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News & Press: CBA

2017 Celebrate with the Stars

Friday, April 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Connecticut Bar Association
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Congratulations to all of this year's award recipients and thank you to everyone who supported them by attending the CBA's annual awards celebration, "Celebrate with the Stars." More than 350 guests were in attendance at the April 13 event held at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. The evening began with cocktails, a local craft beer tasting, and hors d'oeuvres.

 At the start of the program attendees heard from State Senator Richard Blumenthal who not only congratulated this year's awardees but also thanked the judges of Connecticut, and of the nation, for their advocacy for legal services stating, "When the history of this time is written, I guarantee it will be one of the finest hours of our judiciary in the state of Connecticut and our nation."

The program began with the Half-Century Award, given to members of the bar admitted in 1967. Award recipients gathered on stage for a group photograph.

Kicking-off the awards presentation was the Honorable Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Award. The award's namesake, Judge DeMayo, was passionate about the law and unwavering in his support of legal services for the needy. The winners of this year's awards, as selected by the Pro Bono Committee, not only exhibit commitment and dedication to pro bono service, but also serve as role models for the profession. Video testimonials were played for each award winner to give the audience members a better sense of who they are and their dedication to their work.

After the pro bono awards presentation attendees heard from the Secretary of the State Denise Merrill who congratulated awardees, naming them "the best of our profession, compassionate, and people who are committed to the rule of law," as well as thanked the Connecticut Bar Association for the partnership with the office of the secretary of the state on working together on civics education, expressing that, "it is the foundation of all of us, for the next generation to understand the importance of the rule of law."

After dinner, video testimonials continued for the signature awards, which were played prior to their award acceptance, adding a personalized touch to the honor. Signature award presenters included President Monte E. Frank, President-elect Karen DeMeola, Vice President Jonathan M. Shapiro, as well as YLS Chair Dana M. Hrelic who presented the Young Lawyers Section Vanguard Award.

Many awardees thanked more than just their friends and families, including the Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award winner, Professor Sudha Setty who, among her many thanks included the CBA, sharing, "I'd like to offer a personal note of thanks for the role that the CBA played with they did not know, in me becoming a lawyer in the first place...I participated as a lawyer in the Mock Trial Program in the 1990's and that galvanized a love of the study of law that has never abated."

Among this year's tremendous slate of stars was Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra, recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award. President Monte E. Frank introduced the first selectman emotively, stating, "Pat is my client, she's my friend, and she's my hero. When darkness descended upon the town of Newtown, Pat stood up holding the torch, and led us all out of those troubled days." And after a standing ovation from attendees, Ms. Llodra expressed, "If I have done good for others, than I say thank you for that opportunity. If I have sacrificed, which I have; if I had to draw and reserve some courage and tenacity, which I have; if I've had to set aside hurts, and manage disappointments, which I have; I say that it is a worthwhile legacy to have made even a small positive difference in the lives of others."

Event attendees welcomed the final awardee of the evening, Justice Richard A. Robinson, to the stage with a standing ovation. Within his thank you remarks, Justice Robinson included all of the lawyers in the room, expressing, "As lawyers you are the very tailors of the fabric that holds our society together. We are living in interesting and troubling times. There are events occurring now and on the horizon that will stretch that fabric beyond its tearing point. But as lawyers you, no we, bear the tremendous responsibility of being there when the tears occur."

The event concluded with dessert and cordial pairings, along with music and dancing.