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Law Day 2010

The Past, Present and Future of Law Gather in Hartford To Embrace
Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges

HARTFORD—A gathering of Judges, seasoned lawyers, students with an eye on the legal profession—even Boy Scouts—celebrated Law Day 2010 at Hartford Superior Court in the historic, dark-paneled Center Court courtroom on Friday, April 30th.


Hon. Marshall K. Berger, Jr. and Atty. Raymond C. BlissThe day’s activities, sponsored by the Hartford County Bar Association (HCBA) in conjunction with the Judicial Branch, included a lecture by Attorney Frederic Ury, past president of the Connecticut Bar Association, and scholarship and award presentations.
The Honorable Marshall K. Berger, Jr., Administrative Judge of the Hartford Judicial District, opened court by emphasizing the importance of this year’s Law Day theme—Law in the 21st Century:  Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges.

“This year’s theme is particularly relevant to our Judicial Branch and to all of us who work in the Superior Court,” Judge Berger said. “We sit here in this historic courthouse and courtroom first opened in 1929. The two figures sitting upon the pilasters at the entrance to this courthouse represent truth and justice. The bust of Chief Justice John Marshall sits above the door to this courtroom. Enduring Traditions, indeed.
“Yet upon this bench and on that in all of our courtrooms,” he continued, “sit state-of-the-art computers and programs that acknowledge and embrace the change to the practice of law and courtroom advocacy. The legal system is challenged from every turn whether from technology to budgetary problems. This year, in this courthouse, ninety-year-old Judges have mastered computer technology even as we are being told our library will be closed. Challenges, indeed.”
Following Judge Berger’s statements, Attorney Raymond C. Bliss, President of the Hartford County Bar Association, read a proclamation from Governor M. Jodi Rell, declaring May 1st Law Day in Connecticut.
Atty. Frederic S. UryAttorney Lori Rittman Clark, a labor and employment lawyer with Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP, introduced Law Day speaker Frederick Ury of Ury & Moskow LLC. Past President of the Connecticut Bar Association (2004-05), Attorney Ury has become an expert on the future of the legal profession in this technological age. In 2007, Connecticut Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers appointed him to the Steering Committee of the Judicial Branch’s Public Service and Trust Commission.
In a speech that opened with the familiar figure of Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Attorney Ury wove a story of law, past, present and future, and emphasized that, despite the rapidly evolving transference into the world of technology, “…the legal profession will always be as relevant and as important as it has been for centuries.”
He went on to say, “Other professions and businesses as important and interesting as they may be do not safeguard the rights of all our citizens. We are the protectors of the unpopular cause, the downtrodden, and the accused and persecuted. We represent the last hopes of someone sentenced to death….We fight for and represent the poor and the disabled. We are there to cry foul and then represent those who foul…No Internet provider does that.”
In conclusion Attorney Ury said: “There will never be a virtual law firm or website that will replace the lawyer who has given his or her best effort during a trial.”
Here Attorney Ury recalled the last words spoken to Jean Louise when her father, who had fought a noble but losing battle in To Kill a Mockingbird, walked down the aisle to exit the courtroom.
Ury concluded, “It is only by the force and strength of his or her presentation and demeanor and the respect that he or she has earned in the community that similar words will be said: Miss Jean Louise stand, your father the lawyer is passin’.”
Attorney Ury’s complete remarks (PDF) 
Atty. Morton N. Katz and Atty. Janice ChiarettoAnd, perhaps a Connecticut Atticus Finch was present this day in Hartford. Attorney Morton N. Katz, recipient of the Hartford Bar’s 2010 Pro Bono Award, was cited for his unselfish service to pro bono clients during his more than 60 years in law and for his ongoing invaluable work with the Statewide Legal Services.
“Despite the boost that technology gives to Legal Services, the facilitation and administration of justice cannot be achieved without attorneys like Morton Katz,” said Attorney Janice Chiaretto, Executive Director of Statewide Legal Services. “He has been instrumental in delivering justice for our clients, instrumental in developing family legal clinics and mentoring attorneys—he is so many things. A solo practitioner without the full weight and resources of a big firm, he has used his own skills, his own heart and his own bravery to achieve all that he has achieved for his clients.”
A veteran of the 82nd Airborne and a decorated soldier at the Battle of the Bulge, he retired as a full Colonel after 32 years in the military reserve.
Katz, resplendent in his customary bow tie, was just days short of his 91st birthday when he accepted the award by saying simply, “When someone helps you in life, then it is your turn to help someone else.”
(L to R) Jonnell Atkins and Atty. Zovas, Judge Berger and AtkinsJonnell Kedine Atkins, a senior at Hartford Public High School and the Law and Government Academy, received the Law Day Scholarship Award. Atkins was cited for her intelligence (Top 10 in her class), her strong written and verbal advocacy skills and her work with various social service groups. Atkins will attend Eastern Connecticut State University in the fall and hopes to become a lawyer.
The Connecticut River Council of the Boy Scouts of America, its Learning for Life and Exploring Division, was presented the HCBA’s 2010 Liberty Bell Award. The Scouts spent time touring the court throughout the year with Judge Berger as their guide as well as with attorneys and professors of the UConn Law School.


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