Robinson+Cole is pleased to welcome to the firm five new associates and one counsel across its practice areas. The lawyers join the firm's Boston, Hartford, and Stamford offices and their arrival corresponds with that of Matthew T. Miklave, who, as previously announced, joined the firm as a partner to head Robinson+Cole's labor and employment practice in the firm's Metro New York offices.
The Legal 500 United States has included Robinson+Cole in its 2014 rankings in the category M&A: Middle Market (sub-$500 m). This is the third consecutive year the firm has earned this national ranking. Published for more than 25 years, The Legal 500 series provides comprehensive worldwide coverage of legal services providers in over 100 countries. Read more in the press release here.
ACG® New York and The M&A Advisor have announced the winners of the 4th Annual ACG New York Champion's Awards, and Robinson+Cole won in the category of Leveraged Buyout of the Year by a Financial Buyer (over $100 Million) for representing Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) in its sale of Nielsen Expositions to Onex Corporation (TSX: OCX) for $950 million.
The winners were announced at the 4th Annual ACG New York Champion's Awards Gala on Thursday, June 19, before a sold-out crowd at the Metropolitan Club. In addition to winning this award, Robinson+Cole was named a finalist in the categories of Technology, Media, Telecom (over $100mm) and Deal of the Year (over $500mm). Read more here.
Robinson+Cole is excited to announce that land use partner Timothy D. Bates was appointed a Connecticut Superior Court judge by Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Mr. Bates is among 16 new judges selected by Governor Dannel P. Malloy to join the Superior Court.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund honored 40 women who will build opportunities for other women in Connecticut in the future as part of its special project "40 Women for the Next 40 Years." Robinson+Cole's Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson was among the women selected for this honor.
Honorees range in ages from 16 to 40 and have demonstrated exemplary leadership, the potential to excel, and a commitment to their community. CWEALF is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women, girls, and their families to achieve equal opportunities in their personal and professional lives. Read more in the press release here.
The Providence Business News has selected Robinson+Cole as the #1 Best Place to Work in Rhode Island in the small business category. The winners were announced at a celebratory dinner on June 12, 2014, and featured in the June 16 edition of the Providence Business News.
The office is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Since the firm opened its office at One Financial Plaza in April 2009, the team of lawyers has doubled, the staff has grown to meet their needs, and all of them are deeply connected to the community. Through all the changes, the office has been committed to mentoring, pro bono work, community service, and a diversity program.
ACG® New York and The M&A Advisor have announced finalists for the 4th Annual ACG New York Champion's Awards, and Robinson+Cole was named a finalist in three of 38 categories. Robinson+Cole is in the running in the categories of Technology, Media, Telecom (over $100mm); Leveraged Buyout of the Year by a Financial Buyer (over $100mm); and Deal of the Year (over $500mm) for representing Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) in its sale of Nielsen Expositions to Onex Corporation (TSX: OCX) for $950 million.
Robinson+Cole has been selected out of more than 350 nominees in the first stage of evaluation, and the independent panel of judges will now focus their attention on selecting the ultimate award winners. The winners will be announced at the 4th Annual ACG New York Champion's Awards Gala on Thursday, June 19, at the Metropolitan Club.
The legal directory Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized Robinson+Cole in six practice area categories in its 2014 edition and has individually recognized 21 of the firm's lawyers, including three labor and employment lawyers who are ranked for the first time, one as an "Associate to Watch."
Adding the Labor & Employment ranking this year gives Robinson+Cole rankings in all the practice areas that Chambers USA covers in Connecticut: Corporate/M&A, Environment, Healthcare, Labor & Employment, Litigation: General Commercial, and Real Estate.
The American Red Cross Connecticut Chapter has elected Jacqueline Pennino Scheib, chair of Robinson+Cole's Intellectual Property and Technology Law Group, to its Board of Directors.
The American Red Cross helps Connecticut residents prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. It serves more than 3.5 million Connecticut residents in 168 towns in Hartford, Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham counties, plus Fishers Island, New York, with services provided by a small paid staff and a corps of more than 3,000 volunteers. Read more here.
Robinson+Cole announced today that Matthew T. Miklave has joined the Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group as a partner. Mr. Miklave is resident in the firm's New York City and Stamford, Connecticut, offices.
