65 Robinson+Cole lawyers were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2022. Of the 65 lawyers from across the firm’s practice groups and offices named to the list, 49 are from Connecticut. The firm continues to have the highest number of recognized lawyers in the state. Robinson+Cole also has the highest number of listed lawyers in Connecticut in the areas of environmental law and insurance law.
Additionally, the following five lawyers were named the Best Lawyers® 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” in Hartford, Connecticut, in the noted practice areas: Patrick M. Birney in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Michael F. Maglio in Banking and Finance Law, Robert S. Melvin in Environmental Law, Joey Lee Miranda in Energy Law and Jacqueline Pennino Scheib in Trademark Law. Peter V. Lacouture was also named a Best Lawyers® 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” in Providence, Rhode Island in the area of Energy Law.
The second edition of Best Lawyers: “Ones to Watch” was also released, of which 17 total Robinson+Cole lawyers are listed in. The “Ones to Watch” recognition is given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner and past Litigation Section Co-chair Rhonda J. Tobin has been named one of Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation for 2021. Published on August 5, 2021, the guide focuses on the leading Top 250 female litigators from across the US who have earned their place by participating in some of the most impactful litigation matters in recent history, as well as by earning the hard-won respect of their peers and clients as top players in their respective fields. Tobin is the only female litigator chosen in the state of Connecticut. This is the eighth consecutive year she has received the distinction. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole is pleased to announce the addition of Danielle H. Tangorre as a partner in the firm’s Health Law Group. Danielle represents and advises a broad range of health care providers and trade associations on transactional matters, litigation, operational and compliance issues, fraud and abuse, HIPAA, and regulatory matters. Her addition expands Robinson+Cole’s legal practice in Albany, New York, where the firm also has a significant government relations practice.
“Danielle has impressive experience and I’m delighted to welcome her to our team,” said Rhonda J. Tobin, Managing Partner, Robinson+Cole. “Continuing to expand the depth and geographical diversity of our health law practice is another step in the execution of our strategic plan to expand some of our strongest practices in our most strategic locations. The firm continues to look for growth opportunities in these practices, as well as in the large commercial centers where we have offices, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Miami.” Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole was ranked #12 among 50 law firms listed in the 2022 Best Law Firms to Work For category as part of Vault’s Law Firm Quality of Life Rankings. The rankings are derived from Vault’s Annual Associate Survey in which nearly 20,000 associates rated and commented on various aspects of their work lives. Robinson+Cole climbed 36 spots up the Best Law Firms to Work For list.
Vault’s Law Firm Quality of Life Rankings includes 16 subcategories. In addition to ranking #12 in the 2022 Best Law Firms to Work For category, Robinson+Cole was ranked #1 for Integration of Laterals & Clerks, #2 for Technology & Innovation, #4 for Wellness, and #5 for Firm Culture and for Associate/Partner Relations. In addition, the firm ranked #6 in Vault’s 2022 Best Law Firms For Diversity. Firm highlights from those rankings include #5 designations for Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities and for Diversity for Women as well as #8 for Diversity for LGBTQ+ Individuals and for Racial & Ethnic Diversity. Read more in the press release.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was quoted in the article “New seniority rehire law creates hurdles for companies looking to rebound from pandemic” published by the Hartford Business Journal on September 6, 2021. The article focuses on a new Connecticut law aimed at giving certain workers laid off because of COVID-19 “first crack at their old jobs when their former employers rehire.” The statute requires restaurants, food service companies and hotels with 15 or more workers to contact any employees they laid off because of COVID-19 when they rehire and offer them their former positions. It includes numerous provisions and empowers workers to sue if their former employers fail to comply – effectively setting aside at-will employment, which is standard throughout the United States. “If you told me a year ago that this would be a law in Connecticut, I would have been shocked,” Abby said. She went on to acknowledge that it may be a challenge for businesses not used to dealing with union contracts and expressed surprise that the statute allows workers to go straight to court, noting that employment laws are filed with an agency prior to a lawsuit being filed. Read the article.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group Co-chair Patrick M. Birney was selected to be one of Turnaround Management Association’s (TMA) featured members for the month of September. Patrick was chosen to be highlighted by the Connecticut Turnaround Management Association (CTTMA) and will appear in the “Featured Members” section found on TMA’s homepage. According to its website, TMA “is the most professionally diverse organization in the corporate restructuring, renewal, and corporate health space.” The organization is comprised of turnaround practitioners, attorneys, accountants, advisors, liquidators, consultants, as well as academic, government employees, and members of the judiciary with nearly 10,000 members in 54 chapters worldwide. Patrick is a longtime member of TMA and CTTMA serving in several leadership roles. He has previously served as a TMA Director and Vice President of Public Relations. Visit TMA’s website to view the Featured Members section.