From left, former Yale Law Dean Robert C. Post ’77, Christina Baker, Robert C. Baker, Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken and Yale University president Peter Salovey cut the ribbon for Baker Hall.

Yale Law School Campus First Expansion Since ’31

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication was held Thursday for Yale Law School‘s Robert C. and Christina Baker Hall, a new residential, academic and social space representing the New Haven campus’s first geographic expansion since 1931.

The 137,000-square-foot building, located a block from the school’s landmark Sterling Law Building includes a lecture theater, student center and residential apartments—the first in many years.

The expansion was fueled by a $25 million gift from alumnus Robert Baker and his wife, Christina, which led to a $60 million campaign to transform the former Yale University swing space.

Baker Hall consists of four floors, a basement and a courtyard. The first floor received the most extensive renovation with added classroom and conference spaces. The building contains residential space for 111 students.

“This is an historic and momentous day for Yale,” said Peter Salovey, president of Yale University. “Baker Hall’s expansion of our law school will transform our community—it will be a focal point for student life and a vibrant site for small seminars, student activities and collaborative centers and clinics.”

Speaking at the event, Robert Baker, founder and chairman and CEO of National Realty & Development Corp., recalled first seeing what was once called the “swing space” and hearing about the proposal for what Baker Hall could be with the right funding and vision. “I considered this a unique opportunity to truly give back,” he said. “The Baker family owes a great deal to Yale Law School. I cannot tell you how proud Christina and I are, and how proud the rest of our family is, that there is now a Baker Hall at Yale.”

Michael R. Orce of Robinson & Cole.

Michael R. Orce Joins Robinson & Cole as COO

Hartford’s Robinson & Cole announced former Murtha Cullina executive director Michael R. Orce has been hired as chief operating officer, responsible for overall finances and operations. Orce brings nearly 30 years of senior management experience at firms like Murtha Cullina that are culturally similar to Robinson & Cole, the firm said in its announcement. “I’m very excited to have Michael join us in this critically important strategic position,” said managing partner Stephen E. Goldman, who added that the addition “will greatly enhance our ability to serve our clients and grow our firm.”

Prior to leading the administration at Murtha Cullina, Orce served in various positions, including global director of operations, at Edwards Wildman Palmer (since merged with Locke Lord).

“I am both privileged and excited to further my career at Robinson & Cole given its rich history, position in the marketplace and sophisticated practices,” said Orce. “It provides an opportunity for me to promote the highest level of service to our clients while staying competitive in the ever-changing legal market.”

Thomas Girardi of Girardi Keese.

‘Erin Brockovich’ Attorney to Speak at Tort Law Museum

Star attorney Thomas Girardi, known for his celebrity connections and work on the famous Pacific Gas & Electric Co. case that became the basis for the movie “Erin Brockovich,” will speak Sept. 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the American Museum of Tort Law, 654 Main St., Winsted.

Girardi successfully represented 650 residents of Hinkley, California, who blamed increased incidents of cancer and other diseases on contaminated water leaked from a gas pumping station. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. ultimately paid the Hinkley residents $460 million. Girardi has also been named a Trial Lawyer of the Year from Lawyers for Public Justice and was inducted into the Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame by the California State Bar.

Suggested donation to attend the talk is $20. Call 860-379-0505 for information.

Hinckley Allen Partner Receives O’Hagan Award

Hinckley, Allen & Snyder partner Noble F. Allen has been recognized as a recipient of the 2018 USLAW Network’s O’Hagan Award. The award is given annually to recognize outstanding service and commitment to the network’s guiding principles, mission and objectives.

Allen’s commitment to diversity and advocacy within the organization was recognized by John D. Cromie, immediate past chair. “Noble raised the issue of diversity and inclusion to the board, and he brought it to the forefront of our strategic discussions.”

David J. Rubin, managing partner at Hinckley Allen, said Allen “has made valuable contributions and is continually focused on creating a diverse, welcoming workplace across the firm.”

Allen also spearheaded an internship program with the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, a group dedicated to advancing diversity in the legal profession.