"Matt's joining the firm strengthens the breadth and depth of our labor and employment practice in the Metro New York area, as well as nationally," said Bruce B. Barth, chair of the Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group. "We are excited to have him join our team and add his 30 years of experience. Matt is nationally recognized for his leadership in the field and his broad-based experience — from his role as an employment litigator, counselor, and first chair labor contract negotiator — and fits right in with our client-focused service model."
Read more here.
The American Bar Association's (ABA) Health Law Section recognized Robinson+Cole's Health Law Group in its inaugural "Annual Regional Law FirmRecognition." The practice ranked seventh in the Top 10 list for the Northeast Region.
The regional lists were published in the ABA Health Law Section Voice of the Health Law Bar spring magazine. The Northeast region covers New York through Maine and Robinson+Cole was the only firm listed in Connecticut. The ABA's Health Law Section has more than 9,500 members, and the Top 10 list recognizes its member firms that had the largest number of lawyers in 2013.
Tax lawyer Felicia S. Hoeniger spoke at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association's (CBIA) 2014 Connecticut Tax Conference on June 13, 2014, in Farmington, Connecticut. Her presentation, "Sales and Use Taxes for the Construction Industry," addressed state tax issues for property owners, contractors, and subcontractors. Please click here to view her PowerPoint presentation.
Ms. Hoeniger also presented at the National Business Institute's (NBI) Sales and Use Tax in Connecticut Conference on Connecticut tax issues on June 17, 2014, in Cromwell, Connecticut. Her primary presentation addressed sales and use tax exemptions and credits. Click here to view her presentation. Additionally, she jointly presented on compliance and appeals issues for the Connecticut sales tax.
Bradford S. Babbitt, chair of the Business Litigation Group, has been elected to the Board of Directors of Church Home of Hartford Incorporated (CHHI), a charity affiliated with the Episcopal Church in Connecticut that was formed in 1876 to provide shelter for the aged and infirm. Today, CHHI owns and operates Seabury Retirement Community, providing unparalleled housing and health care services to 340 residents on 66 acres in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Seabury set the standard for an active retirement community when it was built in 1992 and has continued to achieve that standard as it has expanded to include assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care services.
Energy and utilities lawyer Joey Lee Miranda has been elected treasurer of the Board of Directors of Lawyers for Children America. A Connecticut-based nonprofit, the organization provides pro bono legal representation to protect the rights of children who are victims of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Its goals include implementing services to help children who are victims of abuse and neglect, improving the child welfare system, and increasing public awareness of youth and violence issues.
Ms. Miranda has been a board member of Lawyers for Children America since 2012.
Lawrence P. Heffernan, chair of the Real Estate Litigation and Title Insurance Group, participated in the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) live seminar and webcast "The 25 Critical Cases Every Real Estate, Title, Land Use, and Environmental Lawyer Must Know" on March 17, 2014, in Boston. Mr. Heffernan presented on a broad array of critical case law and trends in leasing and landlord liability, the enforceability of purchase and sale agreements, condominium development rights, and title insurance coverage.
In addition, Mr. Heffernan spoke to The Abstract Club on "More challenges to the foreclosure process: the Massachusetts appellate courts giveth and taketh away" on May 19, 2014, in Boston. He discussed recent decisions by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court on Housing Court jurisdiction over foreclosure challenges, the authority of the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) to assign mortgages, and so-called "robo-signing" and its impact on Massachusetts lenders and real estate practitioners. The Abstract Club is a voluntary association of experienced lawyers that is limited, according to its bylaws, to 100 lawyers, almost all of whom practice exclusively in real estate. Most members practice in Boston and its suburbs.
William T. Sellay, partner in the firm's Business Transactions Group and head of its International Group, represented the US legal perspective as a speaker and panelist at the Transatlantic Business Forum in Cambridge, England, on June 24, 2014. The program focused on the business and legal issues encountered by UK companies entering or expanding their businesses in the US. Mr. Sellay's presentation, "Taking your Technology to America – How to do it Right," addressed solutions to the most critical legal issues, based upon his more than 20 years of experience representing foreign companies in the US. Other speakers included representatives from KPMG Europe, Lloyds Banking Group, and Mills & Reeve; the Director General of the Institute of Directors; and Matthew Barzun, the US ambassador to the UK. The program also included case studies of US market entry by the managing director of ArmadilloLED, makers of LED lighting, and the CEO of CityJet, a UK regional airline.
