3 Years, 30 Headlines

by Thomas Dargon, Jr.

A lot has changed in the last three years.  Below is list of thirty things that happened since our 1L year.  Will you remember them ten years from now?

2011

8/23: Earthquake hits DC and causes extensive damage to Washington Monument.

9/11: On the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a memorial site opens at Ground Zero.

9/17: Occupy Wall Street protest begins in NYC’s Zuccotti Park.

9/20: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy ends: LGBT soldiers can now serve openly in the military.

10/5: Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, dies.

11/7: Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

11/9: Football legend, Joe Paterno, is fired from Penn State amidst the Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

12/5: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared an end to the Iraq War.

12/17: Kim Jong-un, 28, assumes office as the Supreme Leader of North Korea.

2012

2/6: Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 60th anniversary as British monarch.

5/18: Facebook IPO opens at $38/share.

8/4: Michael Phelps wins 22nd Olympic medal in London.

8/16: Ecuador grants political asylum to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

8/24: Lance Armstrong is stripped of 7 Tour de France titles and receives a lifetime ban from cycling.

9/17: Video footage of Mitt Romney’s “47 Percent” speech is released.

10/29: Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in New Jersey and causes $30 billion in damage.

2013

2/11: Pope Benedict XVI becomes the first to resign the papacy since 1415.

4/15: Two homemade bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

6/9: Edward Snowden reveals himself as the source of the leak of classified NSA documents.

6/26: In US v. Windsor, SCOTUS holds that DOMA’s interpretation of marriage is unconstitutional.

8/28: President Obama speaks at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

9/26: With 662 career saves, Mariano Rivera throws his last pitch at Yankee Stadium.

10/1: Federal government enters a 15-day shutdown on the same day that healthcare.gov launches.

11/7: Twitter goes public with an IPO of $26/share.

11/19: JP Morgan Chase agrees to pay $13 billion to settle claims stemming from the mortgage crisis.

11/27: An $18 billion merger between American Airlines and US Airways creates world’s largest airline.

12/5: Nelson Mandela, 95, dies at his home in Johannesburg.

2014

3/8: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears with 12 crew and 227 passengers.

4/30: Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at a record high of 16,580.84.

Poll: Class of 2014’s Preferences

by Martin Mack

Thanks everyone who participated in the survey for this Commencement Issue. The results are very interesting.

Highest responses: (Q1) Favorite Bar, Half Door (33%); (Q2) Post-Grad Destination, Hartford (37%); (Q3) Favorite 1L Class, Contracts (35%); (Q4) Favorite Professor, Kurlantzick (13%); (Q5) Place to eat, Truffles (22%); (Q6) Favorite Floor, Fifth (32%); (Q7) Favorite coffee, “don’t drink” (39%); (Q8) Won’t miss, Finals/Papers (27%); and (Q9) Favorite newspaper, Pro Se (100%).

1L Class & Library

With roughly a third of respondents choosing the Half Door, over one fifth choosing Truffles, and nearly 40% going on to work in Hartford, it is clear this 2014 graduating class whole-heartedly agrees with Stephen Stills and his 1970 folk anthem about love. I for one support these results, and will miss Hartford, the lovely ladies at Truffles, and the friendly service at Half Door.

There is no consensus as to a favorite professor, with love universally spread to almost the entire faculty (though Kurlantzick, Strasser, and Fernow had the largest fan-bases). Additionally, the verdict is out about the least desirable aspects of law school, with “Finals/Papers” winning at 27% and “OCI/Job Concerns” tying with  “Grades/B-Medians” at 25%.

The most surprising result of the survey is that almost 40% of respondents claim not to drink coffee. As one finds with graduate surveys, I expect that this number will change when the Pro Se follows up nine-months out.

Some statistics were as expected, with the regional reputation of the school confirmed: 84% of students will be staying in the CT, MA, & NY areas. Apparently I am the only student taking my talents to South Beach.

I’m not sure if the results of the question six reflect student aspirations for that top floor corner office, but the higher the floor of the library, the more students prefer it: over 60% of respondents choose the 4th or 5th floors. Only three students chose the 1st floor, which is probably how it stays so quiet.

And finally, 100% of respondents confirmed what we already knew: Pro Se is your favorite UConn Law Newspaper. So thanks again for that as well!

bar-dest-leastfav

Judicial Clerkships: Popular Among 2014 Graduates

by Jaime Welsh

UConn Law graduates have been successful in securing clerkships despite the recent downturn in the legal market.

 The majority of UConn Law gradates clerk for local state courts, which offers graduates an inside perspective on how judges make decisions, participate in the judicial process, and learn the law from inside a courtroom.  An individual serving as a clerk will typically work a one-year term assigned to either a specific judge or justice, or the entire court.

Thus far, students have secured positions to clerk in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia state courts, as well as Connecticut and New Jersey district courts. Michele Hoff from the Career Planning Center said that some clerkship applications are still pending and so the number of students who have secured clerkships for the 2014-2015 term is only tentative.

This year, the Connecticut Appellate Court hired twelve UConn Law graduates to fill sixteen of its open positions (not all twelve are from the current class of 2014).  And two 2014 graduates will clerk in the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Hoff was unable to give numbers for students clerking at the Connecticut trial courts, as the Career Planning Center was still waiting for final numbers and a more robust response from graduates in reporting their employment plans. Historically, there have been an average of four to five opportunities in Connecticut trial courts and some offers have been extended after graduation, Hoff said.

As for Article Three federal courts, two 2014 graduates will be clerking at the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, and one 2014 graduate will be clerking at the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.  Only two of these clerkships will begin in the immediate 2014–2015 term, however.

