The Connecticut Bar Association has established a fund named after Assistant Dean Karen DeMeola to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession.
DeMeola, the law school’s assistant dean for finance, administration and enrollment, was the first person of color to serve as president of the Connecticut Bar Association, a position she held from 2017 to 2018. She has long worked to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession, including through the association’s Pathways to Legal Careers Pipeline, which she founded.
The Karen Lynn DeMeola Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund was created by the bar association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and will support its initiatives, which may include fellowships or scholarships, educational programming and events, and other diversity and inclusion initiatives related to the legal profession in Connecticut.
“We are really pleased to establish this fund to support the CBA’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and to take this opportunity to honor Attorney DeMeola,” said association President Amy Lin Meyerson. “Increasing diversity in the legal profession results in better service to our clients facilitates access to justice and improves the profession as a whole.”
DeMeola has made the Connecticut Bar Association stronger and more inclusive, said Cecil J. Thomas, the association’s president-elect and co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “Attorney DeMeola has been a tireless advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Connecticut legal community for many decades now,” he said. “Countless practitioners have been positively impacted by her conscientious and compassionate leadership.”
Since she joined the staff at UConn Law in 1999, DeMeola has served as director of admissions, assistant dean for admissions and student finance, assistant dean of students, and assistant dean for finance, administration and enrollment. She previously worked as a civil rights litigator and as assistant director for admissions at Western New England College School of Law. She earned a bachelors degree from UConn and is a 1996 graduate of the UConn School of Law.
DeMeola has presented on numerous panels, symposia, and conferences on diversifying law school populations, implicit bias, intersectionality, inclusive leadership, and diversity and inclusion. In 2015 the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities presented her with the Constance Baker Motley Award for Excellence in Business or Law. In 2018 the Connecticut Law Tribune named her Attorney of the Year and in 2019 she received the Medal of Excellence from the University of Connecticut Law School Alumni Association.
“I am deeply moved by this honor. It is heartening to see the legal profession move away from a history of intentionally excluding and marginalizing individuals toward diversity, equity and inclusion. I have focused my career on providing access to the profession and creating spaces centered around inclusion and belonging,” DeMeola said. “Working with the CBA on these issues has been one of my greatest privileges. To share my name with this effort is truly humbling.”
Donations may be made to the fund through the bar association’s website.