Analysis of the Hobby Lobby decision has swirled across news and social media since its June 30 release.
Analysis of the Hobby Lobby decision has swirled across news and social media since its June 30 release.
For well over a decade leaders in the organized bar have focused on the quality of civility and professionalism among lawyers.
Analysis of the Hobby Lobby decision has swirled across news and social media since its June 30 release.
Recently, counsel for a Connecticut independent school prepared a memorandum on the role of trustees. This checklist exemplifies many sound board practices and may be useful guidance to other boards of nonprofit entities.
The practice of law is a people business, centered largely around relationships. Having connections helps get clients, jobs, referrals, interviews, leadership positions and even award nominations.
When the state is undertaking the construction of a building, like any other owner would in the private sector, there is simply no reason to allow its representatives to escape the consequences of inexcusable delay in exercising the state's rights.
We encourage attorneys to embrace panel voir dire jury selection in Connecticut state civil trial courts.
It was recently announced that a Connecticut attorney has been suspended from practice for four months and prohibited from representing women for the rest of his legal career.
Is paying a law student for the services he or she renders in an externship so fundamentally inconsistent with the educational objectives of such a program that academic credit should not be awarded to the student?
In any community in America, police incident reports are at the center of the media's hard news coverage, providing an ongoing record of where criminal events are flaring up, and who's involved.
The American Civil Trial Bar Roundtable recently issued a thoughtful, comprehensive and insightful white paper on increasing the professionalism of American lawyers.
Tens of thousands of desperate, poor, vulnerable children need and deserve our protection and to be treated with respect.
While part-time schedules for lawyers may be different from those in other professions, we think they are still feasible.
I had to double check to make sure I wasn't reading an article in The Onion a few weeks ago when Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane argued in the New Haven Register that the way to ensure "conviction integrity" was to give his prosecutors broader, unchecked power to conduct investigations and arrest citizens of Connecticut.
On July 21st, HBO will begin airing "The Newburgh Sting," a documentary that focuses on four U.S. citizens prosecuted as "home-grown terrorists." The movie premiered at this year's TriBeCa's Film Festival.
At its best, a great work of art is an object which consoles the spirit in difficult times, and inspires one's life in better times. Unfortunately, to a great extent it has now become a "commodity," bought, sold, and donated primarily because of its inherent value.
In what will hopefully be the death knell of an ill-conceived and poorly executed policy, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division recently have warned local and state departments of education that the application of zero tolerance in student discipline policies is a potential basis for a finding of discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.
Over the last decade, employers have more and more often incorporated jury waiver or mandatory arbitration clauses into their employment arrangements to avoid the perceived horror of facing jury review of the way they treat their employees. These clauses are often presented in circumstances that many argue are deceptive, if not downright coercive.
In a pathetic display of political posturing on both sides of the aisle, the Connecticut Senate, for the second year in a row, failed to raise the juvenile-sentenced-as-an-adult "second-look" bill. Oftentimes when one wants to look at systemic inertia and the barriers to enacting sound criminal justice policy, one can usually lay the blame on political gamesmanship.
In a recent formal ethics opinion, the American Bar Association found that attorneys can research prospective jurors on the internet, including social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and use that information in the jury selection process.
For nearly half a century, the federal government has backstopped the National Flood Insurance Program. The program helped real estate owners and assisted development in flood hazard areas by insuring homes and businesses. Protection comes at a cost, however, and a series of large storms beginning with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and culminating in Hurricane Sandy left the flood insurance program $24 billion in debt and the federal government on the hook for the shortfall.
Last October, a Connecticut Law Tribune editorial asked "When Will Health Care Be Free From Discrimination?" The Law Tribune editorial asked Connecticut employers to step up and meet the legal and social challenge presented by health-care discrimination and eliminate the blanket exclusions in health insurance policies for gender identity-related medical treatments.
The Charla Nash case brought national attention to Connecticut's bizarre process for suing the state. Nash was the victim of a brutal attack by a friend's chimpanzee. She suffered horrific injuries and underwent a face transplant along with multiple surgeries that cost millions of dollars.
The current scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs is a failure of the VA's leadership to run the agency in the veterans' best interest and a failure of Congress to provide needed resources.
The case of Army Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl deserves the attention it's getting, but it's important that some basics be kept in mind as the national discussion crests. First, regardless of what you think he may have done, Bergdahl is entitled to be presumed innocent.
