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The Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Copper Fellows contribute to the improvement of the legal profession in Connecticut through  symposia that bring together individuals across disciplines and experiences to collaborate on issues of significance to the practice of law in our state. Please read below to find out more information about these ongoing series and one-time events. If you have an idea for a symposium you believe would contribute to the improvement of the practice of law in our state, please contact the Foundation at to let us know. 

Ongoing Symposia

  • In May 1997, the Connecticut Bar Foundation launched the John A. Speziale Alternative Dispute Resolution Symposium to honor former Chief Justice John A. Speziale, the first chair of the Foundation’s James W. Cooper Fellows Program. After his death in January 2005, a memorial fund was established by the Foundation to support the program. Follow the link above to learn more information about past and upcoming events in this series.

  • The Connecticut Bar Foundation has established a symposium series in memory of U.S. District Court Judge Mark R. Kravitz. Judge Kravitz was an extraordinary lawyer and judge and his passing in 2012 was a great loss to the judiciary and bar. The Foundation has established a board designated endowment to fund ongoing symposia to celebrate his legacy. The Kravitz Family and Judge Kravitz, prior to his death, gave this symposium series their support. Follow the link above to learn more information about past and upcoming events in this series.

Past Symposia

  • 2018 Trauma-Informed Justice Symposium

    This Symposium helped enhance understanding of trauma and its impact on legal advocacy and adjudication. Trauma-related legal practice issues include forming an attorney-client relationship; an element of legal claims; trial & negotiation processes; clients’ ability to implement legal advice, agreements, & orders; secondary traumatic stress (STS) for attorneys; and STS for other professionals involved with the case or client. The program brought diverse perspectives to this issue including those of practitioners, judges, and mental health and other service providers from Connecticut and other states that embrace a survivor-defined approach to justice for survivors of trauma. Follow the link above to learn more information about this event.

  • This symposium explored the experience of states that have adopted (in at least some form) unsupervised probate for the settlement of decedents’ estates and examine the advantages and disadvantages of giving beneficiaries the ability to opt out of court-supervised estate settlement. The program brought diverse perspectives to this issue including those of academics, judges and practitioners from both Connecticut and states that have adopted unsupervised probate. Follow the link above to learn more information about this event.

  • 2017 Diversity Symposium

    The Foundation, in collaboration with the Connecticut Bar Association, hosted the Diversity Symposium to continue the meaningful dialogue that was started at the Connecticut Bar Association’s Inaugural Diversity Summit in 2016. The symposium was a half-day program that included presentations and panel discussions on such topics as implicit bias, diversity metrics and overcoming impediments to achieving meaningful diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Among the presenters were Justice Richard A. Robinson of the Connecticut Supreme Court, and then Judge Maria A. Kahn of the Connecticut Superior Court, who spoke on the issue of implicit bias, Dr. Anne Farrell, Director of Research, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, who led a discussion on how to manage and shape open and meaningful discussions on diversity and inclusion, and Gabrielle Lyse Brown, Director, Diversity & Inclusion at New York City Bar Association, who discussed and shared her experiences in leading the New York City Bar Association’s efforts to enhance diversity in the legal profession.

  • 2016 LGBTQ Youth Issues and the Law Symposium

    In 2016, the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows and the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal presented the “LGBTQ Youth Issues and the Law” symposium at the University of Connecticut School of Law. The event began with a high-energy keynote address from internationally recognized LGBTQ advocates Kim Milan and Tiq Milan. Panels featured distinguished speakers who discussed a variety of current legal issues affecting LGBTQ youth. Panelists explored the complexities and challenges LGBTQ youth often face, including homelessness, foster care, juvenile justice, education, and being members of the LGBTQ community, from the perspectives of practicing attorneys, community advocates, educators, government officials, service providers and high school students. Follow the link above to lern more about this event.

  • On November 13, 2015 a symposium, The Mentoring of New Lawyers: Challenges, Rewards, and Best Practices was held at the Connecticut State Legislative Office Building. Panelists included experts from mentoring programs from across the country, law school professors, experienced attorneys and graduates from in-state mentoring programs. Follow the link above to learn more about this event.

  • 2014 Justice For All: The History and Future of Legal Aid in Connecticut

    Connecticut played a unique role in the creation of the modern legal aid program. Sponsored in partnership with the Connecticut legal aid providers, this event explored the establishment of the neighborhood law office model, how legal aid has adapted to address the growing justice gap and evolving needs of the client community, and what the future holds for legal aid.

  • 2012 Our History, Our Future: Celebrating Attorneys of Color in Connecticut

    On April 13, 2012, the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W Cooper Fellows presented a remarkable symposium entitled “Our History, Our Future: Celebrating Attorneys of Color in Connecticut.” The symposium was co-sponsored by the four associations for attorneys of color (George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association, Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut). It was designed to highlight and preserve the rich history of attorneys of color in Connecticut. A key component of the symposium was the development of a comprehensive historical timeline which was on full display along the wall at the entrance to the moot courtroom at Quinnipiac University Law School where the symposium was held.