Anna-Liza Villard-Howe '22 is from Chappaquiddick Island in Edgartown, Massachusetts. She graduated with a bachelor's of arts in economics from Vassar College. For the past 13 years she has been an active-duty service member in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, part of the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She focused on vessel operations, and her most recent assignment was teaching the same at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
1. What made you want to attend law school?
I have seen too many people in power hurt too many people without power. Many have actively weaponized laws and policies meant to protect those without strength, money, or authority. Someone has to speak up and hold them accountable and someone has to help those hurt find their voices. I guess I'm the designated advocate.
2. Why did you chose UConn Law?
First, I want to practice in Connecticut and UConn Law is grounded in the legal community here. Second, UConn Law's focus on public work and its reasonable tuition will enable me to perform more pro bono or low-fee work once I can practice.
3. What are you most looking forward to in these next few years?
I will finally have the opportunity to study directly the subject matter I have been sniffing around for years.
4. What do you do in your spare time?
When my 4-year-old concedes to let me, I am addicted to yarn and its many uses, especially knitting and crochet. I also am relearning how to play piano.
5. How do you want to use your law degree?
Excellent question. Next question?
The Oath of Office for anyone in the civil or uniformed services requires that person to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. . .” I view people and agencies who fail to uphold the rule of law as domestic enemies. I want to champion those who have been damaged by such entities and denied their rights to workplaces free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
6. What is your favorite lawyer movie?
On the serious side, A Few Good Men, with Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore. I will always remember the Catch-22 for the two marines being court-martialed – they lost their case the moment senior leadership ordered the "code red." Either they lost by not protecting their shipmate or they lost by disobeying an order. On the flippant side, My Cousin Vinny, with Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. Partly because of watching Pesci's character learn his way around a courtroom, but mainly because my sister is Mona Lisa Vito."Wha-at?"