About the Award

The Charles J. Parker Legal Services Award is presented to members of the Connecticut Bar who have a deep and abiding interest in and dedication to the delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged in Connecticut.


  • Member of the Connecticut Bar Association
  • Should have deep and abiding interest and dedication to delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged in Connecticut
  • Given selflessly of themselves in advancing goal of providing legal services to Connecticut residents. This service should cover a period of years and not be a single or isolated activity
  • Recognizes all practitioners in Connecticut, including legal service attorneys
  • Not necessarily an annual award

Past Recipients

1977    Charles J. Parker    
1980    Issac D. Russell    
1981    Thomas F. Seymour    
1982    James W. Cooper    
1983    Joseph Goldstein    
1984    Francis X. Dineen    
1985    Hon. Raymond Richard Norko    
1987    Alex Lloyd    
1987    Charles C. Kingsley    
1988    Stephen Wizner    
1989    No Award
1990    Amy Eppler-Epstein    
1991    Robert L. Hill    
1992    Hon. Anthony V. DeMayo    
1993    Paul W. Orth    
1994    Susan W. Wolfson    
1994    Hon. Frank H. D'Andrea, Jr.    
1995    Norman K. Janes    
1996    Hon. Kevin Tierney    
1997    George C. Hastings    
1998    Peter B. Cooper    
1999    Catherine G. Roraback
2000    Douglas M. Crockett    
2001    Betty Levy    
2002    Raphael Podolsky    
2004    Timothy J. Johnston
2005    Sherwood L. Anderson
2006    Gurdon H. Buck
2007    Marvin R. Farbman
2008    Patricia R. Kaplan
2009    Martha Stone
2010    Steven J. Eppler-Epstein
2011    Peter Arakas
2012    Jill Seaman Plancher
2013    Diane W. Whitney
2015    Debra C. Ruel 
2016    David Pels
2017    Shelley White
2018    Thomas A. Behrendt
2019    Justine C. Rakich-Kelly
2020    Erin E. Kemple
2021    Kathy Flaherty
2022    Mary-Christy Fisher
2023    Hon. Cecil J. Thomas
2024    Lucy Potter

About Charles J. Parker (1921-1980)

Attorney Charles J. Parker was a CBA vice president and president-elect nominee when he died (listed in 1979-1980 officers) on March 9, 1980. His obituary read that “The city of New Haven has lost one of its most dedicated public servants.”

A partner with Tyler Cooper Grant Bowerman & Keefe (New Haven), Attorney Parker was a graduate of Middlebury and Yale Law School. He was admitted to practice in New York in 1950 and in Connecticut in 1951. His volunteer work for the CBA and other legal associations included being chair of the Junior Bar Section (1954-1955), chair of the Probate Section (1964-1965), chair of the Estate Administration Committee (1970-1973), chair of the CBA Legal Aid Committee (1966-1969), chair of the ABA Public Interest Practice (1977-1979), and chair of the Legal Aid Committee (New Haven) (1955-1964). He served on the executive committee of the Yale Law School Alumni (1963-1964). He was director of National Legal Aid and Defender Association (1971-1980). He held the rank of Commander USNR (retired). He was the first recipient of the CBA’s “Legal Service Award” (on October 10, 1977), which noted in the citation that, in addition to the accomplishments listed above, he served as chair of the New Haven Municipal Legal Aid Commission. president of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, member of the Project Committee of the Connecticut Welfare Department, and a member of the ABA Special Committee on Public Interest Practice.

At a Memorial Service, then mayor of New Haven, Richard C. Lee, characterized Attorney Parker: “He was, in truth, a man for his time, and whether it was politics or the law, the improvement of our park system, or the rights of those who needed financial or legal assistance, he gave freely and completely of himself. Charlie was a blessed man, who led a blessed life, and he helped so many, many people.”

Attorney William R. Murphy, a partner at Attorney Parker’s law firm, eulogized him: “Charlie was a person of great compassion. Whether dealing with a poor child in need of public assistance or an elderly widow entering a nursing home, Charlie conveyed to each person whose life he touched the message that he cared—because he did care.”

New Haven Mayor Biagio DiLieto stated, “He was a warm, considerate man, sensitive and attendant to the needs and aspirations of his fellow citizens and creative in meeting those needs.”

New Haven County Bar Association President Robert G. Oliver was quoted as saying, “Charles Parker was a moving force in bringing legal aid to our community…a gentleman in every sense of the word. He will be sorely missed.”

Upon receiving the Charles J. Parker Legal Services Award in 1982, James W. Cooper (Tyler Cooper Grant Bowerman & Keefe) honored Attorney Parker by saying, “Charlie was a wonder…displaying courage, dignity, imagination, perseverance, and tenacity. He epitomized everything I admire.”

The Charles J. Parker Legal Services Award was established in 1980.