A Legacy from the Past: University of Connecticut Law Wives

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The silver punch bowl and ladle on display in the law library was given to the School of law for the dedication of the new law building on May 1, 1964.   Engraved “From the Law Wives, May 1, 1964”,  this set was a gift from the University of Connecticut Law Wives club. Formed on September 20th, 1961, University of Connecticut Law Wives club’s mission was to educate the law wife in the “problems and responsibilities of the profession her husband is about to enter” and to sponsor a yearly scholarship benefiting a “needy law student”. 

The Law Wives club initially provided educational, social and civic activities for wives of students.  Activities evolved in later years include bloodmobiles, food drives and children’s holiday parties.  The funds raised through various activities for scholarship and books funds benefited many law students, families, and ultimately, clients of these newly minted attorneys. The club was renamed University of Connecticut Law Partners in 1973 to reflect the changing demographics of the law school student body.

The invariable signs of “wear and tear” on this silver bowl reflect the many occasions this bowl has made a cameo appearance at staff retirements, baby showers, and notable events commemorating the life and career events of UConn Law’s students, faculty and staff.  This gift provides a lens to a past era which highlighted altruism and public service, and has inspired the public service opportunities  available to law students today.  These include UConn’s not-for credit Pro-bono pledge program ,  for-credit clinics and field placements, and the Public Interest Law Group (PILG),  a student organization developed to encourage UConn law students to perform work in the public interest field during their education and into their professional careers. 

Although UConn Law Wives Club is no longer in existence, the initial mission of this group’s dedication to scholarship and philanthropy was the precursor for the school of law’s present commitment to social activism.  It continues to serve as a tribute to the legacy of UConn Law Wives and reminder of its pioneering dedication to volunteerism and good works.

 

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Maryanne Daly-Doran
Digital Services Reference Librarian,UConn Law