UConn School of Law welcomed a diverse group of 165 new JD students, including theater majors, engineers, artists and health clinicians, along with 34 LLM students from 15 countries as the 2019-20 academic year began.
The incoming JD class consists of 139 Day Division and 26 Evening Division students from 23 states and 100 undergraduate institutions. There are seven international JD students, an unusually high number, from Canada, China, India and South Korea. The Day Division also includes three students taking part in the accelerated program while completing their final undergraduate year at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
Lauren Majchrowski, director of JD admissions, said she could tell early on that this class would be special. “They were so engaged throughout the application process and could barely wait for their opportunity to get started. Now that the semester is underway, I am pleased to see that this enthusiasm has only grown and, from what I can tell, I don’t think it will stop anytime soon.”
With 165 students, the class is 19 percent larger than last year’s 1L class. The average age is 25, and the students include nine military veterans, a truck driver and at least two middle school teachers.
The 34 domestic and international students who are studying for a Master of Laws (LLM) degree have been joined for the fall semester by 11 students from Southeast University in China. Those students will continue in the six-month program they started this summer.
“Not only does the incoming LLM class include students embarking on a U.S. legal education for the first time, it also includes seasoned international lawyers, domestic lawyers, current insurance regulators, in-house counsel and students with experience in a variety of different practice settings” said Carrie Field, director of graduate and exchange programs. “They bring to the classroom domestic and international legal experience that expands the education for all present.”
Before beginning classes on Monday, August 26, 2019, incoming JD and LLM students participated in a weeklong orientation program that included a trip to the Connecticut Supreme Court and Legislative Office Building, simulated lectures and class discussions, reading groups and a trip to a Hartford Yard Goats baseball game.
“Orientation was very helpful and it got me excited about the starting this career,” said Victoria James ’23, a first-year JD student. “My favorite orientation event was probably going to the legislative buildings and listening to the Connecticut Supreme Court justices.” James said she also enjoyed meeting her law school peers. “Everyone was down-to-earth and seemed to have at least one thing in common with me.”
Jake Gibbs, an LLM student from the United Kingdom, said that while orientation was a period of trepidation, it was also constantly full of excitement. “I am most looking forward to being part of an amazing community which is constantly evolving to become bigger and better. A community that represents opinions and views from many different parts of society allowing all to benefit from seeing the other side to a story.”