UConn Law Alums Making a Difference

By Jason Paul

This law school’s many accomplished graduates often grace the pages of our magazine and the pixels of our website: a Senator; a Congressman; judges; general counsels; managing partners; prosecutors; public defenders; and leaders offering free legal services to those in need. Such graduates prove that you can do almost anything coming out of UConn Law School. Today’s students should know that the beat goes on. We can’t survey the entire next generation of UConn leaders. But here are three impressive graduates who deserve notice as rising stars, doing good things for people.

Fallon DePina Banks
Ms. DePina Banks ‘08 is off to an exciting start as an associate at the New Haven law firm, Wiggin and Dana. Her sophisticated work involves international trade regulations, export controls, and national security issues. She has already been chosen to serve on her firm’s executive liaison committee and its hiring committee.

What gets our attention is her willingness to go above and beyond to serve her community, a pattern she began when serving as President of the SBA and Administrative Editor of the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal during her student days. Now, Ms. DePina is President of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, a powerful Connecticut voice for African American attorneys. At Crawford, she has played a lead role in raising funds for a scholarship here at the law school. She also serves on the New Haven Free Public Library Board of Directors. Given her demonstrated leadership, Ms. DePina’s best days clearly lie ahead.

David Alexander
Representative Alexander ‘06 chose to follow a family tradition by joining the United States Marines right after law school. Upon completing military service, David returned to his hometown of Enfield, where in 2011 he began working on behalf of candidates for the local board of education. This campaign taught him that his incumbent state representative was, in many ways, part of Enfield’s problem. He took the bold step of challenging her in a primary in 2012. Due to his hard work and his focus on what matters to the town, he ended up winning both the primary and the general election by healthy margins. Since getting to the legislature, David has been a tireless voice for young veterans and an advocate for expanding rail service with a stop in Enfield. He also guided an idea from the Marine Corps about proper gun storage into legislation as part of Connecticut’s recently passed gun control law. Expect David to be a rising legislative star.

Christine Cimini
Professor Cimini ’92 is a leading light in the world of clinical legal education. Recruited from the University of Denver to Vermont Law School in 2011, she now directs Vermont’s Semester in Practice and Externship Programs. Professor Cimini has excelled in all aspects of academic and professional service. Her scholarship includes articles, in both the Stanford and Vanderbilt Law Reviews, discussing the legal struggles of undocumented workers and a penetrating three-part series in important scholarly venues on welfare reform and due process. In 2002, she and her Denver students were awarded the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) award for Excellence in a Public Service Project for their work on predatory lending. She is also nationally active, having served in key positions in leading clinical legal education organizations. Her work is focused on helping people who most need it. It is great to have her back in New England, where we hope our law school can learn from her terrific example.

Welcome from the Student Bar Association

To the Incoming Classes of 2016 and 2017:


On behalf of the Student Bar Association, and as a representative of the student body, I would like to welcome you to UConn Law! We are excited that you are joining us here in Hartford and are looking forward to meeting all of you over the coming weeks!

Over your next three (or four) years here in the West End, much will be asked of you academically, personally, and professionally. Despite the busy adventure you are about to begin, there is so much you will gain from your experience here at UConn Law. I encourage you to engage in the many academic and professional opportunities the Law School offers. There are countless opportunities to become involved in student groups, such as Moot Court Boart, Mock Trial Society, and PAD (to name only a few of the many student groups here on campus). There are also opportunities such as the Pro Bono Pledge Program designed to aid students in providing legal aid to those members of our community most in need. Participation in these activities will help you to make a positive impact on the community and our school, not to mention the personal sense of fulfillment from such a worthwhile cause.

The Student Bar Association is here to represent your interests to the law school administration, to foster a professional community, and to give you the opportunity to develop a network within the student community and Connecticut community. As you arrive for Orientation, members of the UConn Law student community will greet you, including members of the Student Bar Association. Please feel free to come to any of us with questions, concerns or thoughts as you move through the orientation process and begin to embark on this exciting time in your academic and professional career.

