The incoming first-year students at UConn School of Law have already developed a reputation for being engaged.
“Sometimes, even with an exceptionally diverse group of students, you can get an early feel for the common characteristics that a class shares,” said Assistant Dean Karen DeMeola, who was struck by the students’ participation during orientation. “I was impressed by how present these incoming students are. Every one of them was engaged during orientation, and it was thrilling to see them openly interact with each other both socially and professionally.”
The 110 incoming 1L students include 83 in the Class of 2019 Day Division and 27 in the Class of 2020 Evening Division, bringing the total JD student body to 486. Another 43 LL.M. (Master of Laws) students also started their studies this semester.
“Part of what brought me to UConn Law was what alumni had to say about the school,” said Katie Blouin, a 1L Day Division student. “The school has an amazing campus and first-rate faculty, but I was told that the community of students is what really sets UConn Law apart. I’ve definitely found that to be the case. Students want to succeed, but it really does feel like we’re all in this together, and that students want to see each other thrive.”
Incoming JD students were asked to read a book over the summer. That book, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, was the subject of break-out sessions led by faculty and staff during the first day of orientation. The students shared their opinions on the book and its timely subject. Discussion leaders remarked that almost every student in the room spoke, and that despite coming from different backgrounds and walks of life, students were universally respectful of others’ opinions—especially when they disagreed.
“So much of the law, as these students are starting to see, is about storytelling,” DeMeola said. “And in a profession that is driven by narratives, but that also requires and functions based on professionalism, these students were so impressive in the way they were willing to tell their own stories and engage with each other in a civil and respectful manner.”
The diversity of student perspectives is reflected in the diversity of the class itself. Although the average age for the incoming JD class is 24, student ages range from 21 to 54, and the students hail from 18 states and three countries.
“I’m overjoyed to be here,” said Julie Ledwig, a 1L Evening Division student. “I’m especially happy with the sense of community at UConn Law. My classmates are enthusiastic and engaged, and I’ve already met some wonderful mentors.”
The students came from 67 different undergraduate institutions and represented 35 distinct majors, with 11 percent holding advanced degrees.
“Coming from a large undergraduate school, I’ve been so impressed with the faculty-student dynamic at UConn Law,” said Sharix Alicea, a 1L Day Division student. “The class sizes make for engaging discussions, and my professors are happy to continue those conversations even after class is over.”
The law school is also welcoming a new set of LL.M. students, with 18 new students enrolled in the Insurance Law LL.M. program, 12 in U.S. Legal Studies, eight in Human Rights and Social Justice, three in Intellectual Property and Information Governance and two in Energy and Environmental Law.
“One of the best decisions I’ve made was to study for an LL.M. at UConn Law,” said Zoya Dhingra, a student in the law school’s Intellectual Property Law LL.M. program. “Studying at the beautiful campus with such an intellectual faculty is a dream come true. The best thing about UConn is the small class ratio which makes the class discussion with the professor as well as students more interactive. I also love that the school has such a vibrant environment with such a culturally diverse student population. Go Huskies!”
The school is also hosting two visiting scholars, Marco Guerini from the University of Brescia and Karolina Kremens from the University of Wrocław, and a visiting professor in insurance law, Angelo Borselli from Bocconi University in Milan.