Phil Cleary


Philip Cleary

Professor / Dean Emeritus

Law School / Faculty




UMass School of Law 222


Southern New England School of LawLLD, (Hon. c.)
Boston College Law SchoolJD
Harvard UniversityAM
Boston CollegeAB


  • Torts, Advanced Torts, and Selected Issues in Massachusetts Tort Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Commercial Law
  • Payment Systems
  • Sales



A continuation of LAW 515, Torts I

A continuation of LAW 515, Torts I

A continuation of LAW 545, Civil Procedure I

A continuation of LAW 545, Civil Procedure I

Professional background

Professor Cleary is an honors graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was Revisions Editor of the UCC Reporter-Digest. He served as a law clerk to the Massachusetts Trial Court. He practiced law in Boston, primarily in civil litigation, and tried the first case in the country involving private employee drug testing. 

Professor Cleary is a member of the bars of Massachusetts, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the United States Tax Court. He has also served as an appellate attorney with the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Professor Cleary began teaching at the Southern New England School of Law as an adjunct professor in 1983 and was appointed to the full-time faculty in 1988. He was the first full-time dean of the law school and served in that position from 1988 to 1992.

During his tenure as dean, the school established the full-time day program and constructed its present facility.

Professor Cleary served as Associate Dean of UMass Law from 2011 to 2014.


Benevolent Maleficence: How a Well-Intentioned Legislature and a Deferential Court Combined to Stunt the Development of Massachusetts Product Liability Law, 8 U. Mass. L. Rev. 14 (2013)

Statutory Overkill: Why Section 3-420(a) of the Uniform Commercial Code May Not Really Mean What It Says about the Issuer’s Cause of Action for Conversion of a Negotiable Instrument, 39 U.C.C.L.J. 399 (2007)

The Crime of Shoplifting: Some Constitutional and Other Problems, 69 Mass. L. Rev. 20 (1984)

Private Employee Drug Testing: Some Common Law Theories of Recovery, a paper delivered at drug testing seminars sponsored by the Drug Policy Foundation, Washington, D.C., May 7, 1988