Established in 1933, Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. offers a broad range of legal services across diverse practice areas. With offices in Milford and Westport, the law firm serves clients in the greater Bridgeport and New Haven areas and throughout Connecticut. We take pride in our strong client loyalty. Individuals, small businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies appreciate our dedication to providing personalized attention typically found at a small firm, while offering the resources representative of a large firm.
Berchem, Moses & Devlin lawyers attended the 2013 conference of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, November 15-16 in Mystic. The theme of the CABE/CAPSS conference was “Keeping Focus on Student Growth in a Time of Rapid Change.” The firm sponsored the conference’s Friday dinner speaker, poet Azure Antoinette. Pictured here, left to right, are Marsha Belman Moses, Floyd J. Dugas, Berchem, Moses & Devlin partners; and Stephen Wright, Trumbull Board of Education chairman and State Board of Education member.
Norwalk Mayor Rilling Taps Mario Coppola as Corporation Counsel
Mario F. Coppola, partner in the Westport office, has been named corporation counsel by newly elected Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling. The appointment is for a two-year term.
Mario regularly practices in the area of municipal law. He has provided legal representation and services to the towns of Westport, Trumbull, New Canaan, Madison and Easton. He has handled hundreds of matters on behalf of municipalities in the areas of land use and zoning, zoning enforcement, tax assessment appeals and tax collection, from the administrative level through the Connecticut courts.
Additionally, Mario has served as Co-Chair of the Fairfield County Bar Association Land Use and Municipal Law Sections. He has served as Secretary and Legislative Liaison for the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) Planning and Zoning Section. He has also been appointed to the Executive Committees of the CBA's Planning and Zoning Section and Municipal Law and Government Services Section.
Lisa Grasso Egan Discusses On-the-Job Alcohol and Drug Issues at CCM
Lisa Grasso Egan, Of Counsel in the Milford office, gave a presentation before a workshop sponsored by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities on "Drug & Alcohol Testing Regulations for Supervisors."
The workshop was conducted Nov. 13, 2013, at Torrington City Hall.
The program focused on U.S. Department of Transportation requirements for urine testing for drugs and breath testing for alcohol; signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse and substance abuse; responsibilities of supervisors for reasonable suspicion testing; and appropriate response when an employee tests positive for drugs or alcohol.
Also discussed were the signs of probable alcohol abuse and drug use by safety-sensitive employees and the responsibilities of supervisors and managers to make a reasonable suspicion determination. Participants were taught the physical, behavioral and performance indicators, as well as the collection process, for alcohol and controlled substances according to DOT regulations. Related topics discussed included employer liability; insurance; contracts; indemnification; interaction with other laws, such as ADA and FMLA; and collective bargaining issues.
Mario Coppola Summarizes New CT Legislation for Bar Association
Mario F. Coppola, of the Westport office, recently presented before the Connecticut Bar Association’s Planning and Zoning and Environmental Law Sections a summary important new legislation. Of particular interest to the land to the land use and zoning practice is Public Act 13-9, which amends Connecticut General Statute § 8-13a, to extend the same protections currently applicable to nonconforming buildings to nonconforming structures. As a result of the change, state law now provides that any structure that violates zoning regulations for required setbacks for minimum lot area shall be a legal nonconforming structure if the “structure has been so situated for three years without the institution of an action to enforce the regulation.” The statute defines a “structure” as having the same meaning as in the applicable local zoning regulations or, if undefined by such regulations, it shall mean “any combination of materials, other than a building, that is affixed to the land, including without limitation, signs, fences, walls, pools, patios, tennis courts and decks.” It is important to note that the owner shall bear the burden of proving that a structure qualifies as a nonconforming structure under the statute. As a result of this new legislation, various structures which would otherwise be in violation of the local regulations are now legal so long as the structure has existed in that location for a least three years without any enforcement action from the town or city.
