Author: Edward Kammerer

UConn Mock Trial Wins Awards at Regional Competition

Earlier this month, UConn Mock Trial competed in the regional tournament at Yale University. While they did not advance to the next round of competition, the team was awarded the Spirit of AMTA Award for best displaying the ideals of honesty,  civility and fair play. Additionally, Brendan Costello, was awarded one of the Outstanding Attorney Awards.

UConn Mock Trial continues to impress!

UConn Moot Court Team – National Competition Update

On January 17th and 18IMG_2338th, UConn Moot Court competed in the National Tournament for the American Collegiate Moot Court Association at Florida International University College of Law in Miami Florida. Each team consists of two students who argue both sides of a Supreme Court case before a panel of judges. This year, Luke LaRosa and Snigdha Mamillapalli represented UConn at the National Tournament.

To earn a spot to the National Tournament, teams must first compete in a regional tournament. The top scoring teams from each regional competition advance to the National tournament. Nearly 400 teams competed throughout the various regional competitions. Only 80 were invited to the national tournament.

For the first day of competition, teams compete in three rounds, against three different teams. At the close of the first day of competition, UConn was one of only 6 teams undefeated. 45 teams, including UConn advanced to the second day of competition. We were, unfortunately, eliminated in the second round of competition on Saturday. Our team ranked among the top 32 teams at the tournament. I am incredibly proud of their performance and dedication throughout the entire competition season.

In addition to the two students competing, several other members of the UConn Moot Court Team traveled to Miami to help cheer on our competitors. These students were the highest scoring UConn students at the regional competition in November who did not advance to the national tournament. They were a huge help to Luke and Snigdha as they prepared for the national competition.

Looking forward to next year’s competition season!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Moot Court, look for them at the Involvement Fair or find them on UConntact!

UConn Moot Court Competition Team 2015 in Miami

 

UConn Moot Court Advances to Nationals!

UConn Moot Court Team 2014

In 2013, UConn students worked with Pre-Law advisor Dr. Edward F. Kammerer, Jr. to launch an undergraduate UConn Moot Court Competition team, and in only its second year, a team of two students has earned a spot in the national competition at Florida International University College of Law this January 2015.

Luke LaRosa ’16 (CLAS) and Snigdha Mamillapalli ’16 (BUSN) are junior Honors students and members of the Special Program in Law. They are one of five teams (of two) that UConn sent to the Eastern Regional qualifying competition this past November in Fitchburg, Mass. In addition to his place at nationals, LaRosa also earned a “Top Orator” honor, which is awarded to the top ten debaters. He placed fourth out of the 124 competitors.

Fellow UConn Moot Court team members are Santorini Rivera ’16 (CLAS), Christopher Baker ’16 (CLAS), Leon Peschel ’16 (BUSN), Katie Cavanaugh ’17 (CLAS), Danielle Ullo ’17 (CLAS), Alexander Loukellis ’17 (BUSN), Ryan Norton ’17 (CLAS), and Jared Quigley ’18 (CLAS), all Honors students. These UConn undergraduates debated against more than 120 students across the region in Fitchburg. Many of these students were also part of Moot Court in its first year, including LaRosa and Mamillapalli.

While Moot Court competitions are common in law school, they are growing in popularity at the undergraduate level. “Moot Court teaches legal reasoning, but it also stresses critical analysis, public speaking, and flexibility,” says Kammerer. “A student may have a perfectly rehearsed speech, but a judge will interrupt at any moment, even mid-sentence. A team prepares for this by thoroughly understanding every aspect of the case and the arguments. Students cannot be tied to planned arguments. The judges’ questions require students to adapt their arguments to those questions. It takes skill and quick thinking, combined with knowledge of the case and the law to succeed during Moot Court.”

