Legal Studies Association president Meghan McCann takes members to prison

Karen Grennan

Meghan McCann, a senior who started thinking about college a lot later than most people do, is now the president of the Legal Studies Association here at Quinnipiac.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but my Mom said that she knew I was very organized and reminded me that I had an interest in law,” McCann recalled. “So, I went to the career center at my high school and read `Paralegal’, which is also the book that Professor Jack Leary has his students read in LE 100. I decided that I can do this, and the fact that I would have a job right away was really important to me.”
McCann was certainly right: she has already been offered a job at the Gesmond, Pietrosimone, Sgrignari & Pinkus, the firm in which she is currently interning.
McCann’s path to Quinnipiac, and later the President of the Legal Studies Association, began when she read that Quinnipiac was the only school in Connecticut that had an American Bar Association (ABA) approval of the Legal Studies program. “I searched in the `Paralegal’ book for schools only in Connecticut with the ABA approval,” McCann said. “I wanted to stay in Connecticut and be close to my family, who live in Bethel.”
McCann first came to hear of the Legal Studies Association in her freshman year. McCann said, “Professor Leary had seniors from the Legal Studies Association come to class and talk about the club, and what time their meetings were. I went to a few meetings my freshman year, but I became more invloved my sophomore year.”
McCann eventually became President of the Legal Studies Association her senior year. “It was hard because the president before me (`99-’00) left at the end of the first semester, and when she came back for the second semester she never did anything. I wanted to make sure the Legal Studies Association continued.”
The Legal Studies Association serves many purposes. “The Legal Studies Association is for everyone in this major,” McCann said. “The club tries to serve everyone’s individual interests by having guests speakers who come from the fields of law the members are interested in, and having members go to internships with seniors at the law firms of his or her interest.”
“It helps to have the freshmen and seniors get to know each other, and for the younger students to get advice from the upperclassmen legal studies majors. The club tries to do things that involves legal studies,” she continued.
Among the Legal Studies Association’s many activities are the annual dinner at the home of the Chair of the Legal Studies Department, Jill Martin. “This is one of the favorites of the club,” McCann said. “Professor Martin holds the dinner at her house around Christmas time, and we eat way too much!”
At the beginning of the spring semester, The Legal Studies Association took a trip to the Cheshire Correctional Institute (CCI), a level-four prison. “Seven of us went,” said McCann. “We had a tour of the whole entire prison. We even got to go in a room with 40 inmates when they were eating. There were only two guards there, and they didn’t carry weapons, so it was a little scary.”
The highlight of the trip to the CCI was when the seven members were locked in a cell by themselves. “We didn’t know that the guards were going to lock us in the cells by ourselves for five minutes!” said McCann. “Out of each day, the inmates only get out for about two hours.”
McCann’s interest doesn’t end with Legal Studies. “I love music and singing, but not in front of people.” she said. “I like all types of music. I like the stuff that’s on the radio and a little bit of country. I am very into Tori Amos, Faith Hill, Dixie Chix, and Sarah McLaughlin.”
What are McCann’s plans for after graduation? “I want to stay in Connecticut,” McCann said. “I plan to work in the Fairfield area, in a medium to large law firm. After a few years of experience, I want to go into corporate law.”
When asked what advice she would give to Legal Studies majors, McCann said, “Take full advantage of internships. That is where you’ll really learn what paralegals do.”