Columnists / OP-ED

How Did State's Top Court Discover Judicial Restraint?

By CHRIS POWELL |

Congratulations to Connecticut's Supreme Court for proclaiming the futility of public administration, ruling that a University of Connecticut employee who smoked marijuana while operating a university truck cannot be fired. The court's legal rationale was plausible but there was little consistency to it.

Chaos in Trial Scheduling

The new court year begins soon, and, as in virtually every year I can recall as a practicing lawyer, there is pushing and pulling between state and federal courts regarding scheduling of trials. Is it too much to ask state and federal judges to work together on scheduling issues?

The Abyss Claims Another Lawyer

By NORMAN PATTIS |

I am deflated suddenly, staring out the window wondering about the point of it all. News is just now breaking that another lawyer has committed suicide. The body of Meriden's John Ivers Jr., 50, reported missing this month, has been recovered. A self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the police say. Did it have to come to this?

Mark Dubois

Training the Next Generation of Lawyers

In the struggle of a fledgling Texas law school to obtain ABA accreditation is a message for others on the issue of what schools should be doing to educate and train the next generation of lawyers.

Thomas P. O’Connor, left, and Wyatt R. Jansen of Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan

Strategic Removal and the Voluntary-Involuntary Rule

By Thomas P. O'Connor and Wyatt R. Jansen |

The choice between federal and state court is one of the most strategically significant decisions made in the course of litigation. It can dramatically favor one party over another, affecting everything from the pace and expense of litigation to the governing procedural (and, in some instances, substantive) law.

Nicholas Paindiris, left, and Cody N. Guarnieri Brown of Paindiris & Scott

The White Whale of DRS Tax Clearance Certificates

By NICK PAINDIRIS and CODY GUARNIERI |

Herman Melville once wrote: "All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad." The object of my obsession, and that of many practitioners who deal with the purchase and sale of small businesses in Connecticut, is having a smooth, seamless, efficient and timely closing of the sale. What can often seem to be the "great white whale" in this process: appropriately addressing successor liability with the Department of Revenue Services.

Mark Dubois

Kinda Lonely

Sometimes, being a lawyer can be a lonely place to be. Unlike some other professions, we have a set of ethics rules that can make it really hard to do our jobs, keep our licenses and look at ourselves in the mirror every morning. Three recent cases brought this home to me.

SCOTUS Shouldn't Require 'Specialists'

Ordinary criminal defense lawyers not well-equipped to appear before the Supreme Court? If so, that sheds more light on what the court has become than it does on the defense bar.

A Second Look at Pretrial Detention

In the last session of the Legislature the governor proposed reforming our bail bond system by releasing anyone charged with a misdemeanor from pretrial incarceration unless they had committed a violent offense. We applaud the governor's effort to reduce the prison population, but there are two problems with his proposal.

Illegal Alien Criminals Will Laugh at 'Casey's Law'

By CHRIS POWELL |

Illegal immigrants and their enablers have become a big constituency of the Democratic Party, and Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Courtney are Democrats. While they regret Casey Chadwick's murder and the many crimes committed by other illegal immigrants, they don't regret them enough to risk proposing anything that might be effective.

George T. Holler, founder of Milford, Conn.-based Holler Law Firm

What Do You Mean I Can't Close My Client's Real Estate Transaction?

By GEORGE T. HOLLER |

What's new in the world of real estate closings? The better question is what hasn't changed in the last few years?

Attack of the Sad-Sack Scribbler

In case you didn't get the memo or, more to the point, read the tweet, I am to be pitied.

Mark Dubois

Mess Up, Fess Up

None of us is perfect. We all screw up on occasion. How we react and how we handle the matter when the inevitable occurs, can sometimes cause problems.

Saying Goodbye to Social Media

By Norm Pattis |
Harry Mazadoorian

Emotional Intelligence and Neuroscience: The Legal Profession Catches Up

The concept of emotional intelligence has been around for quite a while and has been used in business schools, diplomacy, the military, law enforcement and health care but has been slow to be embraced by the legal profession.

Mark Dubois

A Brave New World

Paris, San Bernardino, Dallas, Nice, Baton Rouge. As we reel from one horrific mass killing to another, many, on both sides of the political aisle, pronounce it time that something, anything, must be done to reverse the course of madness that seems to be gripping the world. Using the criminal law "categorical unity" of means, motive and opportunity, I'm afraid that when you unpack the options, none of us is going to like the alternatives.

A 1973 Book Rings True Today

What did I do on my summer vacation this year? I read a lot. One book haunts me, and will for a while. I pass it along with a grim sort of recommendation. Candidly, I am hoping that several of you will read it and then tell me why I ought not to be so disturbed by it.

Mark Dubois

The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg Thinks Twice

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka the Notorious RBG, aka Darth Bader, set off a firestorm last week when she made some intemperate remarks about Donald Trump during an interview, doubled down on them when speaking with other media outlets, then reversed herself and apologized a few days later for saying anything in the first place. The whole mess is yet another example of how this election cycle will be one for the history books.

Desi Imetovski, Connecticut Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel

In Life, Tides Turn and Winds Shift

Joining the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel has been amazing. The work is incredibly challenging. It is important work. You may have heard me joke about 'culling the herd,' but really, I just shepherd the strays back to the flock.

Missing Persons

The federal government's announcement that some new faces are going to appear on the currency is a welcome one.

