That is something Professor Gordon has practiced during his
34-year tenure on the School of Law faculty and something
he will continue into his retirement that begins following the
conclusion of the spring semester.
“I have collected thousands of books over the years that I
want to read,” he says when asked what he planned to do in
retirement. “There are so many subjects about which I want
to learn and possibly write. I also plan to play my guitar, try
to lower my golf handicap, and mostly travel with my wife,
Marlene, and see more of my children and (hoped-for)
grandchildren.” In addition he plans to study the archive of
hundreds of letters his father wrote during World War II
when he served for three years overseas as a physician who
commanded a hospital train in North Africa and Europe.
This longstanding love of history helped drive his inter-
est in the areas of property law and constitutional history.
His student law review note opened a unique opportunity
during his first year of practice. He took a leave of absence
for the summer to work with Professor Richard Wellman,
the chief reporter of the original UPC, coauthoring two articles comparing the first enacting states’ versions of the UPC
with the uniform act itself and discussing the variations.
“After spending a summer on campus at the University of
Georgia and returning to the law firm in September, I knew
that I wanted to try for a teaching career,” he remembers.
Like many of the faculty’s old guard, the sense of community is what drew Professor Gordon to Western New
England when he began his teaching career. “Dean Howard
Kalodner had a vision of a student-centered law school with
a faculty which would emphasize quality teaching and colle-giality among faculty and students. The idea was to create a
comfortable community in which to teach and to learn. In
my 34 years, I have felt part of all of that and have enjoyed
almost every day at work,” lauds Professor Gordon.
And his commitment to personal improvement and the
“To keep your teaching fresh you have to keep learning,” explained Professor
betterment of faculty continued throughout his career at
the School of Law. “During my first few years at the School
of Law, I asked many questions of my more experienced
colleagues, sat in their classes, and watched what they
did,” he recalls. “I also had them sit in my classes and make
suggestions about how I could improve my teaching. Mentor-
ing new teachers was stressed when I began and it was very
Over the course of the past three and a half decades,
Professor Gordon quickly transitioned from mentee to
mentor, for both his students and the new crop of younger
professors who have come through the School of Law. The
impact he has made on his students and the School of Law
will be felt for years to come. ◆
James Gordon. “I think trying to be a good teacher starts with a commitment
to continue, yourself, as a serious student.”
LAST CLASS! Professor Bill Baker
Anyone who has taken one of Professor Bill Baker’s courses is familiar with how he opens each class meet-
ing: “Last class!” followed by a review of the previous lesson brings the bustling classroom to order. But this
spring it will be the last class for Professor Baker as he is retiring from teaching in the JD program after a
40-year run. He will continue to teach in the LLM in Estate Planning and Elder Law program.
One of the foremost experts in the country on issues of property, trusts, estates, and real estate law, Pro-
fessor Baker started teaching at the School of Law in 1975. He taught courses in those subjects as well as in
our well-respected LLM program.
Professor Baker plans on playing golf daily at the Twin Eagles Country Club near his home in Naples, FL.
“I give my best wishes to the students, staff, and faculty at Western New England,” he says.
The only thing larger than his vast knowledge of the subject matter is his personality that was unmatched
by anyone else on the faculty and will be impossible to replace.