The Connecticut Bar Association has selected Doug Brown, an attorney and law firm business coach from Cheshire, to act as its interim executive director.
The announcement was made this morning, Thursday, October 3. Brown was tapped to fill the vacancy created by the departure of former CBA Executive Director Alice Bruno.
Bruno, who took the position in March 2012, stepped down on Tuesday, October 1.
In a press release, Kimberly A. Knox, president of the CBA, said Bruno left to pursue other career options. “Alice has advised me that she has been approached with a number of options that are exciting to her, and she thought it was fair to provide the CBA with substantial notice to facilitate a smooth transition for us,” Knox said.
Bruno’s departure marks the second consecutive time that an executive director for the CBA has held the position for less than two years. Bruno was hired after D. Larkin Chinault resigned in 2011. Chinault, who had previously headed bar groups in Ohio and Kentucky, was hired in 2009 to replace Edward “Tim” Hazen, who held the position for 17 years before announcing his retirement.
“I have appreciated this opportunity to serve the Connecticut Bar,” Bruno said in a prepared statement. “I will always look back fondly on many of my experiences as Executive Director.”
Bruno, Knox and other governing members of the association did not immediately respond to requests for interviews, or answer specific questions about Bruno’s departure. In the press release, Knox had nothing but positive things to say about Bruno.
“She has been an excellent representative of the CBA, and she enjoys the respect of other leaders of the Bar both in Connecticut and nationally,” Knox said in the statement. “She came to the CBA at a difficult time for the organization and she leaves us in improved financial condition. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”
Bruno, who earned both her law degree and master’s in social work from the University of Connecticut, took over as the association’s executive director after working as deputy chief clerk for the New Haven Judicial District. She was chosen from a competitive field of four finalists, including two from Connecticut. When Bruno was hired, she was celebrated as the first female leader in the organization’s then-137-year history,
Keith Braddock Gallant, who was CBA president at the time, said Bruno had “incredible advantages,” having been active in both state and local bar associations. She had also served as the state delegate to the American Bar Association.
Bruno’s time as the executive director was marked by challenges. Just before Bruno was hired, the CBA had been facing declining membersip for a number of years. Last summer, the association trimmed its paid office staff by more than 25 percent. Those cuts were made by the Board of Governors, which oversees all of the association’s financial operations.
Knox said the CBA immediately moved to appoint Brown as its new executive director on an interim basis. “We expect to achieve a seamless transition,” she said. “Our members will experience no disruption in the services provided to them by their Bar Association.”
Bruno will continue to serve as the state delegate to the ABA, as chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services and as a member of the ABA Legal Access to Justice Jobs Corps Task Force.