By now, everyone is fully aware of the ongoing debate over guardians ad litem, attorneys for minor children, and the various criticisms of judges and virtually all of the legal professionals involved in contested divorce and family matters involving children. In the legislature, bills have been passed. In the Superior Court Rules Committee, changes to the Practice Book are being drafted.
On May 12, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed a rule to amend current regulations so that certain spouses of temporary H-1B specialty occupation workers may work in the U.S. USCIS does not now extend work authorization to H-4 spouses of H-1B workers.
Former Superior Court Judge Beverly Hodgson in her opinion piece, "State Agency Needs To Change Rules For Hearings" (Connecticut Law Tribune, May 30) had it exactly right in urging enactment of P.A. 14-209, "An Act Concerning Administrative Hearings Conducted by the Department of Social Services." The legislation is awaiting action by the governor, but there are rumors that some people are encouraging him to veto it. What a mistake that would be.
U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny spoke at the recent memorial service for Jacob Zeldes, a Bridgeport lawyer many considered the dean of Connecticut criminal law. The judge ended on a personal note.
One of the many things that people were concerned about as the detentions and military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, started to unfold was that they might spawn some really bad caselaw.
Connecticut is racially, ethnically, and economically segregated. This segregation hurts us all because it keeps people of color, who on average earn about half of whites, from equal access to critical resources like good schools.
There has existed for some time a tension between two provisions commonly found in consumer contracts of adhesion; i.e., the requirement that all claims be resolved by arbitration and the prohibition against any claims being pursued in a class action.
The explosion of social media outlets forces trial lawyers to ask themselves: How far can we go in conducting online research about jurors, their families and friends? Before the advent of the electronic neighborhood, Connecticut lawyers would shy away from intrusive research into the personal lives of jurors.
Did you catch the news that Eric Holder and the geniuses at Justice persuaded a grand jury to indict five members of the Chinese military? The super hackers are charged with computer crimes: they've been snooping in the electronic entrails of American corporations, by golly. That's a federal crime, the administration claims.
In late November 2013, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat of New York's 31st District, said to his colleagues that while the George Washington Bridge "Bridgegate" incident appeared to have been initiated by New Jersey appointees attempting to influence their home states political process, "the Port Authority remains a bi-state agency. We are linked ...by economic resources, integrated planning and shared oversight responsibilities."
The Connecticut legislature in the recently completed session passed House Bill 5029 "An Act Concerning Sexual Assaults, Stalking and Intimate Partner Violence." This bill was adopted partly in response to complaints by several University of Connecticut students that their sexual assault complaints were not properly handled by the university.
The Editorial Board has previously addressed the question of civil litigation reform and the need to preserve access to the court for all litigants. To have truly open courts, all litigants must have their cases heard on the merits, regardless of the size of their case or their financial ability to afford a protracted legal battle.
Looking at excessive litigation costs and time delays as techniques in themselves by which a party can force settlement is a distortion of what the civil justice system is intended to be.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued the most welcome news that it will be implementing a voluntary plan known as Guidance 213, instructing the agricultural industry to phase out the use of certain antibiotics added to animal feed to help them livestock gain weight faster on less food.
The New York legislature recently proposed the "Safe Weapon Storage Act," otherwise known as Nicholas' Law, having found that "the presence of unsecured, easily accessible, weapons in homes and other places increases the likelihood of death or injury from accidents and impulsive acts.
In September 2013, the highest court in the Dominican Republic issued an immigration ruling that sparked outrage throughout the international community. The court ruled that any person who was born in the Dominican Republic to parents who were illegal immigrants would not be considered a legal resident of the Dominican Republic.
Changes in the legal marketplace are causing legal educators to rethink the nature, purpose and substance of legal education. As reported in these pages, Timothy Fisher and Jennifer Gerarda Brown, the recently appointed deans of the University of Connecticut School of Law and Quinnipiac School of Law, are enthusiastically and energetically embracing the opportunity to review old assumptions about what it means to be an attorney.
The snow of a fierce Connecticut winter has finally melted, releasing its icy grip on the land. The time is now upon us to repair stone walls. We can also fix a poetic injustice in Connecticut's legal literature.
We in the common law world pride ourselves on our adversary system, where lawyers make the best arguments for opposing sides and judges decide which is the stronger argument. There is of course another world out there, the civil law world, where lawyers play a more modest role because the judges do much of the advocating, supposedly for the truth rather than for any particular party.
By now, every collegiate sports fan is aware that the National Labor Relations Board's Chicago regional office has declared Northwestern University college football athletic scholarship recipients eligible for union representation.
