Vol. IX – Issue No. 1

 A Collaborative Space: Student Organization Center Set To Open 
By: Alex Cabeceiras

A new student organization center will be opening on the fourth floor of Thomas J. Meskill Law Library in room 413. The new space, which formerly housed UConn Law’s microfiche and microfilm collections, will now be used as a workspace for all student organizations on campus.

“The student organizations space came into being because we did not have space on campus to provide each student organization with an office,” said Jocelyn Kennedy, the Director for Library Services.

Kennedy, who helped over see the project, added that the new room opened because the Law School “did not have dedicated rooms available for student organizations to come together to meet, work, and store their materials.”

“The idea is that this is going to be a collaborative space,” said Jennifer Cerny, Assistant Director of Student Services. Cerny, who spearheaded the project, started by polling student leaders last spring and asking them what they wanted in the space.

The room is now made up of two round, boardroom-style tables, a lounge area, and a few desks. The back wall of the room is decorated with original student art, faculty photos, and there is a plan to hang up framed UConn Law t-shirts from years past. Upon entering the room, students will see a wood-carved sign made by Gary Mackiewicz, a facilities staff member, engraved with golden letters reading “UConn School of Law, Student Organization Center.” “It gives the feeling of a sort of college newspaper room,” said Cerny.
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“The room is designed with round tables, which I feel is an excellent mode of fostering informal and open dialogue during student group meetings,” said Sarah Polio, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Student Bar Association. “One ambition for this space is to facilitate collaboration and a sharing of ideas between student groups. The room is, in part, designed to encourage inter-group discussions and partnerships for the programming of campus events,” Polio continued.

Cerny hopes that the room will attract more students to join an organization. “The idea is to have students look in through [the student lounge in room 418] and say ‘that looks cool, maybe I’ll join an org.,’” said Cerny.

Putting the room together was a collaborative effort from the Law School’s different departments. “I.T. was a huge help and super generous in their donations,” Cerny said, pointing out the three LCD televisions that hang on the room’s wall and two movable computer stations equipped with cameras “so a member of an organization, or a guest speaker, can Skype into meetings,” Cerny added.

“Our student organizations bring members of the bar and judiciary to campus, they educate us all on a wide variety of topics and create lively discourse throughout campus,” said Kennedy, adding, “the student organization space will facilitate the development of programming on campus.”

Executive members of student organizations will have key access to the area and will be able to use the room at their leisure.

“This space is really for all of the student organizations to meet and to work collaboratively, particularly as they work to plan events, symposium and other activities on campus,” said Kennedy.

Student Services will be inviting members of organizations, faculty advisors, and alumni to tour the new space on October 9th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

UConn Law Welcomes Four New Professors for 2014–15

By: Brian Metter

Four new faces will be on campus this year. Here is a look at the new and visiting professors.

Tanja Bender

Hailing from Oegstgeest, the Netherlands, Professor Tanja Bender is fulfilling a long-time dream to teach for a year here in the United States. She was granted sabbatical from Leiden University to join us here at UConn Law for the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters. A graduate-turned-professor at Leiden, she is now a part-time faculty member there, in addition to her position as a tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Bender loves the variety she gets from practicing law while simultaneously working in academia.

If you want exposure to international law, Professor Bender recommends taking advantage of the partnership between UConn and Leiden University by studying a semester abroad there. If you do, expect to sit alongside a younger group of students; interestingly, students there typically go straight from high school to law school.

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In Professor Bender’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, playing squash and racquetball and looks forwards to cross country skiing this winter.

Jeremy McClane

Before becoming a full-time faculty member here at UConn Law, Professor Jeremy McClane traveled the world while specializing in business and corporate law. After attending Michigan State as an undergraduate, McClane was a Fulbright Scholar. As a Fulbright Scholar, McClane worked with members of the European Union in Eastern Europe transitioning from post-communist regimes to market-driven economies and assisted them with business formation and resource allocation. He has worked in Egypt in the exciting field of micro-finance, which entails lending small amounts of capital to entrepreneurs, and helped the country develop a more stable economic environment. McClane has also worked as in-house counsel for Goldman Sachs and in the London office of MFS Investment Management.