Each year, the mock appellate court case alternates between civil and criminal. This year’s Moot Court issue was abortion. Cases are generally hot topics intended to pique students’ interest and keep them engaged throughout the rigorous preparation. During the tournament, each member of the two-person team debates different precedents of existing case law, as they present originally crafted arguments related to the same issue. The UConn Moot Court team practiced weekly during the semester, and almost daily in the last days leading up to the competition. During the tournament, each team member has ten minutes to present his or her argument.

“Moot Court is a lot of work, but its benefits extend well-beyond the competitions,” says LaRosa. “I’ve been able to apply the skills I’ve learned to other courses and projects, including those not legally oriented. Moot Court helps me, and I think all of us on the team, think more critically about how we construct arguments on any topic.“ LaRosa is originally from Central Vermont and has interests in regional planning, land use law, and public policy. He is majoring in Urban and Community Studies as well as Geography, and is also a member of the Master’s in Public Administration Fast-Track Program. In addition to competing with the UConn Moot Court team, LaRosa works at the UConn Writing Center, interns with the Connecticut State Data Center, and is currently engaged in research regarding urban neighborhood development in Hartford. He was also a 2013 Holster Scholar  and was recently named a member of the competitive Leadership Legacy Experience program. LaRosa’s career goals include working in regional planning with an emphasis in land use law and policy.

Mamillapalli is a Connecticut resident who majors in Management Information Systems and Philosophy. She is a resident assistant, a mentor with Peer Allies Through Honors student group, and secretary for UConn Change Lives (which raises money for children in Bangladesh, Nepal, and India). She has earned various scholarships, held several internships (including those in the legal field), and speaks multiple languages. Mamillapalli plans to attend law school after completing her undergraduate degree. “What first interested me about Moot Court was the opportunity to develop my public speaking skills while focusing on constitutional issues. There’s nothing quite like getting up in front of a panel of real judges and attorneys, and having them interrupt and question the argument you’ve developed for months. It’s definitely a challenge and a thrill that has advanced my critical thinking skills,” says Mamillapalli.

The UConn Moot Court team is a Tier II student organization, receiving partial funding through USG. Membership is open to all undergraduate students. The team hopes to send several students to the national tournament event in Miami this January to support LaRosa and Mamillapalli, but also to continue the lessons learned from the Moot Court experience.

The tournament is hosted by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association.

Alumni Spotlight on: Ashley Ludovicy, Class of 2005 and 2006

ashley ludovicyWhat is your current position?
Assistant Chief of the Career Program for the Army’s Legal Career Program.

What year did you graduate from UConn? 2005, BS in Business, 2006 BA in Classical Languages

Where did you go to law school? How did you choose that school?
New England School of Law. When I was looking at law schools, I knew I wanted to stay in the Northeast and at an accredited university. I took the LSATs with a less than stellar result but had good grades at UConn. I was accepted to a school in California, Albany Law School and New England. New England was in the center of Boston and I wanted to live in a city.
What year did you graduate from law school? 2009

UConn Experience

Major: International Business and Classical Languages

How did your major help you prepare for law school and for practice?
When I was in law school, I wanted to study International Law. Luckily I took most of the courses or preliminary courses at UConn so I felt more comfortable in the work I was doing. Also, I took eight years of Latin, which was not necessary, but helped decode some legalese in my reading assignments.

What organizations and activities (e.g., clubs, sports, study abroad) did you participate in while at UConn?
Delta Sigma Pi, Study Abroad (Paderno del Grappa), Colleges Against Cancer (Relay for Life and the Cancer Society) and the Classical Languages Fraternity.

What jobs or internships did you have while at UConn?
I worked with Sodexho (at the concession stands) during the year, along with the Career Placement Office in the Business School. I also did an internship with Casey Fuel in CT for my small business class. I also worked at the library during my first few semesters in the circulation and map departments.