Health law lawyer Meaghan Mary Cooper, business litigation lawyer Amanda E. Gordon, labor and employment lawyer Susan N. Masters, and land use lawyer Evan J. Seeman were elected to the Connecticut Bar Association's (CBA) Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Section (YLS). The goals of the YLS are to promote justice, encourage public service, and promote diversity and education of young lawyers and newly admitted practitioners. The section, made up of 1,200 members, organizes and sponsors continuing legal education and professional development sessions for both junior and senior members of the CBA.
All four lawyers hold leadership positions in the CBA. Ms. Cooper co-chairs the Health Law Section, Ms. Gordon co-chairs the Litigation Section, Ms. Masters chairs the Labor & Employment Law Section, and Mr. Seeman chairs the Planning & Zoning Section.
Cynthia R. Christie, employee benefits and compensation lawyer, was quoted in Law360's Employment Section on June 26, 2014. In the article "Lawyers Weigh in on High Court's ERISA Ruling," several lawyers addressed the significance of Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, where the US Supreme Court decided that a fiduciary's decision to permit the investment of retirement plan assets in employer stock is not entitled to a presumption of prudence. Ms. Christie stated that "[a]lthough the court's ruling will have a seismic impact on the [employee stock ownership plan] community, it is not clear how dramatically the fiduciary landscape will be altered once the dust settles." Please click here to view the article.
Law360's Employment Section reports on the latest news in labor and employment law, legislation, and regulation. It also follows employment-related litigation concerning major domestic and international companies in US federal courts, government enforcement actions, and arbitration proceedings.
Dana M. Horton has been named chair of the Rhode Island Bar Association's Superior Court Bench/Bar Committee for the 2014-2015 term. Ms. Horton has been a committee member for over ten years and will now lead the committee and collaborate with judges to improve the practice of law in Rhode Island.
The Superior Court Bench/Bar Committee works with the Superior Court to improve facilities, practices, procedures, rules, and other matters that affect the bench/bar and the public.
Paralegals around the state marked the 20th Anniversary of Connecticut's Paralegal Day, presented by the Connecticut Alliance of Paralegal Associations. Held at Anthony's Ocean View in New Haven on June 6, 2014, the event featured speakers, networking, a vendor fair, and a luncheon, along with an auction to benefit the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and a Dress for Success handbag collection. Robinson+Cole paralegals Michelle Finnegan, Lori Gizzi, Christine Welch, Sharon Cianfarani, and Meredith O'Neill attended the event, along with Lisa Vooys of Legal Recruiting and Professional Development.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy officially declared June 6 this year as Paralegal Day in the State of Connecticut. The governor's statement, which appeared in the June 2, 2014, edition of the Connecticut Law Tribune, proclaims, among other things, that paralegals provide an array of important legal services, play a vital role in the legal profession, and are "committed to upholding and advancing the highest standards of excellence and integrity within the profession." The announcement was sponsored by the Connecticut Alliance of Paralegal Associations. Robinson+Cole was a publication sponsor.
Please click here to view the statement as presented in the Connecticut Law Tribune. Click here to view the R+C staff who attended the event.
Land use lawyers Dwight H. Merriam and Sorell E. Negro took part in a national webinar for the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) on June 9, 2014. Mr. Merriam moderated the program, which dealt with vacant properties. Ms. Negro, a presenter, discussed tools for dealing with vacant properties, including antiblight ordinances, vacant property registration ordinances, and land banks. The other speakers were Alan Mallach of the Brookings Institution and Michael Braverman, deputy commissioner of Baltimore Housing's Code Enforcement. Daniel Mandelker of the Washington University School of Law co-moderated the webinar.
Norman H. Roos, chair of Robinson+Cole's Finance Group and counsel to the Connecticut Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA), moderated the CMBA "2014 Connecticut Legislative Update" webinar with Fritz Conway of Gaffney Bennett & Associates on June 11, 2014. The program focused on mortgage-related issues addressed in the past legislative session, including CMBA initiatives enacted in 2014, legislation that did not pass, and major areas of concern. Please click here to view the program's PowerPoint presentation.
The CMBA, a nonprofit association formed in 1984, promotes the welfare of the mortgage lending industry, encourages sound ethical business practices in the origination and servicing of mortgage loans, and serves as a forum for industry-related ideas. Its members support Connecticut communities "by opening doors for literally thousands of homeowners each year."
Bernard Mulka was convicted in 2003 and 2004 for his involvement in two bank robberies. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with execution suspended after 12 years in the Judicial District of Hartford. He also received a consecutive 5-year sentence in the Judicial District of Tolland.
