There's a new dean at Western New England School of Law, meaning that on July 1 three of the region's law schools had new people move into the top jobs.

Eric J. Gouvin has spent more than two decades on the faculty and staff of Western New England, a nearly 600-student law school in Springfield, Mass., that's a frequent landing spot for aspiring attorneys from Connecticut.

Gouvin previously served as Associate Dean for External Affairs and as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Before assuming the dean's post, he was a law professor and director of the school's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which serves as a catalyst for small business development in the region.

As is the norm in law school education these days, Gouvin said that law school education should include more practical learning experiences to ready graduates for the job market.

"Law practice today is evolving rapidly and law schools need to change, too," Gouvin said in a prepared statement. "Western New England University School of Law has always had a student focus, and I want to redouble that. I want us to be always reminding ourselves that what we're offering, what we're teaching, and how we're teaching it is geared toward the students — and geared toward the students becoming not just scholars but legal professionals."

He said the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship should be "a model" for how the law school might work.

"In the center," he said, "we forged ties to many community groups across the Pioneer Valley [of Massachusetts], involved expertise across the university campus, found opportunities for meaningful involvement by the bar and other professionals, and delivered a quality experience for the students. I'd like to take that approach in the School of Law generally."

July 1 was a big date for the changing of the guard in the region's law schools.

Timothy Fisher, the former McCarter & English partner, officially stepped into the dean's job at the University of Connecticut School of Law. In Hamden, Jennifer Gerarda Brown, the longtime director of Quinnipiac School of Law's Center on Dispute Resolution, became took over the top spot.

Former UConn Dean Jeremy Paul now holds the same job at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. Former Quinnipiac Dean Brad Saxton is returning to the classroom full time. The same goes for Arthur Gaudio, who was dean at Western New England School of Law for a dozen years.

Gouvin earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, a master's degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and JD and L.L.M. degrees from the Boston University School of Law.

His scholarly writings cover a range of financial topics including entrepreneurial policy, corporate law, banking and international issues. He has taught internationally at the Universite Paris La Defense, Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania, and at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongquing, China as a Fulbright specialist.