Did you take any time off?
No.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a current UConn student?
I would suggest picking a major that you love! When students say they are studying pre-law or political science, unless that is their passion, it is unnecessary. Law school will teach the law, study what moves you. You can then translate those skills and that knowledge into a legal career later since almost everyone and every topic needs an attorney. Also, the more you love a subject, the more work you will do in that class and the better your grade (which is really the way that you are getting into law school). If you can start your legal career in college by taking classes in compliance or regulations, I would! Being more familiar with law allows you the freedom in law school to take a course that you might not have thought of.

I would also STUDY ABROAD! I was lucky enough to study abroad in law school again between jobs, but not everyone has that luxury. Most law students take internships between their two summers so they do not have the ability to pick up and go to another country. If you know that you want to attend law school, start networking now so that you can get the job in that law firm or office before you start law school. Also, get a start on the LSATs. I know I waited until my last year and I was “stuck” with my poor LSAT score.

Law School Experience

What programs did you participate in during law school?
I was a law student at night so I worked during the day, clerking at a local firm.
During my first two years of law school, I worked as a recruiter for a local masters program and then my final two years at a medical malpractice law firm. I studied abroad in Malta and was part of Phi Alpha Delta.

Were you active in any student groups? Which?
Phi Alpha Delta

Did your involvement with those specific programs or organizations help you in your career path or in any other ways?
No, they did not. However my career was not a traditional one. I met my husband in law school and he was commissioning in the Army that following year. I followed him to DC and found a job with the Army as a civilian.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before law school?
Work your hardest and get the best grades you can, but NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK. Even if you cannot get a job through that network, you will feel less alone in your job search.

Work Experience

Describe your practice setting.
Government Agency (US Army)

Area(s) of practice.
Administrative,Civil Litigation,Consumer,Family Law,Personal Injury,Torts,Tax,Trusts & Estates

How did you choose this area of law?
It choose me through my marriage with my husband. In the Army, we do a little bit of everything to prepare our soldiers for deployment.

Is there a typical day? How would you describe it?
I am the Assistant Chief to the Army’s Legal Career Program. The Army created Career Programs to train and retain their civilian employees. I also work under the Labor & Employment Office where I maintain the military spouse resume database. It is a new initiative to attempt to place military spouses in open legal positions within the Army. Due to my wide range of tasks, every day is different. Today I have been preparing for our yearly conference where we will decide what type of training is necessary for our workforce and how we can obtain those goals with our budget. Tomorrow I might be on a teleconference with spouses to see how their skills would fit the needs of the Army.

How many hours per week do you work? What is your schedule?
Around 50 – our hours of operation are 730 to 430.

Describe your work/life balance.
Currently my husband is stationed at Camp Casey, Korea so my balance is skewed with more work than life. After work, I normally attend an attorney function sponsored by the Army, Congress, the American Bar Association or my local bar association, Military Spouse JD Network. The weekends are meant for catching up with work and household chores.

What do you like most about your job? What would you change?
I would not change a thing. Every day is a new challenge and has different clients/topics in it. I could not be happier (or prouder) to work for the U.S. Army.

If you couldn’t be a lawyer anymore, what would you do? If you had a career before becoming a lawyer, what was it?
I would become a career counselor. I loved counseling students at UConn in the business placement office and I enjoyed it when I worked for the masters degree program. I mentor young attorneys now so it would be a natural transition for me.

Roughly, how much are you student loan payments?
$1000

How long do you expect to be paying your student loans?
For the full 20 years that are required (or possibly ten if I qualify for the Public Service Student Loan Program).

Have your student loans impacted your career choices or other life choices in any way? How?
They have not, I have been rather neglectful of my student loans otherwise they will tear you down and make you question your life choices. There is enough uncertainty in the U.S. Army lifestyle so as long as I can make my payments, I keep moving along.

Just for fun: If you could have dinner with any lawyer, real or fiction, living or dead, who would it be and why?
One of the supreme court justices (any one!) – their decisions were such a large focus in law school and have such a bearing on our lifestyle choices that I would love to pick their brain. Not to mention, who doesn’t want to be a Supreme Court Justice themselves?

