Alumna becomes inaugural law school apprentice hired as a Connecticut prosecutor

November 15, 2023

Graduate Olivia Hally stands in front of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney

Since walking across the stage at Quinnipiac's School of Law Commencement, Olivia Hally ’20, JD ’23, has become the first law school apprentice hired as a Connecticut prosecutor under new legislation.

The new law permits the division to interview and recommend candidates to the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission who are within five months of graduating and are certified as legal interns. The commission then appoints and advances the student chosen to the position of deputy assistant state’s attorney once they are admitted to the Connecticut Bar within one year after graduating from law school.

Under the previous law, students interested in becoming prosecutors could not apply and be considered for vacant positions with the division until after they were admitted to the Connecticut Bar.

“The new law benefits law students because, as an apprentice, you are able to begin working in the division through mentorship and firsthand experiences as a certified legal intern prior to being sworn in as a deputy assistant state’s attorney,” said Hally. “It’s an incredible opportunity for a law student because it gives aspiring lawyers exposure to the criminal justice system while they’re still in school. Experiencing that can help them figure out whether a career as a prosecutor is something they want to pursue before they graduate and commit to their first post-graduate job.”

The new legislation additionally benefits the division because being unable to extend those offers prior to graduation in the past puts the division at a distinct recruiting disadvantage when competing for law school graduates against private law firms that operate under no such restriction, she said.

Hally is currently working at the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney in the Appellate Bureau as a Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney.

“At the division’s appellate bureau, we are responsible for representing the State of Connecticut in the vast majority of appeals challenging criminal convictions,” said Hally. “As a deputy assistant state’s attorney in the appellate bureau, my day consists of preparing written legal arguments called briefs and preparing oral arguments before the Connecticut Appellate Court and Connecticut Supreme Court. Every day, I approach this job knowing that I am a public servant advocating for the interests of the State of Connecticut and a minister of justice who must always promote respect for the rule of law while making sure the enormous powers of the state do not infringe citizens’ rights and liberties.”

Hally’s favorite part of her new role is being able to collaborate with others and she is always learning something new, she said.

“My favorite part of my new position is working through legal concepts with my peers during the process of writing a brief,” said Hally. “I’m also excited to present my first oral argument in court. This job is unique and every day I learn something new about the law and the legal system.”

She contributes her success and dedication to her time attending Quinnipiac during her undergraduate and graduate years.

“Quinnipiac’s School of Law has helped me be successful in my position because of the supportive staff and faculty at the university,” said Hally. “In my experience, Quinnipiac has a vast network that helps you make connections professionally as well as allowing students to participate in internships and externships to expand that network even further.”

While at Quinnipiac , Hally was a legal intern in the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, Quinnipiac School of Law’s Mediation Clinic and the U.S. Army JAG Corps.

Additionally, she spent her time as an Orientation Leader, was involved in Students for Environmental Action, QTHON, QUSL’s Human Trafficking Prevention Project, was the Parliamentarian of the Student Bar Association, competed on the Moot Court Team and worked at the Quinnipiac Technology Center.

“I feel I am uniquely positioned to benefit the field of law in the future because of all of the valuable experiences through my jobs, internships and mentors that have helped shape who I am today,” said Hally. “I am excited to begin my career as a lawyer and strive to interpret, articulate and practice law in a way that is fair and just.”

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