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.”

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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.

 

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.

Nominations are Now Open for the 2018 Ladder Award

The Women in the Law Committee of the Young Lawyers Section is seeking nominations for the 2018 Ladder Award. This award honors a Connecticut female attorney who has “left the ladder down” for women to follow in her footsteps, and values the importance of leadership development, mentoring, and supporting junior lawyers in their journeys to success.

To nominate a candidate, submit a letter of recommendation, no longer than two pages, describing the extent, type, and character of the leadership provided by the nominee. Nominations must be submitted no later than Friday, January 5, 2018 to YLSWITL@gmail.com. Learn more about the Ladder award here.

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2017 Ladder Award winner, Justice Maria A. Kahn,
with CBA officers and YLS leadership.