Alumni Spotlight on: Attorney Mark Preiss, Class of 2004

MPreiss ImageWhat is your current position?
Associate Counsel, Behman Hambelton LLP
What year did you graduate from UConn? 2004
Where did you go to law school? How did you choose that school?
New England Law – Boston (formerly known as New England School of Law)

I chose NESL because of its strong emphasis on having students begin working in the legal field as practitioners as soon as possible through their well-developed clinical programs. I saw such experience as an opportunity to develop valuable skills during law school that would enable me to make a more meaningful contribution to employers earlier in my career.
What year did you graduate from law school? 2007

UConn Experience

Major: Double BA, Political Science/Journalism

How did your major help you prepare for law school and for practice?
The greatest benefit taken was the writing experience, especially in how journalism instruction focused on writing with limited time to complete assignments and emphasized brevity and clarity, attributes of written work product often not emphasized enough in legal practice. Political science course work provided excellent foundation for the subject matter explored in law school and was a valuable asset in my transition to legal study.

What organizations and activities (e.g., clubs, sports, study abroad) did you participate in while at UConn?
I had the opportunity to write news for 91.7 WHUS and completed two years of the Army ROTC program. Otherwise, I worked with various groups on campus in arranging for speakers to give presentations and organizing debates, including work with the UConn College Democrats and UConn College Republicans.

What jobs or internships did you have while at UConn?
I had the opportunity to serve as a press office intern in the Executive Office of the Governor for the State of Florida as well as a Legal Department intern at the Conn. Dept. Of Consumer Protection, in Hartford, Connecticut. Both of those opportunities gave me regular opportunities to write in a professional setting and to work with lawyers with a wide variety of backgrounds, which was invaluable in making my decision to attend law school. I also volunteered on various political campaigns for candidates throughout Connecticut.

Did you take any time off?
No, I took no time off between college and law school. At the time I had reservations about taking time off, but in hindsight I see there was no reason to believe it would have any negative impact on my opportunity to return to school after exploring full-time work for a few years.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a current UConn student?
Stay open minded. For people motivated enough to consider law school seriously, I think there is too great a tendency to create and stick to a rigid plan. I can think of a variety of highly beneficial opportunities I would have missed, including my current job, had I not remained open minded to opportunities and ideas that did not fall neatly along the path I was otherwise attempting to create for myself.

Law School Experience

What programs did you participate in during law school?
I participated in NESL’s clinical programs, providing free legal services to persons in need of domestic practice representation. Law students in Massachusetts have the opportunity under S.J.C. rule 3:03 to appear and argue in court on behalf of clients under the supervision of licensed practitioners. This practical experience was tremendously valuable and rewarding, serving as a reminder of the many ways that attorneys can donate their time to assist members of the community in need. The clinical work also gave me a very important first look at whether I would ultimately ever consider a position as a litigator, which can be a challenging role to consider taking on without having had adequate opportunity to gain exposure to the daily job requirements.

Were you active in any student groups? Which?
I was active in a legal service fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, but devoted more of my time outside of class and study to part-time work in law firms as I progressed through law school. I do, however, believe that law school organizations can add significant value to a law student’s background as they leave law school and look for their first position, especially if they have devoted time to becoming familiar with a clearly defined scope of practice.

Did your involvement with those specific programs or organizations help you in your career path or in any other ways?
The clinical experience was of significant value to me, as the position I currently hold began as principally a litigation role.  My clinical experience also enabled me to offer substantive opinions during my interviewing process after law school when asked about my preparedness for litigation responsibilities. As for my part-time work during law school, the time I spent working as a law clerk ultimately did lead to my first position out of law school at a small estate planning/asset protection firm just outside of Boston. Working in estate planning as a law student, along with an eye-opening second-year summer spent working for a criminal defense firm, were essential to narrowing down the areas of practice that I ultimately chose to pursue after law school.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before law school?
Do not feel pressure to select the traditional liberal arts undergraduate degrees commonly chosen by students intending to pursue law school. Degrees focusing on math, science and technology now offer significant benefit to law school applicants, and practitioners, that far outweigh the more traditional degree choices for applicants.