An alumnus of Harvard Law School, McClane went on to teach negotiations and dispute systems design as a faculty member there. He also taught at Penn Law School and Georgetown University Law Center prior to joining UConn Law and is ready to fully dedicate his efforts to academia.

Currently, McClane is teaching business organizations and secured transactions, and he will be teaching hedge fund regulation this coming spring. Also in the spring, he plans to serve on a panel hosted by the Corporate and Securities Law Society at the Law School.

Miguel de Figueiredo

As an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, Professor Miguel de Figueiredo studied history and Latin American studies. He received a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago before receiving a J.D. from Yale. De Figueiredo is currently seeking a Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley.

De Figueiredo’s focus is largely at the intersection of law and politics, however, he has a keen interest in economics as well. This semester de Figueiredo is teaching criminal law, where so far he has “been very impressed with his students.” He will be holding a seminar on accountability and compliance in criminal and international law this spring, as well as teaching criminal procedure.

In addition to cooking and listening to jazz and blues, Professor de Figueiredo is an avid cyclist and outdoorsman, having just returned from a trip to the White Mountains with his wife.

Kim Buchanan

Professor Kim Buchanan will be visiting UConn in the spring, teaching sexuality, gender and the law. She was unavailable for interview.

Fisher Comments On First Year As Dean, Announces Goals For Future

By: Nina Pelc-Faszcza

In the summer of 2013, the University of Connecticut School of Law community welcomed our current Dean, Timothy Fisher. Having previously been in private practice for thirty-five years, Dean Fisher brought with him a rare background and valuable perspective to UConn Law. Because of this experience, Dean Fisher is uniquely situated to aid UConn in the national effort towards increased “practical” legal education, and thereby boost UConn’s academic strength and national reputation. During his first year with UConn Law, Dean Fisher made great strides toward this goal. He plans to maintain that progress and success during the current academic year and in the future.

Last year, Dean Fisher gave three speeches focused on professional skill-building: “Twenty Ways to Get and Keep a Job,” “How to Get Your Second Job,” and “Crafting Your Elevator Speech.” These three talks were part of his efforts to encourage students to think about the transition from law student to legal professional, regardless of how close or far away one may be from that actual transition. As Dean Fisher commented, don’t wait until your first legal job, first round of On-Campus Interviews, or even passing the bar to start preparing yourself to be a professional. This includes you, 1Ls!

Now more so than ever, employers of every type and at every level are looking for job candidates that have both practical experience and professional skills in addition to strong academic credentials. Accordingly, Dean Fisher highlighted to the UConn Law community this past year that learning how to market yourself is important, and that it never hurts to listen to and think about job-related advice early on. Dean Fisher will potentially give these professional advice presentations again this year, so stay tuned for related announcements and be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

In addition to providing direct advice to our community, Dean Fisher spends a great deal of time building connections and maintaining relationships between UConn Law and legal entities, such as law firms and legal departments. Dean Fisher explained that out of these conversations, he has gained an understanding of the four most important characteristics that employers look for in a potential job candidate: strong writing skills, the ability to think creatively, practical lawyering skills, and professionalism. Dean Fisher wants employers to be confident in hiring UConn Law students, and he thus strives to ensure that the curriculum here at UConn Law offers students the opportunities to develop and hone these fundamental lawyering skills.

As one way to achieve that goal, Dean Fisher stated that he hopes to build new centers of academic excellence at UConn and strengthen those that are already established. For example, with energy and the environment becoming an increasingly important and popular area of study on a national and global scale, Dean Fisher hopes to expand our Center for Energy and Environmental Law. Additionally, he would like to establish a Center for Families, Children, and the Law to enhance the Law School’s contribution to this crucial area of the law in addition to the work done by our already outstanding Center for Children’s Advocacy. Not only would new and improved centers provide additional ways for students to get involved and strengthen their ability to practice law, but it would also strengthen UConn’s reputation by attracting top scholars and practitioners for on- and off-campus sponsored events, ranging from major conferences and symposiums to smaller scale speeches and roundtable discussions.

