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Milford Bar Association has been in existence since 1976.
When it was originally formed, there were approximately 28 lawyers, not enough to fill up one page of the yellow pages advertisement. Currently there are 125 dues paying members of the Milford Bar Association, as well as over 50 exempt members consisting of the judiciary, court clerks, prosecutors, public defenders, and city attorneys.
The original convocation of the Bar was in response to the court unification process in the late sixties. The issue was whether or not a separate Judicial District would be established geographically between the county seats in Bridgeport and New Haven. The Milford Bar Association lead the way in promoting a Judicial District Courthouse in Milford in 1979, in part through a bipartisan effort through State Representative, Gerald Stevens, and New Haven High Sheriff, Henry Healy. Many members who voted to create the Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford were to become judges of the Superior Court – Hon. Martin McKeever, Hon. John Moran, Hon. John Ronan, Hon. Alvin Rottman, and Hon. Robert Malone.
The tradition of Milford attorneys appointed to the bench also includes Hon. Barbara Coppetto and Hon. Michael Hartmere.
The Milford Bar Association hosts a Law Day celebration each year. Law Day is a national day set aside each year to celebrate the rule of law, and underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. As a part of its celebration the Milford Bar Association honors a non-lawyer each year with the Liberty Bell award in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution to the rule of law.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the year is the holiday party in which the members of the Milford Bar Association get together at a local restaurant to celebrate the achievements of the year and look forward to the coming year.
Milford is fortunate to have its own Geographical Area Court and Judicial District. We also have a Probate Court which is presided over by Milford Bar Association member, the Hon. Benjamin Gettinger.
The Milford Bar Association has been active in honoring local judges who have achieved the status of State Trial Referees. Recently, the Milford Bar Association commissioned and presented portraits to Judge Barbara Coppetto, Judge John Ronan, Judge John Moran, Judge Robert Malone, and Judge Hugh C. Curran, as well as former Judge of Probate the late Hon. Bernard F. Joy, and retiring City Clerk Alan Jepson.
In addition, the Bar Association has been active in sponsoring the “Lunch with a Judge” program, in which local attorneys can mingle with members of the judiciary in a more informal setting.
Our Bar has a permanent seat of the Board of Directors of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, Inc. and has been often recognized for its outstanding Pro Bono participation on behalf of the citizens of Connecticut. President Robert Kapusta, on behalf of the Bar was feted for lifetime achievement to Legal Aid. Theresa DeGray is current the Director from Milford.
The Bar also has a permanent Director appointment to the Economic Development Commission of Milford. Attorney Michael Lynch serves in that capacity.
A newer focus of the organization is to provide seminars to the members in order to complete the CT Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits.