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.
John Gilmore's passing leaves a void at Berchem, Moses & Devlin. As talented as John was, and as much as he did for our firm professionally, he will be missed far more for his wit, charm and grace in everything he did. John was a superb journalist and media consultant; he was an even better person. We mourn his loss and the absence of his friendship.
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. Awards College Scholarships
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. awarded its 2014 New Opportunities Scholarship to Diana Olivo, a 2014 graduate of Bridgeport's Warren Harding High School. She will be awarded $5,000 for her college expenses. Also, the law firm has awarded Diandre Clarke, a 2014 graduate of Bridgeport's Bassick High School, a second place prize of $1,000 for her academic achievements.
Robert L. Berchem, principal and president of the firm said, "These students have achieved remarkable success in high school. They have both demonstrated a strong understanding of the value of learning. Our firm is proud to help them continue their studies."
Both winners plan to attend Fairfield University in the fall. Diana plans to pursue a career in education. Diandre's goal is a career in the law. The winners were selected on academic achievement, financial need, and essays on the theme, 'What the scholarship means to me.'
The law firm created the New Opportunities Scholarship as a way to mark its 80th anniversary in 2013. The firm plans to award scholarships over a four-year period to deserving graduates of Bridgeport public high schools. The firm has committed at least $20,000 to the scholarship program and will consider renewing the program after the initial four years.
Christopher J. Sugar Appointed Education Committee Chairman of the CBA Young Lawyers Section
Associate Christopher J. Sugar has been appointed chairman of the Education Law Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section. His term runs until May 2015.
Chris practices in the area of labor and employment law. Among the matters he addresses in his practice are Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints, charges arising under the National Labor Relations Act, and state and local employment and labor issues ranging from wage and hour issues to unit/employee classification problems.
LeClerc Participates in Workers' Compensation Roundtable at USI
Bryan L. LeClerc, a partner in the Milford office, participated in a roundtable discussion sponsored by USI Insurance Services, LLC, at its Meriden offices. The topic was Workers' Compensation. The roundtable was for the benefit of construction industry employers.
USI is an insurance brokerage and consulting firm. With more than 4,000 professionals in over 100 offices across the United States, USI is the 10th largest insurance broker in the nation. It is among the top 10 retirement consulting firms in the U.S. and is the largest employee benefit wholesaler in the tri-state area.
Lynn Kirshbaum, of the firm's Milford office, with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at CABE's "A Day on the Hill."
Berchem, Moses & Devlin Attends CABE's "A Day on the Hill"
Firm attorneys attended "A Day on the Hill," an annual event conducted by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), on March 5, 2014, in Hartford. The event, conducted at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and at the Capitol, featured a series of networking meetings for CABE member school boards, their superintendents and staff, PTA and PTO members, students and guests. The governor spoke to the assembled group and later stopped to have a few photos taken with attendees. After the sessions at the Bushnell, CABE members and other attendees marched to the Capitol for a series of sessions with legislators. Berchem, Moses & Devlin is a CABE business partner. The firm represents numerous boards of education and school districts throughout the state.
Ira Bloom Interviewed for the Fairfield County Business Journal
Ira Bloom, Managing Partner of the Westport office, was interviewed for the March 3, 2014, edition of the Fairfield County Business Journal. In the article, Ira discussed the expansion of Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. to 40 attorneys. Ira also talked about the recent relocation of the Westport office and the firm's growing profile in Fairfield County.
The new lawyers at the firm gathered in the Westport office recently for a photo taken by the Connecticut Law Tribune. Pictured here standing, left to right, are Peter Gelderman, of counsel; John Marini, associate; Eugene Kimmel, senior counsel; Christopher J. Sugar, associate; Rebecca Goldberg, associate; Joseph H. Corselli, associate; Lynn A. Kirshbaum, associate. Seated, left to right, are Ira Bloom, Westport managing partner; Marsha Moses, firm managing partner, and Gregory Kimmel, senior partner.
BMD Boosts Ranks with Norwalk Firm And Six Other Attorneys
The Norwalk-based law firm of Kimmel & Kimmel, LLC and several other new lawyers have joined Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. to create significant growth several practice areas.
Joining the firm are Eugene M. Kimmel, as senior counsel; Gregory S. Kimmel, as senior partner; Peter V. Gelderman, a Fairfield land use/municipal lawyer, as of counsel; and Ansonia Corporation Counsel John P. Marini, as an associate. Also joining the firm as associates are Rebecca Goldberg and Christopher J. Sugar, in the Labor practice, Lynn A. Kirshbaum, in the Education Department, and Joseph H. Corselli, in the Litigation Department.
Robert L. Berchem, president of the firm, said, "These new lawyers at our firm bring a wide range of experience that will enhance service to our growing statewide client base. Our growth has always come through strategic steps aimed at improved service to clients."
During a transition period, the father-and-son Kimmel & Kimmel law firm will operate its Norwalk office until the two principals are fully merged into Berchem, Moses & Devlin's Westport office. The Kimmel & Kimmel firm has concentrated in the areas of real estate transactions, divorce and family law issues, personal injury matters and criminal law.
Mr. Gelderman, who will also be based in the Westport office, is experienced in business and commercial transactions, commercial and residential real estate transactions, condominium law and civil litigation. Previously, he has served as Assistant Town Attorney for Westport and Town Attorney for Trumbull. Also, he is a former member of the Trumbull Town Council.
Westport Managing Partner Ira W. Bloom said, "The addition of the Kimmel & Kimmel law firm and Peter represents major growth for our new Westport offices. We relocated here to establish a significant presence for Berchem, Moses & Devlin in Fairfield County."
John Marini, who will be based in Milford, is an important part of the growing municipal practice at the firm. In the past, he has served as a member of the Board of Aldermen for the City of Ansonia. He was the board's liaison to the city's Economic Development Commission and served as a member of the city's Finance Commission. He was also chairman of Ansonia's 2012-2013 Charter Revision Commission. John will continue to serve as Ansonia Corporation Counsel. Rebecca Goldberg, Lynn Kirshbaum and Chistopher Sugar will be based in the Milford office.
The new additions to Berchem, Moses & Devlin bring the firm's roster up to 40 lawyers, making it one of the state's larger law firms.
A monetary donation from the firm to Homes with Hope will help with the Westport agency's ongoing efforts to help the homeless. Pictured here are (left to right) Karen Mahar, director of resource development for Homes with Hope; Jeff Weiser, president and CEO of Homes with Hope; Ira W. Bloom, managing partner of BMD Westport; and Gail I. Kelly, associate with BMD Westport.
Firm donates funds to Homes with Hope of Westport
The firm has made a financial donation to Homes with Hope of Westport to help with the costs of housing and other services for the homeless during the 2014 winter season.
Ira W. Bloom, managing partner of the Westport office, said the contribution to Homes with Hope serves a continual and growing need in the community. "The winter season is extremely difficult on the homeless and other people who require shelter. We hope this donation to Homes with Hope will provide help to the people who are in need," Mr. Bloom said.
The donation from the firm will be used by Homes with Hope clients for purchases like food, gasoline and household items as they take up residence in apartments sponsored by the agency.
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 of important new legislation. Of particular interest to the land 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