Upcoming Event: Representing Victims of Childhood Trauma

ResilienceJoin us on April 4, 2019 at UConn School of Law in Hartford for a screening of the film,  Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope, a one-hour documentary about the science of childhood trauma and the movement to treat and prevent toxic stress. Following the film, learn about the long-term impact of traumatic events on children; discuss ways the medical community, legal community, and judicial system can assist victims of trauma; and create a framework for understanding how attorneys and health care providers can represent clients who have experienced traumatic events in a way that prevents continued trauma.

47bf6f0b-f91d-437e-a16a-4ae0b31e6edb

Advertisements

A Message from the CBA President: Proposed Sales Tax on Legal Services

Dear Colleagues:

As you are well aware, Governor Lamont’s budget included a line item of $107 million in revenue for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 through the expansion of sales tax on legal services. Business to business will remain exempt from sales tax. I believe we all agree this will be damaging to our clients and our businesses. A hearing on the proposed tax has been scheduled for Friday, March 15, 2019 at the legislature.  This proposal affects us all and we are asking for your assistance in opposing this tax.

We are asking you to contact your State Representative or State Senator to voice your opposition to this proposal.  You can find your legislators HERE.  PLEASE take ten minutes to communicate with your legislators by Wednesday of this week. Since a number of professions are having their exempt status challenged, our goal is to express why legal services are unique from other taxable goods and services.

Here are talking points you can use when you contact your State Representative or State Senator to voice your opposition to this proposal. Please do not just copy and paste. Please choose 2-3 issues and expand. If you are interested in testifying in opposition to the proposal, please contact Bill Chapman at bchapman@ctbar.org so we can coordinate our efforts.

  • 47 states do NOT have a tax on legal services; only New Mexico, South Dakota and Hawaii do—Connecticut should not be the fourth.
  • Two other states, Florida and Massachusetts, passed a sales tax on legal services and within six months that was withdrawn because, as you can imagine, it was both unpopular and an administrative nightmare.
  • It is a “misery” tax. Unlike other goods and services, the purchase of legal services is rarely a choice, but arises out of necessity. Most people seek legal services during times of misery, misfortune, hardship and vulnerability when facing eviction, foreclosure, divorce, domestic violence, end-of-life care, the death of a loved one, bankruptcy, discrimination, criminal charges or injury.
  • It would punish people for taking responsible steps in managing their affairs.
  • A sales tax on legal services will place another barrier to access to justice, and punish those seeking to exercise their right to counsel. Our citizens may choose to forego legal representation and self-represent themselves thereby burdening our courts further.
  • It will violate the attorney-client privilege.
  • It will interfere with a person’s financial ability to defend himself/herself in a criminal case resulting in the Public Defender Offices facing increased demand and increased costs to Connecticut.
  • Any sales tax on legal services would be disproportionately born by our small businesses and our citizens in need.
  • Large multi-state and multi-national businesses doing business in Connecticut will be able to avoid such sales tax by hiring in-house attorneys providing large companies with a competitive advantage in any litigation over our citizens and small businesses.
  • A sales tax on legal services will drive up the cost of legal fees in Connecticut, making Connecticut firms less competitive with firms in other states where a sales tax on legal services does not exist. It would encourage our citizens and businesses to seek legal services from neighboring jurisdictions where the exemption remains and avoid selecting Connecticut as a venue in forum selection clauses resulting in a decline in work for Connecticut lawyers, and, in turn, a loss of jobs for Connecticut lawyers, support staff and support services.
  • It will have a negative effect on the Connecticut legal community creating an administrative burden on law firms, particularly solo and small firm attorneys which represents almost fifty percent (50%) of our attorneys.
  • Attorneys, who already provide extensive pro bono and low bono services to help our citizens access justice, may absorb the costs of the sales tax resulting in lower income tax revenue for Connecticut.
  • The projected tax line item for the governor’s budget is over zealous.

Please identify yourself as a constituent and take a few of these points and share your concerns with your State Representative and State Senator.

Thanks you for your support of our profession.

