About Our Board

Joette Katz, Chair of the Board

Joette Katz was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Brandeis University in 1974 and the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1977. Following her admission to the Connecticut bar, she worked briefly in a small private law firm and then for eleven years as a public defender, serving as both a trial and appellate lawyer. Additionally, she was the Chief of Legal Services for the State of Connecticut Division of Public Defender Services, where she supervised all public defenders handling appeals. In that capacity, she also handled her own case load, assisted public defenders and private attorneys at trial with legal issues in anticipation of receiving their cases for appeal, educated defense attorneys on developments in criminal law as well as appellate procedures, and co-authored a textbook, the Connecticut Criminal Law Handbook: A Practitioner's Guide. She was appointed to the Connecticut Superior Court by Governor William O'Neill in 1989. In 1992, she was elevated to the Connecticut Supreme Court by Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. and thereafter was reappointed by Governors John Rowland and M. Jodi Rell. In her eighteen plus years on that court, she sat on approximately 2200 cases, and authored over 430 majority opinions, as well as nearly100 dissenting and concurring opinions. She also served as the Administrative Judge of the Appellate System for the State of Connecticut.

During her career Justice Katz has been a member of the Criminal Practice Commission, the CBA Attorney Trust Account Task Force, the Public Service and Trust Commission, the chair of the Client Security Fund, and a member of the American Law Institute (participating in its Model Penal Code Sentencing Project). She was also a member of the Public Defender Commission, the Law Revision Commission, the Fairfield County branch of the American Inns of Court, as well as the chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules, and the chairperson of the Code of Evidence Oversight Committee. Justice Katz has taught at all three of the state's law schools and is an associate fellow of Trumbull College at Yale University. She has received many awards and honors, including The Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund's Maria Miller Stewart Award, the National Organization for Women's Harriet Tubman Award, the University of Connecticut School of Law's Distinguished Graduate Award, the National Council of Jewish Women's Women of Distinction Award, the Connecticut Bar Association's Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award, as well as an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Quinnipiac University School of Law. She is a recipient of the 2011 Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame Women of Distinction award and the Greater Bridgeport Bar Association's Career Service award. She has had the great fortune to be able to mentor children in foster care and to do Katrina relief work in the United States and post tsunami relief work in Sri Lanka.

Justice Katz retired from the Connecticut Supreme Court in January 2011. Since that time she has served as the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families for the State of Connecticut where she is responsible for over 4,700 children for whom the department has custody and guardianship and oversees services to 36,000 children and 16,000 families that need society's help. In her current capacity she is a frequent lecturer on issues related to the mission of her agency that range from child welfare, adolescent brain development, juvenile justice, and family engagement. She is also the Chair of the Editorial Board of the Connecticut Law Tribune and serves on or chairs a number of other committees.

Dwight H. Merriam, Vice-Chair of the Board

Dwight H. Merriam founded Robinson & Cole's Land Use Group in 1978. He is a Fellow and Past President and of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Past Chair of the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a Counselor of Real Estate, a member of the Anglo-American Real Property Institute, and a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He teaches at the University of Connecticut School of Law and Vermont Law School and has published over 200 articles and eight books.

John Balzano

John Balzano is currently a visiting assistant professor at Boston University Law School. Previously he was a senior research scholar and lecturer in law at Yale Law School and a senior fellow at its China Law Center. He was in private practice at a law firm in New York City from 2008 to 2010. He was also a law clerk to the Honorable Joette Katz former associate justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut and to the Honorable Steven M. Gold Chief USMJ of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. His scholarship focuses on transnational litigation and comparative food and drug law.

Victor A. Bolden

Victor Bolden is the Corporation Counsel for New Haven, Connecticut. In this capacity, Bolden serves as the chief legal advisor of and attorney for the City of New Haven and all of its officers and departments in matters related to their official duties and oversees a docket of more than several hundred matters. Mr. Bolden was the General Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. ("LDF") from 2004 to 2009, serving as LDF's chief advisor on legal matters affecting the organization, providing advice to LDF's legal staff on the organization's civil rights cases, and handling the day-to-day administration of LDF's New York and Washington, D.C. offices. Mr. Bolden also previously served as Counsel with the law firm of Wiggin and Dana LLP in New Haven, Connecticut, Assistant Counsel with LDF from 1994 to 2000, and as an attorney with American Civil Liberties Union Foundation's (ACLU) National Legal Department, first as a Marvin Karpatkin Fellow and then, as a Staff Attorney, from 1989 to 1994. Mr. Bolden is a 1986 graduate of Columbia College and a 1989 graduate of Harvard Law School and a member of both the New York and Connecticut Bars.