As for how these numbers compare to recent years, Hoff stated that she thinks we will “see the percentage [of students securing clerkships] go up. She qualified that this “doesn’t necessarily mean more than two or three more bodies” securing clerkships due to class sizes getting smaller.  However, Hoff stated that her “sense is that overall we’re going to have higher number of students” in clerkships than in recent years past.

The Law School’s Graduate Report for the Class of 2013 states that 10.5 percent of graduates were employed in a judicial clerkship, and the Graduate Report for the Class of 2012 states that 8.3 percent of graduates were employed in a judicial clerkship.

“Hopefully the trend [upwards] will continue,” said Hoff.

Op-Ed: A Reflection on Law School

by Jessica Signor
Outgoing Student Bar Association President
photo via law.uconn.edu

photo via law.uconn.edu

Simply put, law school teaches you about the law.  It teaches you how to formulate legal arguments by utilizing the legal principles you’ve already learned.  Law professors instruct you on how to write legal memos, how to interview clients, and how to brief a case.  However, law school does not teach you about the single greatest asset you need to be a lawyer.

Being a good lawyer means understanding and practicing self-reflection of your experiences and abilities. Being a good lawyer means being able to evaluate yourself with the same critical eye that you would the legal merits of any case.  Looking back on my time in law school and my growth since arriving on campus, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons and would like to share them.

First, and most importantly, Elle Woods’ Dad was wrong.  Law school is not for people who are “boring and ugly and serious.”  UConn Law is an institution filled with some of the most accomplished, intelligent, and motivated people I have ever encountered.  Many classmates manage full time jobs, spouses, children, and multiple classes each semester.  Another added bonus at UConn Law has been the innate beauty of my classmates.  Not only are we a particularly good-looking campus (I mean, all you really need is a mirror to confirm this fact), but I’m constantly reminded of the kindness of my peers.  Whether it’s taking the time to send a friend their outline for Legal Profession, chipping in to help with an Admissions Open House on a Saturday morning, or helping your friends learn Constitutional Law before an exam, my peers are sincerely wonderful people.

Second, law school teaches you a lot about yourself and life generally.  We all came to law school as an accomplished group.  Regardless of where we came from, we were all used to being “the best” at what we did.  Whether it was being the kid with the best book report in fifth grade or an important decision maker on the front lines of Fallujah, we all worked hard to get to UConn Law.  However, law school taught us that we all couldn’t be “the best.”  This information was tough for me to swallow and resulted in lots of tears.  Once I got over the tears, I started to realize that my tears didn’t make me weak or less able to accomplish my goals; it just meant that I was admitting that I was human, and not a machine.

Third, being involved in the community of a law school is essential to your success in law school and beyond.  Involving yourself in the life and community of a law school provides you with invaluable connections with your professors, administrators, and peers.  Having a focus on your community is good because your classmates are going to be your colleagues.  They will also be your adversaries in court.  So, it’s essential not to upset them during law school with any gunner tendencies you may have and to make sure you do the same.

Fourth, and finally, maintaining your relationships outside of law school is essential to helping you keep perspective.  Having friends and family who have no idea what the acronyms SBA, IRAC, and OCI stand for is crucial for your survival in law school. They help keep us grounded in the reality that even without these feathers in our caps, we’ve already done a lot just by earning our J.D.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, and as Elle Woods said at the end of Legally Blonde, “We did it!”

Op-Ed: Looking Back on an International Education

by Victoria Rowley

As the academic year draws to a close, many of UConn Law’s international students are preparing to return to their home countries having successfully completed a study abroad program. In anticipation of the end of the semester, I spoke to a number of international students who reflected on the many positive and valuable experiences they have had over the past ten months.

A fundamental part of studying abroad is being exposed to a new academic curriculum and learning environment. For some international students, the American legal system has many similarities to the legal system in their home country, but for others the American common law is drastically different from the system they are accustomed to. Admittedly this can be one of the main challenges facing international students but the benefits of studying in a country with another legal system cannot be stressed enough.

Rojia Afshar, an LLM student from Iran who is graduating this May, commented that “shifting from a civil law system to a common law system was as challenging as moving from east to west! However, I’m very happy and proud to have taken the challenge. It is in experiencing different conditions, systems and lifestyles that one grows”.

Regardless of whether a student is from a civil or common law background, the unique style of teaching in American Law Schools is often a brand new experience for international students. I never knew what it meant to be “on call” before taking my seat in my first ever UConn Law School class and although traumatic at times, I appreciate the benefits the teaching system has given me – confidence to present my own opinions and a marked improvement in my ability to think on my feet and express myself in a coherent manner.

Mercè Maresma, on exchange from Barcelona, expresses a similar view on UConn Law’s teaching style, although “very different from that at my home university, the teaching style is highly beneficial for improving skills that will be useful for my future career as a lawyer”.

As much as the focus is on academic learning, studying abroad cannot be underestimated for presenting international students with a range of extracurricular opportunities. International students at UConn Law are encouraged from the outset to get involved in events hosted both within the law school and outside of it.

Tori Cure, an exchange student from the UK, took part in UConn Law’s Community Day during orientation and also attended the International Law Weekend at Fordham University in New York.

Studying abroad is a unique opportunity and it is difficult to sum up an entire year’s worth of experiences in one article. However, as a famous author once said, “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too”. This certainly holds true for my year abroad experience and I am confident to say that it holds true for all those international students completing their study abroad programs at UConn Law. Yet as one group of international students depart, another arrives and I pass the baton to a new group of exchange and LLMs who I hope enjoy their year abroad experience as much as I did.