About the Award

Established in 1981 in honor of past CBA President John Eldred Shields, the award is presented each year to a CBA member who has performed outstanding service through or on behalf of the CBA, for the benefit of the legal community and the community at large.

Criteria

  • Member of the Connecticut Bar Association

  • Performed outstanding service through or on behalf of the Connecticut Bar Association

  • Such service to have benefited members of the Connecticut Bar Association, the legal profession or the community at large. This service should cover a period of years and not be a single or isolated activity
  • Service as Past President of the Connecticut Bar Association shall not be considered in evaluating the candidates for this award
  • Not necessarily an annual award


Past Recipients

1981   Thomas F. Gallivan, Jr.
1983  Carmine R. Lavieri
1985  David Goldstein   
1986   Hon. Anthony V. DeMayo  
1987   Peter L. Costas
1989   James R. Greenfield  
1990   Henry B. Anderson   
1991   A. Searle Pinney   
1992   Jack H. Evans  
1993   Ralph Gregory Elliot  
1994   Marilyn P. Seichter
1995   John W. Hogan, Jr.
1996   Professor Quintin Johnstone  
1997   L. Stewart Bohan
1998   Samuel S. Cross  
1999   Rosemary E. Giuliano
2000   Victor M. Gordon (posthumously)
2001   Hon. Raymond B. Green
2002   Susan W. Wolfson

2004   Wesley W. Horton
2005   Donat C. Marchand
2006   Edward Maum Sheehy
2007   James F. Stapleton
2008   Timothy S. Fisher
2009   James T. Shearin
2010   Alice A. Bruno
2011   Frances Z. Calafiore
2012   John R. Logan
2013   Frederic S. Ury
2014   Harry N. Mazadoorian
2015   Louis R. Pepe
2016   Hon. Lubbie Harper, Jr.
2017   Dwight H. Merriam
2018   Hon. Janet C. Hall
2019   Hon. Anne C. Dranginis (Ret.)

About John Eldred Shields (1912-1981)

Attorney John Eldred Shields served as CBA President from 1979-1980. During his 44-year career in law, he received national recognition as an innovative lawyer. He was the third generation member of his family to practice law.

Attorney Shields was a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and was admitted to the Connecticut Bar in 1937. Before becoming CBA President, he was president of the New London County Bar Association (1974-1975) and member of countless association committees and boards. He was a member of the Norwich Board of Finance (1938-40) and Deputy Judge of Norwich City Court (1946-1947). He served as Norwich City Attorney and Prosecuting Attorney from 1947 to 1955. He was a Republican candidate and mayor of Norwich in 1946, Town Counsel from 1949 to 1951, and past president of the Norwich Chamber of Commerce (1966-1972). He also served as president, Norwich Aerie, Fraternal Order of Eagles (1940-1943); Director, Eastern Council, Navy League; member, Newcomen Society in North America; member, Sons of the American Revolution. At the time of his appointment as CBA President, he was senior partner of Shields & Block, Norwich. At the time of his death, he was a past president of the CBA, member of the ABA House of Delegates, member of the House of Delegates of the New England Bar Association, and member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Bar Foundation.

President Shields was a vigorous advocate of the presence of news cameras in Connecticut courthouses and appointed a Task Force on Cameras in the Courtroom. Under his leadership, the Connecticut Lawyer newsletter was expanded to six pages and published from September through June. During this time, the CBA began to publish a four-volume “Lawyer Directory” to be placed in public locations. While Shields was President, the CBA instituted an advertising campaign called “The Law’s On Your Side…And so are we” designed to help the public learn more about the law and how it affects them. As President of the CBA, President Shields invited the media to cover the deliberations of the Board of Governors and House of Delegates meetings with an invitation to the television networks that “most Association activities greatly affect the public interest and welfare and we have nothing to hide.” Representatives of three television networks viewed the November 1979 meeting of the Board of Governors meeting. In 1980, a new CBA dues schedule was established by the Board of Governors, the first raise in five years (first year—waived; years 2 and 3--$45; years 4, 5, and 6--$60; years 7 through 10--$80; 11 or more years--$100; age 75 and older--$60). In its April, 19, 1980 meeting, the House of Delegates reported that there was a budget deficit of $100,000, which would be offset by using reserve funds. The total CBA membership in 1980 was 6,468. During his CBA presidency, Attorney Shields lobbied successively for increases in judges’ compensation. Under his leadership, the CBA and the New London Bar Association both won ABA Law Day awards. At this time, the CBA was able to persuade the ABA to recommend accreditation of the University of Bridgeport Law School. The CBA was also able to persuade the Connecticut legislature to forego an increase in the occupational tax and able to defeat a proposed sales tax on legal services. Following President Shields’ leadership, the CBA held its first long-range planning retreat. Upon President Shields’ death, he was recognized for his keen perceptions, his forceful presentations, and his indefatigable interest and efforts on behalf of the profession of law.

The John E. Shields Award was created in 1981.