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.