June 11, 2021. The Litchfield School of Law at the Tapping Reeve House, 82 South Street, Litchfield, Conneccticut. The National Italian American Bar Association (NIABA) was formed nearly forty (40) years ago with its genesis in a conversation among lawyers in Greenwich Village, New York. The founders included lawyers of Italian heritage from across the United States of America. Today, its Board of Directors includes lawyers from the United States, Canada and Italy.
On June 11, 2021 NIABA will hold its first in person directors’ meeting since the pandemic restricted movement and live events. The State of Connecticut has progressed well in reduction of cases. The Governor of the State, Ned Lamont, on May 25, stated: “I have spent the last year-plus saying, ‘Stay safe, stay home,’ and today I’m telling you, ‘Get out of the damn house, come enjoy Hartford, get on a plane, visit a restaurant, go to an amazing hotel. This is a time where Connecticut is open, ready for business, and we want you coming back,” (Waterbury Republican American Newspaper)
Francis M. Donnarumma, president of NIABA, set the meeting in Litchfield, Connecticut due to its pastoral setting and the willingness of the Litchfield Historical Society to share a gem within Litchfield County.
The very first law school in the United States is now a perfectly curated museum maintained by the Litchfield Historical Society. See https://www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org/museums/tapping-reeve-house-and-law-school/. The executive director of the Society, Cathy Fields, has wonderfully presented the property with great content. The Litchfield Law School at the Tapping Reeve House is a moving reminder of the origins of law in the states.
The juxtaposition of an affinity, Italian heritage, bar association, based on a collective immigrant experience, meeting at the first law school in the nation’s history, paints a poignant image. Members of NIABA and lawyer members of a large collection of regional Italian heritage affinity bar associations preserve Italian customs, philosophy, and writing. The associations provide mentoring programs, social events and legal referrals and business exchanges with lawyers in Italy. Never do these members forget the challenges met and overcome by their ancestors who landed upon the shores of America to forge a new life.
The original United States law school graduated about 900 students in its history. Of them, only one, William Francis Taliaferro, Class of 1811, had identifiable Italian roots. He attended the law school after graduating from Princeton.
On June 11 at 11:45 AM, the officers and directors of NIABA and of the Connecticut Italian American Bar Association will be sworn into their new terms. See ciaba.org. The new president of the Connecticut association, Danielle Rado, is a prominent lawyer. She will be honored at a private dinner on Saturday evening of the weekend.
Upon the grounds of the law school, under a tent, a ceremony will proceed. The officers and directors will be sworn by Honorable William J. Nardini, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Prior to his elevation to the Court, he was head of the criminal section of the United States Attorney’s Office in Connecticut. He had a fascinating assignment to Rome, Italy, previously, in which he led the drug enforcement activities for the United States in concert with Italian authorities.
Judge Nardini earned his B.A., summa cum laude, from Georgetown University in 1990 and his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, where he served as executive editor of the Yale Law Journal, in 1994. He also attended the University of Rome in Italy on a Rotary Fellowship (1990-1991). In 1998, the Judge earned an LL.M. in European, comparative, and international law from the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy, which he attended as part of a Fulbright scholarship. He served as a clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Çonnor.
The President of the Connecticut Bar Association, Amy Lin Meyerson, will attend in person. She will make remarks.
The event will be broadcast live through a Zoom process and will include, particularly, the NIABA board members still unable to travel from Italy.
Virtual guest attendees will include presidents of Italian heritage bar association from Los Angeles, Orange County (CA), Chicago, Ohio, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, Basil Russo, will join, virtually, as will the President of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), Robert Allegrini. The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America will be represented by it First Vice-President, Robert A. Bianchi, Esq.
The ceremony will present a first in the efforts of NIABA to support and be supported by colleagues in the law. The presidents of three (3) associations of lawyers in Italy will join virtually and make remarks:
Avv. Antonino Galletti, Presidente, Ordine degli Avvocati di Roma
Avv. Vinicio Nardo, Presidente, Ordine degli Avvocati di Milano
Avv. Antonio Tafuri, Presidente, Consiglio Dell’Ordine degli Avvocati di Napoli
NIABA president Donnarumma commented that participation by the presidents of associations in Rome, Milan and Naples is a treasured reminder that neither geographic distance nor infrequent contact can diminish an unbreakable bond among lawyers of this Italian heritage. He stated that “there is an inherent connection which, when nourished, assures trust, confidence and a thrill of interaction.”
Those attending in person will enjoy a weekend of board meetings, dinners and the beautiful Connecticut outdoors.
SOURCE: National Italian American Bar Association
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