The Connecticut Law Tribune today announces the finalists for Attorney of the Year for the publication’s 2017 Professional Excellence Awards. The three finalists—Dana Hrelic, a partner at Horton, Dowd, Bartschi & Levesque; Josh Koskoff of Koskoff Koskoff & Bieber; and former U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas were chosen with the help of an outside panel, and the ultimate winner will be announced at the Law Tribune’s Connecticut Legal Awards Dinner Oct. 3 at the Bond Room in Hartford.
Dana M. Hrelic
Attorney Dana Hrelic was nominated by her fellow partner Wesley W. Horton of Horton, Dowd, Bartschi & Levesque, himself a 2001 recipient of CLT’s Service to the Bar award. Horton noted that at 34, Hrelic “is no longer a rising star. Her star has risen,” saying that since being hired in 2009 and becoming a partner in 2014, she has argued six appeals to the state Supreme Court and 10 to the Appellate Court. Horton called this “an impressive achievement for any lawyer, and a particularly impressive one for a person in practice for only eight years.”
Several of Hrelic’s cases have involved the revocation of parental rights, and were considered precedent-setting and of importance throughout the world of family law.
This summer, Hrelic was elected chairwoman of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division, where she has previously served as secretary and, before that, as district representative for Connecticut and Rhode Island. She also clerked for Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Christine Vertefeuille from 2008-09. “Our firm is very proud of her nationally recognized achievement,” Horton said.
A third-generation lawyer at his family’s firm, Joshua D. Koskoff of Westport has previously won recognition as a CLT “New Leader of the Law” in 2004, and received several nominations for Attorney of the Year from Connecticut lawyers. In the years since, Koskoff has secured a number of high-profile and record-setting verdicts, including multimillion-dollar awards to families of suicide victims who lacked proper treatment for anxiety and depression, a $6.5 million verdict for failure to treat dehydration in a 44-year-old man who died in Danbury and a $12 million verdict for an unsuccessful surgery in Danbury that disabled a woman.
Koskoff is most often making headlines these days as the lead attorney in a civil action being brought against gun manufacturers, distributors and sellers by families of Sandy Hook School shooting victims who were among 26 teachers and students who lost their lives in the December 2012 massacre at the elementary school in Newtown. Still in its early stages, the case has seen small victories on both sides, including the denial of a motion to dismiss in the spring of 2016. The case continues to draw the attention of the public, Second Amendment advocates and attorneys across the nation.
Koskoff specializes in medical malpractice and personal injury and lectures on trial practice matters.
Former U.S. Attorney and Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas has been nominated for his long history of accomplishments as a public servant and high-profile contributions to the field of law. A state representative from Westport in the 1970s, he served in leadership roles as deputy House majority and minority leader. In the early 1980s, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, presiding over civil cases and major criminal trials, and serving as president of the Federal Judges Association.
Nevas continues his work in law as senior counsel at Verrill Dana in Westport, where he specializes in commercial arbitration and mediation. He chairs the Distribution Committee for the United Fund of Western Connecticut for victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown and headed a panel to investigate the Kleen Energy natural gas explosion in Middletown that killed six people and injured close to 60 in 2010.
Nominating colleagues said Nevas’ legacy has already left “a truly lasting imprint on not only the legal community in Connecticut, but also the state as a whole, playing a leading role in overcoming some of the state’s most touching issues.”