Attorney Elizabeth A. Alquist Receives 2022 Ladder Award

Written Monday, March 14, 2022

 Garlinck, Alquist, Khan, Bysiewicz, Thomas   Beth Alquist and Family    Bysiewicz Speech 
From left to right : CBA Women in the Law Section Chair Garlinck Dumont, Ladder Award Recipient Elizabeth Alquist, Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Maria A. Khan, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and CBA President Cecil J. Thomas.   Ladder Award Recipient Elizabeth Alquist with family and friends.   Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz presents her keynote speech.

The CBA Women in the Law Section, in association with the CBA Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Women in the Law Committee, honored Attorney Elizabeth “Beth” A. Alquist as the 2022 recipient of the Ladder Award at “Pathways to Leadership for Women Lawyers,” on March 3 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

The Ladder Award was created by the YLS Women in the Law Committee in 2007 to honor a woman attorney who has "left the ladder down" for women to follow in her footsteps, and values the importance of leadership development, mentoring, and supporting junior lawyers in their journeys to success. This year marked the return of the “Pathways to Leadership for Women Lawyers” event, which had not been held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney Alquist joins a prestigious group of past awardees that includes Hon. Anne C. Dranginis, Rosemary E. Giuliano, Kathleen L. Brandt, Margaret A. Deluca, Hon. Elizabeth J. Stewart, Maureen Danehy Cox, Hon. Nada K. Sizemore, Diane W. Whitney, Tanya A. Bovée, Hon. Maria A. Khan, Deirdre M. Daly, Hon. Lynda B. Munro, and Elaine S. Amendola.

 Bonnie Amendola   Beth Alquist Acceptance 
Bonnie Amendola, daughter of 2020 Ladder Award Recipient Elaine Amendola, accepted a bouquet of flowers on behalf of her mother and spoke on her achievements.
  Elizabeth Alquist presents her acceptance speech after receiving the 2022 Ladder Award.

CBA Women in the Law Section Chair Garlinck Dumont welcomed attendees to the program, and past Ladder Award recipient and the current highest-ranking woman official in the state’s judiciary system, Justice Maria A. Khan, introduced Keynote Speaker Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. Justice Khan noted that the lieutenant governor, “…has continuously advocated for women throughout her career and she currently chairs Governor Lamont’s Council on Women and Girls, which provides a coordinated state response to various issues impacting the lives of women and girls and families throughout the state.”

Lt. Governor Bysiewicz spoke on the important role women leaders in the fields of law and government provide in the form of mentorship to the younger generations of women colleagues. She noted that “While women make up over 50 percent of our population and over 50 percent of students in law school, we represent only 37 percent of lawyers, 27 percent of congress, and only eight percent of fortune 500 company CEOs.” While recognizing the continuing presence of gender inequity, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz also pointed to achievements in increasing women’s positions in leadership, including the recent addition of ten organizations to the Paradigm for Parity Initiative, which calls upon Connecticut companies to pledge to have at least half of their board and c-suite executives be comprised of women by 2030. She emphasized the importance of the Ladder Award stating, “This annual recognition of women who left the ladder down for other women to follow in their footsteps celebrates such a critical component of creating more diversity, equity, and inclusion in our legal profession.”

Following the Lieutenant Governor’s keynote speech, Attorney Dumont recognized past ladder award winners, including the 2020 Ladder Award recipient, Elaine Amendola, whose celebration was unfortunately cancelled that year due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney Amendola’s daughter, Bonnie Amendola, accepted a bouquet of flowers on behalf of her mother and provided remarks on her mother’s numerous achievements in promoting women’s rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

YLS Women in the Law Committee Co-Chair Emily Zaklukiewicz provided background on the meaning of the Ladder Award and introduced Attorney Andraya P. Brunau, a colleague of Elizabeth Alquist at Day Pitney LLP and one of several people who nominated her for the award. Attorney Brunau extolled Alquist’s traits and achievements stating, “she really is a leader in all sense of the word, and she is there in the trenches with her team to make sure that outstanding work is done for clients and that we have more women in private practice in the legal profession.”

As Attorney Alquist was invited to the podium, she received resounding applause from the audience. She spoke about the importance of increasing the presence of women in legal positions and the continuing difficulties of establishing gender equity in the field. She stated, “As a trial lawyer, there simply weren’t that many women—they aren’t really in the courthouses, even still, and there certainly aren’t enough on the bench. And role models matter.” She pointed out that, “It’s a lot easier to believe that I can do something when I see someone like me, a cis-gendered married mother of three doing it. And it’s even harder for women of color in our profession or for transgender women. What we need are more role models for each one of them.” Attorney Alquist ended her presentation by emphasizing the importance of reciprocity in the relationship between experienced woman mentors and younger women entering the field: “The next generation has so much to teach us. Those of us in leadership positions in law firms, in corporations, and in government, we have to listen to them, we have to learn from them, and we have the mantle, and we need to take action with that knowledge.”