Work Experience

Describe your practice setting.
I work in a mid-sized, regional private practice with offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. I work in the Massachusetts office, just north of Boston, with seven other attorneys.

Area(s) of practice.
I have the benefit of performing both civil litigation and transactional work for the firm’s business clients. My civil litigation responsibilities include complex litigation defense in state and federal courts for claims covering contract, tort and employment law issues.

My transactional practice responsibilities include counseling business clients on application of company policies and observance of corporate formalities, as well as the drafting of employment agreements and employee handbooks. I draft contracts for goods and services between businesses and their vendors, as well as counsel businesses with regard to employment law challenges, including negotiating resolution of claimed breaches of non-compete/non-disclosure agreements. I also represent employers at conciliations and conferences before state and federal administrative agencies in resolution of employment-related claims, including wrongful termination claims and discrimination claims.

How did you choose this area of law?
After accepting the position with the firm I had the opportunity to play a very hands-on role in the defense of our clients’ litigation claims, and in doing so came to learn a great deal more about our clients’ daily business operations. In recognizing trends in how their claims arose, I grew very interested in working with clients to develop and implement strategies to remediate practices that resulted in unnecessary litigation, which included exposure to recurring employment law claims.

I began independent study and various training courses to learn all I could concerning employment law issues and best practices so to expand the scope of services I was able to offer our clients, resulting in my current composition of files that now includes many more traditional in-house and transactional functions. This additional effort outside of my daily work obligations has resulted in an interesting blend of legal issues that has become very satisfying to me.

Is there a typical day? How would you describe it?

While my days vary considerably based upon the current requirements of my case files, generally I arrive at work not long after 7:00 a.m. so that I can review emails and work to anticipate the issues I will be addressing that day. I am responsible for making recommendations on the next steps needed in the files I am assigned to, which involves working with clients to issue spot problems and identify areas of concern that will require further investigation or research. I am frequently in touch with the businesses we represent, discussing issues with employees and management and learning about their operations.

Daily practice commonly requires keeping track of all tasks I perform for clients in six-minute increments throughout my day, which is condensed into bills for the client’s review.  This can be a challenge to get accustomed to as a younger associate, but soon you find yourself noticing how long it takes you to complete many of the basic tasks you perform each day – both in and out of work.

For litigation claims, I am responsible for preparing all facets of discovery practice, investigating claims, deposing parties and fact witnesses, and writing motions and appearing before state and federal courts for oral argument. For many of the employment law and transactional functions I perform, I commonly write contracts and employee agreements and work to develop policies and procedures with our clients’ businesses that comply with the applicable state and federal laws governing their operations.

Throughout the day I have the opportunity consult with other attorneys in the office concerning the challenges we are facing in our respective files. These exercises in problem solving are generally very interesting, and often end up as some of the more enjoyable portions of my day.

How many hours per week do you work? What is your schedule?
It is common that I will be present at work for approximately 60 hours per week, but this can and does go much higher during time periods when I am on trial. The need to perform work on weekends is not uncommon, and work during trials generally occupies every day and evening until relatively late each night until the trial concludes.

Describe your work/life balance.
Challenging. I have flexibility to be where I need to for personal obligations as they come up, but lawyers remain obligated to attend to their client’s needs as they arise, which often involve challenging court deadlines that generally do not change in the face of competing personal obligations.

What do you like most about your job? What would you change?
I spend approximately 2/3 of my time at work writing, which is something I enjoy very much. I have the opportunity to work with clients with a wide range of backgrounds and to get to know their businesses in depth, often resulting in having a chance to meet and work with many interesting people on interesting topics. The clients look to you to resolve their problems when their business or employment relationships face challenges, and it can be quite satisfying to talk through problems with clients and assist them in reaching the best outcome for them.

