Getting to Know Hartford, Connecticut

by Erin O’Dea

As the city boasts, “Hartford Has It!” This silly slogan perfectly describes the Hartford area. As a New York resident, I had no idea what was in store for me when I moved to Hartford as a 1L. After two years of living in and becoming familiar with the area, I can confidently provide a list of all of the important places you need to know about to make the most of your Hart- ford experience.

For the socialite: you can always find a good crowd on McLadden’s in West Hartford Center any night of the week. Also, the Half-Door is a UConn Law tradition. Right down the street from the law school, it often hosts trivia nights and music. Wednesday is $2 Irish Draft night – always a hit with the financially struggling law students in the area. In general, West Hartford Center has a ton of great places to out with your new classmates, including Bar Taco and The Elbow Room. Also, give the Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan a shot when you are not in the mood for a crowded bar. If you are looking to watch a game, head to Damon’s Tavern.

For the foodie: You can get a decent meal at most of the restaurants in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square – just make sure you are in your price range ahead of time. Downtown Hartford has a good selection too. Explore the restaurants in the area at your discretion. There are a lot of options for every food mood. One thing all foodies do agree on is dessert: AC Peterson’s will fulfill all of your ice cream sundae dreams. Bonus: On top of a good sports bar experience, Damon’s serves really good bar food.

For the athlete: The area has gyms for every budget. Students frequent Wow Workout World for an incredibly fair monthly price. Anytime Fitness in Bishop’s Corner is open 24 hours a day – great for your busy schedule. There is also a NYSC in Blue Back Square if you are interested in an indoor swimming pool – and have a few extra bucks. The JCC in Bloomfield is also a popular option among students.

For the yogi: West Hart- ford Yoga and Downtown Yoga have plenty of classes throughout the day to accommodate your schedule. Anytime Fitness and NYSC also offer yoga classes as part of their membership plans. LuLu Lemon in West Hartford Center provides complimentary yoga on Sundays at 10 a.m.

For the local: If you live or work near the law school, there are some amazing resources within walking distance. Tangiers International Food Market is about a 6-minute walk. It serves the best gyros in the area – a perfect quick lunch spot. Next door is a FedEx Kinkos for all of your copying and printing needs. And Tisane Café serves delicious coffee and pastries and is located just minutes from UConn Law.

Obviously, make time for as many UConn sporting events as you can – especially at the XL Center down- town. You are a Husky now! Take advantage of your time in Hartford. It is a great place and has the benefits of both the suburbs and an urban center.

 

Sneak Peek: Getting Involved at UConn Law

by Jaime Welsh

 

Student organizations are an excel- lent way to meet your peers and get involved with an activity that interests you. UConn Law’s student organizations range from affinity groups to those that are more academically focused. Here is a brief glimpse of some of the student organizations on campus.

Public Interest Law Group

The Public Interest Law Group (PILG) is one of the largest and most involved student organizations at UConn Law. In addition to running and organizing the PILG Auction, which provides fellowships to law students who take summer public interest positions, PILG coordinates most of the pro bono opportunities on campus. There are numerous pro bono programs and the time commitments vary from one or two days a year, to once or twice per week.

For a minimal time commitment, law students should consider volunteering at the Keep the Power On Clinic. The Keep the Power On Clinic occurs twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, and it allows students to work with primarily low-income individuals who have trouble paying their utility bills. Student help clients prepare bud- gets, make recommendations on how to cut expenses, and advise on avail- able aid programs. Students then advocate on behalf of their clients to the utility companies and mediate a payment plan.

For a moderate time commitment, the Truancy Intervention Project is a great opportunity for a law student interested in child advocacy. Under the Truancy Intervention Project, law students are paired with a truant middle school student in the New Britain public school system. Law student volunteers accept a yearlong commitment to mentor their student and work to re- solve the underlying issues behind the student’s truancy.

“Not only is it an incredibly reward- ing working with and advocating for school age children, but it is also an excellent way to meet other attorneys and members of the Connecticut legal community,” said UConn Law student participant Nicole Gehen.

RACE ipsa

RACE ipsa is a new student organization and anyone interested is encouraged to join. “All skill levels are welcome, and the more the merrier,” said RACE ipsa Vice Pres
ident Laura Ann Keller.

RACE ipsa members participate in fun runs, obstacle races, and standard road races. On Thursday, 
August 21st, RACE ipsa members ran in the Hartford Riverfront Scramble, which was a “whacky” 5k course that brought participants through wet sand, rocky hills, river crossings, and grassy knolls, according to the Hartford Marathon website. The Hartford Riverfront Scramble was RACE ipsa’s first official run as a team.

“It’s a great way to blow off steam after a long day of studying,” notes Keller. Perks of joining RACE ipsa include group discount codes for local races and networking opportunities with local lawyers. If you are interested in getting further information, email them at raceipsa.uconn@ gmail.com.         

