An Introduction to Law Library Services

by Patrick Butler, Electronic Resources and Reference Librarian

What do you need to know about the law library as a 1L? First of all, law school is different from your undergrad years. Being a lawyer requires the ability to research, write, and think creatively. The library is where the research takes place. Today, many resources are online (although not everything!), so much of the library may be accessed through your computer from home on your couch.

The library will offer learning opportunities throughout the semester. We want to help you become better, more efficient and effective researchers, so please stop by! Even when you are not physically in the library, the library staff is still available for help to conduct research. If you don’t know where to start, or how to use a particular database, the library staff is here to help. You can contact a reference librarian via the Law Library’s website, either by live chat, email, text messaging, or phone.

Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and WestlawNext

As a 1L, you should have already received your Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and WestlawNext account information. If you did not, please send an email to refdesk.lawlib@uconn.edu. These are the major legal databases used in practice, and you will use them in your first semester of Lawyering Process and all throughout your time here at UConn Law as well. As a student, you have unlimited access to all of them. It is important that you learn to use them efficiently in your time here. While these databases are fantastic resources for legal research, they are not comprehensive. There are many more resources available, and the librarians can help direct you to the best ones for your research needs.

As you may have already figured out, most professors use TWEN to post course materials, create assignments, and communicate with students. TWEN is accessed through Westlaw.

Study Aids

With your Bloomberg, Lexis, and Westlaw activation information, you should have also received an access code for CALI. CALI is a collection of interactive, computer-based lessons and e-books covering a large number of legal subject areas. This is an excellent resource to gain a better understanding of a particular area of law.

Before you begin to struggle through Torts or Contracts, take a look at some of the many study aids we have on reserve in the library. Study aids such as Civil Procedure in a Nutshell, or the Examples & Explanations series on all core legal subjects provide great summaries of complex subjects. Take a look at our New Student Toolkit, which can be found under “Events and Announcements” on the Library’s website, for more information.

Ask!

Throughout your law school career, keep in mind that we are here to help: shoot us an email, send us a message on chat, give us a call, or stop by the desk. We are happy to get you started in the right direction, dig you out of a hole when you are stuck, or suggest a research method. Reaching out to us may save you valuable time and help you succeed.

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Michael King, Class of 2012 Alumni Spotlight

By Brian Metter

Attorney Michael King is a 2012 graduate of UConn Law and is currently an associate at Shipman & Goodwin, where he practices primarily in the area of Business Litigation.

Prior to attending law school, King received his Bachelor of Arts from Providence College in Political Science and Spanish. While at Providence College, King played goalkeeper on its Division 1 soccer team. He describes that experience as having built his leadership skills and contributed to his time management ability. He also worked for the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights dealing with discrimination claims, which initially sparked his interest in law. Then during the spring of his senior year, he interned at the Public Defenders Office in Providence.

After graduating from Providence College, King worked for Travelers Insurance in its Special Liability Group. In that capacity, King was exposed to litigation related to toxic torts and environmental cleanups, which solidified his decision to attend law school. King was happy to be accepted to UConn Law, as he knew he wanted to practice in Connecticut and was aware of its strong reputation in the state.

While in law school, King participated in a number of internships and clinical opportunities. For his 1L summer, King served as a judicial intern for the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, working for Judge Bryant. He was also a legal intern for the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General in the Department of Public Safety. As an intern in the Attorney General’s Office, King got valuable hands-on experience dealing with claims against the Department of Corrections and State Police, and remembers the thrill of arguing a motion to dismiss.

During King’s second summer, he worked as a summer associate at Shipman & Goodwin. He stated that he felt very grateful and lucky to have landed the position at the firm, as he feels there is something special about working at Shipman. He described his summer experience as kind of an eight-week interview, where he worked on a variety of interesting projects while getting to know the people that he is fortunate to now call his colleagues.

King was also a member of the Connecticut Law Review, and served as the online publications editor for Volume 44. King also stated that his “best memory while at UConn [Law] was working for the Asylum Clinic.”

After graduating from law school, King served as a judicial law clerk to both the Honorable Christine E. Keller and the Honorable Carmen E. Espinosa at the Connecticut Appellate Court.

King now works as a full-time associate in the litigation department at Shipman, and feels great going into work every day.

 

 

 

Op-Ed: Late Grades and Grade Changes; Students Up In Arms

By Nina Pelc-Faszcza

Regular stress and anxiety surrounding fall grade releases was met with even more hostility at the beginning of this semester, when rumors began to circulate that students were receiving incorrect grades and the registrar was not being prompt with posting grades in general.

We all understand that grades are extremely important. Students have to apply for summer jobs, after-graduation jobs, and time-sensitive, prestigious clerkships; we want to show our parents and friends; and, maybe most importantly, getting grades provides us with a sense of closure, a feeling that we can finally put the past behind us. However, in the process of grade-posting madness, life and human error is bound to happen.

Grade posting at UConn Law is a multi-step process involving both professors and the registrar. A simplified version of the process is as follows: law professors will hand-write the grade of each student next to his or her name on a class roster, the registrar will input those grades manually into the system, and then the registrar will post them after double checking that the right grades have been assigned to each student. (Another fun fact: the registrar does check to make sure classes on the B median are graded appropriately).

As one can imagine in a system of hand-written grades and manual input, the occasional error is bound to happen. It sometimes does happen that grades are interchanged in the input process, or that, in an effort to post grades sooner and stifle the widespread anxiety (such as over a weekend when a professor decides to submit his or her grades at 4:59pm on a Friday), grades are posted without being double-checked. For the few students who are affected, you are rightfully annoyed; these mistakes should not happen.

