Welcome Message from Dean Timothy Fisher

by Timothy Fisher

I am very pleased to welcome you, our new class of JD and LLM students, to a community of learning that will change your lives. You have worked hard to get here and we chose you because we believe you will thrive at UConn School of Law.

In the months and years ahead, you will learn from a brilliant faculty and share your hopes, joys, and toil with classmates who will be a part of your lives for the rest of your careers.

UConn Law School is not only the best public law school in the Northeast, it is a welcoming and supportive community. We are a launching pad from which you can pursue any of an incredible range of careers.

The legal market of the future is different from that of the past. Legal jobs are abound, but they are highly differentiated. Success will come soonest to those of you who find in yourselves a skill and strength, and find out- side yourselves a working environment that resonates with your character and your goals. Initiative and self-knowledge will be your most valuable attributes.

The job market you will face demands more than it did in years past. An acute analytical mind and superb communication skills are as important as ever. But, clients and employers are now looking for more. They do not want lawyers who talk like lawyers; they want lawyers who think like clients, but bring legal tools to solve their problems. Your challenge will be not only to make these tools part of your way of thinking, but also to adopt an outward focus that will enable you to understand and connect with others. Fortunately, you are at a law school that recognizes these necessities and provides a myriad of ways to develop your professional character.

Your first semester will be hard work—I am sure everyone has told you that, and they are right. There is no magic path; your learning here will not be like any you have done before. Your keys will be steady, disciplined study and engagement in every class and every discussion. Like mastering a performance skill, there is no alternative to practice and hard work.

But you also need to have fun. You are lucky to be at a law school that values a sense of community. UConn Law is an extremely warm and welcoming environment; everyone here wants you to succeed. You will have countless opportunities to build friendships and relation- ships with your classmates and your professors, as well as our staff and broader network of alumni and employers, both locally and abroad.

UConn Law School has a long tradition of international study and placement. In this increasingly connected world, this campus will provide you countless opportunities to meet and work with students from around the globe. You will learn the perspectives of other educational systems and cultures—and be wiser for it—while planting the seeds for your own networks of multinational colleagues.

UConn Law School will be your base as your prepare for a new career. The paths ahead are as many as there are students among you. Whether your skills lie in transactions or dispute resolution, whether your focus will be business or policy, you will find both training and kindred spirits at this school.

We look forward with excitement to your time with us, and anticipate our pride in seeing you emerge from this wonderful school as complete professionals, ready for the great opportunities ahead.

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1L Job Search: Don’t Worry About It Yet!

by Sara Selmanaj ‘17

Welcome to UConn Law! Although thinking and stressing about summer jobs is common for new students, no need to worry about starting your job search just yet. First year students should primarily be concentrating on coursework, but hopefully this article will help ease some concerns about the 1L summer job search process, at least for the moment. Pro Se sat down with Michele Hoff, Associate Director for the Law School’s Career Planning Center, to give new students an idea of what to expect in the coming year.

Career Planning Center

You will likely be hearing from the Career Planning Center (CPC) in September with an introduction about who they are and what they do. First year students should plan to meet with the CPC sometime before Thanksgiving. Before meeting with a member of the CPC, students should think about their interests, where they might want to work in the summer, and whether they will be able to volunteer their time to an unpaid internship. Having a general idea of goals to pursue and circumstances to consider will allow career counselors to better tailor their advice.

Application Timeline

Internships in judicial chambers and some law firms require an earlier application timeline, usually around early December. Other opportunities will be available in late Winter and throughout the Spring. Students should start thinking about summer positions during the Winter break, and plan to apply for summer jobs in late January through March. Also keep an eye out for career fairs that happen throughout the year. The NYU Public Interest Legal Career Fair takes place in November and is a great opportunity for those interested in opportunities outside of the corporate realm, working with non-profits, government agencies, and public interest law firms.

Keep in mind that these are just estimated timeframes, and students can (and always do) find 1L summer jobs as late as May and June. Everyone is going to find their summer employment at different times of the Spring semester depending on the type of employer, the area of practice, and even the location, so try not to let what is going on around you become frustrating or intimidating.

Also, don’t worry if you see people in the next few weeks in suits carrying around portfolios! These are upperclassmen participating in on-campus interviewing, an event that first years do not have to worry about until next summer.

