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

DSC_0101
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!

Advertisements

CBA Welcomes New Director of CLE and Section Programming

Thomas A. Genung
CBA Director of CLE and Section Programming Thomas A. Genung

The Connecticut Bar Association is pleased to announce the addition of Attorney Thomas A. Genung as the new director of CLE and section programming as of March 19.

Attorney Genung comes to us from the Florida Judicial Branch, where he served for 12 years as a trial court administrator in the 19th Judicial Circuit. Prior to that he served in the 17th Judicial Circuit in several roles, lastly as general counsel.

He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the CBA, including executive leadership, strategic planning, operations management, education programming, finance and budgeting, civics education, and public information. He received his BS in forestry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and his JD from the City University of New York School of Law.

“I am honored to join the CBA team, and am committed to working with CBA membership to deliver compelling, thought-provoking, and inspiring continuing legal education to the legal community,” stated Genung.

CT Supreme Court Adapts Policy Regarding Solicitation of Amicus Curiae Briefs

ct judicial branch logoThe Supreme Court has adopted a policy, effective with the eighth term of court, to govern the sua sponte solicitation of briefs of amicus curiae in specific pending cases. Under this new policy, rather than extend invitations to specific organizations, the Supreme Court will publish more generalized amicus invitations in specific cases on a new “Amicus Curiae Invitations” page that will appear under the “Docket/Calendar” tab on the Supreme Court homepage. The questions presented, briefing requirements, submission deadline(s), and any additional information related to the invitation will appear in the posted notice. When the court acts sua sponte to invite the submission of amicus curiae briefs though this invitation policy, the provisions of Practice Book § 67-7 requiring a motion for permission to file are waived.

The Supreme Court will also create an e-mail notification list to alert interested organizations when it has posted a solicitation of briefs on the “Amicus Curiae Invitations” page. When the Court is interested in soliciting amicus briefs in a pending case, a courtesy group e-mail will be sent to the organizations on the list notifying them that an amicus brief invitation has been posted on the Supreme Court’s website. Bar associations and other organizations are strongly encouraged to provide e-mail contact information to the Appellate Clerk at amicuslist@connapp.jud.ct.gov in order ensure their inclusion on this notification list.

Please contact (860)757-2200 with any questions about this policy.

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

Free CLE for All Government Lawyers

CBA logo CMYKIn an effort to assist lawyers affected by the shutdown of the federal government, the Connecticut Bar Association is offering free CLE programs to all affected lawyers through the month of February.

Through February, any lawyer who works for the federal government may register for free, for any CLE course offered through April 30, 2019.

“The Connecticut Bar Association recognizes and appreciates the efforts of all lawyers who keep our federal government and the federal judiciary running. If the CBA can be of further assistance, please feel free to let us know,” state CBA President Jonathan M. Shapiro.

A member who qualifies for this offer may take advantage of it by contacting the CBA’s Member Service Center at MSC@ctbar.org or (844)469-2221.

Young Lawyers Section Collects over 30,000 Meals This Holiday Season

donations photoThe Young Lawyers Section’s Horn of Plenty Food Drive collected over 30,000 meals for Connecticut residents struggling with hunger this fall. Food drive participants’ monetary donations were matched two to one by Feeding America’s Give a Meal with Bank of America program. The YLS also collected food items for Connecticut Foodbank and Foodshare at law firms across the state.

The Horn of Plenty Food Drive was organized by YLS Public Service Co-directors Joanna M. Kornafel and Linda A. Bulkovitch. Cindy M. Cieslak, Sara J. Dickson, Jonathan E. Friedler, Ron J. Houde, Jr., Meredith F. McBride, and Molly C. Sanford assisted with the food collection.

“This year’s Horn of Plenty was a huge success because of the team of volunteers that helped collect food and monetary donations as well as the greater Connecticut bar community that supported our efforts,” shared YLS Public Service Co-directors Linda A. Bulkovitch and Joanna M. Kornafel. “Together we all made a difference in fighting hunger in our home state. Thank you to everyone. We know that we really made a positive difference.”

Monetary donations were made by Attorneys Austin Berescik-Johns, Patricia M. Carreiro, David A, McGrath, and Diane W. Whitney, as well as Green & Sklarz LLC, Polinsky Law Group, and Rose Kallor LLP.