Member Spotlight: John P. Casey and Evan J. Seeman

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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

Member Spotlight: Diane D. Duhamel and Joseph R. Passaretti

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.

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Diane D. Duhamel and Joseph R. Passaretti, Jr. were inducted into The College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers (CWCL).

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.

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.

Member Spotlight: Jeffrey J. White

Jeffrey J. White
Jeffrey J. White

On March 14, 2019, Jeffrey J. White of Robinson+Cole was one of 14 manufacturing leaders invited to the White House for a roundtable discussion regarding issues facing the US manufacturing sector. Attorney White was joined by manufacturing business leaders and government officials to discuss the sustained growth of US manufacturing and how manufacturers are successfully using both developments in technology and workforce training to expand into new markets and grow internationally.

Attorney White leads Robinson+Cole’s manufacturing industry team and regularly represents manufacturing clients throughout the United States and globally. He has represented a cross-section of manufacturing companies ranging from large global companies to family-owned businesses.

YLS Honors Asha Rangappa with Diversity Award

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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.”