Joyce Chen

Joyce Chen practices in the areas of medical malpractice, product liability, and catastrophic injury at Silver Golub & Teitell, and previously practiced in patent litigation, white collar crime, and commercial litigation at an international law firm in New York City. Past pro bono matters include advocacy for rape victims in Haiti, and representation of youth services and homeless advocacy organizations in New York City. She served on the New Haven Board of Aldermen from 2002 to 2007.

Proloy K. Das

Proloy K. Das is a principal at Rome McGuigan, P.C. where he handles appeals and special litigation matters. He previously served as an Assistant State's Attorney in the Appellate Bureau of the Chief State's Attorney's Office and has argued over fifty appeals before the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts. Attorney Das has been named one of the Connecticut Law Tribune's "New Leaders of The Law" (2005), the Hartford Business Journal's "40 Under Forty" (2007), and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's "Best Lawyers Under Forty" (2011). He is a 1997 graduate of Boston College and a 2000 graduate of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Robert Farr

Attorney Robert Farr, 90 Whiting Lane, West Hartford, CT. General practice. Chair, Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles: 2007 - 2011. Republican candidate for Connecticut Attorney General: 2006. Connecticut State Representative: 1981 - 2007. Ranking Member Judiciary Committee: 1997 - 2007. Connecticut Task Force on Eyewitness Identification: 2011 to present. Connecticut Sentencing Commission : 2011. Chair, Misdemeanor Classification Working Group: 2011 to present. Member: American, Connecticut and Hartford County Bar Associations. Previously member of Criminal Justice Committees of National Council of State Governments, National Council of State Legislators, and American Legislative Exchange Council.

Eugene R. Fidell

Eugene R. Fidell is Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School, and of counsel at Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP (Washington, D.C.). He is a graduate of Queens College (1965) and Harvard Law School (1968), and a member of the American Law Institute. From 1991 to 2011, Mr. Fidell was president of the National Institute of Military Justice. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard and is co-author of Military Justice Cases and Materials (LexisNexis 2d ed. 2012).

Elizabeth Gilson

Elizabeth (Beth) Gilson has more than 30 years of professional experience, including nearly 25 years in the private practice of law and 10 years as a lobbyist and public policy analyst. She maintains an active solo practice, focusing on environmental regulation and appellate litigation. She has represented public and private clients in diverse cases involving the siting of gas, electric and water projects. She also provides pro bono legal services to a number of nonprofit and arts organizations. In 2010 she successfully obtained asylum in Switzerland for two men imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

Matthew Hallisey

Matthew Hallisey is a principal and founder of Matthew Hallisey Government Affairs, LLC, a full-service lobbying and government affairs consulting practice in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Mr. Hallisey was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1994. He also is admitted to practice in the United States District Court, District of Connecticut. Mr. Hallisey serves as of counsel to Silvester & Kappesin Hartford. He has been a member of the editorial board since 1999.

John Herrington

John Herrington is a litigation associate with the Jorden Burt LLP law firm. His practice involves defending financial services institutions in complex litigation matters in federal and state courts throughout the United States. John is also a member of the Connecticut State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights. Prior to joining Jorden Burt, John served as a law clerk to the Honorable Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers of the Connecticut Supreme Court. John has also served in the United States Navy as a an instructor in the Naval Nuclear Power Program.

Wesley Horton

Wesley Horton has appeared as appellate counsel, either at argument or on the brief, in hundreds of cases over a span of 36 years. He has participated in some of the most notable cases in the state, including the landmark condemnation case he successfully argued to the United States Supreme Court, Kelo v. New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), and the de facto school desegregation case he successfully argued to the Connecticut Supreme Court, Sheff v. O'Neill, 238 Conn. 1 (1996).

His appellate practice covers a wide variety of constitutional and other legal issues, in areas as varied as domestic relations, probate, personal injury and land use. Attorney Horton also consults with counsel at the trial level, in complicated legal matters or in preparation for possible appellate issues.

In addition to his active appellate practice, Attorney Horton represents attorneys in professional disciplinary matters. He has given testimony as a witness on ethical and malpractice matters. From 1997 to 2007 he was the Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association's 52-member Professional Ethics Committee.

Attorney Horton is a strong advocate for the Connecticut Constitution. He wrote the only published book on the Connecticut Constitution. He published and annotated the debates of the 1818 Constitutional Convention, previously available only in newspaper articles published in 1818. He is also a scholar on the history of the Connecticut judiciary, having written The History of the Connecticut Supreme Court, published by Thomsen/West in 2008.

