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The Connecticut Bar Foundation (Foundation), established in 1952, is a non-profit organization that administers the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts and the Interest on Trust Accounts programs for the benefit of legal services agencies and for law school scholarships based on financial need. It also administers the Judicial Branch Grants-in-Aid and the Court Fees Grants-in-Aid programs to benefit legal services organizations.


The James W. Cooper Fellows Program was created by the Foundation in 1994. The purpose of the Program is twofold: to promote a better understanding of the legal profession and the judicial system among the citizens of Connecticut, and to address matters concerning the legal profession and administration of justice in Connecticut, including the structure, organization, and challenges. Within this flexible framework, the programs of the Fellows will explore topics of timely importance. The long term objective of the Fellows Program is to pursue and develop the highest ideals of the legal profession. Each Fellow shall be privileged to participate in the activities of the Fellows and may recommend new programs or research projects to the Foundation.

Among programs that the Fellows produce are symposia, colloquia, and roundtables on issues facing the legal profession and the courts in Connecticut and educational activities such as essay contests. The Fellows also sponsor a variety of projects for the benefit of judges, lawyers, and the public.


Selection as a Fellow requires demonstrated superior legal ability and devotion to the welfare of the community, state and nation, as well as to the advancement of the legal profession.

Election to the Fellows is evidence of professional distinction and constitutes a professional honor. Fellows take pride in knowing that their contributions have provided vital professional and financial support for the programs of the Foundation and have helped set standards for all members of the State Bar. New Fellows are nominated by the Fellows and approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors each year.


There are four classes of Fellows: (1) Fellow, (2) Life Fellow, (3) Sustaining Life Fellow, and (4) Catherine Roraback Circle Fellow. To be approved by the Board of Directors, a Fellow must be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Connecticut; a teacher of law regularly employed as such in the State of Connecticut who has been admitted to the Bar of any other state; a federal judge residing in Connecticut who has been admitted to the bar of any other state; or a person registered as an authorized house counsel as defined in Section 2-15A of the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct.

Each elected Fellow pledges to contribute at least $2,500, payable in no more than ten annual contributions of $250 to the Foundation.

Fellows are designated Life Fellows when the sum of their annual contributions reaches $2,500. Once achieved, Life Fellow membership continues for the life of the Fellows Program.

Sustaining Life Fellows are generous individuals have made the Connecticut Bar Foundation a central part of their annual giving beyond their initial ten-year giving pledge. The contributions of Sustaining Life Fellows help the Foundation continually find ways to advance the role of the law in society and to build public awareness around the need to increase equitable access to justice. A Life Fellow may attain Sustaining Life status in any year in which he/she makes a contribution of $250 or more.

The Roraback Circle is composed of Life Fellows who are prominent Connecticut attorneys and judges committed to the preservation and expansion of the Rule of Law who have made enhanced funding contributions to support the Fellows Program. The Circle is named in honor and memory of the late Catherine “Katie” Roraback. Katie’s entire career exemplified what it truly means for an attorney to uphold the Rule of Law and the administration of justice. New Roraback Circle Fellows will be solicited in each subsequent year by current members of the Circle.


Being a Fellow is a sign of distinction. Fellows are recognized annually at a reception in their honor, and the Foundation publicizes the selection of the Fellows.