In 2013, while an inmate at the Osborn Correctional Institution, Mr. Mulka was informed that his cancer, for which he had received treatment a decade earlier, had returned and that his prognosis was poor. Robinson+Cole assisted Mr. Mulka with his application for medical and/or compassionate parole, a statutory provision in Connecticut that offers early release to inmates who are terminally ill and who do not pose a threat to society.
Over approximately eight months, Mr. Wade and Mr. Spinelli argued Mr. Mulka's case. This included initially submitting an application for medical and/or compassionate parole with the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles (Board), who denied Mr. Mulka's application on January 16, 2014. Thereafter, Mr. Wade and Mr. Spinelli sought modification of Mr. Mulka's sentence to time served in the original sentencing courts in Hartford and Tolland, which was also unsuccessful. Finally, they brought a habeas corpus action in the Connecticut Superior Court, alleging violations of his constitutional rights and seeking compassionate and/or medical parole. After one day of trial, the Board agreed to hold a second hearing on Mr. Mulka's application, at which time the Board granted him compassionate parole. He was released on May 12, 2014, after spending 10 years in prison.
Unfortunately, Mr. Mulka passed away on May 26, 2014, spending the final two weeks of his life at his father's house with his family by his side.
More information about Mr. Mulka's case can be found here.
Robinson+Cole's Education Law Group has launched its HigherEdWire - News for Legal Counsel group on LinkedIn, serving as a platform and news aggregator for legal counsel at colleges and universities. Members of the group can view articles and exchange ideas on current news issues relevant to institutions of higher education. To join the group and discussion, click here.
The Education Law Group serves as outside counsel, providing advisory, transactional, and litigation services to meet the needs that are unique to educational institutions, from large universities and midsize colleges to independent schools. Members of the group provide legal services to educational institutions in a broad range of practice areas that shape the student, faculty, and employee experience.
Congratulations to our Providence office on being selected the number one best place to work in the small business category of the "Best Places to Work in Rhode Island" by the Providence Business News. A celebratory dinner was held on June 12, 2014, to announce the winners, who were featured in the June 16 edition of the Providence Business News. Best Places to Work is a statewide survey and awards program that honors the best places for Rhode Island employment. The winners are selected through a two-part process. The first part considers the workplace policies, practices, and demographics of each nominated company. The second part involves an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determine the top companies and the final ranking.
The Providence office is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Since its opening in April 2009, the team of lawyers has doubled, and the staff has expanded to accommodate their needs. With a deep community connection, the office is committed to mentoring, pro bono work, community service, and diversity. The firm was profiled in the Providence Business News under the heading of "Partners, staff on equal footing at Robinson & Cole." Please click here to view the article.
Land use lawyer Sorell E. Negro published an article in the 2013-2014 edition of the Albany Law Review on emerging issues in the regulation of natural gas activities with regard to water resources. The article, "The Thirst of Fracking: Regulating to Protect the Linchpin of the Natural Gas Boom," was part of the Albany Law Review's 2013-2014 symposium "Fractured Communities: Hydraulic Fracturing and the Law in New York State." To view the article, please click here.
Environmental and utilities lawyer Pamela K. Elkow has been appointed chair of the Environmental Transactions and Brownfields Committee of the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) for the 2014-2015 American Bar Association (ABA) year. A forum for lawyers who work in areas that concern the environment, natural resources, and energy, SEER offers its members opportunities to strengthen their professional skills and stay informed on related trends, court decisions, legislative initiatives, and statutes.
Among her responsibilities as committee chair, Ms. Elkow will work to develop section programming, to update the section's social media outlets, to summarize legal developments in the committee's subject area, and to find content and authors for the section's publications. Her term begins in August.
Dwight H. Merriam, Land Use Group lawyer, along with Erica S. Rocha, a law student at Quinnipiac University School of Law, wrote the article "Don't Shoot from the Hip: Plan and Regulate Shooting Ranges," published in the December 2013 issue of Zoning Practice, a publication of the American Planning Association. The article discusses the standoff between those who acclaim gun clubs and shooting ranges and others who object to their safety, noise, and environmental impacts. In reaching a middle ground, the authors outline how to plan and incorporate best practices, how to go from planning to approval, and
how to reach the right result. Please click here to view the article.