Dean Fisher’s ultimate goal is to see UConn Law grow and prosper. Dean Fisher commented that, more than anything else, he is particularly proud of UConn Law’s positive and encouraging culture. He noticed extremely quickly upon arriving to UConn’s campus that there is heightened energy and a great sense of community and cooperation here, all features that are unique, invaluable, and inspiring.

Dean Fisher proudly emphasized that enrollment this year at UConn Law increased, while enrollment at the majority of other law schools in the United States continued to decrease. There is a great sense of forward momentum here at UConn Law, and Dean Fisher has done and will continue to do his best to maintain our great strides forward in the realm of legal education.

Law School Launches Ignite: Student Organization Crowd funding Initiative

By: Madiha Malik

On October 19, 2014, the Law School will launch “UConn Law Ignite,” a fundraising campaign for student organizations hosted by the UConn Foundation. Ignite is a platform through which student organizations can use crowd funding to fundraise for desired programming and resources that will supplement SBA budget allocations.

According to Assistant Dean of Students Karen DeMeola, Ignite is an opportunity to counter-balance tightening budgets resulting from a reduction of student activity fees. UConn Law School Dean Timothy Fisher believes the program “provides a new vehicle by which students can design new projects and help prove their value by ‘voting’ with their donations,” and believes it is a representation of the Law School’s culture.

“Part of what makes UConn Law School stand out is the character of our community. Our students are engaged in supporting each other and our surrounding neighborhoods at a level rarely seen among law schools. We need to find ways to support this energy and commitment. In a time of tightening funding, creative ideas about fundraising are especially welcome,” said Fisher.

The campaign will allow selected student organizations to set an objective they would like to raise money for, such as an event or desired resource, which will be featured on the UConn Foundation’s crowdfunding website. Students will then solicit and raise money to meet the desired goal. According to Fisher, the Law School Foundation and the Law School Alumni Association are showing their support by matching contributions made by their board members.

“This is a good opportunity for students to take advantage of picking out a program or an activity that they’d like to see come to the institution and crowdfund for that,” said DeMeola.

In addition, weekly competitions will be held to encourage student groups to earn points through a variety of ways including making the best on campus marketing effort, soliciting the highest number of overall donors in a week, and bonus points for things like getting a gift from the Dean. At the end of the campaign, the top three groups will be awarded based on the total number of points accumulated throughout the competition. According to the UConn Foundation’s Director of Annual Giving, Karen LaMalva, first prize will be $3,500, second prize will be $1,000, and third prize will be $500.

Ignite aims to foster the idea of philanthropy and giving back to the Law School, encouraging student organizations to reach out to young alumni to donate to the respective campaigns because, according to DeMeola, “they have an idea of what additional money could have done for their groups.”

“Starting the idea of philanthropy while you’re in school is a really important piece to bring connection and engagement with the institution, other students, and young alums,” said DeMeola.

Tech Talk: Four Easy Steps to Successfully Scheduling Your Event

By: Jessica de Perio Wittman, Director for Information Technology

Confused about how to get your group’s event posted on the webse? Worried about setting up that guest speaker’s PowerPoint or Keynote presentation? Don’t worry, your Information Technology Services department is here to help you plan and make your event a success! Follow these 4 easy steps and you are on your way.

  • Read the Event Planning Guide and Secure a Room Reservation

The first step shouldn’t be the most difficult –read the Event Planning Guide online (http://www.law.uconn.edu/portal/students/student-life/events/event-planning) and secure your room reservation by filling out this form: https://law.mhsoftware.com/EditItem.html. Confirm your room reservation early!

  • Get Your Event Posted on the Website

Now let’s tell the world about your event! After securing your room reservation, simply fill in the information requested at http://law.uconn.edu/request-listing-law-school-events-calendar and we will give your event its very own listing on the Law School’s event calendar.

