Celebrating Leaders for Justice

On May 30, 2018, Greater Hartford Legal Aid Foundation (GHLAF) honored leaders in the legal profession who have dedicated their time, expertise, and financial resources to help GHLA end poverty and fight for justice in the Greater Hartford area. The honorees were: law firm leader, Robinson + Cole; and individual leader, Paul Belval, of Day Pitney.  Our keynote speaker, Senator Chris Murphy, inspired the crowd with a speech that emphasized problems of inequity in our society and recognized the crucial role that GHLA plays in increasing opportunity and justice.

United Technologies Corporation attorney and newly-elected GHLAF Board President Zachary Osborne honored Robinson + Cole for their unwavering dedication to GHLA.  Presenting Attorney Steve Goldman with the award, Osborne said, “Robinson + Cole has an unparalleled culture and history when it comes to supporting Legal Aid and pro bono work in the Greater Hartford region.” Goldman then spoke about the many years of the firm’s extensive involvement with GHLA and the GHLA Foundation and their continued commitment to access to justice for low-income members of the community.  When he was presented with the individual leader award, Paul Belval of Day Pitney, praised the expertise of GHLA’s attorneys and urged all his colleagues to donate at least the value of a billable hour every year to the GHLA Foundation.

The night was also a celebration of 25 years of fundraising success by the corporate and law firm leaders of the GHLA Foundation, which was founded in 1993 to raise funds to preserve and expand civil legal services for low-income people.  Additionally, we commemorated 60 years of life-changing impact by the lawyers at GHLA. Since 1958, GHLA’s advocacy has helped people in the community meet basic human needs for safety, shelter, food, health care, educational and employment opportunity, and basic subsistence. GHLA Executive Director Jamey Bell said, “We realize that our goals are daunting, even quixotic:  GHLA seeks to end poverty by advocating for justice. GHLA Foundation seeks to end poverty by investing in justice.” She went on, “But, I’ll let you in on a secret about myself and other legal aid lawyers: we are congenital optimists.  We believe lawyers can, for all of our clients, mitigate the harsh effects of poverty, and for some clients, we can actually end poverty.”

Our surprise honoree was Ricardo Anzaldúa, Executive Vice President & Senior Legal Advisor, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and immediate past President of the GHLA Foundation, who was honored for his dedication during his term as President. Deborah Ruel, partner at Ruel Ruel Goings & Britt and GHLAF Secretary, presented Anzaldúa with the plaque and commended his years of leading GHLAF with “brilliance, tenacity, and vision.”

The event was generously funded by numerous distinguished sponsors including: United Technologies Corporation, Shipman & Goodwin; Day Pitney and Robinson & Cole, all supporting at the gold Level of $10,000. Other top sponsors included: The Hartford; Aetna; Pullman & Comley; Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey; Ruel, Ruel, Goings & Britt; Rogin Nassau; Hinckley, Allen & Snyder; and the Connecticut Health Foundation.  More than 50 individual UTC attorneys were in attendance and collectively contributed more $50,000 to the Foundation in 2018.

Funds raised at the event are furthering the vital work of GHLA and our continued mission to achieve equal justice for poor people, work with clients to promote social justice, and address the effects and root causes of poverty. For 60 years we have increased access to the courts, advocated for fairness in the application of law, and broken down barriers and improved systems while practicing preventative law.  


Photography generously donated by Tricia Rose of Rose Photography