As part of its R+C Connect Series, Robinson+Cole's Boston office hosted a cocktail reception on May 22, 2014, as an opportunity for clients and friends of the firm who work in the real estate development field to network with one another. Featured guest, Heather Campisano, chief of staff of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), briefed the group on city projects, including the renewal of East Boston's waterfront and the Seaport/Innovation District. Capturing the spirit of real estate development, the event was held at Petit Robert Central in Downtown Crossing, an area of Boston that has seen substantial new development in the past few years. About 60 clients and friends of the firm attended the reception, including commercial real estate developers, engineers, city planners, designers, consultants, bankers, and members of the Department of Transportation and the BRA.
Over 20 Robinson+Cole lawyers attended the event. Click here to view photos of lawyers J. Michael Wirvin, Carla M. Moynihan, Karla L. Chaffee, and William J. Egan enjoying the festivities.
Robinson+Cole served as gift sponsor at the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut's 26th Annual Golf Tournament. Held at the Great Neck Country Club in Waterford, Connecticut, on June 2, 2014, the event drew many local business and company leaders, some from the largest companies in the area. In addition, the firm was featured at a display table throughout the day. Land use lawyers Edward V. O’Hanlan and John P. Casey and litigation lawyer James R. Nault played in the tournament, with legal administrative assistant Duffy Bartlett and marketing coordinator Michelle Mattera providing support. Please click here to view the Robinson+Cole team.
In local sites around the country, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) sponsored the 17 Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest, whose 2014 theme was "Why I Am Glad America Is a Nation of Immigrants." The contest encourages fifth graders to submit written works (essays, poems, and stories) that reflect the theme. Serving as contest coordinator in Connecticut, immigration lawyer Lauren M. Sigg organized the efforts of AILA members to give presentations in several Connecticut fifth grade classrooms, coordinated contest submissions across the state, and organized the evaluations of the submissions. At Duffy Elementary in West Hartford, immigration lawyer Megan R. Naughton discussed the role that immigration has played in shaping our society. Charlie Krajc, a student from Duffy, won Connecticut's first place prize. His essay underscored the hope and bravery of immigrants coming to the United States. Although Charlie did not win the national contest, he and the other Connecticut finalists received gift certificates and were invited to attend and participate in a naturalization ceremony in Hartford on June 6, 2014.
Please click here to view the West Hartford News article on the contest.
Employee benefits lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity has been elected as secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Author of the antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe helped change our country's impression of the divisive issue of slavery. Her life has served as an example of how one person can make a significant difference. The Stowe Center "preserves and interprets Stowe's Hartford home and the Center's historic collections, promotes vibrant discussion of her life and work, and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change."
Ms. McGarrity has been a member of the Stowe Center's Board of Trustees since January 2013.
Kevin M. Lenehan, litigation director at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, recently presented Robinson+Cole with a replica of a Sikorsky helicopter for sponsoring the third annual Home Run for Heroes Bluefish Baseball Game, held on July 13, 2013, at Bridgeport's Bluefish Stadium. The event, held in conjunction with Sikorsky's Veterans Appreciation Weekend, recognizes and raises funds for those who served our country, producing significant donations to national and local veteran's charities. Honored as a Gold Sponsor, the firm, along with various Connecticut businesses, raised over $48,000 for local veterans organizations last year. Through the proceeds from Home Run for Heroes, Sikorsky supports Harkness House/Columbus House, which offers a safe living environment for homeless veterans and helps them to reintegrate into society; the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, which assists veterans recovering from homelessness and mental illness in surmounting legal obstacles to housing, health care, and income; and the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation, which has dedicated itself to always remembering, posthumously, fallen heroes each year since 2004.
Please click here to view the photo of Mr. Lenehan presenting the helicopter to Robinson+Cole lawyers Edward V. O'Hanlan, Craig A. Raabe, Robert S. Melvin, Earl W. Phillips Jr., and John B. Lynch Jr.
At the Employee Benefit Plans Conference, sponsored by the Connecticut Society of CPAs (CTCPA), employee benefits and compensation lawyers Bruce B. Barth and Cynthia R. Christie presented the session "Everybody Makes Mistakes: Retirement Plan Correction Options under EPCRS" in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, on May 20, 2014. The program covered common errors made in drafting, administrating, and operating retirement plans—and how to fix those errors. Mr. Barth and Ms. Christie described a framework for correcting plan errors using the Internal Revenue Service's Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS).
