This originally appeared as an e-mail message to CBA members from current CBA President Monte E. Frank:
Greetings on a bitter, winter day, made even colder by the news that past CBA president, the Honorable Frank H. D’Andrea, Jr., passed away yesterday. Judge D’Andrea was our president during the 1992-1993 bar year.
A Mass of Christian burial was held at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 13, 2017 at St. Leo Parish, 24 Roxbury Rd, in Stamford. You can read his obituary in the Stamford Advocate here.
Once again, as your current president, I am charged with communicating to you the passing of another giant in our legal community. While I appeared before Judge D’Andrea on occasion, I did not know him well. However, at Jay Sandak’s request, I recently sent a message to him on behalf of the CBA to wish him well as he was struggling with health issues. Attorney Sandak knew Judge D’Andrea for over 40 years and described him as a “gentleman, scholar, and the best our profession can offer.”
That sentiment was echoed by many of our association’s past presidents, who also gave him one of the highest compliments any judge can receive, which is that he never forgot what it was like to be a lawyer. Past President Norman K. Janes recalled a wonderful and unforgettable story about Judge D’Andrea:
Frank, and his predecessor as CBA president, Susan Wolfson, were both instrumental in developing and implementing the Law Works for People Campaign, an ambitious and innovative pro bono recruitment campaign of the Pro Bono Committee. (For which they later appropriately jointly received the Charles J. Parker Legal Services Award.) The program was formally launched at a ceremony in the old Judiciary Room of the Capitol. Since that was during Frank’s tenure as CBA president, he was the host and MC. Then-Governor Weicker had been persuaded to speak at the event. The governor was embroiled in a controversial tax proposal and had been trying to avoid the press. So naturally, they all showed up, with lots of reporters and cameras. The governor made his remarks and then scooted out the back of the room. The reporters all jumped en masse and ran out the front while the camera operators noisily picked up their gear and followed. The commotion lasted only a brief moment, leaving Frank standing at the podium all alone in a now very quiet room. In his characteristic deadpan face and voice, Frank said: ‘Now that was a humbling experience,’ and proceeded with the rest of the program as planned.
In his last “President’s Column” in the Connecticut Lawyer, published almost 25 years ago, Judge D’Andrea wrote about civility and professionalism in the practice of law, creating a partnership with the public and the judiciary to present the case of the underfunded legal system, continuing to lend strong support to the efforts of the association in eradicating gender bias in the profession, expanding efforts in promoting minority participation, and continuing the successful Law Works for People Program. He concluded that he “remained convinced that the CBA, as a large, diverse organization of the best lawyers in tile state, represents the finest opportunity for lawyers to contribute to the improvement of their profession and of the judicial system, and thereby to better serve the citizens of Connecticut.” Today, the CBA continues to strive to accomplish these goals set out by Judge D’Andrea, and I share his view of the tremendous value of the CBA to serve our profession and the public at large.
In closing, I find it telling that Judge D’Andrea had been a coxswain on the Yale Lightweight Crew, and on a New York Athletic Club eight-oared boat that won a national championship in Philadelphia in the early 1950s. How fitting for a man who later spent his career leading this profession by steering us in the right direction, making wise and just decisions, and encouraging us to always strive for excellence.