But in the grand scheme of things, we are all humans capable of making mistakes. Have you ever sent an email that you read maybe twenty-five times to avoid looking incompetent, only to notice right after you hit send that you misspelled the person’s name or missed a “the” in the middle of a sentence? (Or even worse: hitting “reply all” by accident!) Have you ever re-read your writing sample after submitting it, noticed a glaring typo, and wondered how you (and the six people you had proof-read it) could have ever missed it? Yes, that is called human error, and it happens to the best of us. In the end, we will all receive our grades (usually the ones we deserve) in due time, and all is well.

As for the matter of some grades being posted well past the January 24th deadline (which seemed a bit late to begin with), this is attributable to our professors and the (usually) unforeseen and understandable circumstances that they face. The registrar will almost always post grades within twenty-four business hours of receiving them, and will nudge any professor who disrespects the deadline. Professors are people too; we expect them to abide by deadlines as we must abide by theirs, but a teensy bit of slack should be given. Grading, especially for large doctrinal classes, is not as quick and easy as one may think.

And for those of you with multiple-choice scantron exams who did not receive your grades until the very last minute and thought, “This is ridiculous! How lazy can my professor possibly be?!”: you can sleep more soundly at night when I tell you that nine times out of ten this is done on purpose. Professors oftentimes submit such grades early but make the strategic decision to delay the reveal so that you are not left staring at and obsessing about that one grade in isolation for three weeks until the rest of them come out. But for those professors who are just inexplicably late, well that’s just rude.

 

New Director of Career Planning Center Plans to Build Students’ Trust

By Madiha Malik

On February 13, 2015, UConn Law welcomed James (Jim) Ray ‘92, as the new Director of the Law School’s Career Planning Center (CPC). A former partner at Robinson & Cole, Ray is also a three time Husky, having received his Bachelor’s degree, MBA, and J.D. from UConn schools. While at Robinson & Cole, Ray was involved in the firm’s Hiring Committee and Diversity Committee and plans to bring his previous experience to his position at the Law School.

Assistant Dean of Students, Karen DeMeola, praised Ray as the “perfect candidate,” describing him as an “intelligent, strategic thinker with deep experience in practice and a passion for diversity.” According to DeMeola, Ray “brings extensive experience counseling students and young lawyers and will provide opportunities that give students the tools they need to be successful.”

Speaking to his goals in his new role, Ray’s short term goals include immersing himself in the law school community and getting to know as many students, staff, and faculty members as possible. Ray’s long-term goals include ensuring that students view the CPC as a valuable resource.

“Our role as a Career Planning Center is to help students establish the relationships that will position them for long-term success in the job market, whether it’s their first opportunity or even creating relationships that could lead to opportunities down the road,” said Ray.

Ray says the biggest challenge for the CPC is to build trust among students. Acknowledging the CPC’s recent short staffing with the departure of the former Director, Aimee Houghton, who left in August 2014 to become Assistant Dean for Graduate Students at Cornell Law School, Ray said the staff has done a good job of “keeping things afloat.”

While Ray admits there is no quick fix, he plans to start building a relationship with the student body by being visible on campus and encouraging input from students and student organizations. “We welcome the opportunity to get the feedback. [Students] are the primary stakeholders in the community and who we want to serve,” said Ray.

Some ideas that the CPC has considered include brown bag lunches and sessions where students can speak with practitioners and start building relationships, which Ray believes is integral to success in law school and after.

“I still view the responsibility of finding a job to be the student’s responsibility. Our job is to make sure that they have all the tools and provide the student body with as many opportunities as we can to ensure that they are successful in that search,” said Ray.

Ray’s advice to students is to take advantage of the opportunities provided, engage in the community, and be persistent. “It’s never too soon to start building relationships in the legal community,” said Ray. According to Ray, long-term relationships are important as a practicing attorney as well with regards to future career opportunities and client relationships. While students must foster these relationships, Ray’s goal is to make connections and increase the number opportunities available, and show students that the CPC is working hard to support them.

 

Diversity Week Preview

By Madiha Malik

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Diversity Week, which is slated to take place March 23–27. The focus for this year’s programming will be the youth and future of our profession, according to Diversity Committee Co-Chair, Dan Lage, in an email sent out to student organizations in late January. “Many of the week’s events will deal with issues that young people face,” wrote Lage.

Diversity Week will kick-off on March 23rd with the annual “CommUnity Luncheon,” when student organizations will share updates with the Law School community. In the evening, the “Power of Our Narratives” event will return, featuring members of the Law School community who will share personal stories, giving the audience a glimpse into their individual triumphs and struggles.

On March 24th, the daytime 5th Anniversary Diversity Week Celebration will bring past Diversity Committee members back to UConn Law to reflect on and celebrate the success of Diversity Week over the years. The event will also include karaoke and sweet treats, providing a laid back atmosphere aimed at getting students and faculty to know each other. Local high school and college students will also join in the festivities.

New events this year include “Equal Education Under the Law,” a moderated discussion and debate focused on the current state of affirmative action in our universities. Another new addition this year is the CHRO Anti-Bullying Event, during which the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) will be presenting on the legal effects of bullying.

“The T Word,” will provide a conversation for transgender youth to discuss their personal experiences with discrimination. The conversation will center on the recent case of Jane Doe, in which Connecticut state child welfare officials were criticized for mishandling a transgender female at a state detention center.

“Justice or Just Us?” will feature a moderated town hall discussion between local minority youth and law enforcement amidst the backdrop of police violence nationally.

On March 26th, the Law School will host its first high school moot court competition, in collaboration with the Law School’s Moot Court Board.

Finally, the grand finale will feature the return of the Second Annual YOU-Conn Law Showcase, a crowd favorite in the past, which will display talents from across campus including singing, dancing, standup comedy, and more.

All events taking place during Diversity Week will be catered, and free to attend. Event dates and descriptions are subject to change.