Author: Nearhos, Diana C

2023 Graduate: Bryce Simmons

Bryce Simmons stands in front of the "Middle Path" sculpture on the UConn Law campus.
Bryce Simmons is a member of the 2023 UConn Law graduating class.

Bryce Simmons CLAS ’20 LAW ’23 developed a strong interest in politics in high school and went on to major in political science at UConn. During a congressional internship with Senator Richard Blumenthal, she found an interest in law and decided to attend UConn Law.

Simmons will graduate with a JD on May 14. After that, she plans to serve as law clerk to Judge Thomas Farrish LAW '05, a federal magistrate judge for the District of Connecticut. The following year, she plans to join the Connecticut law firm of Robinson & Cole.

Her biggest surprise about UConn Law was how quickly she was able to get to know people and feel part of the community on the closeknit campus.

“My biggest takeaway from UConn Law has to be the amazing people I have met along the way, with both professors and students,” Simmons said. “I have definitely made some lifelong connections in these past three years.”

During her time at UConn Law, Simmons has been a research assistant and fellow in the Center on Community Safety, Policing and Inequality as well as president of the Black Law Students Association.

She especially liked taking advantage of good-weather days, sitting outside in the picnic grove, working, socializing with other students, and enjoying the beautiful campus, and encourages everyone else to do so during their time at UConn Law.

Christopher F. Droney ’79 Opens Independent Firm

Christopher F. Droney ’79, retired judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has left Day Pitney LLP to open his own independent firm in West Hartford. Droney joined Day Pitney as a partner in 2020, having served on the Second Circuit from 2011 to 2019, and before that was a district judge and U.S. attorney for Connecticut. Additionally, he served as an arbitrator for the National Football League. Droney told the Connecticut Law Tribune that being independent will help him avoid conflicts inherent in working at a large firm.

Kelly Kirby Ballentine ’13 Selected for Bar Association Initiative

Kelly Kirby Ballentine ’13, an associate in the Boston office of Burns & Levinson, has been selected to take part in the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts’ 2023 Women’s Leadership Initiative. The program provides leadership development and mentoring. Ballentine works in the firm’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group.

Natalie Braswell ’07 Named Governor’s General Counsel

Natalie Braswell ’07 has been named Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s general counsel for his second term, starting in January 2023. She has served as Connecticut’s comptroller since Lamont appointed her to that post in December 2021. She previously served as general counsel in the comptroller’s office for 10 years and as chief of planning, legal and regulatory affairs at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Three UConn Law Graduates Join Carmody

Three graduates of the UConn School of Law joined Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Jeffrey M. Beck ’22 will practice in multiple areas including employment, healthcare, and education, working out of the Waterbury office. Meghan F. Buckley ’22 joins the litigation practice, working out of New Haven. Daniel C. Chapple ’20 joins the real estate practice, working out of Stamford.