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was quoted in the article “Here’s why one CT employer mandated vaccines. Will others follow?” published in the Hartford Business Journal (HBJ) on September 6, 2021. A follow-up to an earlier HBJ article on Connecticut employers mandating employee COVID-19 vaccinations published on June 14, 2021, the latest article notes that the previously unpopular vaccine requirements “seem to be one of the few tools left to employers to insulate themselves from an increasingly unpredictable pandemic.” Abby acknowledges that “[f]or the most part, courts and government agencies charged with arbitrating employment matters have largely sided with employers when it comes to mandates.” She also points out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent decision to officially approve the Pfizer vaccine definitely weakens “[t]he argument against employer mandates because the vaccines may be unsafe...” In addition, Abby comments on exemption policies and the related nuances that need to be worked out when formulating those policies because the courts have to balance legal protections with safety concerns. Read the article.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz has been reappointed to serve as co-chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section (CBA-YLS) Women in the Law Committee for the 2021-2022 bar year. The role is among those that comprise the CBA-YLS Executive Committee. The Young Lawyers Section has as its primary goals the promotion of justice, the encouragement of public service, and the promotion of diversity and education of young lawyers and newly admitted practitioners. The Section serves a valuable social and networking role in fostering connections among young lawyers and assisting them in their transition into the legal practice in Connecticut. It includes all members of the CBA who are 37 years old or younger or who have been admitted to the Bar for less than six full bar years.
The Women in the Law Committee of the Young Lawyers Section monitors the progress and works to enhance the status and opportunities available to women in the legal profession; provides women attorneys in Connecticut an opportunity to share concerns, communicate, and network with one another in a supportive forum; and promotes the participation of the CBA in substantive areas of law and legislation that present issues of particular concern to women in the profession, and to those who seek legal services.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Jonathan H. Schaefer was quoted in the article “OSHA Calls on Employers to Protect Workers from COVID-19” published under the “Employment Law” category of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) online resources web page. The article stresses the importance of employers’ remaining vigilant in their adherence to COVID-19-related safety measures under OSHA’s general-duty clause, which entitles employees to a workplace free of known health and safety hazards. Jon acknowledges that in addition to the risk of violating the general-duty clause, employers are facing citations for violation of specific OSHA regulations relative to COVID-19, such as violation of standards related to respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens, sanitation and PPE. Jon also addresses OSHA’s liability for employee side effects from a vaccine. "This may have been a valid concern earlier in 2021 when OSHA's enforcement guidance compelled those employers requiring employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment to record adverse reactions to the vaccine if the adverse reaction met the other recordability criteria," he said. OSHA has since indicated it will not enforce the recordability requirements as related to the effects from COVID-19 vaccination—at least through May 2022. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Jonathan H. Schaefer is among the honorees selected by the Environmental Business Council of New England, Inc. (EBC) to receive its 2021 EBC Ascending Leader Award. The EBC recognizes young professionals in the energy and environmental sectors demonstrating exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers with the annual presentation of the EBC Ascending Leader Award. Recipients are leaders within their own organizations, often acting as mentors to junior staff, providing thought leadership on critical issues, and leading teams on difficult or large projects. They also represent their organizations through participation in industry associations and committees, supporting the growth of the environmental and energy sectors. Early career success and rapid advancement in the industry are hallmarks of award recipients, who are often involved civically as well. The award recipients will be presenting at the EBC Spotlight on Success: A Panel Discussion with the 2021 EBC Ascending Leader Award Recipients on September 22, 2021. Currently, Jon serves as Vice Chair of EBC’s Connecticut Chapter and is a member of the EBC Site Remediation and Redevelopment Committee.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in the article “How Geriatric Care Management Businesses Can Accelerate Growth for Home Care Operators” published in Home Health Care News on September 2, 2021. The article discusses the potential boost in organic growth for home care businesses achieved through their acquisition of geriatric care management companies. Despite some recent deals of this type, Les said he’s not noticing a clear uptick in care management transactions. “Honestly, it’s not something that we are hearing one way or the other from clients who have been acquisitive. And as you know, we have been handling a lot of deals,” Les told HHCN’s Robert Holly. “Thatʼs not to say that it hasnʼt gone into the mix of thinking as buyers are evaluating an acquisition opportunity.” Read the article.