Since its founding in 2005, Horton has been the President of the Connecticut Supreme Court Historical Society. In 2008-09, he was President of the American Counsel Association, an international legal organization, and has spoken at conferences in Warsaw, Brussels and Luxembourg on the differences between the American and Continental legal systems. He is also a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the umpire-in-chief of the Rago-Coco Little League in Hartford.

His wife Chloe and he have two children, Barnaby (think Horton v. Meskill) and Belinda, and three grandchildren, Carter, Anne and Lulu.

Patricia Kaplan

Upon graduation from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1978, Patricia Kaplan joined New Haven Legal Assistance Association, Inc. (LAA) as a staff attorney, specializing in family and child law. In 1991, she became the Executive Director. This, however, was her third career. Her first was as a kindergarten/first grade teacher and her second was as a stay-at-home mom. She is the mother of two and grandmother of 4, ranging in age from 20 to 9. One of her major interests outside of the law is photography and her work has been in several shows throughout Connecticut. She and her husband travel extensively including sea kayaking trips in Alaska, British Columbia, Croatia and Turkey.

In addition to her legal services= work, Attorney Kaplan has been involved in many community boards and associations. She is a member of the Connecticut Law Tribune Editorial Board. She has been a member of the board and executive committee of the United Way of Greater New Haven. She is actively involved in the Connecticut Bar Association, is a past President of the New Haven County Bar Association and of the New Haven County Bar Foundation. In June of 2003, she received the Community Mediation award for her role in the creation of the Child and Family Mediation Program. In May of 2005, she was the recipient of the Connecticut Law Tribune Service to the Profession award. Connecticut Women's Educational and Legal Fund gave Pat the Maria Miller Stewart award in 2006. In June of 2008, she was honored by the Connecticut Bar Association Charles Parker Award at its annual meeting. She received an Honorary Law Degree from the Quinnipiac School of Law in 2008. In 2012 the Connecticut Bar Foundation gave her its Legal Services Leadership Award.

David King

David King is Associate Dean and Associate Professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law, where he teaches Property and Land Use Planning. He served from 1997-2007 on the Planning and Zoning Commission of Woodbridge, CT, and on the South Central Regional Planning Commission, of which he was chair from 2002-2004. He currently serves on Woodbridge's Board of Finance and as a member of the board of directors of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association.

Alan Neigher

Alan Neigher has been a principal in the Westport firm of Byelas & Neigher since 1980. A graduate of Colby College and Boston College Law School, he specializes in media, entertainment, intellectual property and trade regulation law. His media clients include daily and weekly newspapers, broadcast facilities, film production companies, publishers and performing talent. He defends libel, privacy, copyright and tort claims on behalf of several insurance clients. He has represented numerous media organizations in access, FOIA and newsroom subpoenas cases. Mr. Neigher served from 1992-1995 as Vice Chair of the Connecticut Film Commission. He was President of the Board of Directors of the Fairfield Theatre Company upon its opening in 2004. He has recently served on two statewide judicial task forces: the Chief Justice's Committee regarding lawyer advertising (2005-06) and the Judicial Branch's Public Access Task Force (2006). He is presently a member of the Judicial Media Task Force.

Louis R. Pepe

Louis R. Pepe is a litigation attorney who focuses his practice on business torts and contract disputes and construction contract cases. He represents his clients in state and federal courts as well as in arbitration, mediation and other ADR proceedings.

Mr. Pepe Received a B.Mgt.E. degree and an M.S. in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a J.D., with distinction, from Cornell Law School. He is admitted to the practice of law in Connecticut and before the United States Supreme Court and numerous federal district courts and courts of appeal.

He has taught in seminars presented by the Connecticut Bar Association on trial practice and has presented seminars in business and construction litigation throughout the country. Mr. Pepe has also taught courses on arbitration at the University of Connecticut Law School.

Mr. Pepe is a former president of the Connecticut Bar Association (2005-2006), a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Construction Lawyers, and an Associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is listed in "Who's Who in America," "Who's Who in American Law," "The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers" (Construction), "Best Lawyers in America," "Super Lawyers" (Connecticut, New York Area, New England), "Who's Who of Construction Lawyers," and "Who's Who in International Arbitration."

George Royster

Attorney Royster is a partner in the law firm of Halloran & Sage in Hartford and has been a member of its commercial litigation department since 1990. In his career of over 40 years, he has tried over 100 civil jury cases to a conclusion. Mr. Royster is a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate and a Board Certified Civil Pretrial Practice Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters and is a special master in the United States District Court. He is a certified commercial arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and with the Financial Industries Regulatory Authority. He is an advocate member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and is a member of their National Board of Directors. He was a member of the Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission from 1996-1999. He was Chairman of the Civil Justice Section of the Connecticut Bar Association from 1984-1987. He is a member of Who's Who in American Law and Who's Who in International Law. From 2003-2010 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Hartford County Bar Association.