As anyone who has driven on Interstate 84, I-91, and especially I-95 knows, our interstate highway system is rapidly deteriorating. And that's true not just of interstates in Connecticut, but nationwide. Potholes, crumbling pavement, and weakening bridge supports need to be repaired sooner rather than later.
The Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) has one last opportunity to put the brakes on a radical utility line-clearing proposal that would remove any tall tree growing within eight feet to the right and to the left of utility distribution lines, from ground to sky, regardless of the health of the tree.
If the profession is to be successful in diversifying the bar, then the volunteer bar associations must take the lead. It is unreasonable for bar associations to sit back and publicly lament the lack of diversity among law firm partnerships or in the judiciary, all the while failing to elect a lawyer of color to lead their organizations.
Much has been written about the simultaneous shortage of employment opportunities for lawyers and affordable legal services for persons of moderate means. Less has been said about the opportunities that this market situation might provide for addressing both of those problems.
In October 1902, in the midst of a months-long strike by the United Mine Workers Union, the coal operators' representative, George Baer, flatly refused to meet with the UMW's president, John Mitchell. Baer said that Mitchell was "only a common coal-miner, who worked with his hands for 15 years, and was now a labor agitator."
We have heard quite a lot of late about the rule of law in Connecticut and elsewhere. The Connecticut Bar Association even sponsored two seminars in recent years on that precise subject. One of the speakers, a top business leader in Connecticut, raised many eyebrows when he said one of the reasons he would prefer to do business in China rather than in Russia is that China, in spite of all the differences from our legal system, takes the rule of law more seriously than Russia does.
All of us in Connecticut should be proud of the rising prestige of our University of Connecticut, originally founded as an agricultural college in Storrs in 1881. The 2014 edition of "Best Colleges," published by U.S. News & World Report, ranks UConn as the 57th best national university in the country, obviously behind such eminences such as Princeton, Harvard and Yale, but ahead of Syracuse, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Rutgers, etc.
On Feb. 26, 2014, Noah Kai Newkirk said a few words at the Supreme Court of the United States. The problem was that he was not supposed to be speaking; he was there as a spectator.
Part of the role of Connecticut's Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is to de-stigmatize the image of mental illness, to promote understanding and to encourage treatment.
Once upon a time — say, last October — someone stole a significant amount of jewelry from a home in which he was working as a contractor. He drove directly from that home to a store that widely advertises that it purchases gold, jewelry, coins, and the like, and sold the jewelry.
In May 2012, only five years after the international, white shoe law firms of Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae had merged, the resulting mega-firm, Dewey & LeBoeuf, filed for bankruptcy.
Many of us remember that, around 1997, Douglas Perlitz obtained funding to found Project Pierre Toussaint (PPT), a school for boys in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Initially, PPT began as an intake center referred to as the 13th Street Intake Program and provided services to children of all ages, most of whom were street children.
On Feb. 24, in an editorial called "Support Legal Aid By Keeping Filing Fees In Place" we urged that the General Assembly preserve the source of legal aid funding it established in 2009 by enacting Senate Bill 31. Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed the measure to maintain $5 million in annual legal aid support from filing fee increases by eliminating the sunset provision which will otherwise automatically terminate that funding.
Superior Court Judge Leslie Olear recently came within a hair of being out of a job when her reappointment after eight years in office succeeded in the House of Representatives on a close vote of 78-67.
A recent front page article in the New York Times headlined "Karzai Warned Over Release Of Detainees" told of three members of the U.S. Senate bringing pressure on the president of Afghanistan concerning his country's plan to release dozens of prisoners who were accused of attacking members of the U.S. military.
Buried in the back of a recent issue of one ABA Journal was the American Bar Association's treasurer's report. ABA members should review that report because the association is preparing the ground for a dues increase.
New Haven, like other major cities in Connecticut, is home to private colleges, universities and hospitals. It is also the site of state-owned and -operated offices and facilities. All of those institutions serve residents of surrounding towns as well as people living in New Haven.
The idea to fund legal aid organizations through use of IOLTA funds was a stroke of genius that provided ample financial support and harmed no one. At its peak in Connecticut in 2007, IOLTA funding amounted to $20 Million, and Connecticut's legal aid organizations were supported at a stable and even generous level.
