2020 President's Message
Monday, January 13, 2020
How time flies… it seems like just last month we held our Annual Dinner and I was inaugurated as the 139th President of the Greater Bridgeport Bar Association. Surprisingly, six months have rapidly elapsed and I now enter the second half of my term along with the officers of the Board, namely: Frank Bailey, President-Elect, Steve Levy, Vice-President, Etan Hirsch, Secretary and Charleen Agosto-Merced, Treasurer.
We have welcomed in Judge Joan Alexander as the new Administrative Judge at the Bridgeport Superior Court. I had the pleasure to sit down with Judge Alexander along with Chief Clerk Rob Wilock and Deputy Chief Clerk Katie Nielsen and former Board President Sheryl Shaughnessey to discuss the Bench and GBBA relationship. To say that I was impressed by Judge Alexander’s recognition of the importance of a substantial relationship between the Bench and Bar would be an understatement. I can report to the membership that we can all look forward to a healthy and productive relationship in furtherance of the integrity of our profession. Specifically, we reviewed with Judge Alexander the Service of Remembrance which will be held in April and Law Day in May; we are working on holding both events in the Courthouse. Additionally, we discussed working on the placement of a GBBA Announcement and Notice Board in order to provide GBBA presence and exposure at the Courthouse.
In furtherance of the Bench/Bar relationship, the GBBA hosted the CBA Bench Bar Symposium on Professionalism at the Bridgeport Superior Court. Etan Hirsch chaired the GBBA Committee and worked tirelessly with the CBA to secure speakers, presenters and attendance. The Symposium rivaled the success when it was last held in Bridgeport under then President Thomas Maxwell. This year’s event included opening remarks from the Honorable Patrick L. Carroll and the Honorable Joan Alexander and featured Justice Joelle Katz (Ret.) as the keynote speaker.
This Holiday Season we once again demonstrated the unrecognized quality and character of our incredible membership. Aside from the variety of independent acts of kindness performed by our individual members throughout the season, our Association assisted, sponsored and/or participated in a number of events, including, the Horn of Plenty Food Drive to benefit Operation Hope and the Merton House, Toys for Tots, Holiday Gift Card Drive to benefit the Center for Family Justice, and the Salvation Army Bell Ringing at the Courthouse entrance. These selfless acts of kindness too often go unnoticed; however, they deserve recognition and appreciation. I thank each of every one of you for your continued participation in these time-honored events.
On the business side of the Association, we have finally taken the steps to commence launching the new GBBA website utilizing the new software purchased last year. Part of the challenge has been upgrading an antiquated operating system and computer hardware that had existed for many years. On behalf of the entire membership, I know we all look forward to a user friendly interactive GBBA experience. It has been much anticipated. In addition, the Officers have been reviewing the overall procedures for the operation of the Association, including a review of our banking and investment accounts and the Lawyer Referral Service with the intention to develop a standardized set of best business practices in order to assist in a more efficient and productive manner to operate the Association.
I have been an active participant with the CBA Council of Bar Presidents. The Council consists of local and affinity Bar Presidents and Executive Directors and meets in person at the CBA offices in New Britain as well as hosting conference calls to discuss topics and issues effecting the profession. One of the hot topics is the proposed revision to the MCLE requirements, which would include an administrative suspension after a short grace period for an attorney who fails to complete the required hours and/or fails to properly report completion upon annual renewal registration. It is my intention to review this matter with the Board of Directors and provide a position letter to the CBA on behalf of the GBBA.
Finally, I want to encourage all members to be engaged with the Association. Get to know your Executive Director, Antoinette Manganello … Get to know your fellow members … join a Committee Section such as Real Estate, Litigation or Family Law. Remember, this Association is what WE all make it to be. In addition, I urge all members to work towards the growth of this wonderful organization. With the inception of so many other bar associations, competition for membership has increased. It is important for all of us to recall and let others know that the local Bar Association has not only been the cornerstone of our profession but also serves as the caretaker of our incredible history as a profession in the Greater Bridgeport region.
Proudly Serving as your President.
Matthew C. Reale, Esq.