Professor and Student Share Passion — and Recognition — for Pro Bono Work

Professor Jennifer Mailly and student Alona Voronova have been honored by the American Association of Law Schools for their pro bono efforts.

Professor Jennifer Mailly and Alona Voronova '24

UConn Law Professor Jennifer Mailly and student Alona Voronova '24. (Jeanne Leblanc / UConn Law)

The American Association of Law Schools has honored UConn Law Professor Jennifer Mailly and student Alona Voronova ’24 for their pro bono work, naming them to the organization’s inaugural Pro Bono Honor Roll.

Mailly, now an emerita member of the faculty, served as director of field placements and as associate dean for experiential education. In those positions she oversaw much of the law school’s pro bono programming, which is intended to provide free legal help to those most in need. She supervised the law school’s Pro Bono Pledge program, through which law students commit to providing 50 to 100 hours of pro bono service while enrolled in law school.

She also worked closely with students to plan participation in pro bono events and initiatives, including free virtual legal advice clinics co-sponsored with the Connecticut Bar Association, federal stimulus and child tax credit clinics co-sponsored with Greater Hartford Legal Aid, and an expungement clinic co-sponsored with the NAACP and LadyJaneCT. Mailly also brought the Connecticut Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers Clinic to the law school campus, allowing law students to work alongside practicing lawyers to research and respond to client legal questions.

In the spring of 2022, Mailly inaugurated UConn Law’s participation in the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program, which allows law students to take the New York bar examination in February of their final semester of law school and then devote 12 weeks to full-time volunteer service with legal services organizations, public defender’s offices, or other legal organizations serving needy individuals. Throughout her career, Mailly has taken leading roles in establishing pipeline programs that introduce young people to the law, including the Summer Law Institute and Summer Mock Trial Program at Hartford Public High School, and Lifting the Law, the latter in partnership with Otis Elevator and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford.

“Jen Mailly steadfastly built UConn Law’s pro bono programming and has long supported students in their pursuits of public service field placements and eventual careers,” said Richard Wilson, associate dean for faculty development and intellectual life. Her work has reached into the community to serve many worthy causes while helping our law students experience the satisfaction of pro bono service.”

Voronova, a second-year student from Ukraine, is known on campus for her activism and readiness to step up for a cause. “Alona is always one of the first students to respond to emails about pro bono opportunities,” Mailly said. “She helped with the Connecticut Bar Association Pro Bono Clinics and the Free Legal Answers Clinic we held on campus, and she continued to work on a pardons matter on behalf of one of the clinic clients. In spring of 2022, she took on a pro bono project with Murtha Cullina helping Ukrainian refugees settle in Connecticut. Her work has been amazing.”

Dean Eboni S. Nelson said Mailly and Voronova are role models for the law school community. “They have shown a commitment to justice that reflects the law school’s highest aspirations to serve our community and close the access-to-justice gap,” Nelson said. “I applaud their hard work and congratulate them on this very well-deserved honor.”