Lambda Law Society

The Lambda Law Society has a three-pronged mission that focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. It aims to: develop awareness of the challenges facing LGBT individuals and communities through aca- demic events, advocacy, and outreach; provide a support network and rep- resent the interests of LGBT students on campus; and work to eliminate all forms of discrimination for the LGBT community.

off steam after a long day of studying,” notes Keller. Perks of joining RACE ipsa include group discount codes for local races and networking oppor- tunities with local lawyers. If you are interested in getting

Some of the Lambda Law Society’s past events include an ice cream so- cial in honor of National Coming Out Week, participation in UConn Law’s Diversity Week, and co-sponsoring a fall symposium analyzing the legal landscape after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor.

Fall Preview: UConn Law to Host Several Events in 2014

by Nina Pelc-Faszcza

Welcome to UConn Law! UConn is an extremely vibrant and involved community, with dozens of student organizations that host fun and informative events on campus all year round. There will be a Student Organization Fair on Thursday August 28th at 12:30pm, where you will get a chance to walk around and talk to the executive board members of each and every group on campus, collect in- formation about the group and how to join, and make connections with other students.

To start the year off right, here are some details of upcoming events that you can look forward to. Look out for emails throughout the semester regard- ing numerous other events that will be taking place on campus and check Pro Se online for updates.

Women Law Students’ Association 1L Mentor Meet-and-Greet

The Women Law Students’ Association (WLSA) at UConn Law is dedicated to raising awareness on campus of gender-related issues in the legal community. All students, regardless of gender, are encouraged to get involved and attend WLSA meetings and events.

One of WLSA’s biggest endeavors each year is the 1L Mentor Program, which you should have received an e-mail about this past month. Each interested 1L student is paired with an upperclassman mentor with similar interests. These mentors are available to you at any time to provide advice about and guidance through your first year of law school and to also be there for you as a friend, contact, and familiar face. Remember, you do not need to be a WLSA member to participate in the 1L Mentor Program.

 The Mentor and Mentee Meet-and- Greet will take place this year on August 28th at 5pm in the Starr Reading Room in Starr Hall. At the Meet-and- Greet, 1Ls will have the chance to meet with their upperclassman mentor and discuss what to expect in the first year of law school while enjoying snacks and refreshments. For those of you who did not sign up this summer but would still like a mentor, it’s not too late! Simply attend the Meet-and Greet and unpaired students will be assigned a mentor on the spot. Please also feel free to email the WLSA executive board at WLSA@ uconn.edu to express your interest in a mentor, or with any questions at all that you may have about the group.

In addition to the 1L Mentor Program, WLSA will be having frequent brown bag lunches this semester and throughout the year to encourage discussions and dialogue on gender- related issues and to provide a forum for discussions about law school in general. WLSA’s first general body meeting for those interested in joining (women and men are welcome!) will be on Monday September 8th at 12:30pm in Chase 110.

Litigation Night

As a UConn Law student, mock trial and moot court are excellent ways to gain experience with different areas of litigation and practice your litigation skills. The UConn Mock Trial Society organizes a voluntary mock trial com- petition each fall on campus, which lets students try their hand at direct and cross examination of witnesses and making opening or closing statements. Likewise, the Connecticut Moot Court Board will be offering a competition open to 1Ls (day division only) in the spring, which provides you with the opportunity to practice the appellate oral argument skills that you will learn during the required Moot Court course in January (evening division students will take this course in June).

In order to get a sneak peek of what it may be like to participate in Mock Trial or Moot Court competitions (as well as your Moot Court course in January), come to Litigation Night on October 1st, an annual event at UConn that is jointly produced by the Moot Court Board and Mock Trial Society. Litigation Night not only provides students with a delicious dinner, but also with a great preview of UConn’s extracurricular litigation opportunities through student demonstrations of trial advocacy and appellate oral argument that are presided over by state and federal judges.

If you have any interest in mock trial, moot court, or litigation in general, it is highly encouraged that you attend Litigation Night. Nothing will prepare you more to participate in the fall mock trial competition and to be a standout student in Moot Court in January. Additionally, although 1Ls are not able to compete in the fall moot court competition, all students are encouraged to attend the final oral arguments of the Hastie Moot Court competition on November 12th at 6pm. Additional information about mock trial and moot court competitions will be sent to you via email throughout the semester, so stay tuned! If you have any questions about Litigation Night, please feel free to contact Joe Gasser at joseph.gasser@ uconn.edu.