LeClerc Leaves Fairfield P&Z Commission and Joins Boy Scouts of America Board
Bryan L. LeClerc, a partner who resides in Fairfield, recently stepped down after serving on the Town Plan and Zoning Commission for five years, the last several as its chairman. His tenure on the commission was featured in an article published in the Fairfield Citizen and linked here by permission of the newspaper.
But Bryan’s community service is far from over. As a longtime participant with the Boy Scouts of America, Bryan was recently named vice president of legal affairs for the board of directors of the Connecticut Yankee Council. He has been involved with the Connecticut Yankee Council for more than 10 years in a variety of roles, including as a local Scoutmaster. The Connecticut Yankee Council serves more than 17,000 youth members and nearly 4,600 adult volunteer leaders within five programs in Fairfield and New Haven counties and the town of Southington in Hartford County. more
Attending the Walter Camp Football Foundation tailgate party and toy drive are, left to right, Stacy Oswald, legal assistant; Douglas E. LoMonte, Partner; Matthew Sapienza, law clerk; Mario F. Coppola, Partner; Jonathan D. Berchem, Partner; Ira W. Bloom, Partner; Lisa Grasso Egan, Of Counsel; Michael P. Burdo, Associate (carrying his daughter Adrianna); Katherine Ashelford, legal assistant; Brian A. Lema, Partner; and Michael Esposito, paralegal.
BMD Sponsors Walter Camp Football Foundation Toy Drive at Yale Bowl
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. was the sponsor of the 16th annual Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF) tailgate party at the Oct. 19 game between Yale and Fordham University at the Yale Bowl. WCFF President Jim Monico said, “The impact of Berchem, Moses & Devlin’s contribution can best be measured by the amount of toys that were collected for the Yale-New Haven /St. Raphael’s Children’s Hospital Toy Closet at our tent. Without exaggerating, there were five tables, each eight-feet long, filled with toys for children suffering from various disabilities that required their hospitalization.
During a ceremony at Bridgeport’s Margaret E. Morton Government Center are, left to right, Robert L. Berchem, principal and president of Berchem, Moses & Devlin; Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch; scholarship winner Ophelia Barnett; and Ophelia’s mother, Norma Barnett.
Firm Awards More Than $7,500 in College Scholarships
July 2013: Ophelia Barnett, a 2013 graduate of Bridgeport’s Central Magnet High School, has been named the winner of the inaugural Berchem, Moses & Devlin New Opportunities Scholarship. She was awarded $5,000 for her college expenses. more
Berchem, Moses & Devlin’s new Westport office at 1221 Post Road East.
July 2013: The firm has relocated its Westport office to 1221 Post Road East. The office will occupy more than 4,700 square feet in its new location. There will be offices for up to 10 lawyers, as well as conference rooms to serve client needs. "The Post Road is a thriving business corridor where we can effectively serve our growing client base in Fairfield County," said Westport Managing Partner Ira W. Bloom. more
June 2013: Lisa Grasso Egan has joined the firm as Of Counsel in the Milford office. She is a member of the Labor & Employment Law Department and represents both private and public sector employers in state and federal courts, administrative agencies, collective bargaining, and interest arbitration. She also provides general advice and counsel to clients. more
Attorney Robert L. Berchem, principal and president of Berchem, Moses & Devlin, left, presents Bridgeport Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr., center, and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch with a $5,000 check for the newly announced Berchem, Moses & Devlin New Opportunities Scholarship.
May 2013: The firm has created a college scholarship program that will award $20,000 over the next four years to Bridgeport public high school students. The "New Opportunities Scholarship" has been established to mark the firm's 80th anniversary this year.
The scholarship will provide $5,000 a year for each of the four years, and will be given to a different graduate each year. A ceremony to announce the scholarship was held recently in the Margaret E. Morton Government Center in Bridgeport.
