Columnists / OP-ED


Proposal Means Showdown on Who Can Practice Law


A few days ago a proposed change to the pro hac vice rule was forwarded to the full judges' meeting by the Rules Committee. If passed this June, it may set the stage for a showdown between the branches of government that has been brewing for some time. Maybe that's a good thing.

Stemming the Rising Tide of Immunities

We need to stop increasing the number and scope of immunities that protect scores of industries, products, institutions and people from exposure to civil liability.

U.S. Postal Service truck.

Banking Services Needed for Low-Income Families

While the Federal Postal Court is best left closed, another, more recent federal postal institution, the U.S. Postal Savings System, may be due for reopening.

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

By Amy Goodusky |

In law school, no one gives students much pertinent information about the practical vagaries of life as a lawyer. In particular, no one mentions that the lawyer will spend approximately 74.46621 percent of his or her time in suspended animation.


Physical Office Requirement Is a 19th-Century Relic


A fascinating case in New York reached an unexpected (though perhaps not final) point the other day when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a law that requires New York-licensed lawyers who have a primary office elsewhere to have actual, physical offices in New York if they want to practice there.


Norm Pattis: Senior Citizen Fugitive Shouldn't Be Returned to Prison


Gov. Dannel Malloy will soon be given an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to the Second Chance Society which he unveiled more than one year ago.

Editorial: Echoes of Jim Crow Era Heard in Transgender Restroom Debate

In what some see as the backlash against last summer's Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision, bills restricting the use of bathrooms have been introduced in dozens of state legislatures and in cities and towns across America.

Editorial: Does End Justify the Means in Justice Department's Battle With Apple?

Connecticut's lawyers and citizens should be concerned about the recent battle between Apple and the Department of Justice during which the DOJ tried to force Apple to develop a method to break its own encryption system.


Norm Pattis: Social Media is Changing Jury Dynamics


One rule of the road for potential jurors is a commitment to follow the law wherever it leads. It is a juror's job to find facts; the court instructs on the law and ensures, at least in theory, a fair trial. That's the theory.

XDM 3.8 Compact, 9mm pistol.

Editorial: Time to Examine Gun Storage and Safety Laws

We urge the General Assembly to update gun storage laws and require firearms to be safely stored whenever they are not carried by or within close proximity of a person licensed to carry a firearm.

Paying for Legal Counsel in Eminent Domain Cases

There is no provision in Connecticut and many other states for someone whose property is taken by eminent domain to be compensated for the cost of their legal representation. That is patently unfair.

John Parese

Bar Association Expresses Opposition to Conn. MCLE Proposal

By John M. Parese |

The New Haven County Bar Association (NHCBA) has not historically advanced formal positions on controversial issues affecting the legal profession. The matter of mandatory or minimum continuing legal education, however, has inspired the attention of so many of our members that we thought it appropriate to publicly articulate our position.


Mark Dubois: It May Be Time to Allow Nonlawyers to Offer Some Legal Services

By Mark Dubois |

The question for us is whether we embrace it all, and find ways to make it work for us, or fight a rearguard action until our friends in the courts and the legislature settle the question, with or without our objections.


Norm Pattis: Rocket Docket Needed to Address Conn. Federal Court Delays

By Norm Pattis |

Resolving our disputes in courtrooms is far better than doing so in street brawls or violence. But even the rule-bound character of the courts sometimes seems to resemble the world of the Hatfields and McCoys

Editorial: Rule of Law Jeopardized by Political Acts

There is a dangerous accumulation of acts and incidents that have the effect of undermining the notion that our nation is one of laws, and not men. We, as a profession, must speak out against this at every turn, every day.

Benjamin Daniels and David Roth

Second Circuit Had a Busy First Quarter of 2016


Other rulings focus on subject-matter jurisdiction, attorney obligations.

Michelle Cruz: Second Chance 2.0 Based on Myths and Falsehoods

By Michelle Cruz |

What might the "justice system" look like if Second Chance 2.0 is approved?

Donald Trump

Editorial: Trump's Views Show Disregard for Rule of Law

By The Connecticut Law Tribune |

Trump talks of loosening our laws to allow for such torture. Heeding him would not be loosening our laws, but a wholesale disregard for them and an abandonment of our enlightened moral stature in the world.


Mark Dubois: Who Is the Client? Uncertainty Can Cause Ethical Issues


A trio of cases arising out of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse mess at Penn State reminds us of the complexities associated with defining client identity when dealing with corporate entities.

Merrick Garland.

Editorial: Could Senate Consent to Garland Nomination Through Silence?

Gregory Diskant, a lawyer and member of the national governing board of Common Cause, recently made a novel suggestion for breaking through the gridlock on President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Norm Pattis: Police Often Reluctant to Return Property to Owners


Lawmen are plenty aggressive when it comes to seizing money, and prosecutors are often aggressive in perfecting these claims. By an odd twist of law, one needn't be convicted of a crime to lose assets.

