Incoming Class Checks in Ready, Engaged and Numerous

new students at orientation
Incoming Class Checks in Ready, Engaged and Numerous
September 13, 2017
Hartford, CT

The incoming class at the University of Connecticut School of Law has already made an impression on campus, socially and numerically. The 146 new JD students represent a 33 percent increase over the size of the preceding 1L class.

Meet the 1L Class:
Student Q&A

  ■ Adam Kuegler
  ■ Vania Legall
  ■ Lauren Caroline Tadros Potter
  ■ Corey Rioux
  ■ Oliver Sherman
  ■ Lindsey Viscomi

“It’s not only a larger class, but a very engaged one,” said Karen DeMeola, assistant dean for enrollment and students. “Social media and personal connections allowed students to easily connect before they arrived in Hartford, and helped us get to know them as well. This year orientation felt like a homecoming. Students were present, engaged and excited to start this new journey.”

Ready to greet them on the first day of classes was the new Brown Family Campus Center, offering a cafe and gathering space opening onto the law library terrace on the main quad. The center, funded entirely by the Joseph Brown family, will be dedicated at a ceremony on Oct. 18.

The incoming Class of 2020/21 includes 126 Day Division students and 20 Evening Division students. They come from 84 colleges and universities, and 9 percent already have earned advanced degrees. The average age is 25, and 29 percent are from outside Connecticut. Six percent are international students.

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The law school also welcomed 42 new LLM students from 22 countries. Among those students, 22 are enrolled in the U.S. Legal Studies program, 10 in Insurance Law, six in Human Rights and Social Justice, three in Energy and Environmental Law and one in Intellectual Property and Information Governance. In addition, 15 exchange students, two visiting scholars and one visiting professor have arrived this year.

Orientation kicked off the week before classes began with an excursion on August 21 to a baseball game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, where students were introduced to the Hartford Yard Goats and each other. New students also toured the campus, attended a reception hosted by faculty and the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, took advice from returning students in panel discussions, lunched with their advisers and held group discussions of Just Mercy, a book by Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Adam Kuegler, a first-year student from Watertown, Connecticut, described his first few days of law school as “challenging, exhausting and informative.” He said that orientation activities gave him a chance to meet new friends. “The sense of community among new students seemed to form more quickly than I expected,” he said.

Lydia Harper, an LLM student from France who is studying Insurance Law, appreciates the opportunity to interact with the faculty. "In France we have amphitheaters with 500 students in the same place, and here it's a close group and you have better contact with the teacher," she said. "I think it's a better learning method."

Fatih Akgul is from Turkey and has lived for two years in New York, but decided he would rather study at UConn Law, where he can work with American students and take advantage of a great law library. "It's a good opportunity to not be far away from New York, but the place and the people here you cannot find in New York," he said. "Connecticut is a great place to study." Akgul is pursuing an LLM in U.S. Legal Studies with a concentration in Energy and Environmental Law.

Although students come from myriad backgrounds, they share a readiness for hard work and a sense of optimism.

“I am excited to see where this new experience takes me throughout these next three years,” said Corey Rioux, a first-year student from Cumberland, Rhode Island. “And, of course, the rest of my life.”