UConn School of Law welcomed a diverse and engaged group of 139 JD students, 54 LLM students and six new faculty members as the 2018-19 academic year began.
The students seem ready for the challenge of law school, said Karen DeMeola, assistant dean for finance, administration and enrollment. “We discussed a book they read over the summer and I couldn’t believe how connected they all were and the ease with which they were able to express themselves.”
This incoming JD class consists of 120 Day Division and 19 Evening Division students with a wide variety of experience and backgrounds. It includes former radio hosts, marathon runners and small business owners. DeMeola said this year’s class features an unusually high number of Eagle Scouts and musicians, something she was unable to explain. Sixteen members of the class, or 12 percent, have already earned an advanced degree and five members are veterans.
The law school also welcomed 54 LLM students from 17 countries, including the first student from Myanmar, who plans to focus on intellectual property law, and the first from Panama, who is focusing on insurance. The class also includes a licensed attorney from Puerto Rico who moved to the mainland after the devastation of Hurricane Maria and a number of other U.S. attorneys broadening their career opportunities by entering a new specialization in human rights, energy and environmental, or insurance law.
Among the JD students, four are undergraduate students in a new, accelerated program that allows them to take law school classes while finishing their undergraduate degrees at the University of Connecticut. DeMeola said enrollment in the program indicates early, passionate interest in law school.
Before beginning classes on Monday, August 27, students participated in a weeklong orientation program that included a trip to the Connecticut Supreme Court and Legislative Office Buildings, simulated lectures and class discussions, wellness seminars and a trip to a Hartford Yard Goats baseball game.
Along with new students and new faculty members, the law school welcomed Lauren Majchrowski as admissions director. Majchrowski graduated from New York Law School and specialized in intellectual property and contract law in New York before coming to UConn.
Shana Hurley, a first-year student from Weston, Connecticut, said she is excited at the opportunity to live and work in Hartford during her time as a law student.
“I chose UConn Law because Connecticut is my home and I am passionate about making it better,” Hurley said. “This moment is critical for our state, and we need smart and dedicated people to help us find a path forward.” Hurley said she hopes to use her expertise upon graduation to help better and more thoroughly integrate schools and communities.
Although students pursued different and diverse paths to college, a common thread exists among them: enthusiasm.
“I'm excited to learn as much as I can,” said Amanda Winer, an incoming Evening Division student. “I have many interests and I know that through my UConn Law education, I will find an area of the law that I am really passionate about.”