To the Editor:
It is too bad that in his commentary Law Tribune columnist Mark DuBois did not follow a basic rule for both law students and lawyers: find out the facts.
In the same years that UConn Law has dropped in the U.S. News rankings, it has vastly increased its attention to local problems. Many new programs have been initiated by students, who make far better use of their time than by (as Mr. DuBois says) inventing drinking games. New student-facilitated pro bono projects include Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP), the Keep the Power On Clinic, the Truancy Intervention Program, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, and others. Students spearheaded the creation of a summer program to teach a law-related curriculum to students in Hartford schools, as well as a Balancing the Scales Workshop for Students of Color to assist underrepresented students interested in law school understand and prepare for the application process.
The school supports these initiatives and has started more. In the last few years, UConn Law has added several new clinics to its already extensive offerings. These include an Intellectual Property Clinic that helps Connecticut entrepreneurs turn ideas into patented inventions, trademarked businesses and jobs, and an Energy and Environmental Clinic, in which students participate in an important emerging area of policy concern and economic promise. The school also created a pro bono pledge program, providing official recognition to students who donate more than 50 hours of volunteer legal work to increasing access to justice and improving community problems. Many students have completed the pledge, redoubling their commitment to the community.
If all of this wonderful stuff is going on, why has UConn Law dropped in the rankings? In some part it is precisely because it hasn’t been chasing the rankings as Mr. Dubois claims, by spending millions to buy students with higher LSAT scores, or fudging the facts in our reporting, as other schools do. Whatever the problem, the solution is not to misrepresent the law school’s excellent students or burgeoning commitment to local, as well as global, justice problems.
Professor Bethany Berger
University of Connecticut School of Law