Construction Law Group lawyer Choity R. Khan has been elected to the Professional Women in Construction Connecticut Chapter (PWC CT) Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 term. The PWC CT Chapter is a community of professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry that provides an opportunity for connection and engagement that leads to business opportunities. Choity currently serves on PWC CT’s Mentorship Committee and was elected to the Board by PWC CT Chapter members. Learn more about the organization.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz was quoted in the article “Lawyers advise employers on handling vaccine exemptions” published in New Haven Biz on August 25, 2021. The article references a webinar Emily co-presented on “COVID-19 Information & Protocols Webinar” on August 25, 2021. Hosted by the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), Emily was among the panel of professionals that shared the latest information on Connecticut state guidelines, mask policies, vaccine information and mobile access, and other related updates and news to help businesses prepare for operation in the coming weeks. As quoted in the article, Emily emphasizes of the importance of employers clearly communicating vaccination and masking policies while being mindful of accommodating those seeking or granted exemptions. The firm is pleased to be a GNCC Chamber Partner. Read the article.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider Team lawyer Kathryn M. Rattigan was a guest on an episode of the “Emerging Litigation Podcast” that was posted on August 24, 2021. During the discussion with host Tom Hagy, Kathryn talks about some of the use cases for drones across multiple industries as well as drone compliance and privacy issues. The “Emerging Litigation Postcast” is the audio companion to the Journal on Emerging Issues in Litigation, a collaborative project between HB Litigation Conferences and the Fastcase legal research family. Listen to the podcast episode.
Health Law Group lawyer Danielle H. Tangorre has been named to the 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers® Rising Stars list. The Super Lawyers® designation is based on regional balloting by attorneys, third-party research, and a peer review process encompassing myriad practice areas. The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list. An explanation of the Super Lawyers methodology can be found here.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Dan A. Brody was the focus of the article “The Last 12 Months Were Good for Case Resolution, Litigator Dan Brody Says” published in the Connecticut Law Tribune on August 19, 2021. In the Q&A feature, Dan discusses the impact the pandemic has had on government enforcement case resolution as well as the potential for an increase in government enforcement opportunities for lawyers. Dan also observes current litigation trends and describes the biggest lesson he learned as a litigator in 2020. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Emilee Mooney Scott was profiled in a special issue of the Hartford Business Journal commemorating the publication’s 2021 “40 Under Forty” winners. In addition to providing a brief bio, Emilee’s profile shares reasons why she deserves the 40 Under Forty designation and a "fun fact" about her. View the profile.
The Hartford Business Journal's 2021 “40 Under Forty” class showcases a diversity of up-and-coming professionals who are leading their organizations and represent the promising future of the city, region, and state. This year’s class will be recognized during a special event on September 16, 2021 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium/Rentschler Field. The reception will be a special celebration honoring the 2021 class and 40 Under Forty’s 25th anniversary.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was a featured guest on WNPR's flagship afternoon news program, All Things Considered, for a segment titled “Labor Attorney Explains Employer Vaccine Mandates,” that aired on August 9, 2021. During the interview, Abby addresses some of the legal issues surrounding employer mandated COVID-19 vaccinations with host, John Henry Smith. Their discussion covers vaccination incentives, higher education institutions mandating vaccinations for faculty and staff, health privacy considerations for employers managing employee vaccination records, and more. Listen to the interview.
