UConn Law Faculty Adds Experience and Expertise

The new professors and teaching fellows bring a variety of experience and scholarship to the law school's clinics and classrooms.

New UConn Law faculty members, from left, Paschaline Nsiah-Asare, Khondker Hossain, Erin Romano, Melissa "Kat" Smith and Casey Faucon. (Spencer Sloan)

UConn School of Law has welcomed two new professors and three teaching fellows this fall, broadening the law school’s commitment to scholarly excellence, pioneering clinics and robust international programs.

A visiting assistant clinical professor and a visiting professor from practice will join the five new faculty members, and two Martin-Flynn Global Law Professors will extend the law school’s international reach.

The new faculty members are:

Casey Faucon, associate professor of law, has joined the UConn School of Law as the founding director of the new Transactional Law Clinic. She previously served as an associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, where she founded the Entrepreneurship & Nonprofit Clinic in 2018.

Faucon’s scholarship focuses on amateurism in college sports and the commercial impacts of name, image, and likeness laws, framing normative implications in antitrust law theory.  She also researches alternative legal practice models. Her work has been published in the Washington & Lee Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, Utah Law Review and Tulane Law Review, among others. She earned a BA from Rice University, a JD/DCL from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University, and an LLM from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the UConn Law faculty and to bring a new transactional clinic to the UConn law students and Hartford community,” Faucon said. “The faculty and administration at the law school have been so welcoming and encouraging, and I’m excited to be joining the UConn community.”

Melissa “Kat” Smith, assistant clinical professor of law, teaches U.S. legal analysis and writing to international LLM and exchange students. She has taught in China and served as chair of the law program and an associate professor of law at American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Before teaching overseas, she worked in research and public policy, focusing on housing and homelessness, food support and government aid programs.

Smith has served on the AmCham Legal Committee in Cambodia, the Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Michigan Coalition for Children and Families, the Utah State Workforce Investment Board, and Utah’s Family Investment Coalition. She has a BA in History from the University of Montana, an MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University, and a JD from the University of Minnesota.

“I am so grateful to be a part of the vibrant and talented UConn Law faculty,” Smith said. “I am especially excited to bring my experience teaching law and English overseas to our international students, and to help support these students as they pursue their goals at UConn Law School.”

Khondker Hossain is a clinical teaching fellow with the Housing and Eviction Defense Clinic, where he works with law students who represent tenants facing eviction. He previously worked as a legal intern with the Connecticut Fair Housing Center in Hartford and with Good Counsel Services, a non-profit agency in New York City that provides affordable legal services for those in need.

Hossain also serves as secretary of the Greater Waterbury branch of the NAACP. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he received a BA in History. He earned his JD from Brookyln Law School.

“Being a part of the UConn Law Faculty is tremendously exciting,” Hossain said. “Everyone has been so incredibly kind and welcoming. I feel fortunate to be a part of a clinic that does so much good here in our community.”

Paschaline Nsiah-Asare serves as a teaching fellow for the online Environmental Law class and an instructor in International Environmental Law. She earned an LLM in Energy and Environmental Law from the UConn School of Law and an LLB from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. She is currently studying for an SJD, or Doctor of the Science of Laws, from UConn Law.

Nsiah-Asare’s research and academic interests focus on environmental and energy reform methodologies structured through comparative regionalism methods, equitable applications of international law principles within underserved communities, and analyzing just transition approaches within the global North and global South dynamic.

“My favorite part about being a fellow is the opportunity to give back and contribute to this vibrant community that has shaped much of my academic and professional development,” Nsiah-Aare said. “From in-class conversations to engaging with the amazing faculty, there is much to learn from this opportunity. I look forward to adding to the law school’s optimal learning environment.”

Erin Romano is a clinical teaching fellow for the Criminal Defense Clinic. She previously worked in the juvenile, veteran’s and women’s specialty courts of Maricopa County, Arizona, as a legal extern with the Maricopa County’s Office of the Public Defender.

Romano also worked for the Academy for Justice at Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, on the Miscarriages of Justice Symposium and with the Edna Mahan Project, where she served as an advocate for women incarcerated at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. She earned her AB from Bryn Mawr College and JD from Seton Hall University School of Law.

“I’m excited to join the UConn Law community and look forward to serving our greater Hartford community through the Criminal Defense Clinic,” Romano said.

In addition, Haley Costello-Essig will join the faculty for a one-year appointment as a visiting assistant clinical professor of law, teaching Legal Practice and Election Law. Costello-Essig had a long career in complex commercial and civil rights litigation and previously clerked for Chief Justice Cheri L. Beasley on the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

While engaged in private practice, Costello-Essig maintained a dedicated pro bono practice that included serving as class counsel for children separated from their parents/guardians at the U.S. border in the matter of M.M.M. et al. v. Sessions et al. She earned a BA and MA from Fordham University and a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

“I am thrilled to serve the UConn Law community this academic year,” Costello-Essig said. “The start of a new school year is always alive with possibility, and the warm reception I have received from the faculty and staff at the law school promises a wonderful year ahead.”

Nancy Kennedy, who has taught intellectual property and technology courses as an adjunct professor at the law school, has been appointed to a two-year term as a visiting professor from practice. Kennedy maintains a practice as counsel at Cantor Colburn in Hartford and volunteers her time as an animal advocate attorney in court cases involving abused and neglected animals.

“I am truly honored to join the UConn Law faculty as visiting professor from practice,” Kennedy said. “For nearly two decades, the school has been home to me — first as a student, later a professor. I look forward to continuing to teach and mentor our terrific students with kindness and good humor, alongside my esteemed colleagues.”

Two scholars will visit UConn Law as Martin-Flynn Global Law Professors, offering courses, workshops and lectures.  They are Niels Petersen of the University of Muenster in Germany and Christopher Sargeant of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

“It brings me great joy to welcome this talented group of teachers and scholars to our faculty and law school,” Dean Eboni S. Nelson said. “Their expertise will enhance our students’ experiences and broaden our service to the community.”