Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Justice Carroll's Swearing-In Ceremony!

It was standing room only at the Vermont Supreme Court this morning as Justice Karen Carroll was sworn in to the Supreme Court.  Justice Eaton kicked off the ceremony with a bit of history about the Vermont Supreme Court, introducing himself as the newest, but not for much longer, appointment to the Court.  He then praised Justice Carroll for being easy to work with, funny and competent.  He noted that she well understood that no one goes to a baseball game to watch the umpire, as court is all about the litigants. 

Chief Justice Reiber next spoke, thanking the JNB and being particularly excited that Justice Carroll is a dedicated Red Sox fan. Justice Reiber said that it goes without saying that Justice Carroll embodies the 3 “P” qualities of being a good judge: being punctual, precise and prepared.  But as an appellate judge, she also embodies the most important appellate judge qualities, described by US Supreme Court Justice Stevens, as being ever-curious, always learning on the job and searching for the right answer.  He noted that Justice Carroll has it all: relatability, common sense, good judgment and unwavering service to the rule of law.

Governor Scott made his remarks next, noting that he was prepared to speak of 4 “C’s”, not 3 “P’s,” of a good hire, which are: character, competence, commitment and chemistry.  He noted that it takes more than being qualified to make things run smoothly, and that Justice Carroll embodies the 4 “C’s” and will fit in well with the bench.  While she was chosen based upon merit, as an imminently qualified candidate, he did remark how significant it was that the Court is now, for the first time in history, comprised in majority of female justices.  He ended by congratulating her and stating that she undoubtedly has earned the appointment.

Justice Carroll, demonstrating her sense of humor, spoke using her soon to be utilized justice terminology: “regarding all of the flattering things that everyone has said, I concur.”  She promised to take the oath and service very seriously and thanked her family, notably her husband and brother, and most particularly all the court staff, clerks, managers, officers and security that helped her perform her job over the years.  She thanked everyone for coming and invited those who could attend to the reception to follow.  A standing ovation erupted, led by Justice Robinson who enthusiastically sprang up causing the entire room to quickly rise to their feet.

Congratulations Justice Carroll on your appointment! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Statewide High School Mock Trial Program

The Vermont Bar Association was pleased to collaborate with the Unites States District Court for the District of Vermont, the Snelling Center for Government, and Vermont Law School to organize the First Annual Statewide High School Mock Trial Program this year. United States District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford contacted high schools throughout the state last Fall to gauge interest in the program, and three high schools (Brattleboro Union High School, Rutland High School and Southwestern Vermont Technical Development Center in Bennington) responded by fielding teams of students who spent the Spring preparing for the state-wide competition held last Saturday at the Vermont Law School.  

VBA Member Lawyer volunteers worked with the students and teacher coaches at each of the high schools. James Valente from Costello, Valente & Gentry, PC in Brattleboro advised the Brattleboro Union High School Team, Thomas Bixby from the Law Offices of Thomas C. Bixby, LLC in Rutland advised the Rutland High School Team and Orland Campbell, retired after many years in private practice in Manchester, advised the Southwestern Vermont Technical Development Center Team in Bennington. 

Judges Crawford, Christina Reiss, Cortland Corsones and Mary Miles Teachout judged the competition, consisting of three rounds of a mock murder trial, pitting prosecution teams against defense teams from all three schools in the moot courtroom at Vermont Law School. VLS third-year student Jessica Bullock organized a team of law student volunteers who administered the event. Rutland High School was judged the best overall and best prosecution team, Brattleboro High School was judged the best defense team, and the best prosecution witness was from Southwestern Vermont Tech. All involved were very complimentary of the skill and professionalism that the teams exhibited, and grateful for the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of criminal law and courtroom procedures. 

Other objectives of the competition included furthering students’ understanding of the law and legal system, improving proficiency in speaking and reasoning skills, and increasing students’ appreciation for law-related careers. Judge Crawford is already looking forward to next year’s competition, ideally involving more schools. Watch for more details from the VBA in the Fall, when we gear up for Vermont’s Second Annual Statewide High School Mock Trial Program!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Out Like a Lion!

