Law School alumnus Demetriades elected Mayor of Cromwell: ‘Be the change you want to see”

January 17, 2024

James Demetriades sitting at a desk in a blue suit.

As the new mayor of Cromwell, labor and employment attorney James Demetriades, JD, ’18, is infusing his Connecticut community with the same energy and enthusiasm which left his mark on the Quinnipiac School of Law community during his years on the North Haven Campus.

Demetriades served the School of Law as president of the Student Bar Association (SBA), president of LGBT Law Group OUTlaws, and president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. He was a student member of the Quinnipiac Diversity Committee, a competition team member and student coach of the school’s Society for Dispute Resolution, and a competition team member for Mock Trial and Moot Court Honor Society, for which he also served as intramural vice-president.

School of Law Dean Jennifer Brown said Demetriades will be an inspirational and committed leader who is instilled with the school’s values of listening and responding to needs. During his tenure as SBA president, Demetriades met regularly with Brown to discuss student concerns. Brown said she valued his guidance and feedback.

“James is such an impressive guy,” said Brown. “I also got to know James because he was really active in efforts we had to increase diversity and inclusion. He famously facilitated discussions of the Student Bar Association during Diversity Week. There is a phrase that a lot of people around Quinnipiac Law School know only because James taught it to us, as a ground rule for having open discussion about identity and experience: ‘Don’t yuck my yum.’”

Demetriades said serving as SBA president cultivated his ability to listen to concerns and bring them to stakeholders to facilitate collaboration and provide solutions. He commends the members of his class for their part in furthering those efforts.

“During our graduation, I think that Dean Brown called our class one of the most demanding classes, because we always demanded more, and wanted more. We always questioned and asked why, or if something could be done differently,” said Demetriades.

In 2017, at the age 23, Demetriades was in his third year of law school when he decided to make his first run for an elective seat on the Cromwell Town Council. He won.

“The reason I ran for Town Council was that, after the 2016 presidential election, a lot of people my age felt voiceless. They felt it doesn’t matter what we do; it doesn’t make a difference,” said Demetriades. “And I really thought that was wrong. I think it does make a difference when people get involved, and you can be the change that you want to see.”

Demetriades was elected to two more consecutive town council terms before deciding to make his first mayoral run during Cromwell’s November 2023 municipal elections. His campaign slogan was “Positively Cromwell.”

“I think there’s something really powerful about having some new perspectives at the top. As mayor, I wanted to set a forward-looking agenda that was positive,” he said.

When Demetriades was sworn in later that month, at age 29, he became the youngest mayor to serve the town.

“I don’t think age should hold people back,” Demetriades said. “I really love the community that I live in, and I’m very privileged to live in it. And I felt very passionately that we needed to have someone step up to the plate who was young, who was energized, and who’s willing to try some new things. It was about embracing the town and making it the best version of itself.”

As Brown predicted, Demetriades has hit the ground running. He is focusing his town leadership on transparency, modernization, collaboration, and sustainable infrastructure investments.

Demetriades said School of Law opportunities he experienced helped to set the stage not only for his successful law career, but has also helped to foster the passion within him to serve his community.

“The concept at the School of Law is that you want to educate the whole lawyer. We want our lawyers coming out of Quinnipiac to be well-rounded,” Demetriades said. “We want them not only to be sharks in the courtroom and great advocates, but we also want them to be able to have the skills to be able to cut through conflict, to be civil, to think about the public policy impacts of things that they’re doing, and how they can be the voices for the voiceless.”

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