Member Spotlight | Karen Lynn DeMeola

Written Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Karen DeMeolaKaren Lynn DeMeola will receive the John Eldred Shields Distinguished Professional Service Award at the Connecticut Bar Association’s annual awards celebration, Celebrate with the Stars, on Wednesday, May 3.

She is the assistant dean for diversity, belonging and community engagement at the University of Connecticut (UConn) School of Law. She serves as an adjunct professor teaching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Legal Profession. Dean DeMeola writes and provides training on implicit bias, intersectionality, inclusive leadership, and diversity and inclusion. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from UConn and her JD from UConn School of Law. After graduating from law school and before becoming a faculty member of the UConn School of Law, Dean DeMeola was a civil rights litigator, and her practice focused primarily on employment discrimination, police brutality, and housing discrimination.

Dean DeMeola served as president of the CBA during the 2017-2018 bar year and was the first person of color to serve as president in the association’s history. She has held numerous other significant roles within the CBA, some of which include co-chair of the Lawyer Well-Being Committee; co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; chair of the Pro Bono Committee; and chair of the Law School Subcommittee of the State of the Legal Profession Task Force. Additionally, she was involved in the establishment of both the CBA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and Lawyer Well-Being Committee.

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. In 2020, the CBA established the Karen Lynn DeMeola Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund in honor of her important work as a champion of diversity and equal rights within the Connecticut legal community.

Dean DeMeola is the chair of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project board of directors and serves on the boards of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, and the emeritus board of Family Equality. She also serves as a co-chair of the Connecticut Bar Association and Connecticut Bar Foundation’s Constance Baker Motley Speaker Series on Racial Inequality. In addition, she serves on the Connecticut Access to Justice Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Women and Girls STEAM Subcommittee.

The John Eldred Shields Distinguished Professional Service Award recognizes CBA members who have performed outstanding service through or on behalf of the CBA for the benefit of the legal community and the community at large.

View the complete list of this year’s Celebrate with the Stars awardees.

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