The near foot of heavy snow that fell on the last day of March did not deter us from our Mid-Year Meeting joy.  In fact, the word is that attendees had a roaring good time!

One member noted: “This was one of the most enjoyable and delightful VBA meetings I've attended [and I've been to 87 of the last 88 annual/mid-winter meetings]…The venue, rooms, hospitality, staff were all outstanding.”  Another remarked: “I have to say, I think that was the best VBA meeting that I’ve ever attended.  Not that they are not all wonderful, but this one was truly spectacular.”

Here’s hoping March 31st was the true ‘out like a lion’ from our early March lamb weather and that Spring is finally here!  For those of you kicking yourselves over missing this outstanding meeting, save the date for the May 18-19 Small Firm and Solo Conference at Basin Harbor and think golf weather!

Please enjoy some scenes from our Mid-Year Meeting, below.

The Event kicked off with an Ethics presentation by Mike Kennedy and Christopher Ekman.
The VBA and Tri-County Bar sponsored Reception was well-received.  Karl Anderson provided some great entertainment!

Socializing went well into the evening

In the am, the snow was just beginning...

It starts with the registration whirlwind.

 First up, Bankruptcy Basics with Judge Brown, Ray Obuchowski and Heather Cooper

Evidence Disputes...a packed house for the panel of judges (Durkin, Teachout and Zonay) moderated by John Evers
Financial Wellness with Christine Moriarty
 Social Media with Joshua Jarvis, Tom Valente and Mike Kennedy

The morning continued with four more simultaneous programs....
Life Safety Codes with Benjamin Deppmann and Fire Marshall Bruce Martin
Representing Non-Profits with Anthony Iarrapino, Jim Porter and Melanie Kehne:
The ADR Section on Apology with Emily Gould, Jim Spink and Erika Smart
Succession Planning:
with Julius Ciembroniewicz

and finally, LUNCH!!

Awards were given to Justice Dooley, John Campbell and the pro bono award was given to Pauline Law, Lila Shapero and Salvatore Spinosa.  The VBF also gave awards to Justice Dooley as well as legacy awards to DRM and VATC.

Justice Dooley with the VBF award
Justice Dooley
John Campbell accepting the award

The contested election for the Board of Managers seat was once again TIED!
What are the odds?  David Carpenter and Andrew Manitsky will have to face off again in October.
David Carpenter addressing the membership
David Carpenter
Andrew Manitsky
Andrew Manitsky addressing the membership
Back to class...
It's snowing in earnest now...

Probate Litigation with Kevin Henry:

Real Estate Title 101
With Jim Knapp, Hal Miller and Benjamin Deppmann
Human Trafficking with Bob Hemley, Abigail Averbach and John Treadwell:
Divorce Taxation with Lori Lustberg

and on to our last (but not least) programs...
Representing Veterans
With Katelyn Atwood
and Implicit Bias in the Judicial System, with Judge Waples, John Treadwell, Jessica Brown, Karen Richards and Jay Diaz

a packed house for the Future of Debt Collection with Ilerdon Mayer, Grace Pazdan, Judge Toor, Daniel Richardson and Harry Parker


a workshop on collaborative divorce with Nanci Smith and Corey Fitzpatrick Wood

Special thanks to all of our Sponsors and Exhibitors who made the meeting possible!  
CGI, Edmund Wheeler, Evidox, Pinnacle Financial, TCI, Thomson Reuters, VATC, VCLF and VT Communication Support Project.

thanks for visiting

Also, Congratulations to Kim Sturtevant at the Burlington City Attorney's Office for scoring BIG and winning the women's history VBA Exhibitor Scavenger Hunt!

Finally, a special guest:
The Equinox is pet friendly, so we were able to go out like a lion into the snow! (well his paws are lion-sized anyway!)

See you at Basin Harbor May 18-19 and the Hilton, Burlington on October 12-13!!

Check our CLE calendar often for more offerings including Real Estate Law Day, Medicare, Woodland Owners, Procrastinators' Day and more!