"This year, 2013, marks the 80th anniversary of the Berchem, Moses & Devlin law firm. As a way of celebrating our success and commitment to the region, we are offering a scholarship to help a high school student from Bridgeport fulfill his or her dreams for the future," said attorney Robert L. Berchem, principal and president of the firm. more
Robert L. Berchem, left, principal and president of Berchem, Moses & Devlin, and the Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University, during the university’s 2013 Awards Dinner April 10 in New York City. At the dinner, Bob accepted the university’s Alumni Service Award.
Robert Berchem Recipient of Fairfield University Alumni Award
April 2013: Robert L. Berchem, principal and president of the firm, has received Fairfield University’s Alumni Service Award. Bob was honored at the school’s 2013 Awards Dinner April 10 at the Grand Hyatt New York in New York City. A graduate of the class of 1962, Bob was the first in his family to receive a college degree. As an alumnus, he has contributed to the school in a number of capacities, including serving as a trustee from 1990 to 1996. Bob has been a member of the school’s President’s Circle since 1981 and was chairman in 1989. He also established a scholarship fund at the university to acknowledge the opportunities the school afforded him and to honor his mother. The Barbara M. Berchem scholarship benefits other first-generation college students. more
April 2013: The firm has again donated funds to the Westport Public Library to provide the LexisNexis database service. The LexisNexis program is used by library patrons seeking data for a variety of reasons, including job searches. more
April 2013: Marsha Belman Moses and Michelle C. Laubin were speakers at the April Leadership Forum sponsored by the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Council of Administrators of Special Education (ConnCASE), and the State Education Resource Center (SERC). more
April 2013: Megan A. Smith was a panelist in a CLE program entitled “Understanding Individualized Education Programs in Special Education” on April 1, 2013, at the Connecticut Bar Association Law Center in New Britain. more
March 2013: Floyd J. Dugas will be speaking on April 11, 2013 at the National Council of School Attorneys convention in San Diego, CA on the topic of School Safety.
February 2013: Shelby L. Wilson wrote an article for the February 18, 2013, edition of the Fairfield County Business Journal. The article, entitled “The State of the Federal Estate Tax and Why Proper Planning Remains Critical,” was published in the newspaper’s Wealth Management Supplement and its online edition. more
January 2013: Ira W. Bloom and Mario F. Coppola appeared on a seminar panel with Judge Douglas Mintz, Judge Barbara Bellis, and Judge Marshall Berger at the Fairfield County Bar Association seminar on January 23, 2013. more
December 2012: Richard J. Buturla and Warren L. Holcomb successfully defended Stratford police officers and the Town of Stratford in a federal jury trial on claims stemming from arrests in a 2007 melee at the former Harborside Bar in Stratford. The trial in U.S. District Court in Hartford exonerated the officers and the Town of Stratford in a civil rights lawsuit that ensued in the incident. more
October 2012: Joshua A. Weinshank has joined the firm as an associate. Joshua focuses his practice in the area of trusts & estates. He serves the needs of clients in the areas of strategic estate planning and gifting plans. more
October 2012: The firm helped collect more than 400 toys for the Yale-New Haven Hospital Toy Closet as part of a drive connected with the October 20th Yale-Penn football game at the Yale Bowl. The firm joined with the Walter Camp Football Foundation in sponsoring the toy drive and a tailgate party attended by 250 people prior to the Ivy League game. more
October 1, 2012: Partners Mario F. Coppola and Shelby L. Wilson have been named “New Leaders in the Law” for 2012 by the Connecticut Law Tribune. The Law Tribune had asked firms across the state to nominate attorneys age 40 and under who stand out as leaders in the legal profession. Mario and Shelby were selected for the designation based on their outstanding accomplishments, which distinguish them among their peers. more
October 1, 2012: Attorney Marsha Belman Moses was a presenter at the CABE Workshop entitled "New Legal Issues for a New School Year: Teacher Evaluation, Bullying and School Climate" which took place on October 1, 2012 at the Sheraton Hartford South Hotel. more