  • Set Up an RSVP

Need to know how many people to buy pizza for? Want to find out your guest list while simultaneously advertising your event? Set up an RSVP by filling out this form: https://www.law.uconn.edu/user/login?destination=/rsvp-request-form.

We can even have the results emailed directly to your student organization’s UConn email address. How cool is that?

  • Set Up an Appointment to Discuss Your Audiovisual Technology Needs

You are almost done! Are you bringing in a distinguished speaker or a panel? Or maybe you are showing a presentation in the Davis Courtroom? Want to record your event? The IT department can help!

Tell us what you want at http://law.uconn.edu/calendar/events/request-reservation-technology-event-class-or-meeting. We ask that you give us two weeks notice so that we can ensure equipment and staffing for your event. Don’t know what you need yet? Don’t worry! Contact the help desk and we can set up an appointment so that one of our staff can recommend technology for your event.

And just like that, you have set up all you need to prepare for and advertise your organization’s upcoming event! Still have questions? Just ask the Help Desk and we will be happy to answer them.

The Help Desk is open 7 days a week, and can be reached at (860) 570-5158 or by emailing law.helpdesk@uconn.edu.

Career Planning Center Moves, Set To Launch “Practitioner-in-Residence” Series

By: Adam Colorado

In a change from the previous school year, UConn Law’s Career Planning Center moved to the second floor of the Law Library. Previously located in Starr Hall, the Career Planning Center moved to its current location with the return of the Intellectual Property Clinic to the Law School campus. While the Career Planning Center is still working on the last stages of its relocation, the move has not prevented its counselors from guiding students.

“We’re here to help,” said Michele Hoff, the Associate Director of the Career Planning Center. An observation of the new location shows that this is true; students are utilizing the space for On-Campus Interviews and visits from Bar Associations, and there are future plans to use the additional space to host other professional events.

One of the new programs that the Career Planning Center’s staff is organizing is described as a “Practitioner-in-Residence.” This innovative program will involve a practicing attorney visiting the Career Planning Center and describing his or her experiences practicing law. Additionally, the visiting attorney will discuss how to manage and balance the practice of law with life in general. This will allow students to gain insight into the complete lifestyle of a practicing attorney.

Hoff hopes that the Practitioner-in-Residence program will benefit students not only academically but also from a career standpoint by building or adding to students’ networks and having professionals review students’ résumés. The Practitioner-in-Residence program is expected to be up and running by the Spring Semester at the latest.

Other notable changes include a search for a new Director of the Career Planning Center. While the counselors and staff from the previous year have remained, the search for a director continues.

There is also one administrative change. In previous semesters, the Career Planning Center reported to the Dean of Admissions but now it has moved to operating under the supervision of the Dean of Students. Hoff is hopeful that this transition will allow for more collaborative efforts with the Office of Student Services, in addition to having a more streamlined relationship. All of which, ultimately, is to benefit and greater assist students.

While 2L and 3L students are acquainted with the Career Planning Center, many 1L’s have not yet been familiarized. 1L’s will receive an introduction later this semester.

 Tech Talk: Tech Thursday Training Sessions

By: Jessica de Perio Wittman, Director for Information Technology

Lawyers are now expected to use basic law practice technology, such as word processing and spreadsheets, to complete commonly encountered legal tasks. Don’t think you’re that tech-savvy? Let the Information Technology Services department help you brush up on those skills.

First, get a head start by taking advantage of the free version of software like Microsoft Office and Windows at http://uconn.onthehub.com. Software is available for both Mac and PC platforms.

Next, sign up for one (or more!) of our FREE training sessions for students on some of our most commonly-used computer programs. Simply RSVP for the dates that you want to come (open to the first 60 students) and come over to Knight 215 on Thursdays from 12:45-1:45pm. We will even provide FREE guides in electronic format to each participant for future reference.

