New Deputy AG Has Big Case Experience
Although not always in the forefront of the public eye, Zinn Rowthorn has played a role in some key moments in the recent history of the office. He was the lead counsel for the state in 2005 when Rell v. Rumsfeld, in which then-Governor M. Jodi Rell challenged an effort by the U.S. Defense Department to remove Air National Guard units from the state.
More recently, he represented the state's interests in a case in which then-Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz sought to prove she was qualified to hold the office of Attorney General. The state Supreme Court ultimately decided that Bysiewicz had insufficient experience as a practicing attorney, and she withdrew from the race, paving the way for the 2011 election of Jepsen.
In another high profile case in 2010, Zinn-Rowthorn succeeded in defending the legislature in a lawsuit which sought to make physician-assisted suicide legal. But most of the time, he's worked quietly behind the scenes.
"We handle tens of thousands of cases every year, and the overwhelming majority of those cases are low profile," he said. "We are typically in court to defend state officials or agencies or seeking to enforce a child support ruling or enforce an order by the Department of Children and Families because of allegations of abuse and neglect."
While the lower profile cases are always "profoundly significant to the agencies and individuals involved," he said, "they are not always matters the public is made aware of, but they are still handled with the utmost care."
But because of the overwhelming importance most of the work is to those involved or to the public, he added, "working in the Attorney General's Office is really a dream job for a lawyer. The majority of the cases you work on are interesting, they're always important to the proper functioning of our state government."
Another aspect of the work he has enjoyed, has been working with "tremendous and talented colleagues," including Dannehy, who was hired by Jepsen to re-organize the office after he took office in 2011.
"Nora Dannehy is one of the best lawyers I've ever worked with," Zinn-Rowthorn said. "She has done a remarkable job as deputy, particularly given that she came to the Attorney General's Office from the federal system. She immediately earned the trust and affection and devotion of everyone in this office, and helped George tremendously with his transition."
Moving over to take Rowthorn's current job will be Margaret Q. Chapple of Granby. She is currently an associate attorney general for administration and management.
In announcing the promotion of Chapple, Jepsen credited her dedicated public service for many years. "Time and again, Peggy Chapple has proved herself a capable and intelligent litigator and an effective leader," Jepsen said.