Jonathan M. Shapiro 2018

 

 

 

Jonathan M. Shapiro
CBA President

Young Lawyers Section Habitat for Humanity Build

2019 Habitat LogoThe CBA Young Lawyers Section is excited to participate in a build for Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity again this year at a construction site in Hartford on March 30, 2019. Not only will they be volunteering time to help build a home here in Greater Hartford, they have also committed to fundraising in support of Hartford Habitat’s mission to provide safe, decent, affordable housing here in the Hartford community. Donate today to help reach their fundraising goal!

YLS Executive Committee Seeks Applications for 2019-2020 Bar Year

YLS 2019-20 logoThe Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Executive Committee is a fantastic opportunity for you to take a leadership role in the Bar, network with friends and colleagues, create avenues for potential new clients, and make a name for yourself in this early part of your career.

What is the CBA/YLS Executive Committee?
The Executive Committee is your chance to take a leadership role in the YLS. Pursuant to the CBA/YLS Bylaws, the YLS is governed by an Executive Committee comprised of four officers, a team of directors, and chairs of committees dedicated to varied practice areas made up of young lawyers from across the Association and state. These committees actively engage in planning and implementing programming catered to each area of the law, and they provide an excellent opportunity for young lawyers to explore the area of law in which they practice and begin to make a name for themselves there. The committee chair positions that may comprise the 2019-2020 Executive Committee are found on the application.

What are the duties of a CBA/YLS Executive Committee member?
The term for the 2019-2020 YLS Executive Committee will run from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

The quality of each year’s educational, social and network programming is the direct product of the creativity and dedication of our Executive Committee members. Connecticut continues to have enthusiastic and outstanding members of both the Executive Committee and the Bar that devote their time and energy to produce first-class seminars, panel discussions, networking programs, dinner, and public service opportunities. We also develop programs designed to improve the practice of law in Connecticut with projects that provide public service and pro bono opportunities for our membership. We are able to invite top notch speakers from around the country and regularly receive recognition on a national level for the success we have achieved. To keep this tradition of excellent alive, we need your help in joining our Executive Committee!

With respect to time commitment, Executive Committee members are expected to attend monthly meetings from September through May. Some of these sessions will be dinner meetings held at the CBA Law Center in New Britain, CT. Other sessions will involve social and professional networking opportunities throughout the state. Executive Committee Members have responsibilities including planning and implementing CLE programs, social events for young lawyers, and public service/pro bono commitment. The responsibilities are better viewed as opportunities to tailor CLE programs to the needs of you and other similarly situated young lawyers, make valuable connections and provide pro bono/public service in a way that is personally rewarding to you. Once appointed to the Executive Committee, members are required to attend the Executive Committee’s Annual Leadership Retreat, which is a leadership training and strategic planning meeting in June. This year’s Retreat will be held on Friday June 28th and Saturday June 29 that the Foxwoods Resort Casino. The Retreat is a day and half long event and will require members to take a full day away from work Friday, June 28th. All meals and hotel accommodations as well as some scheduled resort activities will be provided by the YLS with a $35 registration fee.

How do I sign up?
Complete and return the application electronically to Carol DeJohn at cdejohn@ctbar.org by Friday, April 5, 2019. Submission of an application is a prerequisite to appointment to the Executive Committee and space on the Committee is limited. This is true for both new and current members alike. The application process is designed to aid the YLS Selection Committee in creating and Executive Committee that is diverse, inclusive, and responsive to the needs and demands of the entire membership.

 

 

YLS Honors Asha Rangappa with Diversity Award

DSC_0028-square
YLS Chair David A. McGrath, YLS Senior Advisor Suphi A. Philip, and Diversity Award recipient Asha Rangappa.

The Young Lawyers Section (YLS) held its eleventh Diversity Award Dinner on February 7  at Amarante’s Sea Cliff in New Haven. The honor was presented to Asha Rangappa—former FBI agent, CNN contributor, and senior lecturer at Yale University—for her outstanding efforts on behalf of diversity.

YLS Chair David A. McGrath introduced the event and provided the background of the award. The YLS Diversity Award is presented to a person in the legal field who has shown both a personal and professional commitment to the elimination of bias in the legal profession as well as the principle that all people should have full and equal protection in the justice system.