Class of 2017 Summer Experiences

While your search for your 1L summer job is still a few months away, below is a list of some of the great locations where stu- dents in the class of 2017 had internships (paid and unpaid) this past summer:

Law Firms:

• Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler PC, Manhattan, NY
• Bobby Aniekwu & Associates LLC, Atlanta, GA • Cantor Colburn LLP, Hartford, CT

• Day Pitney LLP, Hartford, CT
• Krasner & Long, Philadelphia, PA
• Pharmaceutical Patent Attorneys LLP, Morris- town, NJ
• Robinson + Cole, Hartford, CT
• Ruane Attorneys At Law, Wethersfield, CT

In House:

• Hubbell Inc., Shelton, CT
• Noble Americas Corp., Stamford, CT
• Pratt & Whitney Department of Legal Opera- tions, East Hartford, CT
• University of Connecticut Office of Audit, Compliance, and Ethics, Storrs, CT

Public Interest/Government:

• Attorney General’s Office Child Protections Department, Hartford, CT
• Connecticut Fund For The Environment Legal Department, New Haven, CT

• Connecticut Secretary of State Legislative and Election Administration Division, Hartford, CT • Office of the Child Advocate, Hartford, CT
• Probate Court, Farmington, CT

• Public Defender’s Office, Windham, CT
• United State’s Attorney’s Office District of Con- necticut, Hartford, CT
• United States Coast Guard Academy Legal De- partment, New London, CT

Good Luck!

What I Wish I Knew As a First Year

by Yuri Min ‘17

It’s true: the first year of law school is usually the toughest. But fear not, you will get through it. Here are some things to help guide new students in navigating academics, future employment, and hopefully, a social life:

1. Understand that law school is going to be difficult. You are among very intelligent and hardworking people. Almost everyone has been used to being one of the most capable students in their respective high school or college. Putting top performers all in one class makes it more difficult to do well, but it also makes it an enriching learning environment. Don’t worry about not getting the top score in the class for every class. Focus on learning and engaging with the material. Know that you are going to have to work late. And unfortunately, accept that there will be some sacrifices to your social life (at least outside of law school).

2. Do what works for you. In the coming days, you will meet people who may have worked longer, scored higher, or done more than you. Don’t feel discouraged. You have done just as much as everyone else in your class to get to this point. Don’t feel the need to suddenly change your entire method of studying because that’s what works for someone else. If you study better with others, form a study group. If you are distracted easily with others, choose to study on your own. Use your time efficiently, because you won’t have much of it!

3. Be open and positive. The law is a big field with countless practice areas. Keep an open mind. You don’t know whether that intellectual property law class is going to change your career plans. Be ready and willing to adjust to changes. Enroll in courses you find interesting. Talk to professors and attorneys from other fields.

4. Talk to people. Create a support system around yourself. Whether it’s friends, a spouse/significant other, your kids, your dog, or whoever. Make sure that you have people outside of law school who will be there when you need a break. But the people who will understand you the best are your fellow classmates. These are your future colleagues, partners, opposing counsels, judges, and government agents. Find that balance and net of support.

5. Stay in the loop. Check your email regularly. Everything will be sent through e-mail. The prime time is noon, when classes are getting out. Be sure to check for student organization meetings and other events; there may be leftover food in Knight lounge, too! Joining student organizations early or simply attending org general body meetings will help you decide which groups you want a leadership position in as a 2L.

6. Don’t have time to go to that event? Make time. You are attending this school to learn, but there is more to law school than just books. Law school is about networking and making connections. Connecticut is a small bar, and by the end of the year you will recognize a lot of the attorneys and/or law firms in the area. Go to events. Introduce yourself and get your name out. But, be sincere about it and try not to treat it as a business card gathering competition. Most importantly, follow up and maintain any connections that you make. Even if you don’t plan on practicing in Connecticut, you never know who you will meet and what doors they might open for you.

7. Most importantly, enjoy your time here. Three years isn’t very long. You have roughly 1,000 days with your fellow classmates, so make the best of them.

P.S. The Internet is a vast place. Be smart about what you post, no matter your privacy settings. If it’s the slightest bit risky or questionable, then err on the side of caution. Otherwise, you might have some explaining to do during a job interview or on your Bar Exam application.

UConn Law Survey On Student Engagement

Starting March 30, UConn Law students will have the chance to provide feedback to the UConn Law administration as part of the law school’s participation in the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, or, “LSSSE.”

LSSSE is a nationwide independent research project that provides participating law schools with the ability to learn about which educational practices students find most effective. The survey, which will be tailored specifically to UConn Law, provides student respondents with a series of questions pertaining to their academic and extracurricular lives at UConn Law.

Assistant Director of Student Services Jennifer Cerny said UConn Law will utilize the responses to check in with students and measure their level of on-campus engagement.

“This survey gives us insight into the student body and helps our law school figure out the best ways to reach students and better meet their needs,” she said. “It takes into account everything from how students use services on campus, to engagement in (and out of) the classroom, to providing data to justify programs and campus initiatives”

The survey contains questions inquiring about a range of topics, from a student’s frequency in participating in the classroom to a student’s personal and professional development. Students may answer these questions from a spectrum of answers, ranging from “very much” to “very little.”