Public Interest Law Group Auction

The Public Interest Law Group (PILG) auction, one of UConn Law’s biggest annual events, will take place this year on Friday, November 7th in the Starr Reading Room in Starr Hall. The PILG auction is an annual event at the law school with the ultimate purpose to raise money to fund stipends for students who secure unpaid public interest internships during the summer. Students, faculty, and staff from campus and individuals from the outside community participate in the auction, donating items or services and bidding on both silent and live auction items. Last year, auction items ranged all the way from axe-throwing lessons, to gift cards and products from local businesses, to full vacation packages including discounts to Disney World, hotels, and mini golf. Other basic items included high-tech gizmos, boxes of tea, discounted BAR preparation courses, and a variety of study supplements and guides. All of these items are open for bid to any interested individual. PILG also hopes to continue the tradition of auctioning off prime donations from some of UConn’s beloved professors, who in years past have donated their time for dinner with students or even a fun day of ice-skating.

Although only upperclassmen may participate in running the auction, any student on campus can get involved through soliciting donations. Interested students will be provided with a list of businesses or individuals, who have donated in past years, to contact to initiate the donations. Students inclined towards public interest work should seriously consider getting involved by soliciting donations, since preferences for summer stipends are given to those who volunteer their time for the auction. If you have any questions about the auction or the Public Interest Law Group in general, please feel free to contact the PILG Auction Chairs any time at PILGauction@gmail.com.

 

Welcome from the Student Bar Association

Welcome incoming 1Ls! This fall, you are embarking on the journey that we call law school. The next three years promise to be some of the most enlightening and reward- ing years of your education to date. Law school and the legal profession provide an incredible opportunity to engage in study and work which is both fulfilling and pro- vides the opportunity to help others. On behalf of the Student Bar Association, the representative body for the student body at large, I want to welcome you to the law school community.

One of the hallmarks of UCONN Law is its collegial atmosphere. While each and every student at the law school faces their own individual challenges, rest assured that you will find a group of highly motivated students, talented faculty, and supportive administrative staff, which will all combine to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. Do not be afraid to take advantage of all of these resources throughout each of the successes and challenges you experience.

Law school is likely one of the most demanding experiences you have faced during your educational career and there will be challenges along the way. In an attempt to stay grounded, it is important to remember two things. First, everyone struggles at some point or another along the way. Second, and more importantly, only you control your own journey; that is, try to avoid the temptation of comparing and judging your- self against your peers. If you can focus on the things you need to do in order to find success, rather than what others do or say, you will ultimately be more successful.

Finally, know that the Student Bar Association, along with the dozens of other stu- dent organizations spanning almost every conceivable area of interest, are here to sup- port you. Again, welcome and enjoy the ride.

All the best,
Jim Anderson and the SBA E-Board

Diary of a 3L: What I Wish I Knew

By Sarah Ricciardi

You know the saying “time flies when you’re having fun?” Well, time also flies when you’re as busy as $&#%. With only a couple semesters left of my law school career, I thought I’d share some “pearls of wisdom” that might make your time at UConn Law go by a little smoother.

First, a few reassurances. All the talk of “Westlaw” and “Lexis” will become infinitely clearer over time, I promise. All you need to know now is that you’re going to love Westlaw and hate Lexis – just like everyone else. And “shepardizing” is not nearly as biblical – or horrible – as it sounds. And you will be told over and over again to “brief” cases for homework. It’s annoying and time-consuming. But you won’t have to do it forever. One day you’re going to wake up and some- one’s gonna ask you, “hey, did you brief the cases?” And you’re gonna be like, “Psssh no.” And you won’t even feel bad about it.

Establish relationships with your professors NOW. You’re going to need references eventually, and they will be that much more powerful if the professor knows more about you than that you sat in the back row and rarely brushed your hair.

The concept of “gunner” is going to become painfully obvious soon enough. For now, just do your best not to be one. That label will follow you all three years. Raise your hand if you know the answer or if you have a question. Don’t raise your hand to listen to your own voice. Everyone will hate you and you will find gum in your hair.

Truffles is our campus cafeteria. It’s in the basement of Hosmer Hall. Don’t be fooled by its location. It’s a great place to grab lunch, and the snicker- doodle cookies are awesome. But beware – it’s usually closed by 3pm. Eat early or go hungry.

Now, this might seem rather obvious, but I’m going to mention it any- way: Get. Good. Grades. 1L grades are the key to your 2L summer position. Your 2L summer position is the key to your post-graduate career. If you slack your 1L year, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle for the rest of law school. I’m not saying you have to be a brainiac. Just put forth your best effort. When that little voice in your head says “I’ll study later, I’d rather watch three episodes of ‘Bachelor in Paradise” make the grown up decision. Watch Law & Order instead.

Last but certainly not least – what- ever you do, avoid dalliances with classmates in your section. You will be spending A LOT of time with these people. And this is an incredibly small school. If you’re not willing to commit to abstention indefinitely, at least wait a few weeks. Get your seat assignments. No one wants to sit next to “last night’s drunken indiscretion” for 18 weeks.

I submit to you that, if you follow at least some of this advice, when you get to graduation you’ll be happier than a bedbug in a mattress store. Fact.