John Bonee III

John Bonee III: Reflections on 20 Years as a CBA Delegate

By John Bonee III |

Twenty years ago, when completing my duties as Hartford County Bar Association president, I ran for the Connecticut Bar Association's House of Delegates from Hartford's District 12.

Yale Law School

Editorial: State Constitution Bars Taxation of Yale Endowment

With hundreds of millions of dollars of debt looming over them, state lawmakers came up with a brilliant plan: let's make income on university endowments taxable.


Mark Dubois: In Computer Age, Practice of Law Still Requires Human Touch

By Mark Dubois |

A Google computer program just beat one of the world masters at the game of Go. There's a lesson in that for us.

Patricia King

Patricia King: Dealing With Different Types of Problem Clients


The ability to recognize a problem client can allow you to make an informed decision whether to decline the representation, or to undertake the representation with an understanding that it is going to take some extra work to manage the client along with his case.


Norm Pattis: Civil Gideon Proposal Is A Bad Idea

By Norm Pattis |

While it sounds good in theory to say that no litigant should be kept from court on economic grounds, in practice, providing free, court-appointed counsel to all litigants is the equivalent of giving alcoholics carte blanche access to a gin mill.

Editorial: Firms Should Launch Residency Programs to Train Next Generation of Lawyers

We as members of the bar have an obligation to make sure that the next generation of lawyers is adequately trained, has had appropriate work experience, and will serve the public good responsibly.

Alan Schwartz

Second Circuit Says Not All Businesses Are Subject To Conn. Court Jurisdiction


Judges say business registration doesn't constitute 'consent' to state jurisdiction.


Norm Pattis: Disciplinary Authorities Go Too Easy on Prosecutors

By Norm Pattis |

Who holds prosecutors accountable when they err? The answer, surprisingly, is no one. That's one conclusion a recent study on prosecutorial misconduct nationwide reached.

Editorial: State Should Amend Laws Regulating Electroshock Therapy

Connecticut's shock therapy statutes raise serious due process concerns and need to be amended, especially because the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for people with psychiatric diagnoses is once again increasing in Connecticut.


Mark Dubois: Bar Members Need to Step Up and Help Legal Aid


If nothing is done, an already meager and woefully understaffed attempt at providing legal services to those who need it most and can afford it least will be further pared down. At some point, it will be so small and ineffectual that some will wonder why we even pretend to care.

Dan Klau

Dan Klau: Garland Nomination Likely To Set Off Epic Battle

By Dan Klau |

In the Supreme Court nomination battle, the stakes are enormous for both political parties and for the nation. When the stakes are that significant, we should expect nothing less than a battle royale.

Michelle Cruz: Erin Andrews' Case Puts High Value on Privacy Rights


With the advancement of technology and the explosive use of social media and cellphones with video capabilities, the right to privacy has come under attack.

Editorial: Lawmakers Must Take Aggressive Steps to Protect Public Land

Will improved statutory or constitutional protections of state lands or giveaways of public lands win the day?


Mark Dubois: Should Legal Profession Embrace Change or Stand Firm?

By Mark Dubois |

Several events recently brought home the fact that, in the words of one wag, "this ain't our fathers' bar anymore."


Norm Pattis: Make the Plea Bargaining Process More Transparent

By Norm Pattis |

Last week's column on plea bargaining had more than a few heads shaking. One wag had this to say: Deprive judges of the fantasy of a bargain, and plea offers will go up. Leave well enough alone, I was advised. I was playing with fire. Really? Let's juggle the torches some, and see what happens.

Bar Exam. Photo By Hewlett Askew

Editorial: Requiring Professional Competency for Bar Admission

The skills competency provision requires law schools to certify that their new graduates have demonstrated basic competence in outcomes that the schools themselves have identified as essential to ensuring that the graduates are "practice-ready and prepared to meet the myriad—and emerging—demands of the legal profession in the 21st century."

John Cirello

John Cirello: Jesus, Jury Trials and Passing the Buck

By John Cirello |

When we think about our courts, many of us want to believe that the jury system is the purest form of democracy.


Norm Pattis: Plea Bargains, the Trial Tax and Judicial Candor

By Norm Pattis |

There are some judges in Connecticut who genuinely appear to believe that there is no such thing as the trial tax.

Editorial: Ruling Could Alter Dynamics of Document Review

There is a crack in the dam holding back the countless night and weekend hours expended by bleary-eyed associates who really just want to start "practicing law" and stop sorting documents.


Mark Dubois: Courts Will Feel Impact of Conn's Fiscal Train Wreck

By Mark Dubois |

Ben Barnes, the governor's budget director, recently described Connecticut government as being in a state of permanent fiscal crisis.


Norm Pattis: The FBI's Outrageous Attempt to Conscript Apple

By Norm Pattis |

Framing the dispute between Apple Inc. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the need to balance security and liberty tilts the debate in favor of the government. A more candid framing destroys the government's assertions: the conflict pits slavery against freedom. Who favors slavery?