Just take a look at these different topics:

 DATE             TOPIC

Oct 2:               PowerPoint 1: Slides, Pictures, Layout, Design, Slideshow

Oct 9:               PowerPoint 2: Transitions, Animations, Multimedia, Timings

Oct 16:             Word 1: Formatting, Styles, Layouts, Mailings

Oct 23:             Word 2: Header & Footer, Table of Authorities, Footnotes, Symbols

Oct 30:             Excel 1: Cells, Navigation, Sorting, Filtering

Nov 6:              Excel 2: Formulas, Functions, Charts

Nov 13:            Publisher: Illustrations, Templates, Page Design

Nov 20:           PDF Tools: Creating PDFs, Editing, Comments

Whether you come to one session (or all of them!), don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Look for upcoming announcements in your email and on the website for the RSVP. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Student Organization Spotlight: Corporate and Securities Law Society

By Ashkon Roozbehani

UConn Law’s Corporate and Securities Law Society (CSLS), a student organization devoted to the practice of business and corporate law, promotes opportunities for students to learn about the field and speak with legal professionals. The group has several events planned for the academic year, all of which are designed to get students more comfortable with networking and gain a better picture of what it means to practice in a complex and prevalent area of law.

CSLS’s first event of the fall semester will feature Attorney Mary-Ellen Devlin, the Executive Director of Intellectual Property at Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation. Attorney Devlin will be sharing her experiences working as in-house counsel within the pharmaceutical/IP industry in an intimate lunch-and-learn format. CSLS also plans to sponsor a similar event in the spring that will host one of UConn Law’s newest faculty members, Professor Jeremy McClane.

“We do our best to get professionals from all aspects of corporate law so students can understand the breadth of the practice,” says CSLS president, Ashley Membrino. “Speakers are typically very candid about their work-life balance and are always willing to give advice to students.”

The organization’s flagship event, “Corporate Raw,” is held annually in the spring and invites a panel of corporate attorneys and professionals to discuss their experiences with students and answer questions. The word “Raw” in the title connotes that sushi is traditionally served at the event (indeed, the event is so popular that UConn Law’s Student Bar Association felt compelled to adopt express budget guidelines regarding the reimbursement of raw foods in response to it). Why sushi was chosen to be the hallmark is a mystery hidden within the legislative history of CSLS founders. However, what is certain is that Corporate Raw is an informative and worthwhile event that all members of the UConn Law community are encouraged to attend.

For more information on CSLS and how to join, contact Ashley Membrino at ashley.membrino@uconn.edu. You can also subscribe to their TWEN page. Keep an eye out for community emails.

Preview: Davis Mock Trial Competition

By: Julie Leighton

The Ninth Annual William R. Davis ‘55 Mock Trial competition is coming up with the problem release date set for October 11th. Davis is the Mock Trial Society’s annual intramural competition. The competition introduces participants to trial advocacy, litigation, and evidence procedure.

While entry has already closed, interested first year students can still serve as witnesses and compete next fall. Davis is open to any student who has not previously completed Evidence or advanced past the preliminary rounds in a Davis competition. Participation looks great on a resume and will expose students to practical skills that they may not otherwise encounter early in their legal career.

Joe Brown, the coordinator of the event, describes it as “an outstanding opportunity for students to complement their challenging workload with a practical, fun experience.”

mock trial

Photo by Bianca Slota

Davis provides students an opportunity to begin learning trial advocacy in a safe and collegial atmosphere. “With the legal industry’s growing emphasis on workplace preparation, it has become increasingly important for law students to actively engage in events like [Davis],” noted Brown.

The contest is a closed universe problem that will consist of a full trial. Teams will be assigned as either the plaintiff or defense and will maintain that role throughout the tournament. Within the team, one member will be responsible for the opening statement and the second for the closing statement. During the trial, each participant will conduct one direct and one cross-examination per round.

Mock Trial President Laura Ann Keller and Vice President Carl Schoenherr had never previously competed in a mock trial competition before winning the competition in 2012.

“Davis was the best introduction to litigation that I could have received in Law School,” stated Keller.