Subsection (d) of Rule 5.4 (Professional Independence of a Lawyer) of the Rules of Professional Conduct is unambiguous and unequivocal: A lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit if: 1) A nonlawyer owns any interest therein…. 2) A nonlawyer is a corporate director or officer thereof or occupies the position of similar responsibility in any form of association other than a corporation. 3) A nonlawyer has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of a lawyer.
On January 6, 2010, John M. Farren was arrested and charged with 4 serious felonies: attempted murder, 2 counts of assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a child for the brutal and highly publicized attack on his then wife, Mary Margaret Farren in the presence of their 2 small children.
After the initial shock of years of layoffs in law firms, and after years of law students in a panic over the dwindling job pool, one of the groups that has long had some of the best job security in the legal profession is now the target of layoffs: law professors.
One proposal would begin requiring college officials to begin accepting complaints about off-campus assaults from students. Currently, schools are only required to accept complaints if an assault happened on campus.
Edward Snowden broke the law. There seems to be little, if any, doubt about that. The problem is that his case presents us with the same conundrum faced when Sir Thomas Moore refused to bow to King Henry's royal will, when abolitionists ignored the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and when Rosa Parks refused to take her seat in the back of he bus.
As everyone in Connecticut who reads a newspaper knows, in the spring of 2012 the Connecticut legislature legalized medical marijuana in this state. The Department of Consumer Protection has put in place regulations to govern the use, production and sale of medical marijuana that are clear, thorough and strict.
When a state-insured financial institution fails, and Connecticut taxpayers foot the bill, the public is left in the dark as to the causes of the failure. In Connecticut, as elsewhere, if a state financial institution should go into receivership, the relevant regulatory reports by publically-funded examiners — regarding loans to favored insiders, directors, and officers and politicians — are sealed from public view.
The first week of January 2014 saw the beginning of the penalty phase hearing in Bridgeport Superior Court in the Roszkowski case. This is the case where the defendant has been convicted of three murders including that of a 9-year-old girl.
When an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, gender-based violence became more frequent as women living in tent camps had little physical barriers to protect them. Jayne Fleming, pro bono counsel at the international law firm Reed Smith, had the unique idea that she would try to help these women secure humanitarian parole in the United States. The alternative, to do nothing, was not really an option.
Just before the end of 2013, Dr. Kenneth C. Edelin died. Although his name draws little attention today, he became the subject of a criminal prosecution for performing an abortion in a municipal hospital in Boston more than 40 years ago. Occurring not long after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, this is a sordid tale of a young physician and an even younger female patient caught in the cross hairs of a politically motivated prosecution. It is a reminder of the passion then and now over the issue of abortion.
In 2011, the FBI authorized the commission of 5,658 crimes or, as the crime-fighting agency designates them, "otherwise illegal activities." The FBI's mandate, pursuant to 28 USC 533, is to "detect and prosecute crimes against the United States." How did that mission mutate into the approval of crimes?
To The Editor: We were surprised to read the Dec. 12, 2013, Connecticut Law Tribune's editorial "The Myth of Wetlands Enforcement in Connecticut," which describes Connecticut's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act, General Statutes §22a-36 to 44 as an ineffectual scheme for protecting our state's wetlands and watercourses.
The Supreme Court then concludes that corporations can be 'persons' exercising religion for purposes of the statute and that, as a matter of constitutional law, free exercise rights may extend to some for-profit organizations.
Law students from all three of Connecticut's law schools currently provide volunteer assistance in the New Haven and Hartford Superior Courts to self-represented individuals seeking domestic violence protective orders. This is a valuable service to the applicants and to the courts, helping to insure that applications for temporary restraining orders (TROs) are properly prepared, and that applicants are informed about what they need to do to have their orders served by marshals and about the court process after the respondents are served.
The lack of affordable housing has been and continues to be a problem for everyone in Connecticut. As a first step toward a remedy, in 1988 the General Assembly enacted Connecticut General Statutes §8-30g to promote opportunities for the construction of more affordable housing in the state.
C. Northcote Parkinson promulgated laws applicable to corporate operations in the 1950s, the most famous of which is Parkinson's Law No. 1: "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion."
On Nov. 29, the Internal Revenue Service published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register intended to provide new guidance regarding the nature and extent of political activities that may be conducted by tax-exempt 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations.
Lawyers have fiduciary obligations to their clients; a special, high level duty of trust. Those obligations include zealous representation and protection of the client's interests, including financial interests. Stealing from a client is in our view a "zero tolerance" offense.