If you couldn’t be a lawyer anymore, what would you do? If you had a career before becoming a lawyer, what was it?
I would work in corporate communications/public relations. I greatly enjoyed my college internship in public sector public relations and I know that I would not want to give up the opportunity to write as a part of my daily responsibilities. In many ways public relations would present challenges similar to those faced by lawyers: writing in a persuasive manner where precision is paramount in effectively delivering your message.

Just for fun: If you could have dinner with any lawyer, real or fiction, living or dead, who would it be and why?

John Adams, because he is one of the first members of the Massachusetts bar, which is the oldest bar in the United States, and because it would be interesting to learn what he believed the role was that lawyers should play in society, and to contrast that with what we see today.

Alumni Spotlight on: Richard Twilley, Class of 1996 (Engineering) and 2004 (Law)

Twilleycolor

What is your current position?
Patent Attorney
What year did you graduate from UConn? 1996 (engineering), 2004 (law)
Where did you go to law school? How did you choose that school?
UConn School of Law. The combination of the quality of the institution, its proximity to home, and the State’s offer of a veteran’s tuition waiver made my decision a no-brainer.
What year did you graduate from law school? 2004

UConn Experience

Major: Civil Engineering

How did your major help you prepare for law school and for practice?
Aside from teaching me to think like an engineer, my major did not prepare me for the rigors of the first year of law school. As a practicing Patent Attorney, however, my engineering training has been invaluable, and I continue to utilize what I learned in Storrs on a daily or even an hourly basis.

What organizations and activities (e.g., clubs, sports, study abroad) did you participate in while at UConn?
Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society, dorm council, etc.

What jobs or internships did you have while at UConn?
Connecticut Transportation Institute (analysis of highway safety data).

Did you take any time off?
Between college in law school, I served as a nuclear-trained propulsion officer in the U.S. Navy. I attended the Navy’s Officer Candidate School six weeks after graduation from the School of Engineering, and was commissioned in September 1996. My five-year commitment ended in the summer of 2001, in time for me to enroll at the  School of Law in the fall.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a current UConn student?
Four pieces of advice. First, pick some activity that interests you, and is both unrelated to your major, and not affiliated with your dorm — and run with it. UConn is such a large and diverse institution that we sometimes get too caught up in our studies and our neighbors, and fail to take advantage of all that our University has to offer. Get out there and meet people that you never would have met in class or on your floor. You won’t regret it.

Second, make as many connections as you can. Like you, your friends and classmates are also making big plans for success later in their lives. Get to know these connections while you are in Storrs, and maintain the connections as you progress in your career. You won’t have to look far to find an attorney or an accountant or an architect when you need one down the road if you became friends with an attorney, an architect and an accountant in college, for example.

Third, if you’re even remotely considering a career path (long-term) that may be different from your major, look into what it will require to travel down that path while you are in Storrs. For example, law school was always in the back of my mind (but never in the front) while I was at UConn, largely because I had my naval commission waiting for me after graduation. I didn’t start to consider law school as a next step until I decided to leave the Navy. As a result, I went into the LSATs completely cold, and had no idea how the legal job market worked when I arrived in law school. Dumb mistakes.

Fourth, UConn will need your love and support after you graduate just as much as it needs your love and support now. Never forget to give back to UConn, and to UConn students who will follow you, after you graduate. Students today, Huskies forever.

Law School Experience

What programs did you participate in during law school?
Insurance Law Journal, Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative.

Were you active in any student groups? Which?
Elected as graduate student member of the University’s Board of Trustees, 2002-2004.

Did your involvement with those specific programs or organizations help you in your career path or in any other ways?
Not necessarily; I didn’t turn to patent law until after I left law school.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before law school?
Prepare for the LSATs. Know how legal hiring works. (That’s two pieces of advice, but they’re equally important.)