In addition to the pointed survey questions, students will also have the opportunity to fill out an additional, open-ended comments section. Cerny urged students to take the time to fill out this section.

“The most helpful part of the survey is the comments students write about their experience at UConn Law.” Cerny said. “We want valuable, honest feedback about the law school.”

Cerny said once the law school collects the anonymous responses, members of UConn Law’s administration read every comment and use these comments to gauge where improvements to the law school are most necessary.

UConn Law first participated in the survey in 2011 and had a response rate of 64.8%, surpassing the national average of 52% Cerny said she hopes to surpass that number this year.

“It’s really important for every student to take the time to do the survey,” she said. “This is one of the few ways to offer feedback about one’s overall experience completely anonymously.”

Cerny said UConn Law made a number of changes in response to the feedback it received during the 2011 survey.

“It is easy to justify big changes on campus with the power of the student body behind the changes,” she said. “To help us make these changes happen, everybody needs to participate.”

In addition to using the data as a way to collect useful feedback about our campus culture, it also serves as a tool to compare UConn Law with similar law schools.

“We are able to compare ourselves to both our peer schools and the other 189 law schools that participate in LSSSE,” Cerny said. “That’s the global idea of the survey.”

Students that complete the survey will be entitled to a yet-to-be-determined giveaway. Cerny said, however, students should also be incentivized by the desire to provide their anonymous feedback about how to improve the UConn Law experience.

Survey invitations will be sent on March 24, with the actual survey period running from March 30 through April 16. For more information about the LSSSE, students may contact Jennifer Cerny or visit http://www.lssse.iub.edu/.

 

Initial Symposium Proposal Stirs Up Student Leaders

By Jaime A. Welsh

Last semester, Dean Fisher created a Symposium Committee to look into student journal symposia at the Law School. The committee was comprised of Professor Alexandra Lahav and Professor Peter Siegelman.

Fisher explained that his goals are “to achieve symposia of the highest quality, to conduct them in a way that will bolster the reputation of the journal and the law school, to give students the opportunity to work with scholars and thought leaders of the highest caliber, and to give journals the ability to choose the topic on which they want to conduct a symposium.” The current discussion’s focus is on how to best accomplish those goals, Fisher continued.

On January 16, 2015, the Editors-in-Chief (EICs or individually, EIC) of the Connecticut Law Review, the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, and the Connecticut Journal of International Law received an email from Professor Alexandra Lahav outlining the recommendations of that committee. The Symposium Committee also distributed a more detailed memorandum of its recommendations to the faculty that same day.

The Symposium Committee recommended “that law journals choose symposium topics proposed by the faculty for the next three years” and that the faculty member whose idea was chosen would “select and invite all participants,” leaving the students to “handle the logistics” and publication. If there were not sufficient topics proposed by the faculty, or if the law journals did not select one of the proposed topics, then there would be no symposia that year, continued the Symposium Committee. The Symposium Committee’s memorandum also provided that, due to the time and commitment that would be required, the faculty member making the proposal would be awarded a small stipend for his or her work on the symposium.

These recommendations were in addition to a change in procedure that occurred in March of 2014. Last year, the Dean issued a new symposia procedure where every symposia had to have a faculty sponsor, and every symposia topic had to be approved by his office. That procedure was universally accepted among all the journals, Fisher noted. “Looking at our history of symposium, the very best symposia succeed because there is a faculty member who is personally invested in . . . recruiting the very best speakers,” explained Fisher.

The Symposium Committee’s memorandum to the faculty noted that its recommendations were based on meetings with members of two of the student journals, faculty polling, independent research on the symposia of the last ten years, and an investigation of symposium practices at other law schools. The Symposium Committee described the benefit of its proposal as “reduc[ing] problems of low quality invitations and publications, while still allowing students to have some autonomy and buy-in as to the choice of topic.”

The Symposium Committee’s proposal would not apply to the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal symposia, which “are scheduled and organized by the Insurance Law Center acting in conjunction with other Law School faculty,” explained its EIC Jeff Mastrianni.

The remaining student law journals each expressed concern over the impact that the Symposium Committee’s proposal would have if adopted by the faculty.

“We agree that there needs to be some oversight and that the goal is to produce the best product and that the faculty can be intricate in improving the quality of the symposia. However, there is educational value in the students putting these events on and that goal would be best served if faculty assisted the student leaders rather than supplanting them,” said CJ Schoenherr, the EIC of the Public Interest Law Journal.

“Placing responsibility for topic selection with the faculty deprives students of ownership over the symposium; it strips away creative control to leave us the grunt work. While the assistance of faculty is greatly appreciated and we look forward to working with them on symposiums going forward, it must remain assistance and no more,” said Spencer Hill, the EIC of the Connecticut Journal of International Law.

