By Kristin MacDougall
On October 26th, 2011, Matt Stein, Janie Crocco, Randall Blowers, Chris Potts, Lori Cooper, Brendan Kelley, and myself embarked on our trip to London to be part of a University of Connecticut School of Law Alumni Reunion.
The first night, the seven of us were too excited to stay in (although some of us succumbed to jetlag and slept most of the day-me), and decided to explore London’s famous pub scene in the Russell Square neighborhood. I had a very hard time believing that the day before I had been in Biz Org class, and now was drinking wine at charming little pubs in an entirely different country. Our first official alumni event was Saturday morning, where we were given the chance to tour the famous “Inns of Court,” specifically the Temple Inn, where barristers come from all around the globe to be trained in the British legal system. I think the seven of us were pretty amazed to learn how the Knights Templar had established the Inn, and we even got to tour a small Templar church that was almost a century old (can’t find this in America!). After this, most of us indulged in the traditional fish and chips at the Inn cafeteria, while Barristers and Barristers-in-training below chatted.
Fast forward a few hours, and we were at a panel discussion by J.D. graduates Clifford Hendel ‘83, and Sophie van Til Leedham ’95, and L.L.M. graduate Sarah Wilkens ‘01. For us who are still students, it was nice to hear how different a person’s career can be after they leave UConn. I can only hope that I will be in a similar place to any of the three panelists once I have my law degree in hand. After the panel, we were able to meet all the former L.L.M. students for dinner. These former UConn students came all the way from Kazakhstan, Germany, and the Netherlands to be part of this Alumni event.
Saturday night, the seven of us made our way to London’s famous SOHO neighborhood to take part in the nightlife of Halloween weekend. Instead of focusing on pubs, we really experienced what London had to offer for a club scene, and found ourselves dancing until the wee hours of London’s daylight savings weekend.
Sunday finally arrived, and we fully took advantage of our free day to see the tourist sites. First we walked again through Hyde Park, and made our way to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey (after mistakenly thinking the Parliament Building was the Abbey). After exploring West London, we made our way over to the Tower of London, to see the original “City of London” which is the oldest part of the city. Although we missed a formal tour of the Tower, it was amazing to see the fort and Tower Bridge lit up at night, and we got some great photo opportunities. Since we were hungry at this point, we made our way to Leadenhall Market to find some traditional English dinners. Although the market was abandoned since it was Sunday, it was exciting to see the actual place where the Harry Potter movies shot their footage for “Diagon Alley.”
When the sight-seeing day was over, I think we realized that our long weekend in London was coming to an end. For me the experience was amazing, exciting, and extremely enriching. The next morning, I think we were all a little sad to step back on the Heathrow Connect in order to get back to Boston.