The Karen Lynn DeMeola Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund Established

Written Monday, August 17, 2020

The Connecticut Bar Association (CBA)’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee (the Committee) has established The Karen Lynn DeMeola Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund (DeMeola Fund) at the Connecticut Bar Institute (CTBI). The DeMeola Fund is named for Karen Lynn DeMeola, the first person of color to serve as president of the Connecticut Bar Association (2017-2018 bar year), and a longstanding champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Connecticut legal community. Interested persons and groups can provide financial donations to the DeMeola Fund to support the efforts and initiatives of the Committee.

“We are really pleased to establish this fund to support the CBA's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and to take this opportunity to honor Attorney DeMeola," said CBA President Amy Lin Meyerson. "Increasing diversity in the legal profession results in better service to our clients facilitates access to justice and improves the profession as a whole.”

The DeMeola Fund will be used to support the mission and purposes of the Committee, including its advancement of the CBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy, Strategic Plan, and Connecticut Legal Community’s Diversity and Inclusion Pledge and Plan. The DeMeola Fund may establish and fund fellowships or scholarships, educational programming and events, or other diversity and inclusion initiatives related to the Connecticut legal profession. Initial contribution from the CBA Diversity and Inclusion Summit donations have assisted with the establishment of the DeMeola Fund and will be funded by other donations to the CBA’s diversity initiatives, from the Committee’s events, or the public.

“Attorney DeMeola has been a tireless advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Connecticut legal community for many decades now. Countless practitioners have been positively impacted by her conscientious and compassionate leadership,” said CBA President-elect and Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-chair Cecil J. Thomas. The CBA is a stronger and more inclusive organization because of her efforts, and I cannot think of a more fitting namesake for this newly created fund.  This fund will provide vital support as we continue to advance a more diverse, inclusive and equitable Connecticut legal profession.”

Karen DeMeola is the assistant dean for finance, administration, and enrollment for the UConn School of Law. She has presented on numerous panels, symposia, and conferences on diversifying law school populations, implicit bias, intersectionality, inclusive leadership, and diversity and inclusion. Prior to her role as assistant dean for enrollment and students, she was a civil rights litigator in her solo practice. While serving as a CBA officer, she created numerous diversity and pipeline projects, including the CBA Pathways to Legal Careers Pipeline Program, which provides high school students with insight about the legal profession in hopes of encouraging talented and diverse students to consider a legal career.

"I am deeply moved by this honor. It is heartening to see the legal profession move away from a history of intentionally excluding and marginalizing individuals toward diversity, equity and inclusion.  I have focused my career on providing access to the profession and creating spaces centered around inclusion and belonging,” expressed Attorney DeMeola. Working with the CBA on these issues has been one of my greatest privileges. To share my name with this effort is truly humbling."

Click here to learn more about the DeMeola Fund and to make a donation.