Karen DeMeola ‘96, assistant dean for enrollment and students at UConn School of Law, took on an additional set of responsibilities on July 1, 2017, when she became president of the Connecticut Bar Association.
She leads a team replete with UConn Law alumni. Jonathan M. Shapiro ‘01, a partner at Shapiro Law Offices LLC in Middletown and Stamford, became president-elect; Ndidi N. Moses ‘05, an assistant U.S. attorney and the civil rights coordinator for the civil division at the U.S. attorney's office in New Haven, vice president; Vincent P. Pace ‘98, associate general counsel at Eversource Energy, treasurer; and Dana M. Hrelic ‘08, a partner at Horton Dowd Bartschi & Levesque PC in Hartford, assistant secretary-treasurer. Alaine C. Doolan, an attorney at Robinson+Cole in Hartford, became treasurer, and Monte E. Frank, of Cohen & Wolf PC., is the immediate past president.
For the next year, DeMeola will continue the commitment of CBA leaders to work toward and continue to play a role in advocating for access to justice, the rule of law and diversity and inclusion in the profession. She also plans to focus on the future of the profession.
DeMeola has been active with the bar association for more than a decade as a member of the Diversity Committee and the Membership Committee. She has also been active in Connecticut’s affinity and LGBT bar associations. In May, as the association’s president-elect, she welcomed 300 students to the law school campus for a new CBA pipeline program, Pathways to Legal Careers. Pathways is a pipeline and mentorship program aimed at recruiting prospective students from diverse and marginalized communities into the legal profession.
“Focusing on access to the profession is an essential next step for our diversity efforts,” DeMeola said. “We cannot just hope for diversity without taking steps to seed our system, and grow future generations of potential lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals who truly represent the diversity of our state’s population.”
The pipeline program is among the bar association’s initiatives to increase diversity in the legal profession, which DeMeola has identified as a key issue, along with continued involvement in ensuring access to justice. In a recent CT Viewpoints op-ed, she emphasized the need to ensure that marginalized communities, including those who cannot afford attorneys, are able to access the justice system.
Dean Timothy Fisher praised DeMeola’s contributions through the law school and the bar association.
“Karen is a tremendous asset, not just to the UConn Law School but to the entire state. Her spirit of public service, like her work ethic, is astonishing,” he said. “We are fortunate to have Karen as one of our leaders.”