Mark Dubois

The Robots Are Coming

We need to find new ways to do these things or others will do them for free and we'll become less relevant than we already are to a great swath of consumers.

Strengthening Our Anti-Bullying Laws

The legislature should provide for a private cause of action against any board of education or school employee or official who allows bullies to harm our children regardless of their attempts to comply with the existing anti-bullying statute.

Mark Dubois

Not Your Father's Law School

No one should start a sentence any more with the words "the problem with law schools…" If anything, they have proved a lot more nimble and adaptable than many of us.

Michael Ratner: 1944-2016

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of one of the greatest social justice lawyers of our time. Michael Ratner, who passed away on May 11, spent his life giving voice to victims of human rights abuses around the world.

The Fourth of July and the End of Ramadan

By DEIRDRE DALY |

We all must pledge to remove hatred and intolerance from our midst, and to stay true to the principles of liberty, justice and equality that define America at its best.

Pattis-Norm

Cutbacks May Hurt Confidence in Courts

The massive layoffs in the Judicial Branch threaten to undermine public confidence in the courts yet further. It will take uncommon creativity to keep the wheels of justice turning.

Patricia King

Language No Barrier for Traveling Law School Group

By PATRICIA KING |

Law professors and students from Connecticut gain knowledge about American and Nicaraguan law and legal systems from trip to that Central American country.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Let Jurors Have the Last Word on Illegal Searches

By NORM PATTIS |

If lawmen can't be trusted to make wise decisions about what laws to enforce and when, then why not let taxpayer's decide?

Hewlett-Packard HP 1040 Fax machine.

Editorial: The Good Old Days of Practicing Law

Many lawyers practicing today remember a very different profession that existed when they came to the bar.

Editorial: Pediatricians Aren't Violating Second Amendment By Asking Parents About Guns

In the first few years of a child's life, a pediatrician will ask parents a series of questions about household safety: Do you own a pool? Do you smoke? Do you own a gun? Doctor-parent conversations along these lines are not used to punish or intimidate parents; rather, they are intended for educational purposes regarding child safety measures.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Facebook Lawyers Thumb Nose at Conn. Subpoena

By Norm Pattis |

Experienced litigators learn the hard way that some institutions regard themselves as too big to comply with the humdrum requirements of the law.

The Bushmaster AR-15 rifle Adam Lanza used in the December 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooting killed 20 children and six adults.

Editorial: Yet Again Blood Stains Our Streets

The only thing worse than these events taking place in the first place, would be to leave conditions intact that permit others like them to happen again and again. We must, as a nation, enact effective gun control. It is the perpetuation of evil not to.

Editorial: Nativist Attacks on Judiciary Threaten Rule of Law

There seems to be no end to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's willingness to go "too far." His recent attacks on California U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, and, by implication and suggestion, other judges of diverse backgrounds, have reached a new low. All lawyers should condemn such unsupported nativist attacks.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Lawyers Should Beware of Mortgage Fraud Scams

By MARK DUBOIS |

Given that the last big meltdown in the housing market happened about nine years ago and some commentators are warning of a new bubble, watch out for a new round of mortgage fraud cases with the inevitable lawyer victims in the mix.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Assistant Disciplinary Counsel's Departure Raises Questions

By Norm Pattis |

Is it just me, or do you also get the sense that all is not well in the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel? It appears that a revolving door is spitting folks out of the top slots a little too quickly these days. Why?

Editorial: Federal Government Should Block Funds to States That Pass Discriminatory Laws

In separate letters to Gov. Patrick McCrory, the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Department of Justice is taking on HB2, North Carolina's sweeping anti-LGBT law.

Editorial: Judges, Do the Right Thing and Approve MCLE

When the Superior Court Rules Committee conducted a public hearing last month on the rule it had earlier approved and then made only minor, insignificant changes, the penultimate step was taken in the long-running effort to implement Minimum Continuing Legal Education in Connecticut.

Editorial: Altering the Law to Affect Individual Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court's April 20 decision in Bank Markazi v. Peterson was widely noted because it upheld the right of American nationals to seek damages from foreign state sponsors of terrorism in American courts. It's an important case from that perspective. But it's also important for what it says about the interaction between the judicial branch and the political branches of the federal government.

Editorial: Communities Need Better Way to Probe Police Misconduct

The persistent eruption of violence and protest by our citizens who confront and attack law enforcement attempting to enforce laws or subdue unrest cries out for a new approach to dealing with the ultimate outcomes of needless fatalities, the unjustified use of deadly force and civil rights violations

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Judges' Conference Offers Intriguing, But Unrealistic Ideas

By Norm Pattis |

I was a stranger in a strange land late in May, when, at the invitation of U.S. District Judge Warren Eginton, I attended the 2016 Second Circuit Judicial Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Ian McLachlan

Conn. Switches to National Bar Exam Without Consulting Judges

By C. Ian McLachlan |

The 23-member Connecticut Bar Examining Committee (CBEC) recently voted 8-6 to adopt the so-called Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which is, in effect, a national bar exam, beginning with the February 2017 exam. However, the CBEC also voted 8-5 against submitting the question of whether Connecticut should adopt the national bar exam to the annual meeting of the judges of the Superior Court.

Editorial: State Should Make Amends for Witchcraft Executions

During the course of the 17th century approximately a dozen men and women were judicially murdered by the colony of Connecticut in witchcraft prosecutions. These killings remain a grievous blot on the judicial history of this state.