The following appeared in a press release distributed by the Connecticut Bar Foundation:
The Connecticut Bar Foundation is pleased to announce that Natalie Wagner of West Hartford was named as the foundation’s interim executive director, effective May 28, 2019. Natalie has extensive legal experience in Connecticut’s public and private sectors. Her professional experience includes serving as the legal director to both the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management and State Department of Education as deputy counsel to the Office of Governor Malloy. Subsequently, she represented school districts and educational institutions throughout Connecticut as counsel at Shipman & Goodwin LLP. Natalie has also volunteered her time on numerous professional and community organizations. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the University of Connecticut School of Law, Natalie’s wide community reach and professional experience are an excellent fit for the foundation at this critical time in our tenure.
The Connecticut Bar Foundation works to increase access to justice by administering grants to legal services agencies that provide civil representation to those who cannot otherwise afford an attorney. Since 1952, the foundation also serves as an integral part of the legal community in Connecticut, working in partnership with judges, attorneys, and law schools to promote understanding and improvement of the law, legal institutions, and the legal profession.
On May 16, the Connecticut Law Tribune presented Dana R. Bucin of Murtha Cullina LLP with the 2019 Connecticut Attorney of the Year Award. Awards were also presented to first runner-up Jon Bauer, director of the University of Connecticut School of Law’s Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, and second runner-up Moy Ogilvie of McCarter & English LLP.
Attorney Bucin helped secure the release of two Cuban nationals from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody last year and has given critical help to clients from around the world in gaining legal immigration status.
“It’s not easy to be an immigration lawyer,” shared Attorney Bucin. “Its fighting hard in the trenches, and in immigration courts across the country, and visiting clients in detention centers, and that takes its emotional toll on you.”
On May 6, 2019 Executive Director of Greater Hartford Legal Aid Jamey L. Bell, received the inaugural Anthony M. Fitzgerald Award for Excellence by the Connecticut Bar Foundation (CBF). This award honors legal service providers and attorneys who demonstrate a commitment to the provision of zealous and skilled legal representation for low income clients, including direct client and other activities that ensure that Connecticut citizens have legal representation when facing important civil legal concerns affecting their safety, health, shelter, and survival.
Attorney Bell has more than 35 years of experience as an attorney and policy advocate in the areas of health care access, education, child welfare, and family economic security. She provides day-to-day oversight of Greater Hartford Legal Aid, including administrative, financial, advocacy, personnel, strategic planning, communications, and legislative issues. She serves on the CBA Pro Bono Committee and the Connecticut Judicial Branch Access to Justice Libraries Work Group.
CBA members John P. Casey and Evan J. Seeman of Robinson+Cole helped reopen the New London Harbor Lighthouse through representation in a pro bono litigation. The lighthouse has now been reopened to the public after four years, due to the City issuing a cease an desist order prohibiting public tours.
In 2015, neighbors of the lighthouse feared it would become a commercial tourist destination, causing the New London Maritime Society to be barred from hosting tours. Attorneys Casey and Seeman worked on the case from the initial appeal of the cease and desist order, which was initially upheld by the New London Zoning Board of Appeals, to an appeal of the Board’s decision to the Connecticut Superior Court that resulted in the order being over turned.
Attorney Casey concentrates his practice on land use and environmental matters, with particular emphasis on coastal management, development, permitting, and littoral and riparian water rights. Attorney Seeman concentrates his practice in land use and zoning, real property litigation, and municipal law. He is also a member of the CBA Planning & Zoning and Real Property Committees.
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.
Attorneys Diane D. Duhamel and Joseph R. Passaretti, Jr. were inducted into The College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers (CWCL) on March 14 at the ABA Workers’ Compensation Midwinter Conference and CWCL Symposium in Coral Gables, FL.
The College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers honors attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their practice in the field of workers’ compensation; have been in practice for 20 years or more; and have advanced the future of the practice through lecturing, writing, or teaching on workers’ compensation or related fields of law.
Attorney Duhamel is a chair of the Examining Committee for Workers’ Compensation Certification in the State of Connecticut, a past chair of the CBA Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee, and was a member of the editorial board for the CBA’s Compensation Quarterly (1996-2000).
Attorney Passaretti is a board certified workers’ compensation specialist in Glastonbury and a past chair of the CBA Workers’ Compensation Section, past editor-in-chief of the Compensation Quarterly, and editor of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation after Reforms (4th-6th Editions).
CBA members previously inducted into CWCL are Robert F. Carter, Donna J. Civitello, John P. Clarkson, Jason M. Dodge, David J. Morrissey, James L. Pomeranz, Angelo P. Sevarino, and Lucas D. Strunk.
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.