Retired Superior Court Judge Lynda B. Munro Receives 2019 Ladder Award

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2019 Ladder Award Winner Hon. Lynda B. Munro and her colleagues, Hon. Anne C. Dranginis and CBA Past President Livia D. Barndollar (2008-2009), both of Pullman & Comley LLC.

The CBA Women in the Law Section, in association with the CBA Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Women in the Law Committee, honored retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge Lynda B. Munro as the 2019 recipient of the Ladder Award at “Pathways to Leadership for Women Lawyers,” held on March 28 at Saint Clements Castle in Portland, CT.

The Ladder Award was created by the YLS Women in the Law Committee in 2007 to honor a woman attorney who has “left the ladder down” for those women to follow in her footsteps. The award is aimed at honoring the efforts of women in the legal profession who have recognized the importance of mentoring and supporting more junior lawyers in their own journeys to success in the profession. Judge Munro has joined a distinguished group of female attorneys, including Former US Attorney for the District of Connecticut Deirdre M. Daly, Justice Maria A. Kahn, Diane W. Whitney, Hon. Anne C. Dranginis, Rosemary Giuliano, and Hon. Elizabeth J. Stewart.

Women in the Law Section Chair Jennifer E. Wheelock welcomed attendees to the inspiring event before introducing keynote speaker, the Honorable Elizabeth A. Bozzuto, who discussed the gender issues in the legal profession, dating back to the 1880s: “Let us be mindful of the fact that women have, and continue to be, the minority group within the legal profession, and we need to recognize, support, and honor those who came before us to make it easier for those of us who follow to achieve great success in the law; Lynda is one of those people.” She believes women have come a long way in the field, but when it comes to equality and civility for women in the legal profession, there is still more to be done.

Judge Munro was introduced by her colleagues Judge Anne C. Dranginis (ret.) and CBA Past President Livia D. Barndollar (2008-2009), both of Pullman & Comley LLC. Attorney Barndollar further explored the ongoing gender issues in the legal profession by citing a study of gender bias in the administration of justice, which was put out by the Task Force on Gender, Justice, and the Courts in 1995. The study reported the statistical growth of women in the legal profession: seven percent (eight out of 112) of Connecticut Superior Court judges were women in 1980, increasing to 15 percent (24 out of 158) by early 1995. Currently, of the 154 Connecticut Superior Court judges, nearly 65 are female. Attorney Barndollar noted that “The CBA has always tried to ensure everyone is treated equally, whatever their gender, identity, race, or age.”

Judge Dranginis reminisced of her time shared with Judge Munro at the Connecticut Superior Court, expressing, “She was never selfish. She always allowed others to join the conversation to help make a better profession and practice.”

A standing ovation escorted Judge Munro to the podium. In acceptance of her award, she asserted the importance of being unconscious role models and mentors to not only help continue to leave the ladder down for young female attorneys, but to help change the world. “Its a crazy, scary world we live in, but if we do these great mentorship activities, I believe we can make the world a better place,” she stated.

For photos of the night’s event, visit our Facebook photo album!

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Appellate Advocacy Section Meets with Chief Justice Robinson

Chief Justice Richard Robinson

On March 20, the CBA Appellate Advocacy Section held an informal meeting with Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson at Robinson+Cole’s Hartford office. This session was one in a series, where the section invites judges of the appellate courts to its meetings to exchange ideas on issues of concern to the bench and bar. Forty members of the section attended the meeting, which was moderated by section Co-chairs Thomas Donlon and James Sexton.

Chief Justice Robinson began with thoughtful and engaging comments on appellate practice. In addition to the common exhortations to make briefs shorter and limit the number of issues, he spoke about the importance of managing client expectations–explaining what an appellate court can and cannot do in a particular case. Additionally, he addressed the issue of implicit bias, and the importance of advocates being careful their interactions with judges did not differ based on race or gender, sharing an example of an argument where an attorney constantly interrupted one of the female justices, but none of the male justices. On another topic, he stressed that an advocate’s credibility is key and that misrepresenting the facts or the law in a case can be devastating for that attorney’s reputation in the future. Finally, Chief Justice Robinson spoke of the the importance of section members reaching out to trial attorneys and including them in section discussions. Not only are trial attorneys handling an appeal less likely to be as experienced in the unique appellate procedures, but their decisions at trial on matters such as preservation of the record have, a critical impact on the likelihood of success on appeal, regardless of who writes the brief or argues.

Chief Justice Robinson then entertained questions from attendees. A wide range of issues were covered, including the Supreme Court’s new procedure for inviting amicus briefs, how to prepare a successful petition for certification, public response to high profile decisions, the challenges of self-represented parties, and how to question a trial court’s decision without appearing to personally attack the trial judge. Section members thanked Chief Justice Robinson for the opportunity to discuss issues that  affect their practice, as well as to offer positive suggestions to problems that confront the Court. The chief justice graciously stayed after the general discussion concluded to talk with members individually.

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.

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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.

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

 

Mindfulness for Lawyers CLE

It’s the latest buzzword in business. It’s being taught at Harvard and at Wharton. It’s being talked about at prestigious leadership conferences like Davos. It’s being practiced at places like Google, Apple, and Aetna Healthcare.

Everyone’s excited about it because the science shows that it reduces stress, enhances wellness, increases productivity, and significantly improves the bottom line.

At this seminar, Walt Hampton taught attendees how mindfulness can help them improve their focus, productivity, and effectiveness with clients; the science behind mindfulness; and how to start a mindfulness practice.

1.24.19 mindfulness (1)

1.24.19 mindfulness (2)

Section Spotlight: Workers’ Compensation Section

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Hon. Nancy E. Salerno

On December 6, the CBA Workers’ Compensation Section hosted a retirement celebration for Commissioner Nancy E. Salerno at the La Bella Vista in Waterbury. More than 300 section members, workers’ compensation commissioners and attorneys, claim representatives, family, friends, and colleagues celebrated and thanked Commissioner Salerno for her 15 years of service to the commission.

The CBA Workers’ Compensation Section aims to organize members of the CBA who are workers’ compensation practitioners and to educate all members of the bar from all sides at all levels of expertise as to workers’ compensation law. Furthermore, this section attempts to provide services to organizations other than the CBA when those organizations are involved in the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation system.

Interested in joining the section? You can join the Workers’ Compensation Section at any time throughout the bar year.

Member Spotlight: Stand Down Volunteers

On September 21, the Connecticut Bar Association was honored once again to join over 100 agencies and social service organizations helping more than 1,000 Connecticut veterans at Stand Down 2018 at the Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. CBA volunteer attorneys provided assistance, as well as direction on where to go for ongoing services.

CBA volunteer attorneys included Lawrence Andrea, Richard D. Arconti, Stefany Buckley, Linda Bulkovich, Carrie M. Coulombe, Major Michael Criscuolo, Captain Vergil T. Decker, Jason M. Fragoso, Monte E. Frank, Major Donnial Hinds, Carmina Hirsch, Barbara Housen, Jonathan Klein, Frank A. Manfredi, Geoffrey Naab, Meghan Smith, and Winona Zimberlin.

Stand Down for homeless veterans was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. It provided battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health, and overall sense of well-being.

 

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