It began with a simple letter: "The City of Danbury hereby orders you to CEASE AND DESIST publication of and/or comment on the deposition transcripts from the matter of DaCosta v. Danbury on www.HatCityBLOG.blogspot.com and/or any other internet and/or social media site, including Twitter and Facebook that are currently in your possession, custody, and control…The reason for this cease and desist is to protect a variety of privacy rights were [sic] implicated the minute the full text of the transcripts were released.
Danbury prosecutor Stephen Sedensky and Michelle Cruz, a former prosecutor and State Victim Advocate, have recently been talking up the need to protect Newtown survivors from sights or sounds that bring back the events of that horrifying day.
The sad fact is that if you want to destroy wetlands in Connecticut and get away with it, you can. It is not that hard, despite what appears to be a comprehensive and strict statutory structure that should stop you in your tracks.
Maybe, during a year when this nation celebrates the sesquicentennial of important milestones from the Civil War and the golden anniversary of pivotal events of the Civil Rights Movement, it is fitting that, just before it ends, Nelson Mandela died.
A common refrain heard after a legislative session finishes and its work product (laws adopted) is reviewed is, "What were they thinking?" Sometimes this question is asked by someone challenging the wisdom of the law even though the language is clear on its face. And sometimes the question is asked because the law is unclear and ambiguous. When that is the case, the courts may, in interpreting a statute, look at the legislative intent.
Connecticut's cities and towns need better, more flexible financing tools to compete successfully for new businesses and jobs. In a world where federal financial assistance is disappearing, and state funds are difficult to raise, municipalities must seek alternative solutions giving them local control over funding sources.
The statistics are stark and unsettling. Lawyers have the highest suicide rate of any profession. Attorneys suffer from drug and alcohol addiction at twice the rate of the general population. And 25 percent of male attorneys and 40 percent of female lawyers experience clinical depression during their careers—once again, more than any other profession.
Until this year, Connecticut's appellate articulation rules were applied harshly to appellants. Briefly, what Practice Book §66-5 said, as clarified by the Supreme Court on numerous occasions since the rule was adopted in 1978, was that if a trial court decision was unclear, it was the appellant's duty (unless the issue concerned an alternate basis to affirm, in which case it was the appellee's duty) to try to get it clarified.
Law schools, since times of the legendary Harvard Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell, have concentrated first and foremost on analytical training of law students. Learning to "think like a lawyer" has been the core of every law school's program, and until the last few decades when clinical education gained recognition, that analytical training has been nearly the sole focus of law school courses.
Currently before trial Judge Eliot Prescott is the issue of whether the Freedom of Information Commission's (FOIC) unanimous decision releasing the tapes of the 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012 was proper.
Connecticut's own Fred Ury, along with Jordan Furlong, recently authored an article for "Bar Leader," a publication of the American Bar Association's Division for Bar Services. It is a short article but a thought-provoking one nonetheless.
The constitution of the CBA mentions that coordination with other bar associations in the state is a goal of the organization, but it is not clear to what extent that happens. Is The Connecticut Bar Association Meeting Needs Of Members?
Anyone who has worked in a large law firm knows there is a wide range of writing ability among associates, and that junior associates' work product is usually reviewed and edited by senior associates or counsel. The hope and expectation is that as associates receive feedback, their writing will improve.
Recently, the Connecticut Bar Association announced that providing legal representation for the indigent in civil cases would be a top priority for the coming year. This is a laudable goal, but it is not enough.
Any lawyer who deals with real estate needs to know about a Connecticut Supreme Court decision a year ago that may have expanded the potential for landlord and other property owner liability. It is a "sleeper," probably overlooked by many because it comes cloaked in the guise of a dog bite case.
In a recent editorial, "Chilling Effect? Or Permanent Freeze?" (Connecticut Law Tribune, Aug. 12, 2013), we described (our words) "a frightening, Orwellian climate of secrecy, snooping and overreaching by our government," with particular reference to right to counsel, freedom of speech and of the press.
Although many dabble, there probably are few lawyers in Connecticut whose practice primarily focuses on the problems of tax-exempt organizations. Their work concerns the drafting of the organizational documents, the filing of exemption applications with the Internal Revenue Service, wrestling with problems of public charity against private foundation status, avoiding potential tax penalties, and dealing with IRS audits.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shows no signs of slowing down as she gets older, now having celebrated her 80th birthday. While battling through her illnesses, she has maintained her role not only as an active justice, but also as an active speaker and educator around the world. Her contributions support New York's current proposal to raise the mandatory retirement age of state judges from 70 to 80.