, the School of Law sent Attorney Quintero to the annual Peggy Browning Fund Workers’ Rights Conference in Maryland. There, she said, “I was able to connect with other students who were passionate about workers’ rights and meet with workers, organizers and unions who are pushing for better working conditions of low-wage workers in the country. That experience helped foster my desire to be an advocate for often exploited low-wage workers.”
Attorney Quintero is also a member of the Boards of Directors of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, the Rosenberg Fund for Children, and was on the board of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, as the Regional Director for Hampden County. She also serves on the coordinating committee of the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Immigrant Protection Project. In 2019, Attorney Quintero was selected to join the leadership of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Scholars Program, designed to encourage the participation of minority attorneys in the Young Lawyers Division.
Attorney Quintero was awarded the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services’ Adams Pro Bono Publico Award in 2017, in recognition of her distinguished service and outstanding commitment to providing pro bono legal services to those in need as a law student, and the Student of the Year award by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild in 2017. During her time at the School of Law, Attorney Quintero inspired her colleagues to engage in public interest work.
Before enrolling in the School of Law, Sunila Thomas-George ’95 had already held the institution in high esteem. Her father, the late Rev. Dr. V.K. Thomas, was a professor of Sociology and started the WNEU Criminal Justice Program in 1974. Her older sister attended WNEU as well, and is an WNEU Undergraduate alumna.
Attorney George joined the School of Law in 1992 to pursue a career in litigation. She focused her studies on criminal justice until she accepted a position as a legal intern at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) Springfield office, through the School of Law Anti-Discrimination Clinic. This externship would lay the foundation for a long and successful career at the MCAD.
In her role as Legal Intern, Attorney George argued motions before an MCAD Commissioner and brought discrimination suits to public hearing as a 3:03-certified student practitioner. It was during this clinic experience that attorney George discovered her passion for civil rights law enforcement. As the daughter of immigrants, and as a woman of color of Indian descent, Attorney George found the work of the MCAD—protecting people from discrimination based on their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, and more—close to her heart. “I remember hearing about the anti-discrimination clinic and wondering, ‘what is anti-discrimination work?’” Attorney George said. “It want until my externship at the MCAD that I learned about the vital purpose that this agency serves, and the importance of prosecuting cases of discrimination in the public interest.”
Attorney George graduated from the School of Law in 1995 and began working at the MCAD as a litigation attorney in 1997. In 1999, she transferred to the MCAD Boston headquarters where she practiced as an attorney for seven years before becoming the Chief of the Investigations division (then called the “enforcement division”). In 2007, Attorney George became the first MCAD employee (and the first former MCAD Legal intern) to be appointed as a Commissioner, a role she has held for three consecutive reappointments until 2018, when Governor Charlie Baker appointed her as Chairwoman of the agency. Chairwoman George continues to serve the people of the Commonwealth as the agency’s Chairwoman, now in her fifth consecutive term as a Commissioner.
As a Commissioner, Attorney George is responsible for the administration, adjudication, and education of civil rights matters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She serves as the Investigating Commissioner on cases filed south of Boston, in the southeastern part of the state, Cape Cod and the Islands. Attorney George is a certified mediator and trainer in areas of discrimination and sexual harassment. She is also an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School; she serves as a faculty presenter in seminars and on panels for the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE); and she is a frequent speaker at local, state and affinity Bar Association events. Attorney George also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston (SABA GB).
Attorney George is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2019 WNEU Dean's Alumni Excellence Award, the 2019 Lawyer’s Weekly Top 50 Women of Law award, the 2018 SABA Outstanding Achievement Award, the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service and the Executive Branch Award for Excellence in Government Legal Services. In 2016, Attorney George delivered the keynote address at the Wheaton College Commencement where she was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree.
Attorney George remains a proud graduate of Wheaton College and Western New England University School of Law. “I owe so much to WNEU, for the opportunities it provided and the outstanding legal education I received,” attorney George said. “I would never have gone down the path I took, and I would not be where I am today without WNEU’s unparalleled externship program, the clinic, or the relationships that I made during my time there.” Attorney George lives in Lexington, MA with her husband of 20 years and their two sons.