'For The Challenge'
Hugh F. Keefe, of New Haven's Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante, has been the chair of both the Judicial Selection Commission and the Judicial Review Council, bodies that help select and discipline Connecticut's jurists. Recently, some top state judges have stepped down to take more lucrative jobs in private practice as mediators a cause for some alarm in the Judicial Branch. Keefe said the new list's strong showing of prominent and accomplished private sector lawyers shows the continued appeal of the bench.
"It undercuts the argument of the Judicial Branch that they can't attract good people because of the pay," Keefe said. "Some people take these jobs for the prestige, or the security, and others take it for the challenge, and the opportunity for public service."
Keefe added: "I know for a fact that some of them have taken a pretty substantial pay cut. Money is not everything."
Krisch, a Law Tribune columnist who has worried about a possible judicial talent drain to private practice, said the list is encouraging, "but it's still no reason not to give the judges a raise."
The bar will also be losing a top appellate advocate to the bench, if Sheila A. Huddleston's nomination is approved by the legislature. A Shipman & Goodwin partner, Huddleston has been co-chair of the Appellate Section of the CBA. She said in a written statement, "I have loved the private practice of law, and I'm grateful to my partners at Shipman & Goodwin, who have allowed me to spend a substantial portion of my time over nearly 20 years in pro bono work."
Her firm's managing partner Scott Murphy said, "We're all very proud of Sheila, and know she will make a great contribution to the bench." He added that it is also a bittersweet moment, to be losing her talents as an appellate advocate and her work on pro bono matters.
One candidate, Michael A. Albis, of Hilcoff & Albis in East Haven, got a taste of the judicial role when he was the probate judge of East Haven. Albis, in an interview, said his judicial work was "some of the most fulfilling work I've done in my career," and said he looked forward to the opportunity for more public service.
Other Superior Court nominees are:
Melanie L. Cradle of Middlefield: Cradle is a senior assistant state's attorney for the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District, where she has served since 2002. Previously, she served as an associate with Lyle Hume and Associates and as an adjunct professor at Housatonic Community College.