The preliminaries are judged by UConn Mock Trial Society members and the quarter and semifinals are judged by local practitioners. The competition itself lasts roughly ten days and concludes with finalists conducting a full trial before sitting judges from Connecticut and federal courts. This year’s panel of judges consists of the Honorable Jose A. Suarez ‘93, the Honorable Michael R. Sheldon, and the Honorable Christopher F. Droney ’79. The Davis finals will take place on Thursday, October 30th in the William R. Davis ‘55 Courtroom following a dinner reception in the Starr Reading Room.

Interested in volunteering as a witness? Contact Brown at 2014DavisUConn@gmail.com.

Incoming Students Assigned Faculty Advisors

By: Jaime Welsh

In her new role as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Darcy Kirk brought back an old program to the Law School. This fall, all new first year, transfer, and L.L.M. students were assigned a faculty advisor. Each faculty member who is on campus for the full academic year was randomly assigned a group of approximately five students.

The advisor program was established to “give the students somebody to go to in the beginning who is a faculty member,” said Kirk. In past years, students had been assigned faculty advisors but the program fell out of use due to some belief that it was not useful. Dean Kirk brought it back in hopes that it would prove beneficial for some students.

The advisor program gives students one additional faculty member to ask questions of, discuss issues with, and possibly form a long-term relationship with. It kicked off with an advisor-advisee luncheon during the new student orientation and further events will be held throughout the year.

Advisors are “encourage[d] to meet with their advisees, follow up, and see how they are doing,” said Kirk.

Upcoming programs will not be limited to new students, either. All UConn Law students are invited to attend two faculty–student breakfasts this fall. They will take place in the Law Library foyer from 8:30am to 9:30am on Wednesday, October 8th and Wednesday, November 12th. The first breakfast is scheduled to take place approximately two weeks prior to spring semester course selection. This is a timely opportunity for students to speak with faculty members about what they are teaching and to solicit advise in choosing courses.

Kirk explained that one of her goals as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is to encourage more relaxed interaction between the faculty and students. Assigning new students faculty advisors is just one step towards that larger goal.

Diary of a 3L – ‘Tis the Season to Quit Law School

By: Sarah Ricciardi

Being a law student in the fall is like being lactose intolerant at a Dairy Queen. Think about it. Fall is the most awesome season. There’s football, apple picking, football, pumpkin carving, football, Oktoberfesting, haunted-housing, football, tailgating (because of the football), trick-or-treating, football, World Series watching, Big E-ing, and football.

But do law students get to enjoy any of that? Of course not. Instead, we are spending endless hours in the basement of the library, desperately trying to not fail our tax midterms. Okay, who are we kidding? What are we really doing in the library? We’re catching up on all the ridiculous fall TV that we miss every week because of $#%&ing night classes, which are obviously during primetime. “The Walking Dead,” “Scandal,” “American Horror Story,” “The Voice,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Good Wife!” ¾ I am pretty sure the cable networks are really in the business of torturing law students. You might as well lock me in a room and blast Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” for three hours.

Sitting in class from 6:30 to 9:30 is cruel and unusual punishment in clear violation of the Eighth Amendment. How am I supposed to pay attention to the intricacies of “annuities” and “appreciated property” when Olivia Pope’s mom is about to blow up the White House?

The fall also brings mouth-watering baked goods and intoxicating libations. But do we, as law students, get to devour the apple cider donuts and hot toddies? Sure, we do. But in exchange for the pecan pies and Märzen, we end up fat and poor. Despite fall being the absolute perfect season to spend time outdoors, law students don’t go running or hiking or climbing. They don’t even rake leaves! They can’t. They are just too darn busy studying case law from 1892. So what if you gain 18 pounds in two months and can’t pay rent in December because you spent all your loan money on pumpkin spice lattes? Obviously, getting a B+ in Legal Profession is SO much more important. I’m so glad I have my priorities straight.

The truth is, fall is the best time to quit law school. Just make sure you have a really good explanation for the grandparents at Thanksgiving. No one likes seeing old people cry.