Work Experience

Describe your practice setting.
Small firm — approx. 15 attorneys.

Area(s) of practice.
Intellectual Property, primarily Patents but also Trademarks and Copyrights.

How did you choose this area of law?
I found intellectual property in general, and patents in particular, to be remarkably interesting but only after being bored to tears with traditional civil litigation.

Is there a typical day? How would you describe it?
Prepare patent applications for filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, or USPTO; prosecute patent applications before the USPTO (e.g., respond to administrative actions received from the USPTO); communicate with clients by E-mail or telephone; occasionally prepare and prosecute trademark applications before the USPTO.

How many hours per week do you work? What is your schedule?
50-80. Arrive at the office around 8:00-8:30, work until around 5:30-6:00, go home, have dinner with my family, put the kids to bed, pop open the computer again.

Describe your work/life balance.
Occasionally very challenging. It is rare for me to not open the computer after our kids have gone to bed, and equally rare for me to do nothing on weekends.

What do you like most about your job? What would you change?
Working with inventors — from companies ranging from small Connecticut start-ups to Fortune 100 high-tech giants — of cutting-edge technology and helping them protect their rights in their claimed inventions or marks. I’d like to cut back on procrastinating.

If you couldn’t be a lawyer anymore, what would you do? If you had a career before becoming a lawyer, what was it?
Taking my knowledge and experience in IP to the financial sector. Advising venture capitalists and private equity firms on the viability and value of patents and/or pending patent applications.

Prior to attending law school, and out of college, I was an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Just for fun: If you could have dinner with any lawyer, real or fiction, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Two, just for fun, one living and one dead — Antonin Scalia and Earl Warren, two prominent right-leaning and left-leaning justices on the U.S. Supreme Court in the last 100 years.

Internship Deadlines Approaching

If you’re interested in doing a Fall 2014 internship with the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the application deadline is August 15th. Information and applications are available here.

The CT Attorney General’s office accepts internship applications on a rolling basis. You can still try for fall or start planning for spring. Information is available on their website.

Good luck!

Alumni Spotlight on: D. Zachary Champ, Class of 2005

zac_webWhat is your current position? Government Affairs Counsel

What year did you graduate from UConn? 2005
Where did you go to law school? How did you choose that school?
Syracuse University College of Law. A large reason I selected Syracuse was the opportunity to also attend the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to pursue a Master of Public Administration jointly with my JD. To clear my name, I set up a UConn Alumni Chapter to brave the Carrier Dome with me each time the Huskies came to town!
What year did you graduate from law school? 2010

UConn Experience

Major: Political Science

How did your major help you prepare for law school and for practice?
At its core, the Poli-Sci major has a large focus on writing and utilizing multiple sources to support a stated position. The major also attracts a large number of debate-prone, students not unlike what you’ll find in you 1L sections! Finally, the concepts of governance, ethics, and how the various legislative, regulatory and judicial arms work together as studied in the classroom inform my practice daily.

What organizations and activities (e.g., clubs, sports, study abroad) did you participate in while at UConn?
UConn Model United Nations
Habitat for Humanity
WHUS
Study Abroad: Rhodes, Greece

What jobs or internships did you have while at UConn?
Connecticut General Assembly
HuskyTech

Did you take any time off?
I took off just over two years before entering law school. I would highly recommend taking time off before taking the plunge into three years of law school. Between UConn and Syracuse I worked in e-commerce and marketing for a sporting goods outfit.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a current UConn student?
Two specific points. First, only a very small number of attorneys practice in the area of constitutional law. It doesn’t mean you won’t be litigating the next great civil liberties case, but the odds are lower. Second, if you like technology, like I do, and you have an interest in intellectual property and patents you should think about getting a bachelor of science degree to be able to sit for the patent bar or at minimum take the type of classes that would prepare you to take the exam before the exam.