Mr. Royster is AV rated in Martindale Hubbel. Mr. Royster is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United Stated District Court for the District of Connecticut as well as all Connecticut State Courts. He is a graduate of Lafayette College and the Washington University School of Law.

Mark Soboslai

Since 1978, Mark's primary professional activities have focused upon family relations and family law matters. Mark graduated from Law School summa cum laude after serving for eight years as a Family Relations Counselor with the Family Services Division of the Connecticut Superior Court. From 1985 to 1986, he served as Law Clerk for Judge David Borden on the Connecticut Appellate Court and since 1986 he has worked as a lawyer with a primary emphasis upon family law, mediation and appellate litigation.

In 1999 Mark began a solo practice after almost fifteen years as a lawyer with Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt & Dow in New Haven. Since 2003, his practice has been located in Westport where he continues to focus on family law, mediation, and appellate litigation.

Mark has also been an active member of several non-profit boards throughout the past ten years including: the Dispute Settlement Center, Family ReEntry, and the Connecticut Council For Non-Adversarial Divorce.

Mike Stratton

Mike Stratton is a civil trial lawyer whose firm Stratton Faxon handles catastrophic personal injury, products liability, and malpractice cases on behalf of plaintiffs. Mike is listed among the Top 10 Lawyers in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine's annual peer ranking. He lives in New Haven with his wife, Shel Swanson, a midwife, and their three children. He serves on the boards of the Hopkins School, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association and New Haven Legal Assistance Association

Thomas Ullmann

Thomas Ullmann's professional career as a lawyer has been as a public defender for the state of Connecticut. He started in the New Haven Geographical Area 23 and practiced there for 5 years. After that he transferred to the Part A office of the New Haven Judicial District and has been located there ever since, becoming the supervisor of this office in 1992. Thomas has tried anywhere from 60 to 70 jury trials to verdict and handles approximately 150 cases per year, including capital charges.

For approximately the last 15 years, he has taught both basic and advanced Criminal Trial Practice at Quinnipiac University School of Law and for the last 5 years has been a visiting lecturer on the law at the Yale Law School Criminal Defense Project.

Thomas has been president of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and currently serves as a member of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, which evolved from a work group that he chaired as a member of the legislatively created Sentencing Task Force.

Marilyn N. Toland

Marilyn Toland has a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Fisk University. Atty. Toland is a member of the CBA Professional Ethics Committee and the Executive Committees for the Estates & Probate and Elder Law sections. She is a James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Crawford Black Bar Association. Atty. Toland is Chair of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Community Care, Inc. (CCCI), a Director of MWH Holdings, Inc. and active in other community organizations. Her practice areas are elder law and estate planning.

Stephen Wizner

Stephen Wizner is the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor Emeritus, Professorial Lecturer, and Supervising Attorney at Yale Law School, where he has been a clinical instructor since 1970. He also holds a special appointment at the Sackler Professor of Law at Tel Aviv University, where he serves as consultant and instructor in the clincical program. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth College and J.D. from the University of Chicago. Berfore coming to Yale, Professor Wizer served as a Trial Attorney with the United States Departement of Justice, Staff Attorney at the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law at Columbia University, and Managing Attorney at Mobilization for Youth (MFY) Legal Services. At Yale Professor Wizer has taught and supervised students in the Law School's clinical program, and taught non-clinical courses in Trial Practice and Professional Responsibility. He is the recipient of the William Pincus Award for "outsatnding contributions to clinical legal education" from the Assoication of American Law Schools Section on CLincal Legal Education, the Richard S. Jacobson Trial Advocacy Teaching Award from the Roscoe Pound American Trial Lawyers Foundation, the Theodore I. Koskoff Award "for oustanding contributions to trial law specialization and certification" from the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the Charles J. Parker Legal Services Award from the Conncecticut Bar Association, the Connecticut Law Tribune Award "for ditinguished service to the State Bar," and the Society of American Law Teachers "Great Teacher" Award. Porfessor Wizer is the autheor of numerous articles on legal education, legal services, ethics, juvenile justice, and poverty law.

All published editorials are a product of the Editorial Board. The views expressed are not necessarily those of any individual Board Member or the Law Tribune's management. The Editorial Board has no role in the management of the Law Tribune.