In addition, Mr. Barth participated in the "Ask the Experts Panel," along with three other experts in the field. Each panel member addressed frequently encountered issues in the marketplace, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
Construction partner Peter E. Strniste presented to a group of forty construction professionals at the Connecticut Surety Association's Spring Meeting in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 22, 2014. Mr. Strniste dissected the language contained within various construction bond forms, including the popular AIA A311 and A312 Performance Bonds and several modified versions, and discussed the legal consequences of the original and modified verbiage and the associated risks. The Connecticut Surety Association is a sister organization of the American Surety Association. Its members consist of construction bond agents and surety underwriters who serve construction managers, general contractors, and subcontractors throughout New England. Mr. Strniste has served on the Executive Board of this organization since 2004.
Business and intellectual property lawyer Kathleen M. Porter was recognized for her volunteer work with the Marathon Assistance Project at the Boston Bar Association (BBA) Law Day Dinner, held on May 12, 2014. Paul T. Dacier, president of the BBA, presented awards to 70 volunteer lawyers for assisting victims and small businesses affected the Boston Marathon bombings.
Through the Marathon Assistance Project, BBA members volunteered to aid individuals with claims and employment issues, among other things. At the Law Day Dinner, the BBA reflected "on the critical efforts made by our volunteer lawyers in the wake of the bombing...helping Back Bay businesses get back on their feet...." Please click here to view the photo of the award recipients.
Real estate and development partner Thomas P. Cody was recently reelected to a fourth term as chair of the Board of Directors of Riverfront Recapture, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has helped restore public access to the Connecticut River. For over 30 years, Riverfront Recapture has led the development of riverfront parks, walkways, and docks in Hartford and East Hartford. It also produces hundreds of public events and programs along the riverfront, including cultural festivals, dragon boat races, fireworks displays, concerts, youth fishing events, a community rowing program for youth and adult groups, and the annual Head of the Riverfront Rowing Regatta. Over 800,000 visitors enjoyed the riverfront parks last year. A recent Hartford Courant editorial noted that "Hartford's most significant quality-of-life improvement in the last three decades is its reconnection with the Connecticut River. The city was blocked from the river by the construction of I-91 in the 1960s, and some kids grew up unaware that they lived in a river city. Now youngsters and adults row, fish, bike, jog, cruise, listen to music, and otherwise enjoy this great natural asset."
Employee benefits lawyer Bruce B. Barth was recently selected as co-chair of the Subcommittee on Exempt Organization and Governmental Plans, part of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Taxation. The appointment is effective July 1, 2014. Mr. Barth is head of Robinson+Cole's Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group and chair of the Tax Group. He focuses his practice on representing employers with respect to retirement and welfare benefits, executive compensation, and benefits issues in corporate transactions.
Real estate litigation lawyer Kendra L. Berardi was recently selected to cover real property issues of the Massachusetts Land Court for the Massachusetts Land Court Reporter, a publication of Landlaw Legal Publishers. Ms. Berardi provides quarterly commentary regarding Land Court decisions of interest published in the Massachusetts Land Court Reporter. She is one of a group of leading Massachusetts lawyers who offer expert insight, knowledge, and experience in their subject matter areas.
A key tool for land use professionals, the Massachusetts Land Court Reporter provides the latest information on zoning and land use law in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Land Court hears cases concerning zoning variances, subdivision disputes, special permits, foreclosures, and the registration of land titles.
Business and intellectual property lawyer Kathleen M. Porter spoke at the "Best Practices for Privacy and Security: Protecting Valuable Information and Avoiding Liability" program in Hartford, sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Connecticut, on May 7, 2014. The focus of Ms. Porter's presentation was privacy and security issues with third-party vendors and the use of encryption.
Leon Pintsov, chief scientist emeritus at Pitney Bowes Inc., served as program moderator. Other speakers included Carmen Baughn, senior security consultant at JANUS Associates, who spoke about conducting privacy and security vulnerability assessments; and Steven Adler, manager of privacy & compliance at UnitedHealthcare, who spoke about assessing the privacy and security issues in your business.
Intellectual property and technology lawyer Jacqueline Pennino Scheib, MIT Enterprise Forum of Connecticut board member, was program chair of the event.
The annual Greater Hartford Arts Council's (GHAC) Workplace Campaign was held in Robinson+Cole's Hartford office from May 5 to May 9, 2014. As part of the campaign, employees participated in a variety of activities, from celebrating Cinco de Mayo and making jewelry to touring Hartford Stage and enjoying the island music of Calypso Caliente during the Friday Night Social. Coming in at $6,900, the total amount raised for the GHAC exceeded the goal of $6,000.