Beyond these points, I would say take as many writing classes as you can. And while there are a number of different types of attorneys, those that are writers and not lecturers, I would still advise you to take up opportunities to boost your confidence level when speaking to groups. If you’re not speaking before a jury or a judge you still would have to talk to your client, or an experienced partner.

Law School Experience

What programs did you participate in during law school?
Moot Court as a participant, coach and now judge. I wrote for a journal as an associate editor and served as the Editor-in-Chief my 3L year. I was also a student member of the Federal Communications Bar Association.

Were you active in any student groups? Which?
Throughout law school I was highly involved with the Communications Law & Policy Society, serving as president my 3L year. This group sponsored panels and conferences at the law school bringing the experts from the field to our halls to discuss the issues of the day in communications law.

Did your involvement with those specific programs or organizations help you in your career path or in any other ways?
Yes. All of these participation helped me either hone the skills I needed as an attorney or provided opportunities to interact with those that work in my field though not in the most obvious ways. Being on a journal helped me to be a better writer, but as Editor-in-Chief I also got experience in managing a team of peers. With the Communications Law & Policy Society I learned a lot about an area I was interested in, but I also met mentors and made friends that I am still in touch with today. Be active but be focused and let your involvement take you where it leads. If you do something you are passionate about not only will you put more in but others will notice it in you.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before law school?
One is too limiting! Follow around a lawyer for a while before you commit to a three years, and significant debt to the process. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times have followed the legal market and its debt burden with some focus over the past couple years—read up! Internships, and casual conversations with practicing lawyers is a good way to start. Also, work before going straight into law school. It was amazing to see new 1Ls that had never lived on their own struggle with paying bills as well as trying to keep up with the rest of their section. Also the more real life experiences you have the more understandable the coursework will be. Finally, don’t take too seriously the comments and postings from Above the Law and the other blogs out there about school status and rankings. While I’d advise you to go to an ABA accredited school, beyond that the school has to meet your needs and your focus first.

Work Experience

Describe your practice setting.
I work for a national trade association representing the wireless infrastructure industry.

Area(s) of practice.
Administrative Law, Telecommunications, Technology

How did you choose this area of law?
I had a fascination with technology and the Internet specifically and what it enabled. I felt that the laws and policy that existed when I decided to enter into law school had not kept pace with the technology that they were being matched to. They still don’t!

Is there a typical day? How would you describe it?
Sort-of. As a trade association, our clients are our dues paying members from industry. On any given day I am working to ensure that our members are up-to-date on the issues happening in Washington, meeting with those at the FCC, White House, Congress and other federal and state agencies to discuss pending regulatory changes or policy changes. There are also a lot of interesting government counsel type discussions happening internally as related to how our association is run.

How many hours per week do you work? What is your schedule?
It’s hard to say, it really depends on whether we have a regulatory filing due. If we have a filing due, we sometimes will not submit until very late in the evening. Also, D.C. is a bit of a workaholic city, but with that said I would say my schedule is fairly typical. 50-60 hours is probably about where I’d land.

Describe your work/life balance.
As a younger attorney earning more and more responsibility, it’s a struggle. It’s something you have to work on and find a way to put aside your phone.

What do you like most about your job? What would you change?
I like the freedom I have to set the course for how to tackle problems as they are presented to me. I enjoy that I have the ability to work with smart people every day both in government and in industry. I work on projects that can improve the lives of Americans through greater access to broadband and all that it enables. As far as what I’d change, it may have been interesting to have worked in government earlier in my career in a more direct way.

If you couldn’t be a lawyer anymore, what would you do? If you had a career before becoming a lawyer, what was it?
I would have moved out to Silicon Valley and bounced from start-up to start-up.

Just for fun: If you could have dinner with any lawyer, real or fiction, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Ralph Nader because his story of how he rallied public opinion regarding transportation safety is fascinating.