YLS Senior Advisor Suphi A. Philip introduced Attorney Rangappa, noting that the recipient is “the embodiment of a creative, persevering spirit.” To illustrate this point, Attorney Philip shared an anecdote about Attorney Rangappa’s FBI physical fitness exam. After suffering contused ribs in a car accident, Attorney Rangappa continued her training and was able to complete the required running, push-up, pull-up, and sit-up drills to stay in the program beyond the required minimum.

Asha Rangappa is a director of admissions and senior lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a former associate dean at Yale Law School. Prior to her current position, she served as a special agent in the New York Division of the FBI, specializing in counterintelligence investigations. She was one of the first Indian-American female recruits to the FBI after the agency began a post-9/11 push for diversity and inclusion. Her work involved assessing threats to the national security, conducting classified investigations on suspected foreign agents, and performing undercover work. While in the FBI, Attorney Rangappa gained experience in intelligence trade craft, electronic surveillance, interview and interrogation techniques, and firearms and the use of deadly force.

In her previous role as Yale Law School’s dean of admissions, she was a part of the school’s efforts to increase diversity, which resulted in the most diverse class in Yale Law School’s history, in 2017.

Consistently involved in the Connecticut legal community, Attorney Rangappa has served on the boards of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut (SABAC), the Connecticut chapters of the Society of Former Agents of the FBI, and the National Organization for Women (NOW). She has long supported Young Lawyers Section programs, including its Annual Women’s Professional Golf Event.

Attorney Rangappa graciously thanked the CBA and the organizations in attendance in support of her, stating: “Both [Yale] Law School and SABAC have played important roles in both shaping my career and offering me different perspectives on diversity and how it intersects with the legal profession.” She shared that she receives calls from South Asian girls and women each week who want to discuss a potential career in law enforcement or national security; many of them say that this career path had simply never occurred to them as something that they could do until they saw it in front of them.

She concluded the evening with a nod to the future of diversity and inclusion: “We as underrepresent[ed] groups in the legal profession in this country have a responsibility to paint a picture where our communities can’t see this path as one that they belong in and can belong in, and not only because doing so reflects the America we live in, but because it protects it as well.”

Member Spotlight: Frederic S. Ury

fred ury
Frederic S. Ury

Frederic S. Ury, past president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP) from 2011-2012 received the 2019 NCBP Fellows Award during the American Bar Association’s 2019 Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas, NV for showing dedication to the NCBP mission, and continuing commitment to bar leaders nationwide. Attorney Ury is also a past president of the Connecticut Bar Association, having served during the 2004-2005 bar year.

The NCBP was founded in 1950 to provide information and training to state and local bar association leaders. Its primary mission is to provide high-quality programming to current bar leaders at two meetings held each year contemporaneously with the annual and midyear meetings of the American Bar Association. At these meetings, former bar presidents and other resource persons provide presentations and workshops focused on topics and issues such as membership expansion, continuing education, access to justice, provision of legal services, community outreach and education, diversity, and finance.

Section Spotlight: YLS Hosts Pro Bono Hour

On Tuesday, January 22, the Young Lawyers Section held its Pro Bono Hour program at Herd Restaurant in Middletown. More than 50 members in attendance learned about pro bono opportunities in a variety of practice areas for ten different Connecticut organizations. Representatives from each of the pro bono organizations detailed the current projects, time requirements, and available training.

“The Pro Bono Hour was a wonderful opportunity for YLS members from a range of organizations—both in-house council and those at firms—to learn about the pro bono opportunities available throughout the state,” said YLS Assistant Pro Bono Director Alexandra J. Cavaliere. “It is my hope that those in attendance will take these opportunities back to their firms to expand the reach of the messages shared by the pro bono representatives that night.”

Attendees were encouraged by many of the pro bono representatives to examine their availability and passions and to approach an organization to see how they can help. Currently the need for pro bono service is great, any volunteer assistance is appreciated. For more volunteer opportunities, visit ctbar.org/probonoorganizations.

dsc_0050
Ashleigh Backman of Statewide Legal Services discussing available pro bono opportunities.