Formed in 1971, the GHAC supports more than 150 arts, heritage, and cultural organizations in central Connecticut. It provides "grants, programs, and services designed to leverage the arts to strengthen communities, drive the economy, and improve the quality of life of 1.2 million residents."
Land Law attorneys Brian W. Blaesser and Gregory S. Sampson, in partnership with GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., recently presented the first in a series of webinars on stormwater management in New England. In the webinar, entitled "Understanding Stormwater Management Regulations in New England," they gave an overview of the current regulations governing stormwater and discussed recent initiatives and policy trends at federal, state, and local levels, and corresponding industry concerns. Subsequent webinars in this series will include a discussion of additional regulatory updates along with analysis of the corresponding implications on the real estate industry and potential strategies for compliance planning. Both Mr. Blaesser and Mr. Sampson are LEED Accredited Professionals.
The New London County Bar Association (NLCBA) held its annual Law Day Luncheon on Friday, May 2, 2014. Insurance lawyer Dana M. Horton, NLCBA president, convened the event, which was followed by opening remarks by the Honorable Thomas Bishop. Ms. Horton presented the Liberty Bell Award to Congressman Joe Courtney, who was also the keynote speaker. The Law Day theme for 2014 was "American Democracy and the Rule of Law – Why Every Vote Counts." The luncheon, well attended by members of the bar and judiciary, was held at The Spa at Norwich Inn.
Insurance litigation lawyers J. Tyler Butts and Dominic Spinelli helped ninth and tenth grade students from Hartford Public High School's Law and Government Academy prepare for and present a simulated trial. The program, held on May 1, 2014, was part of the federal judiciary's celebration of Law Day. Mr. Butts and Mr. Spinelli coached the students about the key elements of trial, including opening and closing statements and the questioning of witnesses. The trial was presided over by Senior District Court Judge Dominic J. Squatrito and featured closing remarks from professor Richard Wilson from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Law Day was first celebrated in 1958 to provide an opportunity to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and to recognize its importance for society.
Robinson+Cole was a sponsor of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association's 2014 Annual Dinner on May 1, 2014. Firm lawyers Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Joey Lee Miranda, Keisha S. Palmer, David M. Panico, Jonathan H. Schaefer, and Evan J. Seeman attended the event, along with Marnie Rubin and incoming first-year associates Christie Jean and Kelly Frye. The George W. Crawford Black Bar Association works to enhance the role of black attorneys in the state, to establish lines of communication and affiliate with local and national organizations within the legal profession, and to focus on legal issues that affect members of the black community.
The Hartford Federal Credit Union elected public finance lawyer Keisha S. Palmer to its board of directors on April 23, 2014, for a three-year term. This is Ms. Palmer's second term on the board.
The Hartford Federal Credit Union, a community-chartered credit union, was established in 1961 and serves Hartford, Middlesex, and Tolland counties. A nonprofit financial cooperative, it is owned by its members and governed by a volunteer board of directors elected from its membership.
Robinson+Cole marked the five-year anniversary of opening its Providence office with a cocktail reception on April 3, 2014. Approximately 85 people attended the event. Along with Robinson+Cole lawyers and staff from the Providence, Boston, and Hartford offices, clients and friends of the firm from a variety of industries gathered to commemorate the milestone. The celebration provided an opportunity for the firm to showcase its newly expanded office space and the new additions to its art collection—all pieces created by local Rhode Island artists.
Congratulations to all lawyers and staff in the Providence office!
Land use lawyer Sorell Negro moderated a panel at UConn School of Law's 19th Gallivan Conference: Climate Resilience – Envisioning a New Way Forward on April 11, 2014. Ms. Negro's panel, "Climate Resilience and Property Law at the Water's Edge," addressed responses to coastal erosion before and after Hurricane Sandy, the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 takings decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District on responses to sea level rise, and the disparate impact on low-income communities of catastrophic climate events.
Additionally, on April 25, 2014, Ms. Negro moderated a panel on land use issues related to urban agriculture at the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law's Spring Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina. She also presented at the section's "Hot Topics in Land Use" luncheon, discussing recent developments in land use law relating to urban agriculture.
The Connecticut Law Tribune recently honored Robinson+Cole's Appellate Group with its 2014 Litigation Department of the Year Award in the Appellate category. The recognition is a result of a group that has worked together as a team, showcased its depth of experience, and broadened its client base. In fact, the Appellate Team has nationwide experience, handling cases throughout the country.
