President's Message

by Michael J. Walsh, President

As I write this column, the blizzard of 2013 is depositing over thirty inches of snow throughout the state.  The courts and state offices have all closed, and the roads are empty.  The phones have stopped ringing.  It seems a perfect time to reflect on the events of the past several months, and to consider what lies ahead.

The Sandy Hook Tragedy

On December 14, 2012, less than three months ago, Connecticut witnessed one of the worst tragedies in its history.  Twenty children and six adults were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School by a mentally disturbed twenty year old gunman.  The massacre profoundly affected our whole nation.

The members of CTLA joined countless others in attempting to offer assistance and support to the families and communities affected by this senseless tragedy.  We organized our members to offer pro bono legal assistance to those affected by the tragedies, and participated in gun buyback programs.  Mike Koskoff and Ernie Teitell volunteered to chair a special task force to consider more permanent, long term responses to the tragedy.  It is the sincere hope of all of us that change will be enacted to help prevent such a senseless tragedy from ever happening again.

Committee meetings and membership events

The engine of the CTLA is its committees, and all of the committees began meeting and conducting affairs in September and October.  Also in September, CTLA hosted its first "Past Presidents" dinner, honoring those who have done so much to bring the organization to where it is today.  A new committee, the Legislative Affairs Committee, was formed to assist with all facets of our legislative efforts, and met for the first time in August, and then joined the legislative retreat in October.  The Public Relations Task Force continued with an effort started last year, by hosting showings of the Susan Saladoff movie "Hot Coffee," followed by discussion groups, at schools and local libraries.  The Young Lawyers Committee and Membership Committee hosted the first of several local social events for new attorneys in Hartford in October, and CTLA again hosted its annual membership and club appreciation holiday event in December.

Legislative Agenda

This year, the organization began its legislative efforts in the fall, by reaching out to specific legislators, scheduling personal meetings with them, and offering assistance to them in their efforts to qualify under campaign financing laws.  Our legislative effort began in earnest with the opening of the legislative session on January 9, 2013.  Although the session is still young at the time this column is being written, CTLA is currently promoting legislation to increase penalties for distracted driving, to correct injustices in the uninsured motorists statute, and to ensure mandatory malpractice coverage for nursing homes.  CTLA is also advocating for changes in the laws of worker’s compensation, medical malpractice and municipal immunity.

Looking Ahead

In the next four months, a great deal of time and energy will be devoted to pursuing our legislative agenda.  Additionally, we plan to renew a custom that has been peacefully resting:  on April 3 we will hold a general membership dinner meeting at the New Haven Lawn Club.  On March 20, the Women’s Caucus will once again host "Look Who's Cooking," which showcases the culinary talents of our members, and proves each year to be great fun for all who attend.  And lastly, our annual meeting will be held once again at the scenic Water’s Edge Resort on June 10.  Gail Collins, a celebrated columnist from the New York Times, has agreed to be our keynote speaker.

Closing Thoughts

In closing, I want to thank Paul Slager for his herculean efforts in editing and publishing The Forum, and in allowing me the opportunity to write this column.  I also very much want to thank Bert Polito, Dave Cooney, and John Kennedy, my predecessors in this job, as well as Doug Mahoney, my immediate successor, for all of the support, guidance and friendship they have offered.  Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank all of our members who work tirelessly every day, often without any attribution, in performing the important work that continues to make our great organization what it is today.  Thank you.