Employee Benefits + Compensation Group lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity updated the article “ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate,” published as a practice note in LexisNexis Practical Guidance® in August 2021. Virginia authored the note originally published in March 2019, which describes the shared responsibility rules for so-called applicable large employers (ALE) implemented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Commonly referred to as the employer mandate or pay-or-play provisions of the ACA, the rules were designed to promote employers’ traditional role in providing access to health insurance for their employees despite rising health care costs, and to complement the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires individuals to obtain health coverage or pay an excise tax. Read the practice note.
Construction Law Group lawyers Joseph A. Barra and Niel P. Franzese authored the article “Are You on the Hook for a Busted Budget?” published in the “Legal Beat” column of the Summer 2021 issue of PE Magazine, the flagship publication of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). Given labor challenges and skyrocketing material costs resulting from the COIVD-19 pandemic, the obligation for a design professional to “design to budget” can be an unsuspected and sometimes overlooked source of exposure. Joe and Niel cover how some of the industry standard contract forms address a designers’ exposure for construction cost overruns. One of the article’s risk-mitigation recommendations seeks to balance this exposure by empowering the owner to track such volatility: “As the volatile construction market continues to impact the predictability of a project’s ultimate construction cost, designers would be best served to encourage owners to retain the services of a qualified cost engineer in order to keep pace with market fluctuations.” Read the article.
Health Law Group member Conor O. Duffy and Business Litigation Group member Seth B. Orkand authored the article “Telehealth confusion could create issues for physicians” published in Medical Economics on July 27, 2021. The article addresses measures the federal government and states enacted in response to COVID-19 to promote adoption of telehealth, and how inconsistent regulations across states have created compliance challenges for telehealth providers and health systems. As the government now commences audits of telehealth services, providers who practiced across state lines may be subject to heightened scrutiny. As COVID-19 emergency measures begin to be rescinded or expire, health systems and providers are now working hard to implement compliant telehealth structures that maintain access to care in accordance with the latest guidance. Conor and Seth address those efforts and identify potential fraud and enforcement risks for telehealth providers and mitigation strategies for such providers. Read the full article.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyers Audrey E. Goldman and Gabrielle R. Mercadante authored the article “At the Crossroads of COVID-19 and Business Interruption Claims: A Florida Update” published in Volume 40, No. 2 of Trial Advocate, the professional journal of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA). The article is a follow-up to an earlier one on the same topic of business interruption insurance coverage published last winter, which was especially timely given the impact of COVID-19 health restrictions on many businesses and uncertainty as to whether there is coverage for their losses. At that time, there was a great deal of litigation taking place nationwide to determine whether coverage exists under their policies. In this piece, Audrey and Gabrielle offer an update referencing Florida federal court decisions from the past year, holding that COVID-19-related losses are not covered under commercial property insurance policies. While policies differ in the specific provisions and exclusions they contain, for the most part, federal courts in Florida have ruled in favor of carriers in finding that there is no coverage for business interruption claims. Trial Advocate is circulated to FDLA members, all Florida judges, and industry professionals statewide and is published by Westlaw as a legal resource. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Joey Lee Miranda has been appointed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Liaison of the Connecticut Power & Energy Society (CPES), the state’s leading association of energy professionals. CPES is dedicated to generating information, sharing ideas and educating Connecticut about energy. Joey Lee has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2009 and also led CPES as President from 2015 to 2017.
Employee Benefits + Compensation Group lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity was the focus of the article “Robinson & Cole's McGarrity on Some of the 'Toughest Workplace Challenges' Her Clients Have Ever Faced” published in the Connecticut Law Tribune on July 29, 2021. In the Q&A feature, Virginia discusses some challenges faced due to the new climate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, trends in employee benefits and compensation and anticipated opportunities in 2022. She also describes her “biggest concern right now” and offers insight on the biggest lesson with regard to diversity in the legal profession in 2020. Read the article.