Until you get settled in, there are current students who will act as your representatives in the SBA. This fall after classes are underway and you have had a chance to digest everything you’ve learned at Orientation, the SBA will run elections for Student Representatives for the SBA. This election will give you one of the first opportunities to get involved in the law school and to help represent your fellow class members through the 2013-2014 school year. If you decide not to run for an elected position on the SBA Board, we hope that you will still attend and participate in many of the SBA events or join us at one of our bi-weekly meetings to share your ideas!

During your first week of classes, you will be invited to attend a student organization fair, where representatives from all of our different student organizations will meet and speak with you. These student representatives are there to recruit new members and to answer any questions you have. I invite you to get involved in the groups in which you are most interested.

I look forward to meeting you at Orientation, and please let me know if you have any questions or if the SBA can be of service to you. Again, welcome to UConn Law!


Jessica M. Signor, ‘14

President, Student Bar Association

A Guide to Hartford’s Pizza Scene

By Erin O’Dea

One year ago I moved out of New York state for the first time to attend the University of Connecticut. As a New Yorker, there is one thing I appreciate the state for most, other than bagels – pizza. Whether you are coming from a different state or familiar with the Hartford area, this is everything you need to know about pizza from someone who has been spoiled with only the best mozzarella, tomato and crust combinations. First of all, eat pizza every Friday. Pizza Fridays don’t just apply to Catholics during the lent season. Not only do you get to celebrate the week being over, but you don’t have to worry about dinner because all week you have been looking forward to the cheesy goodness that is pizza.

Hartford’s pizza scene does not disappoint:

Joey’s Pizza: not quite from the city streets of New York, but the most comparable in the area in relation to grease. The crust could sometimes be more on the soggy side than crispy, but overall it earns a 4.5/5. If you are lucky enough you will experience this pizza in the first few days at UConn, as it is a popular pick for the organized 1L events.
Angelina’s Pizza: The pizza at Angelina’s is mediocre at best, but for Connecticut, its something to look forward to in your Friday afternoon class. The wait is longer than most pizza places, so don’t go when you starving. 3/5.
Luna Pizza: Luna is on the outskirts of West Hartford Center. Although it serves pizza by the slice (a rarity at dinner time in the area – be prepared for personal pies at dinner time), its plain cheese slice is disappointing. Go for the specialty slices! 4/5.
Harry’s Pizza: Harry’s pizza is the king of this list. The grease, the crust, and the cheese ratios are exactly what pizza in Connecticut should be. It could even hold its own in Manhattan, but that doesn’t mean it would be the place of choice in New York. 5/5.
Wood-n-Tap: Don’t forget about restaurants when considering where to go on your newly appointed Pizza Fridays. The Wood-n-Tap serves a good personal pie, just be sure to ask for it well done to avoid the risk of soggy crust. 4.5/5.
Dino’s Pizzeria: Dino’s scores the lowest on the list thus far. However, it has the smallest personal pie for when you aren’t too hungry. The nicest old-school Italian family owns the place and is super welcoming. Keep in mind for when you are all by your lonesome on a Pizza Friday – you’ll be welcomed and handed a newspaper. 2.5/5
Prospect Pizza: Very low prices for the personal pie business unbeknownst to New Yorkers, but the pizza quality will not satiate your need for a pizza on Friday. 1/5.

Take a Break from Studying, Join a Student Organization

By Liz O’Donnell

By now many 1Ls have probably heard horror stories about countless hours in the library, nights without sleep, and insatiable coffee addictions. While claiming to have lived in the library may be an exaggeration, it is true that the first year of law school will be one of the most demanding years of one’s life. However, to break up the hours of reading and case briefing, many students choose to become involved with one of UConn law’s student organizations. Here’s a snapshot of some of the different clubs and ways in which 1Ls can get involved.

