Professional identity and training the focus of Gateway to Practice experience for first-year law students

It was a tremendous two days at Quinnipiac Law as 56 practitioners came to campus to work with first-year law students during the annual Gateway to Practice, an immersive experience focusing on professional skills.

Students heard powerful panel presentations on the makings of a great lawyer and broke up into small mock law firms led by practicing attorneys, taking on a case for a fictional client.

“The Gateway to Practice program helps students imagine themselves as lawyers at an early stage in their legal education by requiring them to apply the doctrine they are using in the classroom in the same way lawyers use the law in service of their clients every day,” says Associate Dean of Experiential Education Carolyn Wilkes Kaas.

Key to the success of Gateway to Practice is the energetic participation of practitioners from across the legal spectrum, including a number of Quinnipiac Law alumni, who guide and mentor the students during their real-time law firm sessions.

“We ask the diverse and devoted array of practitioners to serve as law firm partners for our students as they oversee the mock exercises and share their own experiences,” explains Kaas. “The practicing bar gives an enormous gift to our students, guiding them as they build confidence and explore who they want to be as lawyers, and not simply what they plan to do.”

Setting the tone each day were panel discussions featuring some of the state’s most prominent attorneys and judges, providing crucial and thought-provoking context. Panel participants included Andrea Barton Reeves, Commissioner, CT Department of Social Services; Hon. Victor Bolden, U.S. District Judge, District of CT; Hon. Robert Spector, U.S. Magistrate Judge, District of CT; Michael McGarry, Assistant U.S. Attorney, CT; and attorneys Lou Pepe, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter; Ernie Teitell, Silver Golub & Teitell; Joette Katz, Shipman & Goodwin; Tanya Bovée, Jackson Lewis; Nilda Havrilla, CT Legal Services; and Max Iori, Morgan Stanley.

Gateway to Practice kicks off the spring semester at the law school each year, part of the year-long Foundations of Practice curriculum for first-year law students that challenges them to focus on professional identity and the foundations of legal practice with an emphasis on core values and the idea of lawyers as problem-solvers. The event is also part of the larger Bridge to Practice series of programs that connect learning and practice.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now