Education industry team chair Kathleen E. Dion and member Seth B. Orkand co-presented the R+C-hosted education webinar, "A Discussion on Reopening Campuses for the Fall Semester" on July 29, 2021. Joined by Meredith Ainbinder, Vice President and General Counsel at Emerson College and Destinee Waiters, Associate General Counsel at Suffolk University, the roundtable panel addressed numerous challenges that in-house counsel may face with students returning to campus in the fall and how members of the community may respond. Topics covered included whether or not policies on vaccines should be applied equitably to faculty and staff; if professors may be allowed to require masks in their classes; how schools will handle non-compliance with COVID-related rules and requirements; and addressing student mental health concerns with the addition of non-instructional wellness days.
On July 29, 2021, Robinson+Cole recognized 14 lawyers and staff members for their pro bono work, mentoring, community service and efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive work environment as part of the firm's annual awards. The Pro Bono Award is presented by the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and honors individuals for their outstanding commitment to Robinson+Cole’s pro bono initiative. This year’s honorees were Charles E. Janson, Choity R. Khan and paralegal Albina Yaikbaeva. The Robinson+Cole Mentor of the Year Award recognizes outstanding guidance, support, and encouragement of fellow lawyers and staff in their pursuit of professional growth. This year’s award was presented to IT Services Manager Joel M. Easley, Katherine M. Fix, Dana M. Horton and Christopher J. Hug. In addition, Linn F. Freedman, Jennifer L. Shanley and Business Center Specialist Sandra M. Strate were all recognized with the Community Service Award for their continued volunteerism. Lastly, Robinson+Cole's Diversity and Inclusion Awardees Lisa B. Andrzejewski, Dan A. Brody, Chief Marketing Officer Gina L. Carriuolo and John B. Lynch, Jr. were honored for their ongoing dedication and support of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Health Law Group lawyer Danielle H. Tangorre presented during the client, Lighthouse Lab Services', webinar, "How to Keep Your Lab EKRA Compliant" on July 28, 2021. The program offered an overview of compensation arrangements barred under the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (EKRA), including safe harbor exceptions, how the law interacts with and differs from the Anti-Kickback Statute, and alternative compensation strategies for sales and marketing employees.
Construction Law Group member Joseph A. Barra was quoted in the article “Condo collapse prompts calls to fix flaws in laws” published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on July 22, 2021. With regard to the recent collapse of the Champlain Towers South high rise apartment building in Miami, FL, the article discusses how Florida’s Statute of Repose could shield design professionals from liability should it be found that the collapse was caused, in part, by a design error.
In the article, Joe explains how statutes of repose generally apply in such situations and describes the differences between its applicability to the design of a building and the design of a manufactured product. Barra states, “’In product liability cases, a manufacturer has many, many chances to get the design of its product correct’ adding, “In some instances, courts will not even permit evidence at trial of subsequent remedial measures. In contrast to the building construction industry,” he states, “a building designer has only one opportunity to get it right. As a result, the law holds [building] designers not to a standard of “perfection”…rather, the designer must meet the professional standard of care.” Subscribers can read the full article.
Labor and Employment Group lawyers Alisha N. Sullivan, Abby M. Warren and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz authored the article “What the EEOC Says about Requiring Vaccines at Work” published in Industry Week on July 21, 2021. Referencing the updated technical-assistance guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May, Alisha, Abby and Emily cover mandatory vaccination policies, reasonable accommodations, employee medical information, the potential for disparate impact of vaccination policies and vaccination incentive programs. Read the full article.
Manufacturing Industry Team Chair Jeffrey J. White was quoted in the article “Biden faces headwinds bringing critical drug manufacturing to U.S.” published in POLITICO Pro on July 7, 2021. The article focuses on President Joe Biden’s desire to have more essential drugs made in the United States and examines the notion from experts that reshoring production “would require spending billions of dollars for research and development and workforce training, and a revamp of quality control incentives.” For example, there is an emphasis by federal agencies for U.S.-based drug companies to invest in advanced or continuous manufacturing, which produces less waste and has less potential for contamination for lower costs. However, the research and development necessary to reconfigure manufacturing lines is expensive and time consuming. “If you say to a manufacturer, ‘Go invest in a new machine,’ [it will] respond, ‘How will that help me compete on cost?” said Jeff White, a lawyer at Robinson+Cole in Hartford, who works with manufacturing and distributing companies nationally. “Cost is a significant barrier, second is the ability of skilled labor and third is making the business case.”