Business litigation lawyer Brett J. Boskiewicz presented "Practical Tips for Protecting State Contractors' Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information from Disclosures under State Public Records Laws" at the American Bar Association's 9th Annual State and Local Procurement Symposium on April 25, 2014, in Asheville, North Carolina. Mr. Boskiewicz discussed a recent case involving the requested disclosure of trade secret information from a public agency, Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Comm'n., 2014 WY 37 (Wyo. Mar. 12, 2014); lessons learned from this case; and issues to consider and address when advising state contractors on how to protect their confidential business information from public records law disclosures. Click here for a link to his paper.
Insurance lawyer Deborah A. Vennos was one of three moderators for a Rossdale CLE telephonic seminar titled "Mastering Homeowners, Bad Faith, and Commercial Insurance Law." Ms. Vennos spoke on recent developments in property insurance. The seminar, held on April 23, 2014, was attended by more than 110 attorneys nationwide.
Thomas J. Donlon, Business Litigation and Appellate Team lawyer in the Stamford office, served as part of a CLE panel at the recent American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Litigation Annual Conference, held on April 11, 2014, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The program, "For the Record from Start to Finish," addressed the importance of focusing on preserving appellate issues at the trial stage. Two other experienced appellate practitioners joined in discussing the various points during trial proceedings, from preparing initial pleadings through post-trial motions, where potential appellate issues must be recognized and steps taken to protect the record. The panel addressed how trial lawyers who focus on winning a case can take advantage of appellate lawyers' expertise to ensure the case is not later lost on appeal. Click here to view Mr. Donlon with the moderator and other panelists.
Mr. Donlon presently serves as vice chair of the ABA's Appellate Practice Committee as well as a member of the Section of Litigation's Book Development Board.
Jeffrey J. White, a partner who represents manufacturers and distributors and is one of the authors of the firm's Manufacturing Law Blog, presented with two other attorneys the webinar session "All Natural Litigation: Strategies That Have Worked and Failed for Plaintiffs and Defendants." The presentation, held on February 19, 2014, focused on the national class action litigation involving the use of the words "all natural" (and other related terms) on food, nutritional supplements, and other consumer products. The panelists discussed trends in filings, key court rulings, and the future for such litigation. The webinar was hosted by Perrin Conferences.
Mr. White was also recently quoted in an article written about the FDA's decision to review guidelines pertaining to evaporated cane juice and the impact it may have on "all natural" litigation. His comments were published by FoodNavigator-USA, a leading online publication covering the U.S. food and beverage market. Please click here to view the article.
Gregory R. Faulkner, construction lawyer and chair of Robinson+Cole's Construction Law Group, presented the workshop "Management of Legal Exposure" at the Construction Institute (CI) in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 22, 2014. Joining him in this encore presentation from December 2013 was Roy Cooper, P.E., of ARCADIS. Mr. Faulkner and Mr. Cooper discussed a comprehensive list of potential legal issues that can result from missteps of project participants. The presentation is part of CI's Project Management Certificate Series.
The mission of CI is "to connect the professionals who contribute to the design, construction, and operation of the built environment and to promote mutual action to improve the delivery and management of our nation's facilities."
Finance Group partner Michael R. Enright served as a panelist at the American Bar Association's (ABA) 2014 Spring Meeting of the Business Law Section in Los Angeles on April 11, 2014. He, along with practitioners from New York, Chicago, and Miami, presented the session "Current Developments in Bankruptcy."
In addition, Mr. Enright has been named vice chair of the Task Force on Current Developments, whose mission is to update the ABA meeting on the most recent issues in case law, as well as on revisions to relevant statutes concerning insolvency matters, with particular emphasis on the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The task force presents semiannually, both at the ABA meeting and during the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges in the fall.
Employee benefits lawyers Bruce B. Barth and Virginia E. McGarrity spoke to the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel's (CONNACCA) In-House Paralegal Conference on March 27, 2014. Mr. Barth and Ms. McGarrity, along with Thomas McGuire, senior deputy general counsel at UnitedHealthcare, presented the session "Perspective on the Affordable Care Act."
Representing northern Connecticut, CONNACCA has more than 120 members from the local companies of United Technologies Corporation and the Henkel Corporation. The organization holds CLE programs throughout the year, with topics ranging from navigating employment law to commercial insurance and business method patents.