The Roisman Fellowship: Preparing Future Lawyers to Make a Difference for ChildrenMarch 16, 2018
Behind the scenes at The Children’s Law Center of Connecticut, we have a dedicated team of interns who help keep things running smoothly while gaining valuable professional experience in the legal and nonprofit fields. One of these interns is Elizabeth Panico, a second-year law student who is working with CLC through UConn School of Law’s Roisman Fellowship in Family Law. This fellowship provides a matriculated UConn School of Law student with an opportunity to work directly with CLC attorneys and staff in each of our service programs—Legal Representation, Families in Transition, and The Children’s Law Line.
The fellowship was created to benefit UConn Law students interested in working with CLC by Atty. Gerald Roisman, who has worked for decades in the field of family law. Through his experiences working within the Court system and the Institute of Living, as well as providing seminar sessions at the UConn School of Law and UConn School of Social Work, he recognizes that the most difficult family law cases deal with children’s issues arising when children are living in unstable situations. He views CLC as a positive resource to support and assist children who need help. Additionally, Atty. Roisman’s granddaughter is an attorney with The Children’s Law Center of New York, and he enjoys conversing with her about children’s issues in family court.
The fellowship has been a positive experience for Elizabeth, who would like to work with children and families in her future career as an attorney. “I have been relatively confident all along that I wanted to work in the Public Interest with children and families,” she states. “Being at CLC has really served to solidify that desire. I want to strive to make sure that children are always heard and that their needs and best interests are always put first.
In her fellowship at CLC, Elizabeth has had a great deal of hands-on legal experience, which has helped her learn about the work of guardians ad litem, representing clients and the legal profession as a whole. “Since starting my fellowship at CLC, I have also gained an immense amount of experience in court that remains unparalleled by experiences of most law students. I am now well-versed in being able to speak in court, and have participated in report back dates, status conferences, an uncontested custody hearing, and a final dissolution of marriage. I never would have imagined having these experiences as a second-year law student—these are skills and experiences that I will be able to utilize throughout my career.”
She adds, “I am so thankful that I have been able to work alongside many of the attorneys in the office and to be able to see a variety of different approaches in working with the cases they take on. I’ve seen first-hand that the work that is done at CLC really does help to make children’s lives better.”