Student Bar Association (SBA)
SBA is the student government body of UConn Law. Each class year elects representatives to be members of the association. According to SBA President Jess Signor, the Student Bar Association is responsible for the management of a budget created from student activity fees, which is used to fund other student organizations, community activities, and promote the quality of student life on campus. SBA meetings are held every other Tuesday evening at 9:30. In addition to running for 1L representative when elections are held in the fall, 1Ls can also become involved with SBA by joining the Social Committee. The Social Committee helps plan social events for the entire school community, including the Fall Ball and Spring Fling.

Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International (PAD)
PAD is a professional law fraternity advancing integrity, compassion and courage through service to the student, the school, the profession and the community. According to Nicole Gehen, Justice of UConn Law’s Starr Chapter, one aspect of the Starr Chapter that demonstrates the sense of community and support between our members is the comprehensive outline bank. “Members are encouraged to donate their outlines they have created for any and all classes at UConn Law,” she said. 1Ls are encouraged to join PAD by participating in either its Fall or Spring initiation. Once a member, 1Ls can then join committees that help plan PAD’s events, such as St. PADdy’s Day, which is the fraternity’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day party.

Public Interest Law Group (PILG)
PILG provides students with Pro Bono opportunities to get involved off-campus, such as Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP), Domestic Assistance Clinic, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). In addition, PILG also hosts the annual PILG Auction l, which will be held this year on November 8th. President Allie Roisman said the auction raises grant funds that are distributed as fellowships among selected students who are employed in public interest positions over the summer. In addition to participating in some of the pro bono opportunities offered by the group, 1Ls can also help raise prizes and funds for the auction.

American Civil Liberties Union, UConn Law Chapter (ACLU)
UConn Law’s ACLU chapter is planning to partner with the Connecticut ACLU chapter this year to take on legislative research assignments and cases. While this opportunity will be primarily for upperclassmen, 1Ls with prior legal experience may be considered. In addition, President Lydia Ansari said 1Ls can also get involved by volunteering their time as pro bono translators.

These four clubs provide a small glimpse into the many student organizations UConn Law has to offer. To learn more about these clubs and others, 1Ls should attend the campus activities fair, which will be held Thursday, August 29 at 12:30.

What I Wish I Knew as a 1L

By Ivan Tereschenko

On behalf of our law school community, I would like to welcome the Class of 2016! Law school is unlike anything you have ever done before in your life.

On the road ahead, you should take advantage of every opportunity at the law school to gain legal knowledge and experience. While you will certainly be very busy with your studies, you should make the time to socialize and network. Networking will be very useful to you as you look for an internship placement next summer and later on, when you will be looking for a permanent job. Looking back, I wish I spent a little bit more time socializing and getting to know my classmates outside of class. It is an empty feeling when you have no one to ask for help or assist you in finding a job, even when you have excellent grades.

Perhaps the single most important piece of advice I can give you is that you must exercise effective time management early on in your law school career. Your time is the most precious commodity in law school, and you must use it productively to succeed. For example, between doing the reading, going to class, and working on my outlines, I found that I had very limited time to relax or even have time to grab something to eat! This is why it is a good idea to make a schedule of everything you will do during a day, and yes, this includes even scheduling a little time to relax and when you will eat.

Do not hesitate to ask the professors questions in class because it is very likely that other students have a similar question. If you find yourself confused about something discussed in class, you can always go to the professor’s office hours. The professors are usually available by appointment or during their office hours and will be glad to answer your questions. Way too many students shy away from going to office hours – only to their own detriment. I made important connections between cases and learned more about the law by going to my professors’ office hours than I would have mulling over the material on my own or in a study group.

On a last note, you should start working on your course outlines early on in the semester. Everything you do should be geared towards improving your grade on the final exams. That being said, you should start preparing your outlines two weeks to one month into the semester at the latest. You should also familiarize yourself with your professors’ old exams and sample answers. The best way of doing this is by finding your professors’ old exams in the library or on the law school’s website and practice taking them under the actual testing conditions. This way you will effectively prepare yourself, minimize the stress, and conserve valuable energy before your final exams. These are just some of the things that I wish I knew last year as a 1L!

Welcome to UConn Law! Best of luck to everyone in their 1L year! I look forward to seeing many of you on campus.