Connecticut Law Review has been the most involved in discussions surrounding the Symposium Committee’s proposal. Editor-in-Chief Drew Hillier emphasized that the Connecticut Law Review has been an entirely student-run organization since it published its first issue fifty years ago—a symposium issue. He said, “The Connecticut Law Review was founded by students who edited a portion of the Connecticut Bar Journal. They wanted the autonomy to select the content that they edited. That student autonomy has led to success, as we are ranked twenty-sixth among hundreds of law reviews according to Google Metrics. Our rank shows that our members are perfectly capable of selecting quality topics and authors without the committee’s proposed restrictions.”

A central and historical component of serving on the Connecticut Law Review is the ability to select the journal’s content, especially crafting the symposium issue, Hillier explained. “Employers want more from students than the ability to handle the ‘logistics’ of a symposium, like ordering flowers or hiring a caterer. The research, judgment, and writing skills that students gain by selecting symposium topics and authors make our editors more useful to future employers and clients. It would eliminate our character as a student-run journal and impair the educational opportunity that membership on the Connecticut Law Review provides if we were to delegate the tasks of researching topics and selecting our authors,” Hillier stated.

Connecticut Law Review’s position remains “interested in ensuring that if we have a symposium, that [the] panelists are top quality writers. Our primary concern is the written work, which represents one-fifth of our work product for the year,” said Wesley Cain, EIC-Elect of Connecticut Law Review.

The leadership of Connecticut Law Review met with Fisher, Lahav, and Siegelman to discuss the initial proposal on February 6, 2014, which was the “the soonest available date after [the Connecticut Law Review’s] elections so that [its] new symposium editors could be included in the conversation,” explained its Co-Symposium Editor Laura Ann Keller.

At that meeting, “Professor Lahav explained that there was faculty dissatisfaction with past symposia at the Law School, as well as unaccountability of professors that provide topic ideas,” said Keller. Lahav noted that the Symposium Committee’s recommendations were based on “an appendix of evidence that showed a history of bad past symposia,” continued Keller. Unfortunately that appendix has not been made available to journals or students.

Prior to that meeting, the leadership of the Connecticut Law Review also attended a Student Bar Association (SBA) meeting to express its concerns about the proposal. “Members of the SBA General Body took an interest in the issue as many believed that preserving journals as student run is an important component to the academic experience,” stated SBA President Jim Anderson. On February 3, 2015, the Student Bar Association (SBA) unanimously voted to adopt a statement of position regarding the proposed changes to student-run academic journal symposia.

The SBA’s statement recognized that “the members of the SBA ha[d] received negative feedback from student constituents regarding proposed changes,” and affirmatively supported the position of student journal leadership. The SBA’s statement then “urge[d] the administration and faculty of the School of Law to reconsider the proposed changes and to maintain the student-run nature of the academic journals’ symposia, thereby preserving a source of great value for students and the institution alike.”

The strong student support on behalf of law journal symposia remaining student-run extended to the 1L class, as well. One hundred and six members of the 1L Day Division at the Law School signed a February 5, 2015 letter to the faculty that detailed the educational benefits for law journal members who pursue and research various symposia topics. The letter then called for an open dialogue between the faculty and students, so that they “can work closely together, while allowing future journal members the academic freedom previous years have enjoyed.”

Cain met with Fisher on February 9, 2015 to discuss “ways that we could tweak that proposal to alleviate the journals’ concerns,” Cain said. The Connecticut Law Review’s primary concern was that it wanted language added to the proposal stating that the journals would listen to the faculty’s proposals but that each journal would retain the opportunity to pick a student proposal, explained Cain.

Subsequent to these events, Fisher attended the February 10, 2015 SBA meeting to discuss the potential changes and allow all students the opportunity to ask questions. In a subsequent meeting that Keller and Co-Symposium Editor Liz O’Donnell had with Fisher, Fisher explained that he was “trying to make a system in which faculty were held more accountable,” but that nothing could be decided until the faculty’s next meeting on March 6, 2015.

As of the date this article went to press, the journals have “not yet received an updated proposal in writing in response to our concerns,” said Keller.

Fisher has stated that “nothing formal and written is being adopted yet” and that “we will see how the discussion goes.” Currently, the student law journals have a green light to choose any topic, but they must obtain a faculty sponsor for that topic and there must be agreement between the journal and the faculty sponsor on the panelists who are invited.

The Law School Foundation Board of Trustees allots $10,000 per year for each law journal’s symposium. However, Fisher noted that there are certain symposia that are of such a quality that $10,000 is not sufficient, and that “we [as a Law School] may decide that we need to concentrate our money on fewer and better quality events.” Fisher added that last year the journals became aware that “it is not guaranteed that every journal will do a symposia every year.”